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JANUARY

01

2016

volume 47

issue 01

Americas Gay News Source

washingtonblade.com

0 2 J A NUA RY 0 1 , 2016

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LO CA L N E W S Y E A R I N RE V I E W

Top 10 local news stories of 2015


A NEW MAYOR, A PAPAL VISIT AND MORE
By LOU CHIBBARO JR.
lchibbaro@washblade.com

#7

PHOTO COURTESY OF CUNNINGHAM

JOSE CUNNINGHAM

#10

GAY REPUBLICAN WINS


RACE FOR D.C. GOP CHAIR

Jose Cunningham, a local gay Republican


activist and prominent GOP fundraiser,
won an upset victory in his race for chair of
the D.C. Republican Committee in January
2015, beating incumbent chair Ron Phillips
by a vote of 74 to 41.
Cunningham ran on a platform calling
for the DCRC to take more aggressive steps
to expand the membership of the D.C.
Republican Party and recruit more qualied
candidates for public oce in a city with an
overwhelmingly Democratic electorate.
The DCRC, which serves as the D.C.
Republican Partys governing body, has
been supportive of LGBT rights, including
marriage equality, for a number of years,
placing it at odds with the national
Republican Party.
In his role as the DCRC chair,
Cunningham has an automatic seat on
the Republican National Committee.
Among other things, he has said he would
push for removing anti-gay language
from the national partys platform at the
2016 Republican National Convention.

#9

KAMENY MEMORIAL UNVEILED


A four-year saga surrounding eorts
to secure a D.C. memorial site for gay
rights pioneer Frank Kameny ended in
November with a ceremony dedicating
a memorial headstone in his honor at
Congressional Cemetery.
Four gay members of the Army and one
from the Navy stood at attention in full
dress uniform as U.S. Air Force General
Counsel Gordon O. Tanner, whos gay,
and Congressional Cemetery President

WASHINGTON BLADE FILE PHOTO BY MICHAEL KEY

The Frank Kameny memorial stone was revealed on Veterans Day at Congressional Cemetery.

Paul Williams unveiled the newly installed


Kameny headstone.
The headstone along with a footstone
bearing the slogan, Gay is Good, which
Kameny coined in 1968, were placed at a
cemetery plot just behind the gravesite of
gay Air Force Sgt. Leonard Matlovich. With
Kamenys advice and coaching, Matlovich
disclosed he was gay in 1975, becoming
the rst active duty U.S. service member
to challenge the militarys ban on gays.
The dedication of the Kameny memorial
site came just over four years after he
died on National Coming Out Day on Oct.
11, 2011. He died of natural causes at his
Washington home at the age of 86.

D.C. JUDGE CRITICIZED FOR LENIENT


SENTENCE IN HATE CRIME

A D.C. Superior Court judge surprised


court observers in August by rescinding an
earlier decision to lower the sentence she
gave to one of two defendants convicted
of committing an anti-gay assault.
Judge Yvonne Williams, responding
to objections by prosecutors, issued an
order vacating her earlier order of July

#8

15 that lowered the sentence for lesbian


Christina Lucas, 22, from one year to six
months in prison.
Lucas and her twin brother, Christopher
Lucas, were convicted by a jury following a
two-week trial on a charge of aggravated
assault while armed with a hate crime
designation. The case is the same one in
which a grand jury took the unusual step
of designating the assault as a hate crime,
even though prosecutors didnt ask it to
do so.
Judge Williams came under re from
LGBT activists after stating in a post-trial
hearing that she didnt believe the two
defendants should receive anywhere near
the 15-year prison term recommended by
prosecutors because the victims injuries
were not serious enough. Prosecutors
argued that the beating initiated by
Christina Lucas and carried out by her
brother and other men with them could
have resulted in the victims death.
Williams drew further criticism by
LGBT activists when she said she didnt
believe Christina Lucas could be accused
of committing an anti-gay hate crime
because shes gay.

RUNAWAY JURY
REBUKES U.S. ATTORNEY

A former member of a D.C. Superior


Court grand jury disclosed in July that
grand jurors took the unusual step of
handing down a hate crime indictment in
an anti-gay assault case after prosecutors
with the U.S. Attorneys Oce did not
recommend that the case be listed as a
hate crime.
The former grand juror, who spoke
on condition of not being identied,
said witnesses, including a D.C. police
detective and the gay male victim, told
the grand jury in August 2014 that then
20-year-old Christina Lucas and her twin
brother, Christopher Lucas, knocked
the gay male victim to the ground and
punched and kicked him while shouting
anti-gay names.
A police report says witnesses told
police that Christina Lucas slashed the
victims face with a sharp object while
he was lying on the ground shortly after
calling him a faggot motherfucker.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorneys
Oce said the oce was barred by
law from commenting on any aspect of
grand jury deliberations, which by law
must remain condential. In May 2015, a
Superior Court jury found the Lucas siblings
guilty of aggravated assault while armed
with a hate crime designation following
a two-week trial. A judge sentenced the
twins to one year in jail and ve years of
supervised probation upon their release,
a sentence that law enforcement sources
criticized as too lenient.

#6

G AY CANDIDATES WIN VA. HOUSE,


COLLEGE PARK MAYOR RACES

Gay rights attorney and former


congressional staer Mark Levine won
election in November to a seat in the
Virginia House of Delegates, becoming
the third out gay member of the Virginia
Legislature.
On the same day, gay attorney and
College Park, Md., City Council member
Patrick Wojahn won election as College
Park mayor, becoming the rst gay person
to serve as that citys mayor. Wojahn beat
fellow Council member Denise Mitchell in
a two-person race for the mayoral post.
Levine, a Democrat, ran unopposed
CONTINUES ON PAGE 06

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CONTINUED FROM PAGE 04

PATRICK WOJAHN

LO CA L N E W S Y E A R I N RE V I E W
transgender.
OHR said the testing consisted of
sending 200 made up cover letters
and resumes prepared by OHR to 38
employers that advertised 50 individual
job openings. One set of cover letters
and resumes were written to give
the impression the applicant was a
transgender person, with the other set
portraying the applicant as cisgender.
Details of the study along with its
nding are compiled in a 28-page report
called Qualied and Transgender: A
Report on Results of Resume Testing for
Employment Discrimination Based on
Gender Identity.

PHOTO COURTESY OF WOJAHN

in the November general election in an


overwhelmingly Democratic district that
includes parts of the city of Alexandria
and Fairfax County. He won an upset
victory in the June Democratic primary
in a ve-candidate race, nishing ahead
of Alexandria government ocial Craig
Fifer, who was considered by political
observers to be the frontrunner, by a
margin of 27.8 percent to 24.3 percent.

PHOTO COURTESY OF MVP SECURITY

JAMYRA GALLMON

#4

WASHINGTON BLADE FILE PHOTO BY MICHAEL KEY

RUBY CORADO presents ndings at the Wilson


Building on Nov. 13, 2015.

#5

D.C. TRANS RESIDENTS FACE


DEVASTATING POVERTY

Two studies of D.C.s transgender


community released in November found
that similar to other parts of the country,
trans people living in the District continue
to experience devastatingly high rates
of poverty, unemployment, employment
discrimination and health disparities.
The ndings of one of the studies,
compiled from the largest-ever citybased survey of transgender people,
were released in a 116-page report called
Access Denied: 2015 Washington, D.C.
Trans Needs Assessment Report.
Among other things, the survey found
that 46 percent of the trans people living
in D.C. participating in the survey earned
less than $10,000 a year, with 57 percent
of trans people of color making below
$10,000.
The second study was conducted by
the D.C. Oce of Human Rights. It found
that 48 percent of employers tested by
the oce appeared to prefer at least one
less-qualied job applicant over a better
qualied applicant perceived as being

G AY PICKUP MURDER OF LAWYER


AT DONOVAN HOTEL

A D.C. woman who pled guilty in May


to second-degree murder while armed
for fatally stabbing 30-year-old attorney
David Messerschmitt at the citys Donovan
Hotel on Feb. 9 was sentenced in August
to 24 years in prison.
Jamyra Gallmon, 21, confessed to police
that she targeted Messerschmitt for a
robbery by pretending to be a man while
answering an ad he placed on Craigslist
seeking to meet another man for sex.
Police and prosecutors said she stabbed
Messerschmitt at least seven times in the
chest, groin area, arm and back when he
attempted to ght back after she entered
his hotel room and started to rob him of
his possessions.
Hotel employees found Messerschmitts
body in his room several hours after his
wife reported him missing. LGBT activists
said the case was a sad reminder that
closeted gay men married to women
sometimes fall victim to a phenomenon
that has long plagued out gay men known
as gay pickup murders.

#3

TRANS WOMAN NAMED HEAD OF


D.C. POLICE GLLU

D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier in


March named Sgt. Jessica Hawkins, an
out transgender woman, as supervisor
of the departments Gay and Lesbian
Liaison Unit. Hawkins became the rst
transgender person to hold that position.
In an interview with the Blade, Hawkins
said she planned to build on what she
said was a strong foundation for the unit

WASHINGTON BLADE FILE PHOTO BY MICHAEL KEY

Sgt. JESSICA HAWKINS heads the GLLU.

begun by her predecessors, including Sgt.


Brett Parson.
Hawkins assumed her position at a
time when some LGBT activists expressed
concern that Lanier had reduced the
GLLUs eectiveness by assigning its
ocers to non-GLLU related duties for
as much as half of each work shift. Police
ocials said the chief had made similar
reassignments for members of most
other specialized police units due to a
shortage of ocers brought about by a
recent retirement bubble in which more
ocers are retiring than can be replaced
by new recruits.
My ocers are dedicated, Hawkins
said. We will make sure that when any
GLLU call comes out they are going to
respond to it.

county clerk in Kentucky who refused


to issue marriage licenses for same-sex
couples on religious grounds, announced
that she had met with Francis at the
Vatican Embassy.
Following a urry of criticism that the
Pope appeared to be condoning anti-gay
discrimination by associating with Davis,
the Vatican issued a statement saying
Davis was part a group of visitors at the
embassy and had not been personally
invited by the Pope. According to the
statement, Grassi and his family members
were the only ones directly invited by
Francis for a personal audience during
the Pontis Washington visit.
Grassi said he believes the Pope is
making a genuine eort to change the
church for the better for LGBT people.

WASHINGTON BLADE FILE PHOTO BY MICHAEL KEY

Mayor MURIEL BOWSER at State of the District


Address on March 31, 2015.

#1

BOWSER TAKES OFFICE, NAMES 5


GAYS TO CABINET

WASHINGTON BLADE FILE PHOTO BY MICHAEL KEY

YAYO GRASSI and his boyfriend met with Pope


Francis.

#2

P OPES D.C. GAY FRIEND SPEAKS


OUT AFTER PONTIFFS VISIT

D.C. resident Yayo Grassi, a native of


Argentina, made international headlines
in September when news surfaced that
he and his boyfriend of 19 years met with
Pope Francis at the Vatican Embassy in
Washington during the Popes visit to the
United States.
Grassi, 67, the owner of a D.C.-based
catering business, said he has known and
admired Francis since the future Ponti
was his high school teacher at a Catholic
school in Argentina.
His and his boyfriends visit with the
Pope drew media attention because it
took place shortly after Kim Davis, the

In her rst four months in oce D.C.


Mayor Muriel Bowser appointed ve out
gays or lesbians to cabinet-level positions,
including a rst-ever appointment of a
lesbian as deputy mayor.
In April, Bowser named lesbian activist
and public aairs lobbyist Courtney
Snowden as Deputy Mayor for Greater
Economic Opportunity, a newly created
position in the Executive Oce of the
Mayor. The position involves coordinating
the citys eorts to create pathways to
the middle class for residents in every
corner of the city, Bowser said.
The other appointees included veteran
lesbian activist and media professional
Sheila Alexander Reid as director of the
Mayors Oce of LGBTQ Aairs; gay
urban planning specialist David Do as
director of the Mayors Oce of Asian
and Pacic Islander Aairs; lesbian
housing and homelessness policy expert
Polly Donaldson as director of the D.C.
Department of Housing and Community
Development, and gay former city ocial
Matt Brown as director of the Mayors
Oce of the Budget.

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0 8 J A N UA RY 0 1 , 2016

LO CA L N E W S Y E A R I N RE V I E W

Top 10 national news stories of 2015


CAITLYN COMES OUT, MARRIAGE AT LAST
By CHRIS JOHNSON
cjohnson@washblade.com
It was another historic year of progress for the LGBT community.
Below are the Blades sta picks for the top 10 stories of the year.
gender identity and sex.
No Republicans are co-sponsors of the
Equality Act in either the House or Senate,
which makes passage signicantly more
dicult as long as the GOP controls
Congress. Each of the 170 co-sponsors
in the House and the 39 co-sponsors in
the Senate are Democrats. The bill has
a number of corporate sponsors, such
as Amazon, American Airlines, Apple,
Facebook, General Electric, General Mills,
Google, IBM, Microsoft and Nike.

murders and a federal prohibition on


anti-trans discrimination.

WASHINGTON BLADE FILE PHOTO BY MICHAEL KEY


WASHINGTON BLADE FILE PHOTO BY MICHAEL KEY

Church of the Pilgrims Presbyterian with


rainbow ALL ARE WELCOME sign displayed.

#10

EPISCOPAL, PRESBYTERIAN
CHURCHES TAKE STEP
FORWARD ON MARRIAGE

Major Christian denominations in


the United States followed up on the
Supreme Court ruling on marriage this
year by enacting new policies on samesex couples.
The Episcopal and Presbyterian
churches changed doctrine to enable
clergy to perform same-sex marriages.
The Presbyterian Church adoption
a resolution saying marriage is a
commitment between traditionally a
man and a woman, while the Episcopal
Church omitted references to gender
entirely.
Meanwhile, the Mormon Church took
the opposite approach and issued a
policy prohibiting the baptism of children
raised by same-sex parents. Thousands
of members of the church resigned in
protest.

#9

PENTAGON LAYS GROUNDWORK


FOR LIFTING TRANS BAN
Transgender people remain barred
from open service in the U.S. military
despite Dont Ask, Dont Tell repeal, but
the Pentagon took initial steps this year
to change the policy.
Eorts to undo the medical regulation
barring trans people from military
service seemed to have stalled out at the
beginning of the year. They picked up
steam when newly conrmed Defense
Secretary Ashton Carter said during
his town hall meeting in Afghanistan
suitability for service should be the
only factor in determining whether a
transgender person can enlist in the
armed forces.

Defense Secretary ASHTON CARTER said the


Pentagon would begin a six-month review of
the trans ban in July.

In July, Carter announced the Pentagon


would begin a six-month review of the
policy with the intention of allowing
transgender people to serve openly.
A Pentagon spokesperson told the
Washington Blade the department is on
track to produce initial review ndings
in January. According to a report in USA
Today, the department aims to lift the
ban on trans service May 27.

WASHINGTON BLADE FILE PHOTO BY MICHAEL KEY

Indiana Gov. MIKE PENCE

#6
WASHINGTON BLADE FILE PHOTO BY MICHAEL KEY

A Black Trans Lives Matter rally was held in


D.C. in August.

#7

WASHINGTON BLADE FILE PHOTO BY MICHAEL KEY

Sen. TAMMY BALDWIN speaks at a press


conference announcing the Equality Act on
July 23.

#8

LAWMAKERS INTRODUCE
EQUALITY ACT
After failing to pass the Employment
Non-Discrimination Act since 1994,
lawmakers raised the bar this year
for LGBT federal non-discrimination
protections by introducing the Equality
Act. The legislation, introduced by Rep.
David Cicilline (D-R.I.) in the U.S. House
and Sen. Je Merkley (D-Ore.) in the
Senate, would expand the Civil Rights
Act and Fair Housing Act to include
protections based on sexual orientation,

R ECORD NUMBER OF
ANTI-TRANS MURDERS
A record number of at least 21
transgender people were killed in the
United States this year, raising concerns
about the dangers transgender people
continue to face.
Many of the transgender people
murdered were women of color. One
of the victims Zella Ziona, 21, was shot
multiple times in the head and body
behind a shopping center in Gaithersburg,
Md., allegedly by her boyfriend Rico
Hector LeBlond.
Another victim, 66-year-old K.C.
Haggard, was killed in Fresno, Calif., after
someone driving a vehicle beckoned her
over and shot her dead.
In response to the violence, members
of Congress formed a nine-member
bipartisan Transgender Equality Task
Force. Chairing the group is Rep.
Mike Honda, who has a transgender
granddaughter.
The task force kicked o with a
congressional forum in which transgender
advocates testied about the need for
greater police sensitivity to transgender
issues, data collection on transgender

R ELIGIOUS FREEDOM BILLS


DEFEATED IN INDIANA, ELSEWHERE
Likely in anticipation of the Supreme
Court ruling for same-sex marriage, antiLGBT lawmakers in state legislatures
throughout the country this year sought
to push so-called religious freedom
legislation to undermine the ruling.
Many of the bills, known as Religious
Freedom
Restoration
Acts,
would
have prohibited the government from
penalizing individuals who engage in antiLGBT discrimination based on religious
beliefs, such as by refusing wedding
services to same-sex couples.
The highest prole of the measures
came in Indiana and was signed into law
by Gov. Mike Pence. Following an outcry
from LGBT advocates and the business
community, Pence signed a x into law
signicantly limiting the scope of the laws
religious carve-out.
Of the 78 religious freedom bills
introduced this year, six became law and
two of those measures were scaled back.
Among those that became law were bills
in Michigan allowing child placement
agencies to refuse services based on
religious beliefs and a bill in North
Carolina granting magistrates the option
of opting out of performing marriages for
a six-month period.

#5

H OUSTON DEFEAT
JOLTS LGBT MOVEMENT
Following
a
years-long
string
of victories, the LGBT community
CONTINUES ON PAGE 09

WASHINGTONBLADE.COM

N A T I O NA L NEW S Y EAR IN R EVIEW


CONTINUED FROM PAGE 08

WASHINGTON BLADE FILE PHOTO BY MICHAEL KEY

Houston Mayor ANNISE PARKER backed the


measure but it was defeated at the ballot.

J A N U A RY 0 1 , 2 0 1 6 0 9
Neither a federal appeals court, nor the
Supreme Court, would lift the order upon
her request for a stay pending appeal.
But Davis continued to deny licenses.
One of the plainti same-sex couples
came to her oce seeking a marriage
license, but she refused to give one
to them, citing Gods authority. U.S.
District Judge David Bunning found her in
contempt of court and placed her in jail
for several days.
Upon her release, she appeared at
a rally with former Arkansas Gov. Mike
Huckabee and other supporters who
celebrated her deance. The anti-LGBT
Family Research Council awarded Davis
its Cost of Discipleship award during the
annual Values Voter Summit in D.C.

experienced an unexpected setback


this year when Houston voters rejected
at the polls an LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance. The measure,
known as the Houston Equal Rights
Ordinance and backed by lesbian Mayor
Annise Parker, would have instituted
citywide protections in the nations fourth
largest city on the basis of 15 categories,
including sexual orientation and gender
identity.
Although initial polls indicated the
ordinance would pass, it was defeated
by a lopsided 61-39 margin. LGBT rights
supporters blamed the loss on anti-trans
TV ads aimed at stoking fears about
transgender people using the restroom
consistent with their gender identity.
One ad featured a young girl entering
a restroom stall only for a menacinglooking man to follow and slam the door
behind them.

PHOTO COURTESY OF NBC

WASHINGTON BLADE FILE PHOTO BY LEE WHITMAN

#3
WASHINGTON BLADE FILE PHOTO BY MICHAEL KEY

#4

KIM DAVIS REFUSES TO


MARRY GAY COUPLES
After the Supreme Court ruled in favor
of same-sex marriage, one Kentucky clerk
made national headlines this year for
refusing to comply with the decision on
religious grounds.
Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, an
Apostolic Christian, closed down marriage
operations in her oce, refusing
marriage licenses to both same-sex and
opposite-sex couples. Couples led a
lawsuit against her, resulting in a district
court ordering her to issue licenses.

transgender women making people


uncomfortable if they look like a man in
a dress.

WASHINGTON BLADE FILE PHOTO BY DAMIEN SALAS

HILLARY CLINTON and DONALD TRUMP


spent 2015 as the frontrunners for their
respective party nominations.

KIM DAVIS was widely mocked for her refusal


to marry gay couples in Kentucky.

has come to move on, former Florida


Gov. Jeb Bush called for protections of
religious freedom, Wisconsin Gov. Scott
Walker before he exited the race sought
a U.S. constitutional amendment against
the decision, former Arkansas Gov. Mike
Huckabee said it should be ignored
entirely and Sen. Marco Rubio said hed
appoint justices that would reverse the
decision.
Republicans also made outrageous
claims about LGBT people. Ben
Carson said prison proves being gay
is a choice and Sen. Ted Cruz said the
Planned Parenthood shooter may be a
transgendered leftist activist.
Meanwhile, each of the Democratic
candidates endorsed the Equality Act
and pledged to make LGBT rights of
a component of their campaigns and
administrations.

LGBT RIGHTS SURFACE AS


2016 RACE KICKS OFF

As the 2016 race for the White House


kicked o this year, the issue of LGBT
rights distinctly separated Democratic
candidates from Republican contenders.
The Democratic hopefuls boiled down
to Hillary Clinton as the front-running
candidate followed by Bernard Sanders
and Martin OMalley. The Republicans
had a more sizable group, ending the year
with 13 candidates and Donald Trump
making headlines for inammatory
statements about immigrants, women,
Black Lives Matter activists and Muslims.
When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled
for same-sex marriage, each of the
Democratic candidates embraced it, but
all Republicans remained opposed to
same-sex marriage, although they had
slightly diering takes on the decision.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich said the time

WASHINGTON BLADE FILE PHOTO BY MICHAEL KEY

CAITLYN JENNER came out as trans in an


interview with Diane Sawyer.

LGBT rights supporters celebrated on the


steps of the Supreme Court in June.

#2

#1

C AITLYN JENNER
COMES OUT AS TRANS
Amid rising transgender visibility,
TV personality and Olympic decathlon
gold medalist Caitlyn Jenner publicly
transitioned and became the most highprole transgender gure in the country.
For months, media reports and
paparazzi photos raised questions about
whether Jenner was transitioning. Jenner
conrmed that was her intent during an
interview with ABCs Diane Sawyer as
she maintained male pronouns and her
former name, Bruce Jenner.
Jenner revealed herself under her new
name in a cover spread for Vanity Fair,
which was captioned Call Me Caitlyn.
Upon receipt of the Arthur Ashe Courage
Award at ESPNs annual ESPYS dinner,
Jenner said she could take the ridicule
aimed at her, but transgender youth may
not be as strong.
She also began to star in the reality TV
series I Am Cait, which focused on her
transition and placed her among other
rising transgender stars like Laverne Cox
of Orange Is the New Black and Jamie
Clayton of Sense8.
Although Jenner has sought to draw
attention to issues facing the transgender
community, she remains controversial
because shes a Republican, is seen as
too auent to represent transgender
people and made controversial remarks
for which she later apologized about

S UPREME COURT RULES FOR


MARRIAGE EQUALITY

A decades-long struggle for the LGBT


community culminated this year at the
U.S. Supreme Court when justices ruled
in favor of marriage rights for same-sex
couples across the nation.
In the 5-4 decision written by U.S.
Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, the
court determined state prohibitions on
same-sex marriage violate the right to due
process and equal protection under the
14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The court accepted the litigation after
the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals
upheld bans on same-sex marriage in
Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee,
creating a split among other circuit courts
that struck down similar prohibitions in
other states.
On the day of oral arguments, one
of the attorneys arguing in favor of
marriage rights for same-sex couples was
Mary Bonauto, a lesbian attorney who
successfully argued for marriage equality
in Massachusetts in 2003, making the Bay
State the rst in the country with samesex marriage.
The court delivered its historic decision
on June 26, the same date 12 years ago
when it issued its decision against state
sodomy bans and two years ago when it
issued the ruling against Section 3 of the
Defense of Marriage Act.

WASHINGTONBLADE.COM

1 0 J A NUA RY 0 1 , 2016

I N T E RN A T I O N A L N E W S Y E A R I N RE V I E W

Top 10 international news stories of 2015


MARRIAGE IN IRELAND, A KINDER POPE GRAB HEADLINES
By MICHAEL K. LAVERS
mlavers@washblade.com
Irelands historic referendum that extended marriage rights to same-sex couples,
the daughter of Cuban President Ral Castro promoting LGBT rights and the Islamic
States continued execution of men accused of sodomy are among the international
stories that made headlines in 2015. Here is a look back at the top 10 stories, as
ranked by the Blades editorial sta.
An Egyptian court in January acquitted
26 men who had been charged with
debauchery late last year during a raid
on a Cairo bathhouse. Mona Iraqi, a
reporter for a pro-government television
station who tipped o authorities after
she was unable to enter the building,
in November received a six-month jail
sentence for defaming those who
were arrested.

Gambian President YAHYA JAMMEH

#10

GAMBIA REJECTS CRITICISM OF


LGBT RECORD
The Gambian government in 2015
remained deant against continued
criticisms of its LGBT rights record.
Gambian Ambassador to the U.S.
Omar Faye told the Washington Blade
in September in response to a Human
Rights Watch report that documented
human rights abuses in his country that
nobody can say any gay person has been
killed in the small west African nation. He
also dismissed criticisms over President
Yahya Jammehs anti-LGBT rhetoric.
Jammehs nephew, Alagie Jammeh,
earlier this year said he faces life in prison
or even death in Gambia because of a
pro-gay message he posted to Facebook
while studying at the University of
California, Santa Barbara. A Gambian
court in August acquitted three men
who had been charged with aggravated
homosexuality.
Yahya Jammeh owns a $3.5 million
mansion in Potomac, Md.

#9

EGYPTIAN MEN ARRESTED IN


BATHHOUSE ACQUITTED
OF DEBAUCHERY
The Egyptian government in 2015
continued to face criticism over its LGBT
rights record.
A court in April ruled the Egyptian
Interior Ministry can expel homosexual
aliens from the country. The decision
also said the government can prevent
them from returning to Egypt.
Egyptian police in February arrested
seven transsexuals who were part of an
alleged network of debauchery in Cairo.

PHOTO BY MARIAJONER; COURTESY OF SIKIMEDIA

VLADIMIR PUTIN

#7

L GBT ADVOCATES
CRITICIZE TPP DEAL
Advocates in 2015 sharply criticized a
controversial trade agreement between
the U.S. and 11 Pacic Rim countries
because it does not include LGBT-specic
protections.
Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan,
Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru,
Singapore, the U.S. and Vietnam would
join the Trans-Pacic Partnership if the
countries ratify it.
Consensual same-sex sexual relations
remain illegal in Brunei, Malaysia and
Singapore.
Brunei in 2014 began to implement
a new legal code based on Sharia
law that punishes those convicted of
homosexuality by stoning them to death.
Malaysias highest court in February
upheld former Deputy Prime Minister
Anwar Ibrahims conviction under the
countrys anti-sodomy law.
TPP fails the test for important LGBT
concerns, said Pride at Work Executive
Director Jerame Davis in November after
the text of the trade agreement was
released.

#8

R USSIA CONTINUES
LGBT CRACKDOWN
The Kremlin in 2015 continued its
crackdown on LGBT rights.
A judge in January convicted the
founder of a website for LGBT youth of
violating the countrys law that bans the
promotion of so-called gay propaganda
to minors.
A U.N. budget committee in March
overwhelmingly rejected a resolution
sponsored by Russia that sought to
overturn Secretary-General Ban Kimoons decision to extend spousal
benets to gay U.N. personnel who are
legally married.
Two Russian lawmakers in October
introduced a bill that critics contend
would eectively ban gays and lesbians
from coming out. A Russian newspaper
last month reported U.S. ocials ordered
a prominent LGBT rights advocate to
discredit Kremlin ocials.
The newspaper based its report on a
fake letter between Special U.S. Envoy
for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons
Randy Berry and Nikolai Alexeyev.

advocacy group, organized. Schlissel, an


ultra-Orthodox Jewish man, faces charges
of premeditated murder and attempted
murder in connection with the attack.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu and U.S. Ambassador to Israel
Dan Shapiro are among the ocials who
condemned the attack.
An Israeli court convicted Schlissel of
attempted murder and aggravated assault
in connection with the stabbing of three
people during a 2005 Pride march in
Jerusalem. He was released from prison
less than a month before the July 30 attack.

ISIS posted images that appear to show


blindfolded Syrian and Iraqi men being thrown
from buildings.

#5
PHOTO COURTESY OF JERUSALEM OPEN HOUSE

Shira Banki was stabbed to death at a


Jerusalem Pride parade.

#6

T EENAGER KILLED DURING


JERUSALEM PRIDE
An attack on a Jerusalem Pride march
on July 30 left a teenager dead and ve
others injured.
Prosecutors allege that Yishai Schlissel
stabbed Shira Banki to death with a
butchers knife as she took part in the
march that Jerusalem Open House
for Pride and Tolerance, a local LGBT

I SLAMIC STATE EXECUTES


MEN ACCUSED OF SODOMY
The Islamic States public execution
of men accused of engaging in sodomy
sparked global outrage in 2015.
The Sunni militant group throughout
2015 posted to its website and social
media pages images that appear to show
blindfolded Syrian and Iraqi men being
thrown from buildings with their hands
tied behind their backs. The Islamic State
has also reportedly beheaded and stoned
to death those who have been accused of
sodomy.
Reports indicate the Islamic State, also
known as Daesh, has executed more
than 30 men in Syria and Iraq accused of
sodomy.
The U.N. Security Council in August
used its rst-ever meeting on an LGBTCONTINUES ON PAGE 12

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1 2 J A N UA RY 0 1 , 2016
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 10

specic issue to focus on the Islamic


State.
We are all horried by ISILs videos of
men being thrown to their death, said
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha
Power during the meeting.

I N T E RN A T I O N A L N E W S Y E A R I N RE V I E W
Cuban President Ral Castro, in May
organized a series of events in Cuba to
commemorate the International Day
Against Homophobia and Transphobia.
Hundreds of advocates from across Latin
America gathered in the Honduran capital
of Tegucigalpa for a conference the Gay
and Lesbian Victory Fund co-sponsored.

U.S. and Cuba.

PHOTO BY WILLIAM M MURPHY; COURTESY OF WIKIMEDIA

#2
WASHINGTON BLADE FILE PHOTO BY MICHAEL K. LAVERS

MARIELA CASTRO at IDAHOT rally in Las


Tunas, Cuba on May 16, 2015.

#4

LGBT RIGHTS GAIN TRACTION


IN LATIN AMERICA
LGBT rights advocates throughout Latin
America in 2015 celebrated a number of
legal and political advances.
The Constitutional Court of Colombia
in November ruled that same-sex couples
can adopt children. The same tribunal in
July held a hearing on whether same-sex
couples should receive marriage rights in
the South American country.
The Mexican Supreme Court in 2015
issued a number of rulings that struck
down same-sex marriage bans. A Chilean
law that allows gays and lesbians to enter
into civil unions took eect in October.
The Colombian government in June
issued a decree that allows transgender
people to legally change their name
and gender without surgery. Tamara
Adrin on Dec. 6 became the rst openly
trans person elected to the Venezuelan
National Assembly.
Uruguay in November became the
second Latin American country to join a
U.S. initiative that seeks to promote LGBT
rights around the world.
Mariela
Castro,
daughter
of

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RANDY BERRY was named special U.S. envoy


for the promotion of LGBT rights.

#3

W HITE HOUSE PROMOTES


LGBT RIGHTS ABROAD
Promoting LGBT rights overseas
remained a cornerstone of President
Obamas foreign policy in 2015.
The State Department in February
appointed Randy Berry as the special U.S.
envoy for the promotion of LGBT rights.
The career Foreign Service ocer has
traveled to Uganda, Honduras, Lebanon
and more than 20 other countries since
he ocially assumed his post in April.
Obama in July highlighted LGBT
rights during a press conference with
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in his
countrys capital of Nairobi. The American
president also met with Kenyan LGBT
rights advocates.
Secretary of State John Kerry in August
during his meeting with Malaysian Prime
Minister Najib Razak raised the case
of a leading opposition gure who is
serving a ve-year prison sentence after
his conviction under the countrys antisodomy law. The White House in May
said LGBT rights were a factor in the
normalization of relations between the

I RISH VOTERS APPROVE


MARRIAGE RIGHTS
Ireland in May became the rst country
to extend marriage rights to same-sex
couples through a popular vote.
The referendum passed by a 62-38
percent margin.
It is about removing discrimination,
said Irish Prime Minister Edna Kenney in
an interview with NBC News.
President Michael Higgins in August
ocially amended the Irish Constitution
to codify the referendum results. The
Irish Presidential Commission on Oct.
29 formally signed a law that extended
marriage rights to same-sex couples.
Marriage for gays and lesbians became
legal in the country on Nov. 16.

#1

P OPE FRANCIS BRINGS HOPE


TO LGBT CATHOLICS
Pope Francis in 2015 maintained his
largely moderate tone toward LGBT
issues.
The ponti in February said during a
Mass at St. Peters Basilica that the church
cannot condemn anyone for eternity.
A transgender man from Spain in
January had a private audience with the
ponti at the Vatican. Francis in March
met with gay, trans and HIV-positive
prisoners in the Italian city of Naples.
Francis in September during his trip to
the U.S. and Cuba reiterated the Catholic
Churchs position on marriage. The

PHOTO BY JEFFREY BRUNO; COURTESY OF WIKIMEDIA

POPE FRANCIS has struck a more moderate


tone on LGBT issues than his predecessor.

Vatican downplayed the popes meeting


with Rowan County (Ky.) Clerk Kim Davis,
who refused to issue marriage licenses
to same-sex couples because of her
religious beliefs.
Catholic bishops in October reiterated
the churchs opposition to marriage
rights for same-sex couples in the nal
draft of their long-awaited report on the
family. Francis in January said during his
trip to the Philippines that ideological
colonization seeks to destroy the
family.
A Chilean newspaper in September
published emails between two cardinals
that showed they conspired to block
the nomination of a gay man to a papal
sex abuse commission. LGBT Catholics
in November criticized Francis for not
publicly speaking against Ugandas AntiHomosexuality Act while in the African
country.

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I N T E RN A T I O N A L N E W S Y E A R I N RE V I E W

Top 10 Blade stories online


HERES WHAT CLICKED WITH READERS IN 2015
By KEVIN NAFF
kna@washblade.com
The year 2015 brought an avalanche of LGBT-related news, but the Supreme Courts
marriage ruling wasnt the most popular story online. Below are the top 10 stories by
web trac at washingtonblade.com of 2015.

#10

GAYS BOYCOTT
URBAN OUTFITTERS
The retailer was assailed for selling a
T-shirt that included an image of a pink
triangle, similar to the insignia gays were
forced to wear in Nazi concentration camps.

audience with the ponti that took place


at his ocial residence.

#7

COURT STRIKES DOWN ALABAMA


BAN ON SAME-SEX MARRIAGE
A federal judge in Alabama struck
down a state ban on same-sex marriage
in January, ruling against a prohibition on
gay nuptials on the basis that it violates
the Fourteenth Amendment.

#5

MOST-ELIGIBLE LGBT SINGLES


In February, the Blade produced its rstever most-eligible singles issue along with
a party at Town where patrons could meet
the winners. It proved a popular issue and
the story ranked #5 for the year in terms of
trac. You know what that means: Watch
for it again next month.

service organization was once again Craig


Shniderman of D.C.s Food & Friends. He
made $433,896 in 2013.

#2

GAY ACTIVISTS UNHAPPY WITH


CLINTON REMARKS ON DOMA
A number of LGBT rights activists
criticized Hillary Clinton in October,
claiming she engaged in historic

PHOTO COURTESY OF FACEBOOK

DAVID MESSERSCHMITT was found stabbed


to death at the Donovan Hotel on Feb.

WASHINGTON BLADE FILE PHOTO BY LEE WHITMAN

#6
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ACLU

Sgt. SHANE ORTEGA is considered the rst


openly transgender person to serve in the U.S.
military.

#9

ARMY SOLDIER BECOMES


FIRST OPENLY TRANS PERSON
IN U.S. MILITARY

An Army helicopter crew chief


became the rst person considered to
serve in the U.S. military while being
openly transgender after coming out
in April. Sgt. Shane Ortega, 28, who
was stationed at Wheeler Aireld in
Hawaii, talked about his commitment to
theU.S. military in a statement to media
outlets despite the ban on allowing
openly trans people to serve.

#8

TRANSGENDER MANS PRIVATE


AUDIENCE WITH POPE FRANCIS
A transgender man from Spain had
a private audience with Pope Francis at
the Vatican in January. Hoy, a Spanish
newspaper, reported that Diego Neria
Lejrraga and his ance had a private

MURDER OF LAWYER IN D.C.


HOTEL PROMPTS CONCERN
AMONG ACTIVISTS
The mystery surrounding the murder
of 30-year-old D.C. attorney David
Messerschmitt, who was found stabbed
to death on Feb. 10 in a downtown
hotel room hours after his wife reported
him missing, captured the attention of
activists who monitor anti-LGBT violence.

FEBRUARY

13

2015

VOLUME 46

PAGE 25

ISSUE 07

AMERICAS GAY NEWS SOURCE

WASHINGTONBLADE.COM

RAND PAUL opposes marriage equality.

#4

RAND PAUL SAYS SAME-SEX


MARRIAGE OFFENDS
HIM AND OTHERS
Rand Paul said in March that aording the
distinction of marriage to same-sex couples
oends myself and a lot of other people.
Im for traditional marriage, Paul said.
I think marriage is between a man and a
woman. Ultimately, we could have xed
this a long time ago if we just allowed
contracts between adults. We didnt have
to call it marriage, which oends myself
and a lot of people.

#3

HOW MUCH DO LGBT


ORGANIZATION LEADERS MAKE?
The Blades occasional special project
on the salaries of LGBT movement leaders
is always a popular read and never fails
to generate controversy. The project
takes months to research and assemble,
as some groups arent forthcoming with
their gures, while others nd creative
ways to pay their executives from multiple
funding sources, making it tricky to arrive
at a correct number. The highest-paid
leader of an LGBT rights or HIV/AIDS

revisionism during an appearance


on The Rachel Maddow Show when
she said DOMA was a means to stop
the enactment of a U.S. constitutional
amendment banning same-sex marriage.
The Blade story exploded after Matt
Drudge linked to it prominently from the
top of his popular site.

#1

EXCLUSIVE: I INTERRUPTED
OBAMA BECAUSE WE NEED
TO BE HEARD
President
Obama
admonished
a protester, Jennicet Gutierrez, for
interrupting him at a White House Pride
event in June. She was criticized by some
in the LGBT community for attacking a
pro-LGBT president and responded in an
op-ed published exclusively by the Blade.
I was fortunate to be invited to the
White House to listen to President Obamas
speech recognizing the LGBTQ community
and the progress being made. But while
he spoke of trans women of color being
targeted, his administration holds LGBTQ
and trans immigrants in detention. I spoke
out because our issues and struggles can
no longer be ignored, she wrote.

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WASHINGTONBLADE.COM

1 6 J A N UA RY 0 1 , 2016

2015 YEAR IN PHOTOS

l-r, top to bottom

DAVID GERARD won the Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather 2015 title on Jan. 18.; SHANGELA of RuPauls Drag Race performed at Town Danceboutique on Feb.
25.; an LGBT contingent marched in the Saint Patricks Day Parade for the rst time on March 15.; marriage equality advocates rallied in front of the
Supreme Court building during oral arguments in the Obergefell v. Hodges case on April 28.; the 2015 Black Pride Cultural Arts and Wellness Festival
was held on the Francis-Stephens Educational Campus on May 24.; opponents of extending marriage rights to same-sex couples gathered outside of
the Supreme Court on June 25.

WASHINGTONBLADE.COM

2 0 1 5 YEA R I N PH OTOS

J A N U A RY 0 1 , 2 0 1 6 1 7

l-r, top to bottom

Out rapper Cazwell performed at the 2015 Baltimore Pride Festival on July 25.; a Black Trans Lives Matter rally was held on Aug. 25 in Franklin Square.;
the sixth annual 17th Street Festival brought bands, performers and booths to Kameny Way on Sept. 12.; the 29th annual High Heel Race brought
costumed competitors and thousands of spectators to 17th Street on Oct. 27.; a wreath-laying ceremony was held for LGBT veterans at Congressional
Cemetery on Nov. 11.; the Gay Mens Chorus of Washington held its holiday show, ReWrapped, at Lincoln Theatre over two weekends in December.

WASHINGTONBLADE.COM

18 JANUARY 01, 2016

INSIDE LGBT WASHINGTON

VOLUME

47

ISSUE

01

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Washington DC 20009
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Looking back, looking ahead


Lets hope 2016 brings defeat
of ISIS and Hillary as president

PETER ROSENSTEIN is a D.C.-based LGBT rights


and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly
for the Blade.

As we sing Auld Lang Syne and lift


our glasses of Champagne for the last
time in 2015, let us take a moment to
look back at the past year and hope for
good things in 2016.
The past year saw both heartache and
joy. Heartache for all those impacted by
the brutality of ISIS. From beheading of
hostages to the attack in Paris. From
the slaughter of innocents in San Bernardino by radical ISIS sympathizers to
the murders and fear ISIS is responsible
for instilling in so many peace-loving
Syrians who are eeing by the millions
to places where they hope to feel safe.

The year 2015 also gave us the clown


car of candidates running in the Republican primary for president. Donald
Trump will say anything to instill fear
in the American people. He appears to
have adopted Fascism, modeling himself after Mussolini and the early years
of Hitler, calling to ban immigrants
based on religion and supporting a registry of all Muslims in the country. Sen.
Marco Rubio said the issue of marriage
equality is not settled law; Ben Carson
doesnt know much of anything but
says God wrote our Constitution; Gov.
Chris Christie says he is friends with the
deceased King Hussein of Jordan; and
Sen. Ted Cruz is the current incarnation
of Sen. Joseph McCarthy.
We must never forget the heartache
of the church massacre in Charleston,
S.C., and the shooting in Colorado
Springs at Planned Parenthood and remember all the other shootings of innocents around the nation and our inability to pass reasonable gun control. The
shootings of young black men by police
that are encouraging people to speak
out under the banner of the Black Lives
Matter movement and bring the need
E DIT OR IA L C A R T OON

for justice reform into the presidential


election contest was another important
story of 2015.
Good things happened as well last
year. The economy continued to grow
and the unemployment rate is the lowest in years. On June 26, we saw samesex marriage become the law of the
land when the Supreme Court ruled 5-4
it was protected by the Constitution.
The Obama administration had major
successes, first negotiating a deal with
Iran to put off any chance of their having a nuclear bomb for 15 years; and
most recently achieving an agreement
signed by nearly 200 nations committing them to lowering planet-warming
green-house gas emissions to ameliorate the most drastic impact of climate change. On the lighter side, Bryce
Harper won the National league MVP
and some of us truly enjoyed the video
of his posing for ESPN The Magazines
2015 Body Issue.
The year 2016 will be a year of change
in America and the world. As the war
on ISIS continues, lets hope the United
States will lead a coalition that will defeat
them. There will be a presidential election in November but rst we will spend
the next 10 months hearing candidates
debate and challenge each other. Republican candidates will try to outdo
each other with outrageous comments
and we can only hope the level heads in
the party, if any still exist, will prevail.
My hope is Hillary Rodham Clinton
will win the Democratic nomination.
Then Sen. Bernie Sanders will do for
her what Hillary did in 2008 for Barack
Obama, and join her in Unity, N.H., urging all his supporters to unite behind
her candidacy to elect the first woman
president of the United States. He will
remind his supporters if a Republican
wins there is no chance of accomplishing anything he campaigned for.
This year will not be an easy one for
the world. There will continue to be
terrorist attacks and innocent people
will die as the world debates how to
respond to radical jihadists. But it may
be the year decent people around the
world begin to band together to fight
the evil that exists.
I wish all Blade readers peace, good
health and happiness throughout the
year.

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VIEWPOINT

JANUARY 01, 2016 19

2015: Year of the arsonist


Historic progress met the
usual backlash

RICHARD J. ROSENDALL is a writer and activist.


Reach him at rrosendall@starpower.net.

Set the motherfucker on re! That recent call by a Donald Trump rally-goer
concerning a black protester, with another
attendee yelling Sieg heil, illustrates the
viciousness fueling Trumps presidential
campaign. If you take this lightly, Google
lynching. It is not just that what happened
in Europe in the last century could happen
here; what happened here could happen
again. Trumps incitements, and those of his
rivals, do not just pander to intolerance, they
spray gasoline on the re.
Hate-spewing demagogues were not the
years only newsmakers, but they produced
its most dangerous legacy. The demons they
unleashed cannot easily be tamed. But the
haters cannot win the general election unless the rest of us allow it. Before we head

back into battle, let us review some positive


developments of 2015, though with cautionary notes.
The landmark victory for nationwide marriage equality in Obergefell v. Hodges, which
President Obama celebrated by lighting the
White House north front in rainbow colors,
inspired opponents to switch tactics by pushing religious freedom laws (better dubbed
religious supremacy) to continue their antigay attacks. The Equality Act represented a
new approach to LGBT anti-discrimination
legislation, but stood no chance in a Republican-controlled Congress. Gay Black Lives
Matter activist DeRay Mckesson and several
colleagues launched the smart, well-designed
Campaign Zero policy website.
The U.S. Department of Labor strengthened its guidance to protect its transgender
employees. The Departments of Justice and
Education supported Virginia trans student
Gavin Grimms successful eort to use the
boys restroom. On the downside, the antitrans panic that overturned the Houston
Equal Rights Ordinance revealed a weakness in making our case that recalled the
2008 Proposition 8 debacle in California.
Caitlyn Jenners coming out as a transgender woman brought more visibility to
the trans equality struggle, but the blend of
her conservatism and blindness of privilege
drew plenty of barbs. It is worth remember-

ing that our struggle is not about personalities. We should resist pointless arguments
like whether she deserved Glamours Woman of the Year award. Alas, those who hurl
men in dresses slurs got an assist from
Jenner, who used the expression herself. A
private intervention by experienced trans
activists might be in order.
In healthcare, CDC data show that pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) taken daily reduces
sexually transmitted HIV infection risk by more
than 90 percent. But CDC also reports a nearly
87 percent increase in new HIV infections
among black and Latino gay and bisexual
youth. At-risk populations must be informed
about and provided this life-saving treatment.
LGBT cultural visibility continued with
lms like Carol and The Danish Girl, and with
the Broadway triumph of Fun Home, based
on the graphic memoir by Alison Bechdel.
Jennifer Hudson made I Still Love You, a
beautiful music video with an interracial gay
theme. The Gay Mens Chorus of Washington made an historic trip to Cuba.
President Obamas even-tempered persistence led to diplomatic breakthroughs on
blocking Iranian nuclear weapons, combating climate change, and resuming diplomatic relations with Cuba. Irish voters strongly
approved marriage equality, rejecting admonitions by the Catholic Church. Free and
Equal, a United Nations campaign for LGBT

equality, highlighted the cost of homophobia and transphobia. LGBT people from Colombia to Uganda continued to face violent
repression.
On Veterans Day, LGBT veterans and
other activists dedicated Frank Kamenys
memorial stone in Congressional Cemetery,
four years after the gay rights pioneers
death. Also honoring the past was a rejuvenated Mattachine Society of Washington,
originally founded by Kameny, now led by
Charles Francis and dedicated to archive
activism. (Note: I am the groups secretary.)
One of its 2015 discoveries was a document
in the Reagan presidential library showing that Nancy Reagan refused to help
her friend Rock Hudson get admitted to a
French hospital when he was dying of AIDS
in 1985. Gathering and preserving evidence
is as crucial in documenting our past as in
moving forward, as with the D.C.-area needs
assessment study released in November by
the DC Trans Coalition.
Like African Americans, women, immigrants, and religious minorities before us,
LGBT people have faced a backlash ever
since we rst stood up for ourselves. Organizations come and go, and the focus of our
eorts changes; but the work of democracy
continues.
Copyright 2015 by Richard J. Rosendall.
All rights reserved.

V I E W PO I N T

The alarming trend of Title IX waivers


Religious colleges obtain
license to discriminate
against LGBT students
By ADELE KIMMEL
In the name of religion, 27 colleges and
universities across our nation have received a
blessing to discriminate against students and
employees based on their sexual orientation
or gender identity. Pardon me, but how the
hell did this happen?
Several news outlets, including the New
York Times, have recently uncovered that,
since 2014, the U.S. Department of Education
has granted these schools exemptions from
Title IX, the federal civil rights law that prohibits
sex discrimination in all schools that receive
federal funds. And nine more waiver applications are currently pending.
Title IX permits schools controlled by a religious organization to claim an exemption
from parts of the law that would not be consistent with the religious tenets of the organization. Waiver applications were relatively
rare in the last several decades, but increased

dramatically in the last year, after the federal


government began to interpret Title IXs prohibition against sex discrimination as applying to
discrimination against LGBT individuals. And
the Supreme Courts decision legalizing samesex marriage earlier this year undoubtedly
added fuel to this growing re.
The uptick in waiver applications is a concerted eort by Christian schools to ban
LGBT students and sta without fear of legal
liability. The Column, a non-prot LGBT media group, recently found that conservative
Christian groups are also hosting trainings
and providing sample documents for schools
to use when seeking exemptions from Title IX
based on their sincerely held religious beliefs
about LGBT people. These schools want to expel transgender and other people who dont
conform to gender stereotypes. And they do
not want to house legally married same-sex
couples.
Though LGBT individuals are the primary
target, they are not the only group in the conservative Christian crosshairs. Other targets
include unmarried pregnant women and
women who have had an abortion.
And our federal tax dollars are subsidizing

this targeted discrimination. The 27 schools


that have obtained waivers from Title IXs nondiscrimination mandate received nearly $130
million in federal research grants and student
aid last year.
The whole point of Title IX is to ensure
that schools receiving federal funds provide
equal educational opportunities regardless
of sex. No federally funded school should get
a license to discriminate. If a school plans to
exclude students and sta based on gender
identity, sexual orientation, or pregnancy status, it should do so on its own dime. Not mine.
Or yours.
To x this problem, Congress would have
to amend Title IX to remove the exemption for
educational institutions controlled by religious
organizations. In the meantime, discrimination victims should be challenging religious
schools eorts to obtain exemptions from
Title IX when the schools arent really controlled by religious organizations, where the
exemption sought is overly broad, or where
the school cant show a conict with the specic tenets of the religious organization.
Religious liberty is not an excuse to discriminate. The Supreme Courts decision in Hobby

Lobbywhich held that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act required giving Hobby
Lobby a religious exemption from the contraceptive coverage mandate of the Aordable Health Care Actraised the specter of a
religious exemption from anti-discrimination
laws. But the majority decision attempted to
quell those concerns and did not provide businesses with a free pass to out anti-discrimination laws in the name of religion.
More recently, when the Supreme Court
held in Obergefell that same-sex couples
have an equal protection right to marry, local
government ocialslike the now infamous
county clerk, Kim Davishad to enforce that
right regardless of whether it was consistent
with their personal religious beliefs.
Schools that receive federal money should
likewise be required to enforce Title IXs nondiscrimination mandate regardless of their
religious tenets.
And, if you ask me, discrimination is not a
Christian tenet.
ADELE KIMMEL is senior attorney at Public
Justice. She is a national expert on school
bullying litigation and spearheaded Public
Justices Anti-Bullying Campaign.

2 0 J A NUA RY 0 1 , 2016

W A SH I N G T O N BLA D E . CO M

I love wandering through


Smithsonian museums, eating
on H Street with friends, and going
to shows at Howard Theatre.

Im a
transgender woman
and Im part of DC.
Please treat me the way any
woman would want to be treated:
with courtesy and respect.
Discrimination based on gender identity and
expression is illegal in the District of Columbia.
If you think youve been the target of
discrimination, visit www.ohr.dc.gov
or call (202) 727-4559.

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ARTS

AND

ENTERTAINMENT

WASHINGTONBLADE.COM

VOLUME

47

ISSUE

01

JANUARY

01

2016

PAGE

21

The years biggest A&E moments


CAITLYN, CAROL, STONEWALL AND MORE
By JOEY DiGUGLIELMO
joeyd@washblade.com
#10 NEIL PATRICK HARRIS
JUST SO-SO AT THE OSCARS
After successful stints hosting the
Tonys and Emmys, expectations were
high in February when long-time out
actor Neil Patrick Harris hosted the 87th
Academy Awards, becoming the rst
openly gay man (Ellen hosted the year
before) to take on the tough assignment.
Showing o a remarkably t physique,
he lampooned a scene from Birdman
by appearing on stage in tighty-whities, a
move that drew mixed reviews. The New
York Times said overall he was bland.
Time said he was glum and low energy.
Viewership was down 16 percent, the
lowest rating in six years according to
Variety. Harris told Hungton Post later
he doubts hell ever do it again.
I dont know that my family nor my soul
could take it, he said in that interview.
After a white-hot run of successes in
recent years, Harris fumbled in 2015. His
fall NBC show Best Time Ever with Neil
Patrick Harris, a live TV variety series,
was cancelled in December after just
eight episodes.
#9 RETURN OF MADONNA AND JANET
In March, Madonna released her 13th
studio album Rebel Heart. Despite a
massive leak, it debuted solidly at No. 2
on Billboard (121,000 units) and received
generally better reviews than her
previous two releases. Her Rebel Heart
Tour opened in September with strong
reviews and sales.
Janet Jackson returned in October with
her 11th album Unbreakable, her rst
new studio project in seven years. With
116,000 units, the album was No. 1 on
the Billboard albums chart the week it
debuted and garnered strong reviews.
The Unbreakable World Tour kicked o
in August in Vancouver with several fast
sell-outs. After taking December o, she

this award) Tambor also won a Globe and


later an Emmy as well.
The shows second season premiered
in December. Its been renewed for a
third. It has an impressive 98 percent
freshness rating on critical roundup site
Rotten Tomatoes.
#6 GLEE SIGNS OFF

PHOTO BY ANNIE LEIBOVITZ FOR VANITY FAIR

Meet CAITLYN JENNER

goes back out Jan. 9 in Denver and plays


Baltimore on Feb. 29 and D.C. on March
1. Its her rst tour since 2011 and marks
a return to arenas after playing smaller
venues last time.
Despite the buzz and media interest,
U.S. radio continued to mostly ignore the
singers. On the Hot 100, a chart the two
dominated in the 80s and 90s, Janets
rst single No Sleeep made it only to
No. 67. She found more success on the
Adult R&B chart, where the single spent
a record 10 weeks at No. 1. The title cut
was the second single and didnt chart.
Neither did Madonnas rst single Living
for Love or second single Ghost Town.
Both singers had some success (Madge
always manages a No. 1 dance hit for
practically everything she releases) on
other Billboard charts. Madonnas third
single Bitch Im Madonna peaked at No.
84 on the Hot 100.
#8 HAMILTON HITS BIG ON BROADWAY
With a score rooted in hip-hop but also
encompassing R&B, jazz, pop, Tin Pan Alley
and the choral strains of contemporary

Broadway, as the New York Times put it,


Hamilton, which opened on Broadway
in August, is this years monster hit where
its turned the notion of the Great White
Way on its head with a cast of mostly
black and Latino actors playing the
founding fathers.
Based on a 2004 biography of
Alexander Hamilton, the show has drawn
raves for its ability to redene what an
American musical can look and sound
like, as the Times wrote.
Out actor Jonathan Gro plays King
George III, a nice change of pace for him
after HBOs Looking ended its second
and last season in March.
#7 TRANSPARENT GOES
THROUGH THE ROOF
Transparent, the hit Amazon Studios
show that tells of Maura Pfeermans
(Jerey Tambor) transition process and
the eect it has on her family, went
through the roof this year.
In addition to the Golden Globe for Best
Television Series Musical or Comedy
(the rst time a streamed show has taken

Although it wound down with more


of a whimper than a bang, Glee, the
hit Fox series that debuted in 2009 and
told of the ups and downs of the William
McKinley High School glee club, the show,
created by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk
and Ian Brennan, deserves praise for its
brave handling of LGBT issues.
From out cast members Jane Lynch,
Chris Colfer and Alex Newell to its
sensitive handling of LGBT storylines, the
show was an awards magnet winning four
GLAAD Media Awards for Outstanding
Comedy Series, six Emmys, four Golden
Globes and a bounty of other accolades.
Ratings had fallen steadily in recent
years after a second season high.
#5 DANNY PINTAURO COMES OUT
AS HIV POSITIVE
Although hed been out of the pop
culture limelight, former Whos the
Boss? and Cujo actor Danny Pintauro,
whod been out for years, told Oprah on
an episode of her show Oprah: Where
Are They Now? in September that hes
been HIV positive for 12 years.
Although initially embraced for his
candor, Pintauro later drew criticism for
saying on The View that he believes he
contracted the virus through oral sex, a
possibility HIV experts said was highly
unlikely.
He later told the Blade at the AIDS Walk
CONTINUES ON PAGE 35

WASHINGTONBLADE.COM

22 JANUARY 01, 2016

QUEERY: 20 QUESTIONS FOR ADAM IMMERWAHR

How long have you been out and who was


the hardest person to tell?
I started coming out in sixth grade and
nished in eighth. I recall it was hard to tell my
older brother, but it was a non-event because
he totally already knew. I guess when youre
younger brother comes out in the same
school as you, the word gets around!

WASHINGTON BLADE PHOTO BY MICHAEL KEY

ADAM IMMERWAHR
By JOEY DiGUGLIELMO
joeyd@washblade.com
Theater J has a new artistic director. Adam Immerwahr started last month
from the McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, N.J., where he lived for about
10 years.
He arrives at an interesting juncture for the famed Jewish Community
Center theater, which drew heavy media attention last year about this time
when long-time artistic director Ari Roth was red (the ocial reason given
was insubordination; he claimed artistic censorship; hes now busy at his
new company Mosaic).
Immerwahr says the proceedings were not a major concern for him.
I wasnt here so I dont have much to say about it, says the 33-yearold Swarthmore, Pa., native. There was an extensive search process
which gave me ample opportunity to ask questions. I feel condent that
all involved are eager to see Theater J remain a bold, imaginative, political,
personal and joyful theater that engages with some of the most pressing
issues of our time.
Immerwahrs priorities are, that we be a theater of joy and delight placing
artistic excellence above all else. He also says hes utterly elated to join the
theater.
Immerwahr is looking for an apartment in the Dupont or Logan areas. Hes
in Capitol Hill for now. Hes single and enjoys cooking and bike riding in his
free time.

Whos your LGBT hero?


Trans activist, author, performer and sex
educator Kate Bornstein. She is one of the
bravest people Ive ever met. But my second
choice would be performer-raconteur Taylor
Mac, who goes by the gender pronoun Judy.
Mac is changing the way we view gender,
performance and culture with each of Judys
shows.

Whats Washingtons best nightspot, past


or present?
Come on, Ive only been here for two
weeks! So far, my favorite bar/club has been
Town, but Ive also visited Trade, Nellies and
Number 9. Of course, most nights you can
nd me at Theater J.

Describe your dream wedding.


Im in showbiz and put on events for a
living. Id want something really laid back. Just
a handful of people and a civil marriage.
What non-LGBT issue are you most
passionate about?
Climate change. If the earth keeps getting
warmer, nothing else will matter.

What historical outcome would you


change?
The destruction of the library of Alexandria.
So much knowledge was lost.
Whats been the most memorable pop
culture moment of your lifetime?
At my last job, I was on the producing
team that commissioned and premiered
Christopher Durangs Vanya and Sonia and
Masha and Spike. When our production,
which starred Sigourney Weaver and David
Hyde Pierce, transferred to Broadway and
won the Tony Award for best play, that was
pretty unforgettable.

On what do you insist?


Wearing a tie to work every day. You gotta
dress the part.

What was your last Facebook post or


Tweet?
On Facebook: And then there was that
day you gave a terric pre-show speech but
you felt like the audience was distracted. They
were paying attention to something else. And

you realized later that your y was open.


If your life were a book, what would the
title be?
An Eaters Guide to Vegan Junk Food
If science discovered a way to change
sexual orientation, what would you do?
That would be terric. I can think of a
few straight men whom I would be more
than happy to convert. Scientists should
start working on that immediately. Oh wait,
you meant change sexual orientation from
straight to gay, right? Why would they work
on the other direction?
What do you believe in beyond the
physical world?
Data-driven decisions and strategic
thinking.

Whats your advice for LGBT movement


leaders?
Now that we have gay marriage, lets not
forget about the struggles that still face our
community, particularly for queer people of
color and the trans communities.
What would you walk across hot coals
for?
A farm-to-table vegan restaurant that
served good cocktails

What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?


Ugh. All of them.
Whats your favorite LGBT movie?
I dont really have one. I dont watch a lot of
LGBT movies (or really movies of any kind). I
spend enough time in theaters.

Whats the most overrated social custom?


Holding doors for others. Its inecient
more often than not and I just hate playing
the door-holding one-upmanship dance.
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
The ig Nobel prize, which is given for
achievements that rst make people laugh,
then make them think.

What do you wish youd known at 18?


That no matter the choices I made, my life
direction would be shaped as much by luck
as anything else.
Why Washington?
This is a town with an incredible, vibrant
and diverse theater community. Though
rarely touted, the arts are thriving in this city.
I couldnt be happier to be surrounded by
such visionary, talented, creative and fearless
colleagues.

W A SH I N GTO NB LAD E.C OM

J A N U A RY 0 1 , 2 0 1 6 2 3

Nominations open Jan. 4 for


the Blades Singles Issue on Feb. 12
Help us find D.C.s top 20 LGBT singles,
then meet them at a party on Feb. 13 at Town Danceboutique.

Nominate yourself or your friends starting Jan. 4 at


washingtonblade.com/singles

WASHINGTONBLADE.COM

24 JANUARY 01, 2016

CALENDAR / OUT & ABOUT

Fillmore Flashback: 80s vs. 90s Dance Party with Biz Markie is Saturday, Jan. 2 at 8 p.m. at the Fillmore
Silver Spring.
WASHINGTON BLADE PHOTO BY JOEY DIGUGLIELMO

TODAY
PHOTO COURTESYOF DC SHORTS

D.C. Shorts hosts comedy festival


D.C. Shorts presents Laughs, a screening of comedic lms and live standup performances, at the U.S. Navy Memorial Heritage Center (701 Pennsylvania
Ave., N.W.) in the Burke Theater on Friday, Jan. 8 and Saturday, Jan. 9.
Comedians performing will be Katherine Jessup, Naomi Johnson, Matty
Litwack, Tok Moat, Issac Hirsch and Mike Finanzzo. There will be two showcases
with lms and stand-up comedy. Comedians and lms vary by showcase. Both
days there will be a showcase at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. One of the lms, Myrna the
Monster (shown here) tells of a woman from the moon slowly adapting to life
on earth. This 15-minute short is part of Show A in the festival.
Tickets for one showcase are $20. For both showcases, tickets are $30. For
more information, visit laughs.dcshorts.com.

Teddy & the Bully Bar (1200 19th


St., N.W.) hosts a disco brunch with DJ
Freddie today from 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
There will be bottomless mimosas and
seasonal brunch plates. For more details,
visit teddyandthebullybar.com.
The D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W.)
hosts a trans support group meeting
tonight at 7 p.m. The facilitated group
discussion is open to all members of the
community including partners, friends
and allies. For details, visit thedccenter.org

SATURDAY, JAN. 2
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. Donuts and coee
will be provided To volunteer, email
jonathan@burgundycrescent.org.
For
more details, visit burgundycrescent.org.

SUNDAY, JAN. 3
Perrys (1811 Columbia Rd., N.W.) hosts
its weekly Sunday Drag Brunch today
from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The cost is $24.95
for an all-you-can-eat buet. For more
details, visit perrysadamsmorgan.com.

MONDAY, JAN 4

PHOTO COURTESYOF REEL AFFIRMATIONS

Steamy Triangle to be screened


Reel Armations screens Triangle, a web series, at the Human Rights
Campaign Equality Center (1640 Rhode Island Ave., N.W.) on Friday, Jan. 8 at 7
p.m.
Triangle tells the story of a man caught in a love triangle with two other
men. The screening will premiere two episodes from season two. There will be
a question-and-answer session hosted by Rayceen Pendarvis with the cast from
the show. A catered reception with cocktails will follow.
Tickets are $25. For more details, visit reelarmations.org.

The D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W..)


hosts coee drop-in hours this morning
from 10 a.m.-noon for the senior LGBT
community. Older LGBT adults can
come and enjoy complimentary coee
and conversation with other community
members. For more information, visit
thedccenter.org.
Us Helping Us (3636 Georgia Ave.,
N.W.) holds a support group for gay black
men to discuss topics that aect them,
share perspectives and have meaningful
conversations. For details, visit uhupil.org.

TUESDAY, JAN. 5
Freed Bodyworks (1337 Pennsylvania
Ave., N.W.) hosts Unicorn HoofCamp:

Road Map 2016, a goal workshop, in the


Feinberg Room tonight from 7-10 p.m.
The workshop will teach strategies on
how to make goals for the new year into
a reality. Tickets are $20 in advance and
$30 at the door. For more information
and to purchase tickets, visit hoofcamp2.
bpt.me.
SMYAL (410 7th St., S.E.) hosts a
rap group, a support group for LGBT
youth, today from 5-6:30 p.m. For more
information, visit smyal.org.
Genderqueer D.C. holds a discussion
group at the D.C. Center (2000 14th St.,
N.W.) at 7 p.m. tonight. The group is for
anyone who identies outside of the
gender binary as bigender, agender,
genderuid or any label outside of
cisgender. For more information, visit
thedccenter.org.

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 6
Bookmen D.C., an informal mens gay
literature group, discusses Tennessee
Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh, a
biography of Williams, by John Lahr at the
Cleveland Park Library (3310 Connecticut
Ave., N.W.) tonight at 7:30 p.m. All are
welcome. For details, visit bookmendc.
blogspot.com.
Touchstone Gallery (901 New York
Ave., N.W.) hosts a preview for its new
gallery exhibit Before They Are Gone
by Leslie Johnson from 11 a.m.-6 p.m..
The exhibit is a mixed media installation
with more than 2,500 ceramic art pieces
that represent the number of African
elephants killed each month. The exhibit
runs in Gallery C through Jan. 31. For more
information, visit touchstonegallery.com.

THURSDAY, JAN. 7
Northern Virginia Pride hosts Pride
on the Rocks at Marble and Rye (2501
Columbia Pike., Arlington, Va.) today at 6
p.m. Team trivia will start at 7:30 p.m. with
Marble and Rye gift certicates for prizes.
Happy hour specials will include $5 house
wines, $5 canned beers, $2 o draft beers
and $5 rail drinks. For more information,
visit facebook.com/novapride.

W A SH I N GTO NB LAD E.C OM

J A N U A RY 0 1 , 2 0 1 6 2 5

presented by

Thursday, January 7
Preview Night
Friday, January 8
Lecture & Luncheon
Saturday, January 9
Appraisals Lecture Jazz Night
The Katzen Arts Center
at American University
Washington, dc

january 810, 2016


44 outstanding dealers guided walks
and dealer talks special events

the 2016 washington winter show benefits


children and families through services provided by
bishop john t. walker school for boys, thearc, and
the founders board of st. johns community services

For tickets & info: washingtonwintershow.org or 2o2.248.7159

WWS2016_Blade_9.75x5.625.indd 1

12/3/15 10:18 AM

Great
for
cuddling...
Not so great for Disaster Relief
When disaster strikes, compassionate people want to help. While donations of
clothing, food, bottled water or toys may feel more personal than a monetary
donation, the truth is that even a small financial contribution can do more good for
more people, with greater speed and sensitivity. Cash donations provide medical
and other life-saving services now, and rebuild infrastructure later. Even little
donations can generate big, lasting impacts for good.

Send a different kind of comfort.


Learn how to give smarter at USAID CIDI online: www.cidi.org.

WASHINGTONBLADE.COM

26 JANUARY 01, 2016

YIR: EVENTS

The year ahead: 2016


Our guide to the big D.C.-area LGBT events coming soon
By JOEY DiGUGLIELMO
joeyd@washblade.com
Details are pending for some events,
especially those later in the year. Keep
reading the Blade throughout 2016 for
updates.
Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend is
Jan. 15-18 at the Hyatt Regency Capitol
Hill (400 New Jersey Ave., N.W.). Details at
leatherweekend.com.
Pride Reveal is Jan. 20 at 10:30 p.m.
Details coming soon. Visit capitalpride.
org for more.
The Helen Hayes Award nominees
will be announced Jan. 25 at the National
Theatre. Details pending on the ceremony,
usually held the rst week in April. Check
back later at theatrewashington.org.
Brother Help Thyself grant/awards
reception is Jan. 30 at Grand Central
(1001 N. Charles St.) in Baltimore. Details
at brotherhelpthyself.org.
Reel Armations has screenings
scheduled throughout the year starting
with Out in the Night on Jan. 30.
Details and 2015 passes available at
reelarmations.org.
No word yet on Wig Night Out, an
annual Point Foundation benet. In 2015,
it was Jan. 31. Keep reading the Blade for
details or visit pointfoundation.org. Theres
also a Wig Night Out Facebook page.
Scarlets Bake Sale is Feb. 7 from 1-7
p.m. at the D.C. Eagle (3701 Benning Rd.,
N.E.). This years theme is show us your
true colors. This years charity is PETSD.C., which provides pet care to animal
lovers with HIV/AIDS. A new scholarship
program is being started for college
juniors and seniors. Theres a Facebook
page with more information.
Equality Virginias Day of Action
is Feb. 9 in Richmond. Details at
equalityvirginia.org.
The Gay Mens Chorus of
Washington ensembles Potomac Fever
and the Rock Creek Singers play the Barns
at Wolf Trap (1635 Trap Rd., Vienna, Va.)
on Jan. 30 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $45.
The ensembles also perform The Way
We Were Feb. 12-13 at Atlas Performing
Arts Centers Lang Theatre (1333 H St.,
N.E.). Boots, Class & Sass is March 12
and March 19-20 at Lincoln Theatre (1215
U St., N.W.). Carmina 35 is May 8 at the
Kennedy Center (2700 F St., N.W.). Full
details and ticket info at gmcw.org.
The CAMP Rehoboth Chorus kicks
o its 2016 season with Sassy, Brassy
and Classy: Songs with Attitude! Feb.
12-14 at the Epworth United Methodist
Church (19285 Rd. 271, Rehoboth Beach,
Del.). Details at camprehoboth.com.
The Blades Most Eligible Singles party
is Feb. 11. The issue comes out Feb. 12.

Scarlets Bake Sale returns Feb. 7, one of many perennial D.C. gay events.
WASHINGTON BLADE FILE PHOTO BY PETE EXIS

The Lavender Languages &


Linguistics Conference returns to
Washington Feb. 12-14. Details at
american.edu.
Glamour, Glitter & Gold: the D.C.
LGBT Center Oscar Gala is always held
on Oscar night, slated for Feb. 28.Details
soon at thedccenter.org.
The Blades spring arts special issue
comes out March 4.
CAMP Rehoboth Womens FEST is
April 7-10. Details at camprehoboth.com.

The
Equality
Virginia
Commonwealth Dinner is April 16 in
Richmond. Details at equalityvirginia.org.
The Victory Fund National
Champagne Brunch is April 17 in
Houston. No word yet on a D.C. version.
Details at victoryfund.org.
Dining Out for Life, a Food & Friends
benet, is usually around the third
week in April. No details for 2016 yet
announced. Look for more information
soon at foodandfriends.org.
The Gay & Lesbian Activists Alliance
has its 45th anniversary reception and
annual Distinguished Service Awards April
21 at the second oor event space at Policy
Restaurant and Lounge (1904 14th St., N.W.).
Look for an announcement soon at glaa.org.
Cherry is April 21-24 at various
locations. Details at cherryfund.org.
Gay Day at the Zoo is usually in early

May. Details soon at gaydayatthezoo.com.


No information yet, but Youth Pride
is usually held the rst weekend of May in
Dupont Circle. More information soon at
youthpridedc.org.
The Blades annual Return to
Rehoboth issue comes out May 20.
Trans Pride is tentatively set for May
21. Organizers are considering extending
the event to May 22 as well. Details at
capitaltranspride.org.
D.C. Black Pride weekend is May 2730. Details at dcblackpride.org.
The Capital Pride Heroes Gala is
June 1. Details at capitalpride.org.
The Capital Pride interfaith service
is tentatively set as June 7. Details at
capitalpride.org.
A Capital Pride opening party is June 10.
If trends continue, the fourth annual
Charm City LGBT Film Festival will be
in late May. More information soon at
creativealliance.org.
The Latino GLBT History Project just
elected new ocers and no dates have
been announced for the 10th annual D.C.
Latino Pride events. The organization
usually has several things planned the
rst and second week in June. More info
soon at latinoglbthistory.org.
Team D.C. always has several Night
Out events planned throughout the year.
No information yet on 2016 games.

Capital Pride culminates with the


parade on June 11 and festival June 12.
Many events run in the preceding days.
Details at capitalpride.org.
The date has changed in recent years
but in 2015, the Al Sura White Attire
Aair was July 18. More information
soon at alsura.org.
Baltimore Pride moved to late July
this year. Block Party on Saturday, July 23
and festival on Sunday, July 24.. Details at
baltimorepride.org.
The Blades annual Summer in the
City issue coms out July 8.
The OutWrite LGBT Book Festival is
Aug. 5-6. Details at outwritedc.org.
The Blades fourth annual sports
edition will be out Aug. 19.
No information yet, but the Rehoboth
Sundance event is usually held Labor
Day weekend. More information soon at
camprehoboth.com.
The Blades fall arts edition is out
Sept. 9.
The seventh annual 17th Street
Festival will likely be Sept. 10 based on
scheduling patterns in previous years.
Check later at 17thstreetfestival.org.
The D.C. Shorts Film Festival is Sept.
8-18. Details at dcshorts.com.
The Imperial Court of Washington
holds its Coronation V Gala of the
Americas Sept. 10 at the Marriott Metro
Center (775 12th St., N.W.). The Court also
holds many other events throughout the
year. Details at impnerialcourtdc.org.
The annual queer music and arts
festival PhaseFest is in late September.
More information soon at phasefest.com.
The Human Rights Campaign
national dinner is in October though the
weekend varies from year to year. Details
soon at hrcnationaldinner.org.
Baltimore Black Pride is usually the
second week of October. Details later at
baltimoreblackpride.org.
The Walk to End HIV is always in
late October. More information soon at
aidswalkwashington.org.
The Blades annual Best of Gay D.C.
issue is Oct. 21. The release party will be
held Oct. 20.
The High Heel Race is Oct. 25 on
17th Street.
The Equality Maryland Signature
Brunch is usually in November. More
details soon at equalitymaryland.org.
The 19th annual SMYAL fall brunch
will be held in mid-November based on
previous scheduling patterns. Check back
later at smyal.org.
Transgender Day of Remembrance
is Nov. 20. Details at thedccenter.org.

WASHINGTONBLADE.COM

YIR: BOOKS

JANUARY 01, 2016 27

Loneliness and beyond


Scandal, historical intrigue and surprise among years best books
By TERRI SCHLICHENMEYER

As you look back over your year, there are


a lot of things you notice.
You had fun probably more than once.
You had some really great meals with really
great friends also probably more than
once. And in my case, there were books
denitely more than one. More than 300,
but here are my top picks of 2015.
FICTION
I always loved author John Boynes
books; in fact, The Absolutist is one of my
top ve ever. But A History of Loneliness
has to be right up there. In this book, a priest
explains his relationship with a colleague
who always seems to be moved around
from parish to parish. Whats wrong will
slowly dawn on you, but our narrator is a
little slower on the uptake. What happens
will make you want to crawl into bed and cry
for an hour.
In One Night by Eric Jerome Dickey, a
woman who has nothing left to lose meets
a man who has everything in life. She needs
money. He decides that he needs her and
they embark on a one-night stand thats
almost unbearably taut. I loved the mixture
of this book: psychological, erotic and sass.
Also tightly written is The Magicians
Lie by Greer Macallister. Its the story of
a small-town sheri who nally captures a
killer whos been on the loose for some time.
Shes a slippery one an illusionist and

Among the years best books are the harrowing A HISTORY OF LONELINESS for ction and Dead Wake, a
heart-pounding true story of the sinking of the Lusitania.
HISTORY COVER COURTESY FARRAR, STRAUS AND GIROUX; DEAD WAKE COVER COURTESY CROWN PUBLISHERS

he hopes shell oer a confession. Instead,


she tells him a story. The sheri doesnt
know whats lie and whats not and
neither will you in this wrap-you-up tale with
an ending you totally wont see coming.
Remember what it was like to be a kid?
Youll revisit it again in My Grandmother
Asked Me to Tell You Shes Sorry by
Fredrik Backman, the story of a 7-yearold who loses her grandmother. Else is
precocious, Granny was her only real friend
and she was somewhat of a rascal. And as
proof of that, before she dies, Granny leaves
Elsa with an assignment.
Part fantasy, part childhood, all charming,
this book from the author of A Man Called
Ove is a wonderful winner.
The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz
might be found on the young adult section
of your bookstore or library, but I denitely
thought it was more of an adult novel. Its
the story of a teenager who leaves her family
because her father is abusive, and she moves
to Baltimore to become a housemaid. Its
1911, shes Catholic, but her new employers

are Jewish and the learning curve is steep.


Theres adventure, heartbreak, romance
and history here and yes, you can still
share it with your favorite teen.
NON-FICTION
You may nd Dead Wake: The Last
Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson
on other Best Of lists this year, for a reason.
This is a historical account of the sinking of
a ship but theres more: Larson is known to
tease a story out, adding small side notes
and spinning o in ways that enhance the
tale hes telling. That makes for a fascinating,
heart-pounding true account you wont
want to put down.
Bobby Wonderful: An Imperfect Son
Buries His Parents by Bob Morris made
me laugh, and it made me cry a small creek.
Its the story of Morris mother, her life and
her death, and the relationships she had
with her family. Its also a gay mans love
letter to his very supportive Mom, and it
denitely lives up to its name: its wonderful.

Though it may sound odd, Rain: A


Natural and Cultural History by Cynthia
Barnett put me in a good mood when I read
it maybe because it was as refreshing as
its subject. Here, Barnett writes about all
aspects of that stu that falls from the sky
historically, culturally and meteorologically
speaking and she sprinkles readers with
facts, disasters and sunshine. This book
simply made me happy, which is why its on
this list.
As a lover of all things scandalous, I found
Good Mourning: A Memoir by Elizabeth
Meyer with Caitlin Moscatello to be
absolutely delicious. After Meyer lost her
father, a high-powered lawyer, she realized
that she was rather fascinated with death,
just a little bit. So she marched into one
of Manhattans premiere funeral homes,
asked for a job and ended up being a funeral
planner (think: services that are anything
but dead). I loved this book for its behindthe-scenes peeks and for the tales that only
an insider can tell.
Theres a tie for the last slot on this nonction list: I loved Rosemary by Kate
Cliord Larson for its jaw-dropping look
at history, the Kennedys and power gone
wrong. I also couldnt put down Lights
Out by Ted Koppel, a cautionary, scarethe-daylights-out-of-you book on what
could happen if our electric grid and
internet infrastructure are attacked by
terrorists.

WASHINGTONBLADE.COM

2 8 J A N UA RY 0 1 , 2016

A RT S & CU LT U RE

HOT HITS & HIDDEN JEWELS


From CultureCapital.com
YOUR LINK TO THE ARTS IN METRO DC

THEATRE

Bad Jews
Thru Jan 17. Studio Theatre.
202-332-3300. studiotheatre.org.

Joshua Harmons savage comedy about family, faith, and legacy follows three
cousins and their verbal battle royale over a family heirloom.

New York Opera Society


Jan 3. National Gallery of Art.
202-737-4215. nga.gov.

The New York Opera Societys Viennese New Year Concert will include two
performances by ballroom dancers Rudeger Homm and Ekaterina Kanevskaya,
as well as excerpts from the operettas Die Fledermaus and the Merry Widow.

Jerusalem 3D
Thru Mar 31. National Geographic.
202-857-7000. nglive.org.

Through breathtaking aerial footage, eye-opening personal stories and remarkable


historical perspective, Jerusalem 3D takes viewers inside the heart of the ancient
city in ways never seen before. After being granted special permission in the
regions strict no-y zone, lmmakers were able to capture the rst-ever large
format aerial footage of the Old City and throughout the Holy Land.

Twelve Years That Shook And Shaped Washington: 1963-1975


Thru Oct 23. Smithsonian Anacostia Museum.
202-633-4820. anacostia.si.edu.

The exhibition looks at the emergence of gay rights movement in the District
among the social movements of that period. Featured are several photos of gay
rights protests held at the White House and other local sites. Also on view are
copies of early mimeographed issues of DCs rst gay paper, The Gay Blade (now
the Washington Blade), founded in 1969 and an early newspaper dispenser box.
PHOTO COURTESY OF STUDIO THEATRE

Buy
Discount Tickets

Bright Star. Thru Jan 10. Matilda the


Musical. Thru Jan 10. Shear Madness.
Ongoing. The Kennedy Center.
202-467-4600. kennedy-center.org.
The Neo-Futurists: Too Much Light
Makes the Baby Go Blind. Thru Jan
3. Woolly Mammoth. 202-393-3939.
woollymammoth.net.
Guys and Dolls. Thru Jan 10. Olney
Theatre. 301-924-3400. olneytheatre.org.
West Side Story. Thru Jan 24. Signature
Theatre. 703-820-9771.
signature-theatre.org.
As You Like It. Thru Jan 17. Synetic
Theater. 866-811-4111.
synetictheater.org.
The Gospel of Lovingkindness. Thru
Jan 3. Wrestling Jerusalem. Jan 6-Jan 24.
Mosaic Theater Compay at Atlas.
202-399-7993. mosaictheater.org.
A Very Pointless Holiday Spectacular.
Thru Jan 2. Pointless Theatre at
Mead Theatre Lab. 202-733-6321.
pointlesstheatre.com.

MUSEUMS
National Gallery of Art. The Serial
Impulse at Gemini G.E.L. Thru Feb 7.
Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture
of the Hellenistic World. Thru Mar 20.
Celebrating Photography at the National
Gallery of Art: Recent Gifts. Thru Mar 27.
Louise Bourgeois: No Exit. Thru May 15.
202-737-4215. nga.gov.
National Archives. Spirited Republic:
Alcohol in American History. Thru Jan 10.
202-357-5000. archivesfoundation.org.
Museum of Women in the Arts. Free
January Community Day & Makerspace.
Jan 3. Esther Bubley Up Front. Thru Jan
17. Pathmakers: Women in Art, Craft,
and Design, Midcentury and Today. Thru
Feb 28. Womanimal: Zine Art by Caroline
Paquita. Thru May 13. 202-783-5000.
nmwa.org.
Kreeger Museum. Lament: Emilie
Brzezinski. Thru Nov 19. 202-337-3050.
kreegermuseum.org.
Prince Georges African American
Museum. Now: A Photographic Survey
of Prince Georges County, Maryland.
Thru Jan 31. 301-809-0440. pgaamcc.org.
National Geographic. Indiana Jones and
the Adventure of Archaeology. Thru Jan
3. Pristine Seas: The Oceans Last Wild
Places. Thru Mar 27. Photo Ark. Thru Apr
11. 202-857-7000. nglive.org.
Sandy Spring Museum. Resident Artists
Open House. Jan 2. 301-774-0022.
sandyspringmuseum.org.

GALLERIES
Strathmore. The 82nd Annual Exhibition
of Fine Art in Miniature. Thru Jan 3.
Joseph Craig English A Lifetime of

Printmaking, A Local Landmark. Thru Jan


3. 301-581-5100. strathmore.org.
The Art League Gallery. Kathlyn Avila:
No Ordinary Woman. Thru Jan 4. Solo
Preview 2016. Jan 6-Jan 24. Muted. Jan
5-Jan 31. 703-683-1780. theartleague.org.
BlackRock. Mariah Anne Johnson:
Site-specic installation and works on
paper. Jan 7-Jan 30. Brad Blair: A Breed
of Their Own: Ceramic and mixed media
sculptures with drawings on paper. Jan
7-Jan 30. 301-528-2260.
blackrockcenter.org.
JCCNV. Sands of Time: Ancient
Techniques Modernized. Thru Feb 8.
703-323-0880. jccnv.org.
District Architecture Center. The
Awards Show. Thru Jan 9. 202-347-9403.
aiadac.com.
Gallery Neptune & Brown. Wolf Kahn
- Americas Printmaker: Monotypes
and Editions. Thru Jan 9. 202-986-1200.
neptuneneart.com.
Glen Echo Park. Holiday Art Show
& Sale. Thru Jan 10. 301-634-2222.
glenechopark.org.
VisArts at Rockville. Brian Davis:
Uncoupled. Thru Jan 10. Ben Piwowar:
Against Weather. Jan 6-Feb 14. Thanasi
Papapostolou: Eikona/Image. Jan 6-Feb
14. 301-315-8200. visartsatrockville.org.
Zenith Gallery. Figuratively Speaking.
Thru Jan 9. Great Moments in Art. Thru
Jan 30. 202-783-2963. zenithgallery.com.
DCAC. Pressure Points. Thru Jan 10.
Singles Faire: Intimate Gestures. Thru Jan
31. 202-462-7833. dcartscenter.org.
Flashpoint Gallery. Maggie Evans:
Human Hierarchies. Thru Jan 9.
202-315-1305. culturaldc.org.

AND MORE...
Inside Signature with MaryJoanna
Grisso and Sean Ewing. Jan 7. Signature
Theatre. 703-820-9771. sigtheatre.org.
Literary Evening: A Conversation
with Greg Marzullo. Jan 5. Arts
Club of Washington. 202-331-7282.
artsclubofwashington.org.
Twentieth Annual Iranian Film
Festival: Tales. Jan 2. The Night It
Rained, or the Epic of the Gorgan
Village Boy. Jan 2. Risk of Acid Rain. Jan
3. National Gallery of Art. 202-737-4215.
nga.gov.
Political Animals in the Voting Booth:
The Science Behind Illogical Choices:
Evening Program with Book Signing.
Jan 6. A Brief History of Creation:
Science and the Search for the Origin
of Life: Evening Program. Jan 7. The
Smithsonian Associates.
Ripley Center. 202-633-3030.
smithsonianassociates.org.
Thursdays at La Luna (In Spanish). Jan
7. Teatro de la Luna at Casa de la Luna.
703-548-3092. teatrodelaluna.org.

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WASHINGTONBLADE.COM

30 JANUARY 01, 2016

YIR: THEATER

A highly royal year


Out actors shine in wide spate of area productions
By PATRICK FOLLIARD

The year in theater was rife with rsts and


reprises, political intrigue, laughs and strained
relations. And a lot of it was LGBT related.
Last winter, acclaimed out actor Andr De
Shields played Stool Pigeon, a street preacher,
in Arena Stages compelling production of
August Wilsons King Hedley II. At 69, De
Shields was nally acting in one of the late
great Wilsons plays.
Because we were contemporaries and
both African American, people are surprised
to hear it took so long. Id wanted to, but
had simply been given the opportunity, De
Shields said.
The story of an ex-con who against all odds
returns to his old neighborhood attempting
to rebuild his life by selling stolen refrigerators
to nance a business venture, King Hedley II
is the ninth play in Wilsons 10-part play cycle
set in Pittsburghs hardscrabble Hill District.
De Shields who created the title role in The
Wiz on Broadway in 1975 enjoyed playing
Stool Pigeon.
He is the fool. And like the fool in King
Lear, Pigeon is the conscience of the king
and an outlier. I love to play an outlier. He
also noted an absence of gay characters in
Wilsons cycle. Im not condemning him.
Im reporting. His plays are relentlessly
heterosexual, and thats cool.
Another out actor found a great role on
D.C.s waterfront this year. Long before
playing Hollywood boy toy Spike in Arenas
production of Christopher Durangs Chekhovinspired comedy Vanya and Sonia and
Masha and Spike, Jeerson Farber had his
sights set on the showy role, seeking out new
productions and auditioning when he could.
Ultimately cast in his own back yard, Farber
was terric as the self-absorbed, frequently
shirtless aspiring actor.
The year oered up varied crown heads. In

JEFFERSON FARBER shows o his wares in Arenas hit Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.
PHOTO COURTESY ARENA STAGE

the cold of winter, Folger Theatre presented


Peter Oswalds sharp and celebrated new
translation of German playwright Friedrich
Schiller Mary Stuart (1800), the enthralling
drama about the decades-long rivalry between
Englands Queen Elizabeth I and her ill-fated
cousin Queen Mary of Scotland. The compelling
production was helmed by esteemed director
Richard Cliord (the longtime partner of actor
Sir Derek Jacobi). Out actor Holly Twyford
superbly assayed Elizabeth in all her vain but
insecure and wily glory.
And in the heat of the summer, Synetic
Theater, the award-winning movementbased company located in Crystal City,
remounted its playful, sexy and silent
adaptation of Shakespeares comedy A
Midsummer Nights Dream. Painted blue
from top to toe, out actor Alex Mills reprised
his memorable turn as mischievous sprite
Puck. And Helen Hayes Award-winning actor
Philip Fletcher played Oberon, the Fairy King,
locked in sexually charged battle with his
queen, Tatiana (Irina Tsikurishvili).
The year included some Broadway royalty
too. In February, Chita Rivera brought her

fabulous one-woman show to Mcleans


Alden Theatre. The 80-something triple
threat seriously wowed audiences with
the songs (and dance) she made famous
in shows like West Side Story, Bye, Bye,
Birdie, The Rink, Chicago and Kiss of the
Spider Woman.
The politics on stage imitated life, well,
sort of. Woolly Mammoth premiered gay
playwright Robert OHaras Zombie: the
American, a wild and convoluted new dark
comedy inspired by an after-hours visit to the
White House. Part science ction and part
Jacobean drama, Zombie is set in America
2063 the East has been lost to great oods
and the White House has relocated to Mount
Rushmore where its residents are Americas
rst openly gay president (Sean Meehan)
and his unfaithful rst gentleman (James
Seol) whos having an aair with a complying
clone. Out actor Sarah Marshall played the
presidents glowering secretary of state.
Signature Theatres out artistic director Eric
Schaeer staged The Fix, a reworked but
still predictable pop-rock musical chronicling
the woes of a ctional American political

dynasty.
The Book of Mormons Mark Evans
played the familys square-jawed prodigal
scion at odds with his mother ercely
ambitious mother (Christine Sherrill) and
closeted gay uncle (Lawrence Redmond).
Gala Hispanic Theatre mounted a searing,
modern-feeling of out playwright Federico
Garca Lorcas Yerma helmed by out
Spanish director Jos Luis Arellano Garca.
Mabel del Pozo passionately assayed the
title character, a childless Andalusian peasant
raging against the oppression of a loveless
marriage and repressivesociety. Handsome
out actor Eric Robledo played Juan, the cold
husband that Yermas father chose for her.
This year introduced the ambitious
and successful Womens Voices Theater
Festival, designed to spotlight the scope
of new plays being written by women and
the range of professional theater being
produced in the area with more than 50 local
professional companies presenting at least
one world premiere of a play by a female
playwright throughout September and
October. Shakespeare Theatre Company
contributed Salom (more royal strife!),
adapted and gorgeously staged Yal Farber.
Farber drew on ancient biblical and pagan
texts, as well as Oscar Wildes landmark
mystery play to create her provocative,
exceedingly watchable piece.
Olney Theatre Centers oering was the
dramedy Bad Dog by out playwright and
TV writer Jennifer Hoppe-House. Out actor
Holly Twyford played awed but likable Molly
Drexler, a writer who after 10 years clean and
sober falls o the wagon and drives her Prius
into the home she shares with her wife. When
her fairly dysfunctional family gathers with
suggestions on how Molly might x herself,
things go from bad to worse. Imagine that.

WASHINGTONBLADE.COM

YIR: FILM

JANUARY 01, 2016 31

Gay content up in banner year


Carol, Danish Girl triumph; Stonewall tanks
By BRIAN T. CARNEY
Two-thousand-fteen was a banner year
for LGBT lmgoers. There were several
outstanding indie and mainstream releases,
great LGBT oerings at local festivals, the
unveiling of several new screens and a few
disasters to chuckle over.
As the dust begins to settle on a
fabulous year in queer cinema, two
movies clearly rise to the top. Directed
by gay auteur Todd Haynes and starring
Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, Carol
tells the story of a lesbian couple battling
homophobia in 1950s New York. Directed
by British lmmaker Tom Hooper and
starring Eddie Redmayne and Alicia
Vikander, The Danish Girl tells the story
of courageous trans pioneer Lili Elbe, a
European woman who underwent gender
reassignment surgery in the 1930s.
Both movies feature excellent adapted
screenplays (Phyllis Nagy and Lucinda
Coxon respectively), sumptuous period
design and lush soundtracks. Both movies
include outstanding performances by
strong supporting casts (Sarah Paulson
in Carol; Amber Heard, Matthias
Schoenaerts and out actor Ben Whishaw
in The Danish Girl). And, both movies are
already racking up serious awards and
nominations, a wonderful breakthrough
for LGBT lms.
Several other outstanding movies, all
dealing with trans issues, also deserve
special attention. From This Day
Forward, is a thoughtful and moving
documentary by straight lmmaker Sharon
Shattuck. Shattucks father came out as
transgender when she was in high school.
As Shattuck prepares for her own wedding,
she examines how her parents supportive
marriage has changed over time.
On the narrative front, Boy Meets
Girl, written and directed by Eric
Schaeer, tells the uplifting story of a
young trans woman learning to embrace
her dreams. Tangerine, written and
directed by Sean Baker (with Chris
Bergoch), has gotten great reviews
from both straight and gay critics and
audiences. Baker deserves applause for
handing a dicult dark comic tone with
condence and style, as well as for getting
great performances out of his neophyte
actors and using fascinating innovative
camera techniques.
There
were
also
several
ne
documentaries released in 2015. Best
of Enemies, which remembers the
gay-baiting debates between Gore Vidal
and William F. Buckley, Jr. during the
1968 Republican Convention, has been
short-listed for Oscar consideration
as Best Documentary. There was also
HBOs Back On Board: Greg Louganis,

Director TODD HAYNES and star CATE BLANCHETT on the set of Carol.

JULIANNE MOORE and ELLEN PAGE in Freeheld.


PHOTO BY PHIL CARUSO, COURTESY LIONSGATE

PHOTO COURTESY THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY

TOM HARDY as gangster twins Reggie (gay) and Ronnie (straight) Kray in
Legend.

Writer and director XAVIER DOLAN on the set of Mommy.

PHOTO COURTESY UNIVERSAL PICTURES

Do I Sound Gay? and Tab Hunter


Condential, as well as Draper Shreeves
delightful Queer City, a rich portrait of
contemporary LGBT life in New York.
2015 was also the year that nally
introduced D.C. audiences to queer
Canadian lmmaker Xavier Dolan. At
age 26, the wunderkind from Quebec
has already won several awards at
Cannes and at other major lm festivals
around the world. Mommy, his rst
English-language lm, featured explosive
performances and his unusual use of a
1:1 (square) aspect ratio.
Sadly, there were a number of serious
misres as well. Stonewall and Legend
turned fascinating historical incidents
into cinematic messes. The failures of
Nasty Baby and The D Train (which
centers on the unhappily consummated
bromance between James Marsden
and Jack Black) hinted that hipsters lack
the necessary self-awareness to make
eective satire.
It was also a great year for D.C.s lm
festivals. Filmfest D.C. made an unexpected
return in April and is slated to be back in
2016. After an absence of several years,
the weekend-long Reel Armations
Film Festival made a triumphant return
at the recently restored Tivoli Theatre,
supplementing the excellent monthly
oerings of RA XTRA.
In June, AFI Docs, now under the
leadership of openly gay Director Michael
Lumpkin, celebrated a wide variety of

documentary lms, including several


outstanding lms on queer themes. In
addition to including LGBT shorts in
almost every program, the very popular
D.C. Shorts Festival, led by out lmmaker
Jon Gann, also included a great evening
dedicated to LGBT shorts this year.
Now in its third year, the Middleburg
(Virginia)
Film
Festival
oered
Washington lmgoers sneak peeks at
several Oscar contenders and the chance
to mingle with Hollywood luminaries
such as Catherine Hardwicke and Lee
Daniels, the openly gay director of The
Butler and Foxs Empire.Hopefully, the
continued popularity of these festivals
will encourage other local lm festivals to
screen more LGBT lms.
D.C. indie lmgoers also enjoyed the
addition of several new screens in 2015.
In addition to operating the popular
Bethesda Row Cinema and the E Street
Cinema in downtown DC, the Landmark
Cinema chain reopened the West End
Cinema in Foggy Bottom and opened the
Atlantic Plumbing Cinema in the U Street
Corridor.
Two local Angelika Film Centers (the
Pop Up in D.C.s Union Market and the
Mosaic in Fairfax, Va.) also supported
a variety of indie lmmakers, as did the
new ArcLight Cinema in Bethesda.
AFI Silver in downtown Silver Spring
continued to be a reliable home for
queer cinema. Their indie, world and
mainstream screenings included several

PHOTO COURTESY ROADSIDE ATTRACTIONS

LGBT titles, and their various foreign


showcases included such queer delights
as the lesbian romances Sand Dollars
and The Summer of Sangaile. The
clever sta at AFI also included a special
showing of Tangerine on Christmas
Eve, they day on which the movie is set.
Finally, 2015 also oered a number of
excellent mainstream lms that featured
strong, independent and quirky female
leads. Charlize Theron was erce as
Imperator Furiosa, the disabled hero of
the visually stunning Mad Max: Fury
Road; she literally and guratively left
Tom Hardy (as Max) in the dust. In a nod
to Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, Bryce
Dallas Howard did everything Chris Pratt
did in Jurassic World, but in a pair of
serious heels.
Freeheld
told
the
moving,
inspirational and cautionary real-life
tale of Laurel Hester and Stacie Andree
(Julianne More and Ellen Page), the
lesbian couple who won a landmark
decision against homophobic county
commissioners in 2006.
There was also Amy Schumer
(Trainwreck); Meryl Streep (Ricki and
the Flash); Melissa McCarthy (Spy);
Toni Collette and Drew Barrymore in
Catherine Hardwickes transcendent
Miss You Already, which also
featured an outstanding performance
by Jacqueline Bisset; and, of course, Lily
Tomlin as an irascible lesbian in Paul
Weitzs pleasantly astringent Grandma.

WASHINGTONBLADE.COM

32 JANUARY 01, 2016

YIR: MUSIC

An Epic year for music


Ear-bending wonders turn up in unexpected places
By CHRIS GERARD
Its been another great year for new music
in 2015. That may not be reected in the
Top 40, which is arguably in its sorriest state
since the survey began in the mid 50s, but its
true nonetheless. There are plenty of great
artists making top-notch music, many of
whom are operating under the radar of mass
consciousness. Here are my picks for the 10
Best Albums of 2015
#10 PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTING THE
RACE FOR SPACE
The Race for Space is a novel concept
British duo Public Service Broadcasting sets
the U.S. and Soviet space race to a trippy,
electronic-rock soundtrack, with all the vocal
samples consisting of dialog recording during
the actual historical events. The album covers
the triumphs and disasters the kinetic
Go!, for instance, is the 1969 Apollo 11
moon landing, and the harrowing Fire in the
Cockpit is a chilling account of the Apollo 1
disaster of 1967. One need not be enamored
by the history of the space race to enjoy this
album. The Race for Space is meticulously
crafted, expansive and ultimately fascinating
headphones music that oers new surprises
on every listen.
#9 BRANDI CARLILE
THE FIREWATCHERS DAUGHTER
Together with collaborators Tim & Phil
Hanseroth, Brandi Carlile has created an
album of terric songwriting and musicianship
that touches on multiple genres rock,
country and folk are blended seamlessly. The
magnicent opener Wherever Is Your Heart,
the gorgeous ballad Wilder (Were Chained),
the haunting The Stranger At My Door,
and a sublime cover of the Avett Brothers
Murder in the City are all standouts. The
Firewatchers Daughter hasnt caught on with
a large audience, which is a shame its an
album that richly deserves to be heard.
#8 NOEL GALLAGHERS HIGH FLYING BIRDS
CHASING YESTERDAY
Chasing Yesterday is easily the nest postOasis album by either of the ever-feuding
Gallagher brothers. Noel Gallagher always
the premier songwriter in the group has
never been better, as he delivers one killer
track after another. That old swagger is still
there, as is his innate sense of melody and
songcraft. High points include the opener
Riverman, In the Heat of the Moment,
and the epic nale Ballad of the Mighty I.
Gallagher has never sounded better as a
vocalist and his production work is spot-on.
With Chasing Yesterday, Noel Gallagher has
thrown down the gauntlet and proven that he

Kamasi Washingtons The Epic is one of the best albums of the year nothing short of a modern jazz/funk
masterpiece.
IMAGE COURTESY BRAINFEEDER

is a major artistic force outside of his former


supergroup. Well see if brother Liam is ever
able to do the same.
#7 ALGIERS ALGIERS
The debut album by Atlanta, Ga.-based
Algiers is a sonic marvel that blends rock,
post-punk and soul with a palpable sense of
darkness, dread and foreboding. The trio is led
by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Franklin
James Fisher, who is an absolute powerhouse
on tracks like Blood, Irony. Utility. Pretext
and Black Eunuch. The album is hard to t
into one conning label. Its psychedelic soul
that runs headlong into Echo & the Bunnymen
and Joy Division with a trip through gospelcountry along the way. Algiers is as exciting
and innovative a debut album as youll ever
hear, and its going to be fascinating to see how
this massively talented young trio develops on
future projects.
#6 FATHER JOHN MISTY
I LOVE YOU, HONEYBEAR
I Love You, Honeybear is the second
album released by former Fleet Foxes
member Josh Tillman under the name
Father John Misty. Its a sublime collection of
brilliantly conceived folk-rock with a lush and
rich production. The tracks are built upon
acoustic guitar and piano, then enhanced
with gleaming string and brass arrangements
burnished with richly arranged harmony
vocals. Tillman creates a massive wall of
sound in which he envelops his incisive pieces
inspired by various aspects of his personal
life. The sardonic Bored in the USA is an
example of Tillmans prowess as a lyricist.
He captures the essence of many American
lives with a few acerbic lines delivered
over a derisive laugh-track: They gave me
useless education, and a subprime loan on
a craftsman home. Keep my prescriptions
lled, and now I cant get o but I can kind
of deal. Tillman is an ace songwriter with a
keen sense of melody and a resoundingly
powerful voice; its a beguiling combination.

#5 LAURA MARLING SHORT MOVIE


British singer-songwriter Laura Marling was
nominated for the prestigious Mercury Music
Prize for her last album, 2013s Once I Was an
Eagle, but her latest release is even stronger.
Marling has tended to stay within the realm
of folk, but on Short Movie she expands her
sound with fuller arrangements and a more
alternative/rock vibe on some songs. Shes
a songwriter of incredible wit and dexterity,
as is evident by stellar tracks like the quirky
Gurdjies Daughter, Warrior and Howl.
Marlings voice is crisp and clear, a bit of a
mix between Suzanne Vega and Joni Mitchell
but with added richness. Worth checking out
is the Directors Cut of Short Movie which
includes several excellent bonus tracks.
#4 KENDRICK LAMAR
TO PIMP A BUTTERFLY
Kendrick Lamars third album To Pimp a
Buttery is an an invigorating and challenging
listening experience packed with thrills and
surprises. Lamar collaborates with some of the
best creative minds in the business, including
Flying Lotus, Pharrell Williams, Sounwave and
Thundercat. The complex vocals are inventive,
the grooves are razor-sharp and the songs
are loaded with memorable hooks. To Pimp
a Buttery is heavily rhythmic throughout,
with elements of funk, R&B, rock and jazz all
percolating to create an intoxicating brew.
Standouts include the energetic rst single
i, the ultra smooth and funky How Much
A Dollar Cost and the albums emotional
centerpiece, the provocative The Blacker the
Berry on which Lamar spits out the lyrics
with a manic intensity over the tight rhythm.
Theres much for the listener to digest on To
Pimp a Buttery exciting and innovative, its
an example of hip-hop at its very best.
#3 SUFJAN STEVENS
CARRIE & LOWELL
Carrie & Lowell is an intimate collection

of heartbreaking pieces inspired by the


recent death of Stevens mother Carrie.
Stevens whispery vocals oat nebulously
over a spectral acoustic guitar and piano
accompaniment. Death with Dignity sets
a gently somber mood, waxing and waning
between nostalgia and anguish. A deeply felt
sense of loss permeates every song. Should
Have Known Better and Fourth of July, with
its grim repeated refrain Were all going to
die, are particularly powerful. The album
feels raw, like a fresh personal wound, but
with the protective distance of someone
who can only express his emotions through
a wall of detachment to protect himself from
completely falling apart. Carrie & Lowell is
spellbinding a touching tribute, an aching
reection on abandonment and forgiveness
and a haunting farewell.
#2 STEVEN WILSON
HAND. CANNOT. ERASE.
Progressive rocker Steven Wilson, best
known for his work in Porcupine Tree, released
his breathtaking double album Hand. Cannot.
Erase early in 2015 to raves. The album is a song
cycle that explores human frailty, isolation and
loneliness, and how we approach life in the face
of these struggles. It was inspired by the story of
a young woman who died in her apartment in
a major city and was not discovered by friends
or family for over three years. The music is
immaculately performed by the virtuoso
Wilson and his uber-talented collaborators and
makes use of sudden shifts in dynamics for
dramatic impact. Long, beautiful instrumental
passages give way to sudden bursts of molten
hard-rock played with machine-like precision.
Its an album of heart and beauty, but also of
unspeakable sadness. Particularly notable is
the heartrending Routine, one of the nest
and most powerful pieces of music to emerge
in 2015.
#1 KAMASI WASHINGTON THE EPIC
Never has an album been more aptly
named. Saxophonist extraordinaire Kamasi
Washington wasnt satised with the notion
of easing into his recording career. His debut
album is three discs and not a moment is
wasted. Washingtons brand of kinetic jazz
is a must for fans of the genre, but even if
youre not into jazz its hard not to be blown
away by the razor-sharp musicianship on The
Epic. Washington and his band especially
drummer Ronald Bruner, Jr. are on re
throughout the set. The vast scope of the
album, the audaciousness of the musicians
and Washingtons electrifying talent make The
Epic the single most vital must-hear album
of 2015. Its nothing short of a revelation a
modern masterpiece of jazz/funk.

WASHINGTONBLADE.COM

YIR: SPORTIN IN DC

JANUARY 01, 2016 33

Victories at home and abroad


Local LGBT sports leagues enjoy banner year
By KEVIN MAJOROS

The new year is shaping up to be huge for the Washington Scandals Rugby Team. In May they had to
Nashville for the Bingham Cup.
PHOTO COURTESY THE TEAM

It was another stellar year for the


LGBT sports teams of Washington. The
strength of the sports community can
be seen in the performances of the
athletes when they travel nationally and
internationally to compete. The social
aspect of the community continues to
expand as many of the teams are sharing
mixers and the athletes are crossing
over to other sports.
The Washington Scandals Rugby
Football Club continued their path of
competing in tournaments and arranging
matches with other rugby clubs. This fall
they traveled to Charleston, S.C.; New
York City and Atlanta. In May, the Scandals
will go to Nashville for the Bingham Cup.
It was a great rst year for D.C. Pride
Volleyball League as they completed
their rst two seasons of their competitive
league and hosted open play on
Wednesday nights. They also hosted the
Rehoboth Beach Open and Presidents
Pride Cup tournaments.
The D.C. Gay Flag Football League
had another great year wrapping up two
more seasons, traveling to tournaments
and hosting Beach Bowl in July in
Rehoboth Beach, Del. In October they will
host Gay Bowl XVI and welcome teams
from all over the country.
The District of Columbia Aquatics

Club again hosted the Maryland Swim


for Life open water race, the Columbus
Classic and traveled to the EuroGames
in Stockholm, Sweden where they won
125 medals. In August they will travel to
Edmonton, Canada for the International
Gay & Lesbian Aquatics Championships.
Ski Bums spent 2015 skiing and
snowboarding in powder around the
United States and other parts of the
world. International trips in 2016 include
New Zealand, Japan, Italy and British
Columbia. National trips to Montana, New
York, Vermont, Oregon and Montana are
also being booked. This years D.C. day
trip will be announced soon.
Chesapeake and Potomac Softball
sent multiple teams to the Gay Softball
World Series in Columbus, Ohio in August
where the D.C. Union team took third
place. They also continued to provide
league play in the open division and
womens division. They hosted their
annual MAGIC Tournament and traveled
to New Orleans; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.;
Providence, R.I.; and Orlando, Fla., for
more tournament action.
The D.C. Strokes Rowing Club
continued with multiple rowing programs
and hosted the 22nd annual Stonewall
Regatta bringing about 400 rowers to
D.C. The Strokes raced sprints and head

races throughout the year and had a


great showing at the U.S. Masters Rowing
Championships in August in Camden, N.J.
The Capital Tennis Association
hosted Capital Classic XXIII and the event
was once again live streamed on the CCE
Sports Network. The group continues
to host 20 leagues across four seasons
and players have been traveling to
tournaments around the world on the
Gay & Lesbian Tennis Alliance World Tour
The
Federal
Triangles
Soccer
Club continued to host their annual
tournaments, the Womens Indoor Cup,
the Rehoboth Beach Classic and the Turkey
Bowl along with the Summer of Freedom
soccer league. The squads also traveled to
tournaments and in August they sent two
teams to the 2015 IGLFA North American
Championship II in Verona, Wis., and won
in the championship match. This years
United Night OUT at RFK Stadium, which
is co-hosted by the Triangles, drew 500
members from the LGBT community.
Womens full tackle football with the
Washington Prodigy is a part of the
Team D.C. Night OUT series. The Prodigy
plays in the Independent Womens
Football League and competes against
teams along the eastern seaboard.
The D.C. Sentinels continue to host the
Washington D.C. Gay Basketball League

along with pickup games twice a week.


They also traveled to tournaments in
Chicago, San Diego and Dallas.
Stonewall Sports oered league
play in four dierent sports, Stonewall
Kickball, Stonewall Bocce, Stonewall
Darts
and
Stonewall
Dodgeball.
Stonewall Kickball traveled to Las Vegas
for tournament action and this past July
hosted the Stonewall Kickball Summer
Tournament.
The Washington Wetskins water polo
players hosted the Columbus Day Classic
tournament and also traveled to various
tournaments throughout the country.
They also traveled to the EuroGames in
Stockholm, Sweden where they took fth
place in the competitive division.
The D.C. Front Runners hosted the
third annual Pride Run 5K drawing about
1,200 runners as part of the Capital Pride
events. They continue to oer their walk,
run and racing series and several of their
runners competed throughout the region
in races.
The Capital Area Rainbowlers
Association continues to host nine fall/
winter leagues along with three summer
leagues. Along with hosting their annual
Capital Holiday Invitational Tournament,
the bowlers traveled the region
competing in tournaments.

3 4 J A NUA RY 0 1 , 2016

W A SH I N G T O N BLA D E . CO M

WASHINGTONBLADE.COM

A R T S & EN TE RTA I NMENT


WASHINGTONBLADE.COM

J A N U A R Y 01, 2016 35

A R T S & EN TE RTA I NMENT

DE C E M B E R 18, 2015 41

Years topFairies
A&E moments
Smoke
charm
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international womens football (i.e. soccer)


world championship, it was not just a
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 27
triumph for the United States womens
in October he was on hand to accept
national soccer team, the tournament
an award that he didnt mean he knew
was a watershed moment for out athletes
that denitively but that it was his best
MARC BROUSSARD MAGNOLIAS & MISTLETOE
with 18 publicly out players on the eld
guess as to how he contracted HIV.
for various countries including the U.S.s
Magnolias
& MistletoeTANKS
is the rst holiday album
Louisiana-based
Marc Broussard
#4 STONEWALL
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SHARON JONES & THE DAP KINGS ITS A HOLIDAY SOUL PARTY
intrigued by the issue of LGBT youth
#1 THE WORLD MEETS CAITLYN JENNER
homelessness, a Vanity Fair critic said
does
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story.
Some 11
activists
renditions?
out Jones
& the
Dap Kings
wildly hoppin take on White
in on
thetheir
country.
called for anCheck
LGBT boycott
of the
movie.
Christmas,
or
the
smoldering
groove
they
deliver
on
Funky
Drummer
Boy.
Its a
The OlympicLittle
champion
who
found
a
The lm cost about $17 million to make
Holiday
be entertaining
festivesecond
revelers
for of
years
toas
come.
wind
fame
patriarch of reality
with partSoul
of itParty
self-will
nanced
by Emmerich.
show Keeping Up with the Kardashians,
It bombed at the box oce. According to
RUPAULS DRAG RACE CHRISTMAS QUEENS
came out ocially as transgender in an
IMDB, its U.S. gross as of October was just
April Diane Sawyer interview on ABCs
short of $200,000.
Some of the most memorable contestants from
RuPauls
Drag
Race
serve
up holiday
20/20
and was
rst
seen
as Caitlyn
in a
realness
Christmas
of nervy
andstory
naughty
nuggets
#3on
BIG
YEAR FOR Queens,
LGBT FILMa collection lavish
cover
andChristmas
fashion spread
in
certain to delight fans of the show. Sharon Needles
version
of Jingle Bells
the July punk-rock
issue of Vanity
Fair.
is priceless,
Jiggybeen
Caliente
is hilarious
Christmas.
Fame
delivers
a
Her (what
else?) Miss
reality
show
I Am
Thereve and
always
LGBT
movies on Ratchet
lovely
retro
take
on the
dreamy
Queens
othe
ers asummer
campy respite
Cait debuted
over
on E!
but even
just
a few
years
ago, Toyland.
most of Christmas
from
thecontent
same old
perennials
we hear
every
if that wasnt
and
has year.
beenAnd
renewed
for a enough,
second
the gay
wasearnest
in smaller
indie fare
RuPaul
also
released
a
new
holiday
CD
this
year,
Slay
Belles,
so
sashay
away
to your
season (no premiere date for
season
two
with a token mainstream release like
favorite
retailer
and grab
them
both.That
announced yet). Its enjoyed decent if
Brokeback
Mountain
here
or there.
hardly rapturous ratings and reviews and
is no longer the case.
THE BRIAN SETZER ORCHESTRA ROCKIN RUDOLPH
has been noted for a more serious tone
With Freeheld, the Julianne Moore
than that of the Kardashians.
project about a womans ght to have
Iconic
Straybene
Catstsfrontman
andtoguitarist
Brian
Setzer
swings and
rocks hisviews,
way
Jenners
long-held
Republican
her
pension
transferred
her
through
seasonal
gems
on diagnosed
Rockin Rudolph,
the third
albumendorsement
with his big
especially
her holiday
half-hearted
domestic12
partner
after
being
band
Rockin to
Around
Christmas
is a natural
for Setzer,
and Here
of Tree
same-sex
marriage
for one,
have
with orchestra.
terminal cancer;
The The
Danish
Comes
Santa
Claus
stands
out
as
well.
Perhaps
the
most
surprising
is
his
atmospheric
induced winces on several occasions
Girl, the Eddie Redmayne vehicle that
take
Carol
of the
of the
versions
of activists.
that classic
in speaking
ages. Rockin
LGBT
After
at a
nds on
him
starring
as Bells,
trans one
pioneer
Lilibest from
Rudolph
starts
right
back
up
from
where
Boogie
Woogie
Christmas
and
Dig
That
luncheon in Chicago in November,
Jenner
Elbe; to Carol, the Todd Haynes-helmed
Crazy
Christmas
left o,Highsmith
with fun festive
and plenty
ofin
groove.
camera
crew
tow was confronted
lm based
on a Patricia
novel,energy
by an angry mob of trans protesters who
LGBT themes in major lms were no
SMOKE FAIRIES WILD WINTER
said she was a disgrace. Their basic beef
longer token occurrences.
was that the 65-year-old Cait has enjoyed
For something a bit dierent and more contemplative,
indie-pop
such a life British
of privilege
that duo
sheSmoke
could
Fairies
collection
Wild
Winter is de
nitely
not
the
kind
of
stu
you
might
#2 seasonal
U.S. WOMENS
SOCCER
TEAM
never fully understand their plight. To
her
hear at Macys.
dreamy tracks are made
forJenner
late nights
andthem.
candlelight while
OUTThe
AND10
PROUD
credit,
engaged
the wind roars outside and the snow piles deep.InCrystalline
gleam
over
a bedshe
of
an early vocals
episode
of her
show,
hazy
keyboards
the to
darkly
Snowglobe
Three
Kings
seemed
to grasp Blizzard,
the import
of her
role
When
the U.S.and
beatguitar
Japanon
in July
take beautiful
and
the wonderfully
atmospheric
title-track
Winter
is ahope
dierent
kind
of holiday
and said,
I just
I get it
right.
the 2015
FIFA Womens
World Cup,
the Wild
album, but after all the frivolity and exuberance its the perfect antidote for chilling at
home after the party is over.
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 21

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