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Queery: Holly Goldmann

Holly Goodmann, Trans Pride, gay news, Washington Blade

Holly Goodmann (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Holly Goldmann says she can’t stay serious for more than a few minutes at a time. With a world-weary quip, she’s off in a million directions.

While she likes being a board member at The Center, she says the meetings can be tedious.

“After an hour, yeah, I’m like — OK, let’s wrap it up here,” she says with a laugh.

Her work with Capital TransPride over the past three years got her noticed by The Center, whose staff was looking for trans representation on its board. She’s happy to serve but says she’s “really bad” at being secretary where taking minutes is required.

“I had no idea until recently that I had any talent for activism of any kind but apparently I’m good at bringing communities together,” she says. “I’m white, passable, over-glamorous yet not a drag queen. People love me — I can’t help it, that’s the reality.”

Capital TransPride is Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at National City Christian Church (5 Thomas Circle, N.W.). Guest Codie Leone, a big-time New York stylist, will speak and many other events are planned. Visit for a full schedule.

Goldmann, who freelances as an independent designer by day, says, “It’s really important for trans people to get under one roof and not really worry about pretense.”

“It’s not political and it really gives us a chance to talk about issues,” she says.

Goldmann, a native New Yorker who’s been in Washington “15 years, maybe more,” is vague on details. She admits only to being “between 30 and death” and says she transitioned “a really long time ago.”

She lives in Columbia Heights and enjoys fashion history, “golden age” Hollywood and high-end fashion collecting in her free time as well as dissecting the nuances of “Mommie Dearest.”

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

Since I was 18 but everyone knew.

Who’s your LGBT hero?

Holly Woodlawn

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

The old Ziegfelds/Secrets. I rarely go out any more.

Describe your dream wedding.

Never thought of it.

What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?

Preservation of society in general.

What historical outcome would you change?

WWII — but I may not have been born.

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

“AbFab” coming back a third time!

On what do you insist?

A concrete schedule and answers to questions in a reasonable time.

What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?

A picture of Little Edie and Big Edie for Mother’s Day.

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

“How I Gave Up on My Dream to Marry a Millionaire”

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

Right away? Nothing. I’d have to wait and see how it’s used.

What do you believe in beyond the physical world? 


What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?

Honestly the LGB need to start being more T accepting and stop making decisions on our behalf.

What would you walk across hot coals for?

To get loved ones who have passed away back.

What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?

Oh, there are far too many.

What’s your favorite LGBT movie?

“Some of My Best Friends Are”

What’s the most overrated social custom?

I still write thank you cards.

What trophy or prize do you most covet?

The Tony

What do you wish you’d known at 18?

To put myself on the 20-year wait list for a rent controlled apartment in New York City.

Why Washington?

Was bored and came to visit a friend. Never went back.


Will ‘land swap’ displace LGBT Center again?

Reeves Building, D.C. Center, gay news, Washington Blade

Reeves Building (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

As the D.C. LGBT Community Center gets ready to move into its new home in the Reeves Center municipal building at 14th and U Street, N.W. unconfirmed reports have surfaced that the city is considering turning the building over to a developer as part of a high stakes land swap.

According to an article in the local blog Greater Greater Washington, the Akridge development company would demolish the Reeves building under the terms of the land swap to make way for an upscale condominium and retail development project in the highly desirable U Street, N.W. corridor.

The city, in return, would obtain from Akridge vacant land it owns in the Buzzards Point section of Southwest Washington near the Anacostia River, which would become the site for a new stadium for the D.C. United Soccer team.

“I don’t know anything about it so I’m not going to comment at this time,” said LGBT Center President Michael Sessa, who earlier this year signed a 15-year lease for the Center’s rental of space in the Reeves building.

Although the city would most likely provide some compensation to the Center for the early termination of its lease, the Center would be forced to undergo another search for a home at a time when property values are rising sharply in the city.

Greater Greater Washington and other news outlets have reported that a land swap involving the Reeves Center and other older city buildings to facilitate the building of a soccer stadium was under discussion between city officials, Akridge, and D.C. United. But the news outlets have not identified their sources for the reports.

“We do not comment on anonymously sourced articles,” said Darrell Pressley, a spokesperson for the D.C. Department of General Services, which oversees city properties.

But Pressley added, “We are continuing our discussions with D.C. United about a stadium and we’re hopeful about their future in the District. Commenting beyond that is premature at this point.”


Queer Theatre Festival returns for second year

Theater, curtains, gay news, Washington Blade

(Photo by Andreas Praefcke via Wikimedia Commons)

The 2013 D.C. Queer Theatre Festival presents six short plays by award-winning playwrights beginning May 30, 31 and June 1 at Flashpoint Theatre (916 G St., NW).

The plays deal with challenges and joys that the LGBT community in D.C. experience. They range from campy comedies to deeper explorations of love and loss. The goal of the festival is to promote underrepresented voices as well as a diversity of artists. On the last day of the festival, a post-show panel will be held where leaders of area theaters and LGBT organizations discuss the plays and the challenges facing the LGBT community. The playwrights included the festival are David-Matthew Barnes, Marjorie Barnes, Marjorie Conn, Steven Korbar, Duncan Pflaster, Janis Holm, Mario Baldessari and Jon Jon Johnson.

Tickets are $16. Proceeds benefit the D.C. Center. For more information, visit


MidCity Dog Days Summer Sidewalk Sale

dog, gay news, Washington Blade

MidCity Dog Days is coming to 14th Street on Sunday and Monday. (Photo by iStock)

The 14th annual MidCity Dog Days Summer Sidewalk Sale is on Sunday and Monday along the 14th and U St. Corridors, N.W.

The event showcases the neighborhoods countless art galleries, music venues, restaurants and boutiques in a sidewalk sale. Some of the businesses involved include Som Records (1843 U St., N.W.), Treasury Vintage Clothing (1843 14th St., N.W.) and CakeLove (1506 U St., N.W.).

Businesses will be having sales events between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m., which coincides nicely with the OutWrite LGBT Book Festival at the D.C. Center (1318 U St., N.W.).

For more information, visit


LGBT Center will be fine, nightclub future uncertain

Ziegfeld's, Secrets, gay news, nightlife, Washington Blade

The D.C. LGBT Center and popular nightclub Ziegfeld’s/Secrets may be displaced by the Reeves Center announcement. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The quick and enthusiastic embrace of a tentative deal announced last Thursday by D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray to convey land to Major League Soccer’s D.C. United for team construction of a new stadium was notable. Seldom does a complex civic arrangement of such magnitude enjoy the level of immediate and broad-based support from the public, the media and city officials that followed.

In contrast, reaction by D.C. LGBT Community Center leadership was both unseemly and shortsighted. While a city was celebrating a major step forward in local economic development, the group publicly and parochially pilloried the mayor.

Once the drama subsided, however, the Center has managed to adopt a more circumspect and productive tone.

The group’s comportment was in response to news of the eventual termination of the community center’s recently acquired long-term lease at the Reeves Center at 14th and U streets. This was due to the plan to trade the property in a “land swap” allowing acquisition of a major portion of the stadium site.

The assurance of assistance by Gray was as expeditious as it was expected. At the outdoor news conference at the stadium site revealing the planned property exchange transactions, he indicated that city administrators would assist the Center in finding a suitable space at an appropriately located city building.

Sure, the news of a scheduled loss of the Center’s new storefront location came as an emotional disappointment. But denial had been employed in ignoring public speculation since spring that a deal to trade the city’s aging and broke-down behemoth of a building to a local development company in exchange for stadium site land it owns was potentially in the works.

Angered they would be required to relocate prior to the original lease expiration, out came the “victim card” from the top of the deck.

Yes, the disintegrating structure, derided by many as a “basket case” building blighting the nexus of the city’s most rapidly developing commercial corridors, would be demolished. If the stadium deal garners D.C. Council approval as expected, a large privately developed mixed-use housing and retail complex will replace it.

A multi-faceted process delaying the Center’s lease termination for approximately two-plus years allows the organization the option of continuing with renovation and move-in. The group must vacate its current location in less than 60 days.

The Center indicated in a statement on Friday evening that it was halting work on the space until better able to assess the situation following meetings this week with city officials on potential longer-range options – a sensible approach. The smart solution may even prove to be continuing with the renovation with usage through 2015 or later.

Revising an unrealistic desire for prime storefront retail space in an increasingly expensive commercial area, allowed by past temporary arrangements provided by developers with transitional space available for limited duration, is required.

It’s fair to say that multiple options are likely to be identified. The D.C. Center will be fine.

The same cannot be said of the dilemma awaiting Ziegfeld’s/Secrets nightclub, located proximate to the planned soccer stadium in Southwest Washington at Buzzard Point near Nationals Stadium. Its near-term prospects are much less certain.

Once ancillary development in the area immediately surrounding the footprint of the new stadium inevitably begins, the possibility that the venue will lose its lease due to property sale increases. The property owner is already fielding inquiries.

If displaced, relocation options are extraordinarily limited, if not insurmountable, due to restrictions enacted when it and similar businesses were previously displaced from the baseball stadium site. In fact, Ziegfeld’s/Secrets is the only sexually oriented gay business among the group still in operation.

Possessing one of a few strip club licenses, the venue is prohibited nearly everywhere, notably industrial sections of Northeast D.C. Restrictions on both the number and permissible locations within appropriately zoned areas preclude a solution.

That’s what the city needs to remedy.

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


Provocative pages

William Sterling Walker, OutWrite Book Fair, gay news, Washington Blade

Gay author William Sterling Walker will present his New Orleans-themed short story collection at the OutWrite Book Fair Saturday at 11 a.m. (Photo by Lenora Gim)

LGBT Book Fair
Today through Sunday
Starts Friday evening at 6:30 p.m.
D.C. Center for the LGBT Community
1318 U Street, N.W.
‘Women Write Gay Erotica’
Continues Saturday at the Reeves Center
2000 14th Street, N.W.
Ends Sunday with events starting at 10 a.m.
At the D.C. Center
Visit for full schedule and details

It would be a mistake to assume that all the authors appearing at this year’s OutWrite LGBT Book Fair are small-time writers who’ve all self-published their work.

Novelist Manil Suri, who will be presenting his adventure novel “The City of Devi,” had his first book “The Death of Vishnu” become a bestseller in several countries that has been translated into 27 languages. Poet Joseph Ross — like Suri, a teacher/professor — had his books published by Main Street Rag Publishing based in Charlotte, N.C., and even though William Sterling Walker’s short story collection “Desire: Tales of New Orleans,” is his first book, it was published by Chelsea Station Editions (which will exhibit at this year’s fair) and his stories have appeared in several magazines and anthologies.

“We got a lot of submissions from folks who want to come read so it’s actually become quite competitive,” says David Mariner, director of the DC Center, which produces the fair, now in its third year. “We were lucky to have [lesbian writer] Julie Enszer on the planning committee this year and she was … very valuable in the process.”

Mariner says in previous years the readings typically attract 30 or 40 people at any given time with a “couple hundred” visiting the fair altogether. It kicks off tonight and runs through Sunday. Saturday the events will be in the atrium at the Reeves Building. Tonight and Sunday, readings will take place at the Center’s current location on U Street. Mariner says the events will not be affected by last week’s announcement about changes to the Reeves Building’s fate, where the Center had been planning to move permanently.

Mariner says “the majority” of this year’s authors have had their work published by traditional publishers but he says that’s less a significant distinction than it may have been several years ago as the industry is changing rapidly.

“It’s a little harder to say now who meets that criteria because the lines have really blurred,” Mariner says. “In fact, that’s one discussion we’re going to have at the fair.”

Ross has been writing poetry since college about 20 years ago. The D.C. resident says his poetry book “Gospel of Dust,” which came out in July, touches on everything from the notion of various riots being somewhat ritualistic in nature and the sometimes unexpected places religious elements are found in everyday life such as in the lives of people like Rosa Parks or Matthew Shepard and even in the work of local graffiti artists.

Joseph Ross, OutWrite Book Fair, gay news, Washington Blade

Joseph Ross will read from his poetry collection at 3 p.m. (Ross photo by Ted Schroll)

“Poetry has the power to move us both emotionally and intellectually,” Ross says. “No one says, ‘Would you read an essay at our wedding?’ It’s there in our important moments — births, deaths, marriages, people turn to poetry. It’s not above anything else, but it moves us in ways other genres can’t.”

Suri’s latest book, which came out in February from Bloomsbury, tells an adventure story of a woman searching Bombay/Mumbai (Suri’s native land where all his books are set) for her missing husband with — unbeknownst to her — a gay guy who had been her husband’s lover. Suri says the book, which he spent about 12 years working on off and on, offers a snapshot look at gay life in India.

“You see some of that in the characters,” he says. “Initially it was very oriented toward anonymous sex and been sort of 10 or 20 years behind the U.S. but now you see more liberal attitudes and people are thinking about settling down and having relationships and … you see how people treat Jaz and Karun as a couple even though they don’t know they’re together explicitly.”

Walker says the nine short stories in his book “Desire: Tales of New Orleans” all pertain to the title city in some way and have gay themes.

“I’m gay and I have always considered myself as having a gay audience,” he says. “I’ve always felt that way. I consider myself a gay writer with gay sensibilities.”

He says it’s important for gay writers to have spaces such as the OutWrite festival.

“There are very few venues left for gay books,” he says. “There are very few gay bookstores left and other independent bookstores are going away too. … I think it’s very important for writers and readers to connect and to do so on the face-to-face level and this is one way to do it.”

Mariner agrees.

“The overarching message of all of our arts programming is that it’s very powerful and moving and affirming when we hear our own stories through our own voices in our own spaces,” he says. “It’s a powerful and important part of building our community.”


MOVA hosts reception for Meth recovery group

Mova, gay news, Washington Blade, crystal meth working group, DC LGBT Community Center

Mova hosts the 8th anniversary reception for the Crystal Meth Working Group — a project of the D.C. LBGT Community Center — this Tuesday. (Washington Blade file photo by Pete Exis)

MOVA Lounge (2204 14th St., N.W.) hosts a reception for the Crystal Meth Working Group to celebrate the organization’s eighth anniversary on Tuesday from 5-8 p.m.

The Crystal Meth Working Group, part of the D.C. Center, addresses issues of methamphetamine addiction and recovery within the D.C. LGBT community. The group provides education, outreach and prevention advocacy.

Guests will give a $10 donation to the Crystal Meth Working Group to enter. Free champagne will be served from 5-6 p.m., and MOVA will serve happy hour-priced drinks until 8.

For more information, visit


Mark your calendar

HRC, Human Rights Campaign, gay news, Washington Blade

Fall events of interest to the LGBT community include the Human Rights Campaign National Dinner. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Some fall events don’t fit in our other fall arts categories. Here are a few to note.

On Sept. 20, the D.C. Center has its fall reception at 6:30 p.m. at the Reeves Center (2000 14th Street, N.W.). Tickets are $75. Visit for details.

On Sept. 21, Hope D.C., a men’s HIV-positive social group, has its 25th anniversary at 7 p.m. a private residence in Arlington. For details, call 202-466-5783 or visit

Sept. 27 is National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Details are at or

On Sept. 28, the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club has its 37th anniversary Leadership Awards Reception at Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar (223 Pennsylvania Ave. S.E.). Tickets are available at or at the door.

Sept. 28 is also Gay Day at Hillwood Estate (4155 Linnean Ave., N.W.) from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tickets are $15. Visit for details.

If you happen to be in Los Angeles that weekend, the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force has its 40th anniversary event on Sept. 29 at 11 a.m. at Sportmen’s Lodge (12833 Ventura Bouevard, Studio City, Calif.). Tickets are $125. Visit for details.

On Oct. 5, Human Rights Campaign has its national dinner at the Convention Center (801 Mt. Vernon P., N.W.). It’s sold out but a waiting list is available at

Oct. 11 is National Coming Out Day. There’s a Facebook page devoted to it.

On Oct. 14, Us Helping Us has its 25th anniversary awards event (“A Passion for Living”  at 6 p.m. at Arena Stage (1101 6th Street, S.W.). Actress/singer Jennifer Holliday will be honored. Tickets are $150. Visit for details.

Oct. 15 is National Latino HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Details are at

Oct. 24 is the Blade’s Best of Gay D.C. party/awards reception at Huxley (1730 M Street, N.W.). Details pending.

Oct. 26 is AIDS Walk Washington. Visit for details or to register.

Oct. 29 is the High Heel Race on 17th Street, N.W. A Facebook page has details.

Nov. 20 is Transgender Day of Remembrance. Details pending on the Washington event.


Queery: Mae Aquene Sellers

Mae Sellers, gay news, Washington Blade

Mae Sellers (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Mae Aquene Sellers came to Washington to study at Gallaudet University and stayed after she graduated two years ago.

Working as an artist and graphic designer for various local and national organizations and individuals, the 43-year-old Austin, Texas native also considers herself a feminist. Deaf herself, she also volunteers extensively with the metro area’s deaf, hard of hearing and deaf/blind community. She’s in the process of applying for graduate school.

Sellers recently finished work on a community needs assessment project for the LGBT deaf local community. Started in October 2011, the project was initiated by the D.C. Center and Brother Help Thyself, which provided a grant. She and Alex Jackson-Nelson spent many months exploring the basic issue of “What are the strengths and needs of the deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind LGBT community in the D.C. metro area?” They present their findings this evening at the Ole Jim Alumni House at Gallaudet University at 5:15 p.m. The presentation will last about one hour with entertainment to follow. The program is open to the public. Visit for details.

Sellers says the research data will “inform and impact community engagement and focus action toward community improvement.”

Researchers hope to “create a platform for policy change and development” with the findings.

Sellers also works as an ASL interpreter and coach.

She’s single and lives in Washington. She enjoys art, social activities, spirituality, dance and nature exploration in her free time.

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

I knew I was born gay as early as 16 and at that time I knew that I was born this way but I wasn’t exposed to the queer community then and I wasn’t sure if I would be accepted at my school. However, I came out and everyone accepted me. The hardest person to tell was my family, my dad, mom and sister.

Who’s your LGBT hero?

Everyone who is LGBTQ is my LGBTQ hero.

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

Phase 1 on 8th street S.E., it’s my best nightspot since they provide awesome drag king shows. They have some deaf performances and always provide an ASL interpreter and have the best kamikaze shots in town. I am inspired by Phase 1 for so deeply accepting and involving the deaf community. It’s a beautiful collaboration and big thanks to many people, including Stephanie Johnson (Butta) for making this happen.

Describe your dream wedding.

I’m not a wedding person but when I get married I want a simple ceremony with just me, my womyn and our officiant. Then I want to have a big celebration with our community so we can dance our asses off.

What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?

I am passionate about domestic violence and sexual assault education and prevention as well as mental health advocacy. I’d like to set up an art therapy program for deaf youth, deaf folks in recovery and survivors where they could create art and then have their art displayed in a public gallery.

Which historical outcome would you change?

I believe that the past teaches us important lessons to encourage us to grow. I don’t use the word “history” because I feel strongly that this word does not encompass the female experience.

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

Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” Maybe you’re surprised because I’m deaf, but I am able to hear the beats, not the words. I went to Texas School for the Deaf in Austin, Texas and we all loved to watch that video and we all learned the whole dance and performed it at our senior night. It was a bit out of control briefly as a ton of students in the audience were inspired and ran onto the stage and danced with us. It was awesome and definitely memorable.

On what do you insist?

Respect with love and acceptance. Treat everyone equally.

What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?

The “B Sign” Gallaudet University video: the video is dedicated to LGBTQ survivors. It’s about bullying on campus amongst LGBTQ students/people and I was fortunate to be involved in the making of this video.

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

“Warped Art Mind”

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

I love who I am. Nothing I want to change.

What do you believe in beyond the physical world? 

I believe in a deep spiritual world and that everything happens for a reason.

What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?

Be yourself and empower others with love.

What would you walk across hot coals for?

Peace and love.

What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?

People think I am butch just because I look and dress this way. I don’t identify as butch and when people tell me I’m butch I say that I dress this way because I am an artist.

What’s your favorite LGBT movie?


What’s the most overrated social custom?

Deaf LGBT coffee gatherings

What trophy or prize do you most covet?

Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation Award, Gallaudet University, Washington D.C., April 2011; Liberace Award for Excellence, Art Department, Gallaudet University, Washington, DC, April 2011

What do you wish you’d known at 18?

I don’t wish I knew anything different at age 18 because I had to learn from my experiences in order to grow from them.

Why Washington?

I came here to attend Gallaudet University and I’ve been living here for the past two years since graduation. The deaf and queer communities here are awesome and I value and enjoy the social opportunities and support systems.


Don’t rattle the cage

panda, National Zoo, gay news, Washington Blade

(Photo by Steve via Wikimedia)

Gay Day at the Zoo takes place this Saturday at the National Zoo (3001 Connecticut Ave.) beginning at 10 a.m. when the zoo opens.

There is no charge to participate in the day and there are no special programs planned, it is simply a fun day at the zoo and a chance for the LGBT community to mingle and connect. Participants are buying T-shirts to wear to the event. The D.C. Center will be selling T-shirts during its regular business hours. They cannot sell the shirts inside the zoo. If attendees would like a JR.’s version of the shirt, they can go the back bar of JR.’s.

For information about the day or shirts, visit