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Fisette not running for U.S. House seat

Jay Fisette, Arlington County Board, gay news, Washington Blade

Gay Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette won’t run for Rep. James Moran’s seat. (Washington Blade file photo by Jeff Surprenant)

Gay Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette announced late Wednesday that he has decided not to run this year for the U.S. House seat being vacated by Rep. James Moran (D-Va.).

Fisette was among about a dozen prominent Northern Virginia politicians, including gay State Sen. Adam Ebbin, mentioned by political observers as potential candidates to run in the June 10 Democratic primary to seek the nomination for Moran’s seat in the 8th Congressional District.

The overwhelmingly Democratic district includes parts of Arlington and Fairfax counties and most of the City of Alexandria. The winner of the primary is expected to easily win the general election in November.

“Many friends and colleagues have asked of my interest in running for this seat and have encouraged me to run,” Fisette said in a statement. “While appreciative of those comments, I have decided that I will not seek this position,” he said.

“One reason for my decision is the contrast between the dysfunctional climate on Capitol Hill and the can-do atmosphere in Arlington,” Fisette said. “The state of politics at the national level is disheartening, with the outsized influence of shrill, well-financed forces and the disintegration of sincere efforts to forge compromise, respect one’s colleagues and realize the potential of government to make people’s lives better.”

Fisette became the first known openly gay elected official in Virginia in 1997 when he won election to an at-large seat on the five-member Arlington Board, which serves as the county’s governing body. He has won re-election four times since then by wide margins, with his latest electoral victory last year.

Although Ebbin has yet to make an official announcement, a prominent gay Democratic activist in Arlington has said “the word is out” that Ebbin plans to run for the congressional seat.

Ebbin became the first out gay to win election to the Virginia General Assembly in 2003 when he won his race for a seat in the House of Delegates. He won election to the State Senate in 2011 in a district that covers most of the territory of the 8th Congressional District.

In a related development, the Washington Post reported that Del. Patrick Hope (D-Arlington) planned to announce on Thursday he was forming an exploratory committee to assess whether to run for the 8th District congressional seat. Businessman and former Navy fighter pilot Bruce Shuttleworth announced his candidacy for the congressional seat last week. Both are Democrats who have expressed strong support for LGBT rights as have all of the Democrats thought to be considering running for Moran’s seat.

In his statement saying he isn’t running, Fisette added, “There are many qualified Democrats who could represent the Eighth District very capably. I will work with our party’s nominee to secure a victory in the November election and keep the Eighth District in the progressive ranks.”

23
Jan
2014

Witeck won’t run for Congress; backs Ebbin

Bob Witeck, gay news, Washington Blade

‘I plan to give my unqualified support to Adam Ebbin now,’ said Bob Witeck. (Photo courtesy of Bob Witeck)

Gay public relations executive Bob Witeck informed the Blade on Sunday that he won’t run for the U.S. House seat in Northern Virginia being vacated by retiring Democratic Congressman James Moran and will instead support state Sen. Adam Ebbin’s bid for the seat.

Ebbin, who’s gay and a Democrat, served for eight years in the Virginia House of Delegates before winning election in 2011 to the Virginia Senate. He announced his candidacy for the congressional seat last week.

“Over the weekend, and upon careful consideration and lots of conversations with my partner, I have decided not to run for the 8th District congressional seat,” Witeck said in a statement.

Witeck, a longtime LGBT rights advocate, was among more than a dozen Democrats who either announced their candidacy for the 8th District seat or said they were considering running for the seat  in the June 10 Democratic primary. The winner of the primary is considered the strong favorite to win the general election in November in the heavily Democratic district.

In a statement released to the Blade, Witeck said the race has attracted other highly qualified candidates.

“While I am sure that I can work hard, raise funds and be competitive, I am equally if not more happy to get behind the ultimate Democratic nominee – so long as that candidate is as committed to LGBT equality, human rights and economic fairness issues that I care about,” he said.

Witeck said he’s a longtime supporter of the mission of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, a national organization that helps elect openly LGBT candidates running for public office.

“I therefore plan to give my unqualified support to Adam Ebbin now,” he said. “He is working doggedly to win the primary, and I’ve spoken to him today to give him my help.”

03
Feb
2014

Joseph F. Vivalo, Jr. dies at 53

Joe Vivalo, obituary, gay news, Washington Blade

Joseph F. “Joe” Vivalo, Jr. in 1987.

Joseph F. “Joe” Vivalo, Jr., 53, a former resident of Washington and Arlington who was active in political and AIDS charity fundraising and events management, died in Key West, Fla., on Feb. 5.

His death was from suicide, according to Terry Michael, with whom Vivalo shared an apartment on Capitol Hill in 1986-87 and again in 1992-93. Vivalo, who was gay, worked as a waiter at Mr. Henry’s restaurant, Michael said, after moving to the District from Portland, Ore., in July 1986. Living in New York from 1988-92, he returned to Washington in November 1992, where he resided again on Capitol Hill and later in the Logan Circle area, before settling in Arlington. At the time of his death, Vivalo had been living and working at a guesthouse in Key West.

A native of Youngstown, Ohio, Vivalo was a director of the Pallotta TeamWorks AIDS Ride in Washington in the late 1990s and was director of the Whitman-Walker Health AIDS Walk in 2000, when he also produced a fundraising concert for Whitman-Walker at the Kennedy Center, featuring singer Patti LaBelle. He worked in several AIDS walks in Manhattan in the late 1980s.

Specializing in arts and entertainment fundraising, Vivalo was fundraising director for former U.S. Rep. and 1984 Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro, in her unsuccessful race for the U.S. Senate in New York in 1992. He had served in the Mondale-Ferraro presidential campaign in Portland, Ore., in 1984, as a young field worker. He worked on the Clinton-Gore Inaugural Committee in Washington in 1992. And he was on the facilities management staff of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. in 2012. For a time, he ran a bike restoration business in Arlington.

Born Dec. 30, 1960 in Youngstown, Vivalo was a son of the late Joseph Vivalo and Marie Ann “Dolly” Vivalo, who survives, along with siblings Debbie, Jeff, John, Katie, Jacqueline, Michael and Kimberly. He is also survived by friends in the Washington area, including Walter Quetsch of Capitol Hill, at whose Fire Island cottage Vivalo was a frequent guest during the past two decades, and Washington attorney Jim Prunty, whom Vivalo met during his years in Portland.

Vivalo attended Ohio University, where he earned a degree in political communication. He was an active swimmer in high school and college. He had a passion for dance music and was a friend of the late San Francisco disco icon Sylvester James, “who visited Joe at our apartment on Capitol Hill in late 1987,” Michael said, noting that “Sylvester’s ‘You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)’ and ‘You Are My Friend’ tracks became Joe’s signature songs.”

A memorial service for Vivalo was held in Youngstown Feb. 8.

12
Feb
2014

Gay man loses race for Arlington school board

Greg Greeley, Arlington school board, gay news, Washington Blade

‘My campaign ends here, but I look forward to supporting our Arlington County Democratic Committee endorsee,’ said Greg Greeley. (Photo courtesy of the Greeley campaign)

Gay former Air Force Capt. Greg Greeley lost his bid for a seat on the Arlington County School Board on May 17 when he failed to win the endorsement of the Arlington County Democratic Committee.

Greeley, a single father of two boys who has been active in school-related activities in Arlington for at least 10 years, came in third place in a three-candidate race in which all registered Democrats in the county were eligible to vote at two caucus meetings.

Under rules set by the party, Democrats running for the seat who don’t receive the party endorsement must withdraw from the race, even though they may legally continue as candidates in the non-partisan school board election in November under the county’s election law.

Public schools activist Barbara Kanninen received 1,549 votes in the first round of voting in the caucuses. Nancy Van Doren received 1,329 votes and Greeley received 839 votes. In an automatic “virtual” runoff between Kanninen and Van Doren, Kanninen won by an 18-vote margin, with 1,812 votes to 1,794 votes for Van Doren.

The voting system called for voters to identify their first, second and third choices among the three candidates on their ballots.

“My campaign ends here, but I look forward to supporting our Arlington County Democratic Committee endorsee, Barbara Kanninen, as we head toward the election in November,” Greeley said in a statement posted on his campaign website.

“While it is disappointing to end this six-month journey tonight, I am encouraged by the way the Arlington community came together today,” he said. “I saw supporters from every area of the county. And I want you to know: We could not have come so far without you.”

Incumbent school board member Sally Baird, who decided not to seek re-election this year, creating an open seat for which Greeley and the other two Democrats competed, endorsed Greeley. Baird became Virginia’s first out lesbian elected official when she first won election to the school board seat in 2006.

Greeley also received endorsements from gay Va. State Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria), who’s running this year for a U.S. House seat; State Rep. Patrick Hope (D-Arlington), who’s also running for the same House seat being vacated by Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.); and former Virginia Del. Karen Darner (D-Arlington/Alexandria), a highly popular figure in Northern Virginia.

“I don’t think we can put a gay lens on this because I don’t think that was a matter of concern to anybody,” said Bob Witeck, a longtime gay Democratic activist in Arlington and CEO of Witeck Communications public relations firm.

Witeck, who supported Greeley, said that while Greeley has had considerable involvement in school issues Kanninen and Van Doren appear to have been perceived to have more extensive experience. He said both may have been known by more of the relatively small number of people who turned out to vote at the two caucus meetings.

Don Hodgen, assistant registrar for the Arlington Election Board, said aside from Kanninen, the only other person to file papers so far to run in the November election for the school board seat is Green Party candidate Audrey Clement. The deadline for filing and submitting a required 125 voter signatures for ballot placement is June 10, Hodgen said.

03
Jun
2014

Why I support Adam Ebbin for Congress

Adam Ebbin, Democratic Party, Virginia, gay news, Washington Blade

State Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) (Photo courtesy of Adam Ebbin)

By SALLY BAIRD

It has been my privilege to know and work with Virginia State Sen. Adam Ebbin. I have supported his groundbreaking campaigns since he was elected as Virginia’s first openly gay member of the General Assembly more than 10 years ago. Adam was a role model as I campaigned to be elected as Virginia’s first openly lesbian elected official in 2006, and I was privileged to work with him as a member of the Arlington School Board to fight at the state-government level for our students and teachers.

I am proud to endorse Adam in his campaign for Virginia’s 8th Congressional District, not because he is a gay rights pioneer but because he is the best qualified to replace Rep. Jim Moran, who remains a significant straight ally. If elected, Adam will be the first openly gay member of Congress from the South.

Adam Ebbin has represented Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax County with distinction, longer than any other candidate in this race. A masterful coalition builder, Adam skillfully unites those with divergent interests around common goals. On issues as varied as advocating for an Arlington-Falls Church Office of the Public Defender to expanding healthcare coverage for immigrants, Adam is a strong, results-focused leader. With Adam in Congress, Northern Virginia will have an effective representative who stands up for them when it matters most.

Adam has championed and passed liberal legislation with unlikely allies. From expanding solar energy options to uniting groups from the right and left, Adam has brought together interests that normally won’t talk to each other. Adam’s commonsense appeal has united them to pass such strong legislation as fighting human trafficking and ensuring insurance availability for the LGBTQ community. Adam’s record speaks for itself. He has truly earned the right to represent us in Congress, where he will apply his skills to an equally dysfunctional House of Representatives.

Adam has been endorsed by more elected officials than any other candidate, by two major unions — the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and Laborers International Union of North America (LiUNA) — by the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and Congressman Keith Ellison, co-chair of the Progressive Caucus in the U.S. House.

Adam has always stood up for our needs and values in the General Assembly and will do so in the U.S. Congress. Please join me in voting for Adam Ebbin as the 8th District’s next Representative.

Sally Baird is a member of the Arlington School Board and the first openly lesbian elected official in Virginia.

06
Jun
2014

Longtime maître d’ Phillip Gaines dies at 62

Phillip Gene Gaines, a longtime D.C. resident who worked as a maître d’ at the popular D.C. restaurant Port of Piraeus for more than 20 years, died July 24 at a hospice in Arlington, Va., from a heart infection. He was 62.

Gaines was born and raised in Hagerstown, Md., and was a 1970 graduate of South Hagerstown High School and a member of the Hagerstown Christian Church, according to information released by a family member.

He and his brother Gregory sang with local Hagerstown bands and musical groups. He also worked as a ballroom dance instructor in Hagerstown.

Wallace Dickson, his partner of 40 years, said Gaines began work in the bar and restaurant business shortly after moving to Washington in the early 1970s. Among his first jobs in D.C. was that of a bar back at the Georgetown Grill, a popular gay bar at the time, Dickson said.

Gaines worked in several other establishments before landing a job at Port of Piraeus at its location at the time at 1155 21st St., N.W., in the city’s West End section. Dickson said that during his tenure at the popular Greek restaurant Gaines saw its ownership change from father to son.

“He knew every customer by name,” said Dickson. “He never forgot a name or a face.”

Dickson said he first met Gaines in the early 1970s at the then newly opened gay bar Mr. P’s near Dupont Circle about a year after Dickson separated from his wife and was just becoming acquainted with D.C.’s gay scene.

“He knew people all over town from the bars,” Dickson said. “He was my ambassador to the gay community. And he became my savior.”

Dickson said that in May 2008 Gaines suffered a severe stroke that resulted in the loss of his kidney function, requiring dialysis treatments three days a week. This forced Gaines to take an early retirement on disability.

The kidney problems led to further health issues that recently precipitated a severe infection of a heart valve, which was the immediate cause of his death, Dickson said.

“He had a long journey with the kidney problems,” said Dickson. “He never complained once. “He was a happy and cheerful guy. He always had a bright outlook on life. He was a dear person and he’s going to be missed by me.”

In addition to Dickson, Gaines is survived by his siblings, Arthur D. Gaines Jr., Judith Gaines, JoAnn Gaines Claybon, and Denise Gaines, all of Hagerstown; Julia Gaines Harris of Winchester, Va.; Timothy Gaines Simmons of Suitland, Md.; and many nieces and nephews, other cherished relatives and many dear friends.

Burial of his ashes is scheduled for Sept. 26 at Rose Hill Cemetery in Hagerstown to be followed by a memorial service on Sept. 27 at a location to be announced.

A gathering of friends and neighbors in Washington in a celebration of his life is scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 17, at 11 a.m., at the home of A. Cornelius Baker, Apt. 500, 1707 Columbia Rd., N.W.

07
Aug
2014

Library of Congress acquires papers of Lilli Vincenz

Lilli Vincenz, gay news, Washington Blade

Lilli Vincenz was a pioneer in the gay rights movement beginning in the early 1960s. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Lilli Vincenz, 75, a D.C.-area resident who worked with Frank Kameny as a pioneer in the gay rights movement beginning in the early 1960s, has donated to the Library of Congress some 10,000 papers, photographs, 16-mm films and memorabilia collected over a period of 50 years.

In a statement released on July 25, the Library of Congress said the papers and other items, which document Vincenz’s “personal biography and the larger gay rights movement,” will be available to researchers and the public once the materials are organized and catalogued.

The statement notes that Vincenz was one of the first lesbian members of the Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C., the nation’s first full-fledged gay civil rights organization co-founded by Kameny and then D.C. gay activist Jack Nichols. It says Vincenz became the first editor of the organization’s newsletter, The Homosexual Citizen.

In that capacity, Vincenz and lesbian activist Nancy Tucker co-founded in 1969 an independent gay newspaper as a spinoff of the Mattachine newsletter called the Gay Blade, which later evolved into the Washington Blade

“She marched in the historic [gay rights] picket of the White House on April 17, 1965, participated in annual July 4th gay rights demonstrations in Philadelphia, and was part of the delegation that met with U.S. Civil Service Commission officials in 1965 to discuss the continued federal ban on hiring homosexuals,” the Library of Congress statement says.

“Vincenz was also an early member of the Daughters of Bilitis, a national lesbian rights organization, wrote a bi-weekly column for the New York-based Gay magazine, and was interviewed often by the media with other lesbian leaders,” the statement says.

The Library of Congress statement says the donation of Vincenz’s papers was made through her agent, Charles Francis, the co-founder of the Kameny Papers Project, which donated Kameny’s papers to the Library of Congress in 2006.

Vincenz and her partner Nancy Davis live in Arlington, Va.

30
Jul
2013

Scaled-back ‘Saigon’

Miss Saigon, Signature Theatre, Diana Huey, Kim, Theater, gay news, Washington Blade

Diana Huey as Kim in ‘Miss Saigon’ at Signature Theatre. (Photo by Christopher Mueller; courtesy Signature)

‘Miss Saigon’
Through Sept. 29
Signature Theatre
4200 Campbell Ave. Arlington
tickets start at $40
703-820-9771
signature-theatre.org

When “Miss Saigon” ran on Broadway in the ‘90s, there was big buzz surrounding the production’s life-sized helicopter.

The audacious prop was used to recreate the iconic photo depicting the fall of Saigon in 1975 to the Viet Kong when hordes of terrified pro-American Vietnamese fought for spots on a few C.I.A. aircrafts taking off from rooftops. Those who were left behind knew they’d likely be executed. For Signature Theatre’s version, director Eric Schaeffer — in his typical paring down fashion — merely suggests a helicopter, retaining the suspenseful element while losing the impractical spectacle.

From the composers who gave the world “Les Miserables” (Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alain Boublil), the hugely successful “Miss Saigon” is a hard driving, sung through, rock opera based on Puccini’s 1904 classic “Madama Butterfly.” Its eclectic, ballad-heavy score is served beautifully here by a talented cast and a stellar 15-person orchestra tucked away on a perch behind corrugated metal panels. Despite some cloying spots and clunky lyrics by Richard Maltby, Jr., the music works. Memorable tunes include “The Heat Is On,” “I Still Believe,” “Why God Why?” and “The American Dream.”

Signature’s Schaeffer (who is gay) has also halved the 40-person Broadway cast, allowing his take to focus more intimately on the musical’s love story: U.S. Marine Chris (likable Gannon O’Brien) temporarily rescues wide-eyed, Vietnamese bar-girl Kim (vocal powerhouse Diana Huey) from a life of prostitution. Saigon falls and Chris goes home to Atlanta where he marries. Unknown to Chris, Kim has given birth to their son. Kim does what she has to stay alive, driven by the desire to one day reunite as a family. Eventually, Chris and his wife travel to Vietnam to meet the boy. A happy ending for all is hard to imagine.

But the best scenes of Signature’s “Miss Saigon” take place in Saigon’s sleazy hooker bar Dreamland and (later) a similar joint in Bangkok. It’s in a dimly lit, alcohol-fueled Dreamland that war-weary Marines and desperate Vietnamese civilians come together against a backdrop of feverish partying. And it comes off splendidly in Signature’s not huge MAX Theatre.

Dreamland is the domain of the Engineer, a host/pimp played by the unctuous and terrifically entertaining Thom Sesma (who played the role in the show’s second national tour). He bullies a chorus of sexy bar girls led by experienced Gigi (Cheryl Daro). The eye-catching Daro makes a big impression singing “The Movie In My Mind,” a dream about a new life in America, but unfortunately her part essentially ends there. The rest of the cast includes Erin Driscoll as Ellen, Chris’ outwardly sedate spouse. Chris Sizemore is Chris’ Marine buddy who after the war works to reunite Vietnam-born Amerasian children with their American fathers. Christopher Mueller plays menacing Thuy, an unpleasant figure from Kim’s past.

“Miss Saigon” can be melodramatic and overwrought — it’s not for everyone. But Signature offers an opportunity to see it done particularly well.

05
Sep
2013

Setting the retail pace

Kathy Dalby, Pacers, gay news, Washington Blade

‘People want local small businesses to win,’ says Kathy Dalby, ‘and we have to earn that every day.’ (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

“The formula is simple, really,” says Pacers Running Stores executive vice-president of retail and managing partner for events Kathy Dalby, “but, like any small business, we have to work our tails off.”

Five Washington-area running specialty stores serve as unique centers for an ever-burgeoning number of running enthusiasts. Combining customer-centric retail with community-building races has been key to expanding the successful enterprise. The independent business has grown to both a multi-store retail operation with an affiliated events company.

The first D.C. location, near Logan Circle at 1427 P St., N.W., opened in summer 2010, joining current Virginia storefronts in Alexandria, Clarendon and Pentagon Row in Arlington, and Old Town Fairfax. All serve as hubs for local runners – offering a full range of running gear along with training advice, motivation and coaching, and a robust schedule of regular fun-runs and special race events.

The original Old Town Alexandria location, a short sprint from the King Street Metro, opened its doors in 1991. Twelve years later then-employee and former University of Virginia collegiate runner Chris Farley, now corporate owner and general manager, acquired the business with the angel investment of his family.

Like other store employees and managers, Dalby started working part-time on the shop floor – a continuation of a college stint working at a running store in California. Moving to the area following studies at Michigan State and with a master’s degree in public health, she landed a law firm job specializing in Medicare reimbursement. Dalby soon discovered, however, that the quintessential Washington occupation was not to her liking.

Having “always been entrepreneurial in spirit and with an events background,” Dalby explains, led her to make a career change. “I love how we have integrated those two things,” she adds, engaging in “authentic and community-focused relationship building.”

Many of the approximately 25 full-time employees and 60-some part-timers come from similar backgrounds. When being fitted for the right running shoe, customers might be assisted by a former or current mortgage broker, architect, librarian or other professional.

“We make an investment in both the people and the customers of Pacers,” Dalby says, noting the “genuinely small business” enjoys long-time employee retention. She points out that the business is “proud to hire customers for both store positions and to assist with race events.”

Last weekend, the Pacers-sponsored 10th annual “Jingle All the Way 8K” drew nearly 4,500 and filled downtown District streets with Santa-costumed runners in a light snow. The first store event was held in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 – surprising staff when 4,000 runners turned out, raising $120,000 in relief funds.

Pacers has been a sponsor of D.C. Front Runners, the LGBT-and-friends running club, and Capital Pride.

Alongside fundraising well over half-a-million dollars for local charities, the company recently launched its “DCXC Project” supporting development of distance running and fitness programs at area schools. By working with cross country and track programs, and supported by vendor partners such as New Balance, Pacers helps engage youth in the sport of running while encouraging life-long fitness habits – including among underserved communities.

The same philosophy guides the award-winning business – named a “Top 50” national running store for seven years – in its approach to customer service. Pacers staff, including two trainers rotating among stores, guide those just starting out or getting back into a running regimen by connecting them with other runners and running groups to achieve their training goals.

More than an endorphin empire for professional runners, Pacers has built success one stride at a time. “People want local small businesses to win,” Dalby points out, “and we have to earn that every day.”

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

17
Dec
2013

Queery: Allan Armus

Alan Armus, gay news, Washington Blade

Alan Armus (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Allan Armus says it’s good for LGBT faith-minded folks to join forces on occasion.

“So often we hear that this or that church is against LGBT people and have taken it upon themselves to speak for some church, synagogue or mosque,” he says. We want to prove that they’re not really representing their faith community. By joining together, we achieve a critical mass. We’re … saying you don’t have a monopoly on what you’re saying on what the faith means and how it should treat LGBT people.”

The 30th anniversary Pride Week Interfaith Service is Tuesday evening at 7:30 p.m. at First Congregational United Church of Christ (945 G St., N.W.). Rev. Harry Knox, president of Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice will speak. Shirli Hughes & Ovation will provide music (details available at capitalpride.org under the events listings). About 200 attend most years.

“It is my belief that every religion has some element of truth and no religion has all the truth,” Armus, treasurer at Bet Mishpachah, says. “And I think these religions that say everybody must be my religion are misguided.”

Armus has been active at Bet Mishpachah since he came to Washington in 1983 He got involved with the Washington Area Gay & Lesbian Interfaith Alliance (which changed into the Celebration of the Spirit Coalition in 2000) in 1985, just a few years after it formed. This year’s Interfaith Service will incorporate elements of services from previous years for the anniversary.

Armus, a 69-year-old Fairview, N.J., native is retired from Verizon Communications where he was director for finance until 2000. His late partner, Mark Goldfarb, died in 1999.

Armus lives in Arlington and enjoys music, volunteering, theater, motorcycles, meditation, reading and massage in his free time.

How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell? 

I came out to myself in 1979, then gradually came out to family and friends. It was no big deal to my family and my late partner’s family. We were both loved and accepted completely. The only question I got was, “Why did you wait so long to say it?”

Who’s your LGBT hero? 

Harvey Milk

What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?

The Eagle

Describe your dream wedding.

One with my dream man.

What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?

Social justice for everyone.

What historical outcome would you change? 

The Holocaust

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

Shortly after moving to the D.C. area, I was invited to the opening night party of the Paul Taylor Dance Company and met the lead male dancer, whom I had a crush on. I got so flabbergasted upon meeting him that I couldn’t speak and just babbled incoherently. He smiled at me, then walked away to meet others. From that time on I knew I would love it here in D.C.

On what do you insist?

Punctuality and honesty

What was your last Facebook post or Tweet? 

A snarky remark to a snarky friend who was stuck at an airport; something about check-in vs. chicken.

If your life were a book, what would the title be?

“He Did the Best He Could”

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

Nothing. Now if they found a pill that could make me lose weight and have big muscles, then we could talk.

What do you believe in beyond the physical world?

That the creative power of the universe made everyone of us to experience our lives to the fullest. That the spirit within us is a gift from that source that we must return in the same or better condition than when we received it. That if you look deeply into the eyes of another you can see that divine spirit within them as well of the reflection of your own spirit.

What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?

Don’t turn our friends and supporters into our enemies. Be grateful for whatever help they can provide. It’s OK to push for our rights, but don’t push so hard that someone gets hurt.

What would you walk across hot coals for?

To eliminate groundless hatred and bigotry.

What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?

That all gay men are limp wrested, effeminate queens; only some of us are that way.

What’s your favorite LGBT movie? 

Short Bus”

What’s the most overrated social custom?

People asking, “How are you?” when they really don’t care.

What trophy or prize do you most covet?

I don’t seek any prizes (other than the Publishers Clearing House Grand Prize.)  If someone says thank you or good job after I’ve done something, that’s great.

What do you wish you’d known at 18? 

That I was gay. When I look back, I recognize all the signs, but I was just very naive and oblivious to them in myself.

Why Washington?

I moved here with my job at the break up of the Bell System.

29
May
2013