Gay What ?
Rest of site back up shortly!

Queery: Kelly Moss Southall

Kelly Moss Southall,The Dana Tai Soon Burgess, dance, gay news, Washington Blade

Kelly Moss Southall (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

When Kelly Moss Southall came to D.C. back in 2006, he started rather modestly.

The 31-year-old Chillicothe, Ohio resident had just finished college at Ohio University and came to the District to accept what was essentially a part-time position with the Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company.

Though he would eventually get a master’s degree and teach dance at George Washington University as well as work a “day job” in real estate, the allure of joining Burgess was enough to get him here.

“I just kind of thought I should dance now while I can and the rest is really history,” the company’s associate artistic director says. “Dana has a real gift for seeing potential in people and honing in on other skills that might be useful, so I’ve been able to do a lot of things with costume design, lighting design and sets that’s overall felt very artistically satisfying.”

Tonight (Friday) and Saturday, the company will present “Four By Burgess,” at the Kennedy Center (2700 F St., N.W.) to celebrate its 22nd season. Tickets are $21-35. Visit kennedy-center.org for details. The company, which critics have called a “national dance treasure,” also has an exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery through July. Visit dtsbdc.org for details.

Southall is in the midst of planning a wedding with his partner, Sergio Herrera. They live in Brookland with two cats and a dog and also run Scout Properties, a residential real estate company, together. Southall enjoys decorating, gardening, shopping, dancing and playing the piano and accordion in his free time.

 

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

I came out the summer between my senior year of high school and first year of college. The first person I told was my sister. We were driving home from a family event on the Fourth of July. In a way she was the hardest to tell, simply because she was the first, but her reaction was so supportive and joyful that any awkward feelings I had were quickly brushed aside.

 

Who’s your LGBT hero?

My good friend Terry Penrod. At a time when I was trying to figure out my future plans beyond college, it was great to have a friend/mentor who taught me about gay culture, history, dating and more.

 

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

Wonderland Ballroom in Columbia Heights

 

Describe your dream wedding.

One that I don’t have to plan! Sergio and I have been planning our wedding since he proposed last June. There have been many variations but nothing is set as of yet. I want a private ceremony and a big party for friends and family. Sounds easy? Trust me, it’s not.

 

What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?

My top two are animal cruelty and research for non-fossil fuel energy sources.

 

What historical outcome would you change?

Temporal Prime Directive! I wouldn’t change any historical outcome.

 

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

“Wardrobe malfunction” during the halftime show at Super Bowl XXXVIII is the first moment that comes to mind.

 

On what do you insist?

The house must be spotless before company arrives!

 

What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?

A flier for our Kennedy Center performance this weekend.

 

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

“The Life & Times of Mr. Kelly”

 

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

I would probably read about it on Facebook, think it’s a post by The Onion and continue scrolling down.

 

What do you believe in beyond the physical world?

After the lights go out, the show’s over, so make it count!

 

What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?

Keep up the amazing work!

 

What would you walk across hot coals for?

A cure for cancer, to save a member of my family from injury or death, if my friends dared me to or to see how it felt.

 

What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?

None. Stereotypes exist because it is in our nature to identify, compare and categorize.

What’s your favorite LGBT movie?

Oh there are so many! I’ll go with classics like “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar,” “The Birdcage,” “Flawless,” “Hedwig & the Angry Inch” and “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Dessert.”

 

What’s the most overrated social custom?

Punctuality

 

What trophy or prize do you most covet?

A small collection of items from my mom’s father. He passed away before I was born, so I never had the opportunity to know him. I have two sets of cufflinks, a tie bar and his pearl-inlayed pocketknife.

 

What do you wish you’d known at 18?

Hard to say. I don’t have any regrets.

 

Why Washington?

After graduating from college in 2006, I went to Pittsburgh to audition for a dance company (I ended up not getting the job). While I was there I met Jan Tievsky, the board president for Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company. She noticed my potential and mentioned Dana’s company. When the company came back from its tour to Peru, Dana gave me a call and invited me down from Ohio to audition. After three days of dancing with the company, he offered me a position and I never left.

Kelly Moss Southall,The Dana Tai Soon Burgess, dance, gay news, Washington Blade

Kelly Moss Southall (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

04
Feb
2014

Pink Dollars

28
Feb
2014

In the Future, You Will Build Your City

fundrise

(Photo courtesy of Fundrise)

PAID ADVERTORIAL

By Brandon Jenkins, Co-Founder, Fundrise

Take a moment to imagine yourself on the sidewalk. Picture the buildings surrounding you. Now, answer this: Who owns each building? Who profits from the places you go to?

The answer: not you, and probably not anyone you know.

In 2012, we were looking to purchase a worn-down building in an up-and-coming area of Washington, DC — H Street NE. We went out to raise money from investors across town and in New York, most of whom had never heard of and never been to the neighborhood. The investment funds and wealth advisors looked at us confused when we told them what we were doing.

Our friends and neighbors, on the other hand, thought it was amazing. They understood the opportunity and our vision, because it was their vision, too. The community, the customer and the local residents were excited about what we were doing, but the investors didn’t know what we were talking about.

At that time, only high net-worth, accredited investors were allowed to invest in these types of commercial real estate projects, while the other 97% of the population was excluded. As a citizen of Anytown, USA, it was easier to invest in a Japanese manufacturing company than to invest across the street.

So, we started Fundrise with a simple goal: give everyone the opportunity to invest in real estate.

This was before crowdfunding or the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act were on the table, and everyone we spoke to told us that our idea was impossible.

Well, they were wrong. It is possible.

After nearly a year of working with lawyers and the Securities and Exchange Commission, we got there. We raised $325,000 from 175 local residents who believed in their community and wanted to own part of a building in their neighborhood.

Then we did it again and raised $350,000 from 361 investors. Then again. The first time it took us three months to raise the money. Our most recent public offering, 1539 7th Street NW in Shaw, raised over $100,000 in two hours.

Now we’ve had nearly 1,000 investors invest over $10 million in 19 deals in cities like Austin, Indianapolis, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, DC and we have plans to make it to even more cities soon.

It’s caught on because it’s intuitive. It makes sense.

Imagine if you invested in your neighborhood. You could transform vacant buildings in your city. You could actually see your money at work and own something tangible. One of our $100 investors showed off the H Street property building to his mom and dad when they came to town. That’s powerful.

So, what would you build? A bookstore? New restaurants? More day care centers? Affordable housing? What would it be like to live in a city you built?

With Fundrise, everyone will be able to find out.

04
Apr
2014

Want to stay local?

champagne, 2013, gay news, Washington Blade

(Photo by Bigstock)

To help you pick the perfect gift for your sweetie this Valentine’s Day, here’s our list of fun and frisky ideas that you can pick up locally.

Champagne tasting

 

Cork Market (1805 14th St., N.W.) holds champagne tasting the evening of Feb. 14. Sample champagne while enjoying bite-sized treats prepared by Cork’s own chef.  If you want to re-create a tasting of your own for your loved one, purchase a bottle of sparking rosé champagne ($26-45) and pair with various jams, breads and chocolates all available for purchase at Cork. Champagne tasting requires a reservation. (corkdc.com)

 

Flowers on 14th

 

Flowers are a classic gift for Valentine’s Day. Gay-owned Flowers on 14th offers high-quality flower arrangements for that special day. Their popular Valentine’s bouquet “Always True” ($53.99) combines red roses and carnations with fuchsia mini carnations and greens in a clear vase. They also provide custom arrangements and decorations to suit your partner’s individual taste. (flowerson14th.com)

 

(Photo courtesy of I. Gorman)

(Photo courtesy of I. Gorman)

I. Gorman jewelry

 

The perfect piece of jewelry can make a Valentine’s Day to remember. I. Gorman Jewelers (1133 20th St., N.W.) holds a vast collection of one-of-a-kind jewelry in all styles. Their Margoni aquamarine ring ($895) is an attention-grabbing statement piece for an extra spark on your sweetheart’s hand. Or choose more classic bracelets, cufflinks and bands. (igorman.com)

 

Intimate fun

 

Spark your partner’s imagination with a gift from Secret Pleasures Boutique (1510 U St., N.W.). From Naughty Bubbles bubble bath ($18) to Karma Sutra Edible Honeysuckle Dust ($15), there is sure to be something to fuel you and your partner’s adventurous spirit.

 

Couples’ massage

 

TuSuva Body and Skincare (2701 Ontario Rd., N.W.) offers couples’ massages ($160-300) for those that want to relax together. Choose from their signature or deep tissue massages for 60 or 90 minutes. Through Feb. 23, the couples’ massage includes complimentary champagne and chocolates. If you want to get your other half a gift just for him or her, individual massages are also available for a half hour to 90 minutes in a variety of massage types. ($50-150; tusuva.com.)

 

Greeting card

Greeting card

Gay greeting cards

 

With Lambda Rising and Pulp now gone, it can be harder to find old-fashioned gay greeting cards in D.C. But never underestimate the power of a simple card. Poder Cards (must be ordered) provides cards that cater to the LGBT community and multi-ethnic couples and families. Find a card that expresses your love in a sweet and simplistic way. Use code SHIP for free shipping. ($4.95; podercards.com)

 

Want more ideas for Valentine’s Day? Here is our list of gifts that you can order online

07
Feb
2014

Marriage: It’s more (and less) than you think

will, gay news, Washington Blade

In most states, if you die without a Will and you are married and that marriage is recognized, your spouse will inherit a share of your estate.

By LAWRENCE S. JACOBS

In the eight months since the fall of the Defense of Marriage Act, I have witnessed a huge rush to marriage among friends, clients and our community at large. Many of those people dramatically underestimate the changes that marriage might bring to their lives, while at the same time being lulled into a false sense of security that marriage will solve every potential legal issue that comes along. Of course, it won’t.

Hundreds and hundreds of benefits accrue to married couples. Yet, many of those benefits are misunderstood and do not come automatically. For example, the right to own real estate as a married couple does not and cannot happen unless the deed to that property includes that right. Many of my clients own their homes as joint with right of survivorship. But married couples can hold real estate as tenants by the entirety, which is much better. Far too many of my clients live in a home that is only owned by one of them. If something happens to that homeowner, the other one may be literally out on the street. Not surprisingly, we re-deed many of our clients’ homes, which is neither difficult nor expensive. Where the transfer of title may be impractical or undesirable, we create Revocable Trusts for the purpose of owning real estate.

Wills are another area where marriage has unexpected impacts. In most states, if you die without a Will and you are married and that marriage is recognized, your spouse will inherit a share of your estate. The amount of that share varies and can be as low as one-third. A properly drafted and signed Will can override those rules. For couples with children, the default rules can be even more problematic because minors cannot inherit money directly, either under a Will or because they were named as the beneficiary of a life insurance or retirement account. Worse yet, no matter how much money you leave, they will likely get it all in a single payment on their 18th birthday. Wills can and frequently do establish distribution schemes that make much more sense.

Marriage only solves problems for couples when both of them are healthy and alive.  If either of those should become untrue, then the marriage may count for little or nothing. If your spouse becomes incapacitated, you may have medical decision-making rights, but not the right to manage their separate assets.  That is usually accomplished by general durable power of attorney. Otherwise a guardianship petition will be required, which are typically expensive and time-consuming.  If your spouse dies before you, and you die later without a will, your assets will all be distributed to certain family members with parents typically first in line, regardless of whether that makes sense.

Marriage equality also brings with it the trials and tribulations that our straight counterparts have endured for generations. If you break up in the future, the only way to end that legal relationship is through a divorce. While you are still married, you cannot change your Will to completely disinherit your spouse. If you get divorced, the court will determine how to divide your assets. The court may also order you to pay alimony to your former spouse.  However, all of these potentially adverse outcomes can be changed in a properly drafted prenuptial (and sometimes post-nuptial) agreement. A word of caution: do not call a lawyer the week before your marriage for a pre-nup. I typically advise my clients to allow six to eight weeks.

None of this is intended to discourage anyone from getting married. I am a firm believer in that institution and took the plunge myself in 2009. Rather, I view my job as educating people on the issues, so that they can then make good decisions.

Larry Jacobs has helped hundreds of same-sex couples in the Washington area protect their assets and loved ones through partnership planning. He is a partner at McMillan Metro, P.C. and has practiced law for 39 years. He is admitted to the bar in Maryland, Virginia and D.C. You can learn more about Larry and his practice at PartnerPlanning.com.

28
Feb
2014

A minister’s fresh start

Allyson Abrams, gay news, Washington Blade

Bishop Allyson Abrams fled Detroit after coming out as a lesbian minister. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Bishop Allyson Abrams is no stranger to challenge. When her secret threatened to come out in her Detroit church — that she was a lesbian married to a woman — she knew she had to act fast to save her job and livelihood. Now, several months and one resignation later, Abrams is starting over by opening a new church in Silver Spring, Md.

Abrams, originally from Alabama, grew up in the church with her mother, grandmother and grandfather all very involved. She remembers sitting in the back of the church at around age 8 and having a conversation with God in which she felt he was telling her to become involved in ministry.

After receiving her bachelor’s of science in mechanical engineering at Howard University, she followed that calling to a seminary in Ohio. While there, one of her favorite professors challenged her that scripture prohibits homosexuality.

“I had so much respect for my professor so I went back and looked at the scripture,” Abrams says. “That began my journey to question homosexuality. God began to reveal to me what scripture meant. It was like a light bulb going off. We can’t be so religious that we hurt and wrong people.”

Abrams, who before marrying her wife had been married to a man and had children, began to question her sexuality after this revelation. She went on to pastor at one church in Detroit for seven years. Then, she moved on to Zion Progress Baptist Church becoming its first female pastor. During that time, Abrams married her wife, Diana Williams, in Iowa, though she declines to go into details about exactly when they were married or to what degree she intended to keep her marriage hidden.

Word eventually traveled around that Abrams had married a woman and some of her friends began to receive phone calls and text messages asking if it was true. Abrams was afraid that her church would hear about it from someone else and decided to tell the deacons of her church. They urged her to share the news with the congregation.

During a sermon on the love of Christ, Abrams disclosed to her church that she was a lesbian and married to a woman.

“I wasn’t sure at all what people would say or feel,” Abrams says. Some were supportive of me. I just needed to be honest with them and have them hear it from me and not somebody else.”

Abrams says she felt freedom after revealing her secret.

“There’s a certain joy that you have that you can’t share with the congregation because of what the church says about it. I thought about it all the time.”

After five years with the church, Abrams felt it best to resign. She says she did not feel coerced into stepping down, only that she felt it was the best decision at the time.

She and her wife wanted to move to a marriage equality state where there were groups moving the LGBT movement forward. Both having connections to the D.C. area, they decided Maryland was a good fit.

Her new church, Empowerment Liberation Cathedral (633 Sligo Ave., Silver Spring, Md.), opens in May. It’s conceived as a welcoming and affirming Baptist church that she is starting with support from her wife. Abrams has needed additional financial support and has been holding fundraisers including concerts with other fellowships asking for donations.

“We welcome and affirm every race, gender, sexuality and disability,” Abrams says. “We want to give them a safe space, teach principles and to pour into them God’s love. People say it’s amazing to hear a pastor say that God loves us the way we are. I’m always going to make sure God knows them.”

Rev. Charles Christian Adams of Hartford Memorial Church in Detroit is a colleague of Abrams. He believes her new church will be a success.

“She’s conscientious and preaches with an open heart. There’s not a lot of love in churches. Any church she pastors will have that trademark,” he says.

Empowerment Liberation Cathedral also offers virtual membership. Abrams says she received lots of requests for her to preach all over the country after her story came out. Unable to travel all over and meet everyone’s requests, she decided to create a virtual membership for her church so that anyone can hear her preach.

“It’s very difficult still. All I worked hard for is over. It’s like being back at the beginning. It’s hard as a woman to get to the top level. I’m kind of kicked to the curb. Now I’m reaching out for support. I’m still the same preacher and the same person. I’m asking the Maryland LGBT community for support.”

10
Apr
2014

Queery: Cass Johnson

Cass Johnson, gay news, Washington Blade

Cass Johnson (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

About 15 years ago, a friend of Cass Johnson’s convinced him to join a pottery class.

“He dropped out after five or six weeks, but I was hooked,” Johnson says. “I just kept on taking classes.”

On Jan. 28, Johnson saw his dream come true when he opened District Clay, a new 2,000-square-foot ceramic and pottery studio in D.C.’s Brookland neighborhood (2414 Douglas Ave., N.E.). Johnson says it’s the first new ceramic teaching studio to open in D.C. in 20 years. Classes are offered in sculpture, tile and more and the space includes several kilns, wheels and other pottery accoutrements. Classes will be offered during the day, evenings and weekends. A discount is being offered this month in relation to the grand opening (details at districtclay.com).

Johnson says he sensed a demand when he realized other studios in the city frequently were full.

“There is something almost soulful about turning a lump of clay into an elegant vase or mug,” the 54-year-old gay Redondo Beach, Calif., native says. “If you think about it, there are not many opportunities to make something with your own hands. I find it a very relaxing atmosphere, one where the outside world just fades away.”

Johnson came to Washington 24 years ago and worked as a lobbyist. He and husband, Matt, live in Woodley Park. He enjoys gardening, bicycling, dog walking, reading, bread making and, of course, pottery, in his free time.

 

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

I have been out since I was 18. The hardest person to tell was my mother, who broke down and cried. She thought I would not have a happy life.  In contrast, my Dad was great and very supportive.

 

Who’s your LGBT hero? 

Harvey Milk, because of his passion.

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

This is going to date me but it has got to be Tracks from way back when. I remember a time when I couldn’t imagine not going to Tracks on a weekend.

 

Describe your dream wedding. 

My wedding was my dream wedding. Matt and I got married in Ptown and honestly a number of people said it was their favorite wedding too. We sent people on a treasure hunt, I made tea bowls for everyone and we gave them out dressed in kimonos and then we had a lovely and tearful wedding ceremony at the Red Roof Inn. Wouldn’t do anything different except stopping all the rain that weekend.

 

What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about? 

I love making pots. That’s why I opened District Clay.

 

What historical outcome would you change? 

I’d make it so that Al Gore officially beat George Bush. Then we would not have had Iraq or a gay bashing White House.

 

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

Cher in Las Vegas

 

On what do you insist? 

Being considerate.

 

What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?

About opening District Clay!

 

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

“What a Wonderful World It Is”

 

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

Encourage more people to become gay.

 

What do you believe in beyond the physical world? 

I believe that there is a life force that is beyond the physical world and we will discover what it is when we get there.

 

What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?

Keep charging.

 

What would you walk across hot coals for? 

My partner Matt. We have been in love since our second date and have never had a bad day. It sounds impossible but it’s true. It is miraculous for me.

 

What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?  

That gay men have to be effeminate.

What’s your favorite LGBT movie? 

“Milk.” Great political movie.

 

What’s the most overrated social custom? 

I don’t know what the most overrated custom is but the most underrated is hugging.  People should hug more.

 

What trophy or prize do you most covet? 

I would love to have a piece of my pottery in a major museum collection.

 

What do you wish you’d known at 18? 

I wish I had started doing pottery at 18 rather than at 40. At 18, I had no real idea what I wanted to do.

 

Why Washington? 

I came here to get involved in public policy. I had no idea at the time what a great city Washington is. Coming from L.A., where you had to drive everywhere, to Washington, a city of real neighborhoods, was mind blowing in a very positive way.

12
Feb
2014

Queery: DC Allen

DC Allen, Crew Club, gay news, Washington Blade

DC Allen (Washington Blade file photo by Pete Exis)

Things will be a little different at the Crew Club (1321 14th St., N.W.) on Sunday. From 2-6 p.m., owner DC Allen is hosting a birthday party. Gay porn star Matthew Rush will be on hand. It’s open to the public.

Allen, a 58-year-old Boston native, has been in D.C. since 1990 after spending the ‘80s in New York.

He and husband Ken Flick live on 17th Street near Dupont Circle with their dog, Toad. Allen enjoys reading, community activism, working out, cooking and traveling in his free time.

Find the Crew Club on Facebook or visit thecrewclub.co for details.

 

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

Since 1979. My stepfather who was not gay friendly.

 

Who’s your LGBT hero?

Frank Kameny for his long-term activism.

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

The Crew Club, of course!

 

Describe your dream wedding.

Surrounded by family and friends, in the District Courthouse with fake flowers on a plastic trellis. We did it in October 2012!

 

What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?

The little children in the U.S. Congress playing their childish games.

 

What historical outcome would you change?

The U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Windsor case would apply to all states, not just the federal government.

 

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

The first time I saw “The Book of Mormon” on Broadway. The irreverence and truth was spectacular!

 

On what do you insist?

That we as a community never put up with bullies.

 

What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?

I posted my birthday party at the Crew Club that I’m throwing on Sunday. I also posted thank yous to everyone who wished me happy birthday.

 

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

“Whoremaster to Weenie Waggers”

 

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

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. I would stay the same delightful homosexual that I am today.

 

What do you believe in beyond the physical world?

A spiritual existence and a power greater than myself.

 

What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?

Never forget that we are not heterosexuals.

 

What would you walk across hot coals for?

Complete equality.

 

What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?

We are not all 20-year-old muscle bunnies.

 

What’s your favorite LGBT movie?

“Kinky Boots”

 

What’s the most overrated social custom?

There are no overrated social customs.

 

What trophy or prize do you most covet?

I was lucky enough to receive the Business Leader of the Year Award in 2012 from the Capitol Area Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. That was and is the award I most coveted because it recognized all of the positive things I’ve tried to do in the D.C. gay community.

 

What do you wish you’d known at 18?

Floss more, eat less.

 

Why Washington?

I had family in the area. Also, Washington has the highest percentage of master’s degrees per workforce in the world. I like a bright, driven population around me.

05
Mar
2014

QUEERY: Joshua Morgan

Joshua Morgan, No Rules Theatre, gay news, Washington Blade

Joshua Morgan (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Joshua Morgan, an actor who’s been in the region for four years, has been named the first-ever executive director of No Rules Theatre Co., an outfit with dual headquarters in Winston-Salem, N.C., and Arlington, Va.

Board chair Violet Jacobson credits Morgan with a “major transition in the past year,” including a grant from the Winston-Salem Foundation that enabled the company to create the new position. It also moved in with Signature Theatre, raised significant amounts during a November campaign and kicked off a “terrific year of shows.”

“All [occurred] under the visionary leadership of Joshua,” she says. “No Rules Theatre Co. is poised for major success.”

Morgan, a University of North Carolina School of the Arts graduate, moved to Washington from New York and has performed at Woolly Mammoth, Signature, Arena and several other established companies in the D.C. area. As a director, he helmed sold-out productions of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” for No Rules in both North Carolina and Washington and received solid reviews for his work on Neil LaBute’s “Some Girl(s)” and Andrew Hinderaker’s “Suicide.”

Morgan was born in England and raised in Los Angeles and North Carolina. He’s in a relationship with Louis Phillips and lives in Eastern Market. He enjoys cooking, yoga and tennis in his free time.

 

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

I came out my freshman year of college. I think I had the most difficult time telling the rest of my acting class because we were so close and I had been lying to them for a while before coming out. I was embarrassed.

 

Who’s your LGBT hero?

John Cameron Mitchell

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

Ugh. I’m a morning person. So — Washington’s best morningspot? Tidal Basin.

 

Describe your dream wedding.

My best friend Farrell has planned three for me. One will be on an organic farm, one will be on a boat and one will be in a theater with a full show as part of the ceremony. Hopefully I don’t have three weddings.

 

What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?

Eating well! We have been duped in America into eating crap and it’s slowly killing us. We have to fight for good food.

 

What historical outcome would you change?

Electing George W. Bush.

 

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

Kurt Cobain dying. I was young, but my whole family was very upset.

 

On what do you insist?

Don’t do business with me on Facebook!

 

What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?

I posted a picture of Louie and me in Rehoboth Beach.

 

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

“If you’re not behind, where are you? The Joshua Morgan Story”

 

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

Scoff

 

What do you believe in beyond the physical world? 

I consider myself a spiritual person and definitely believe in the afterlife and reincarnation.

 

What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?

Use the younger generation to create change! They’re incredibly open minded and will shape the future of our community.

 

What would you walk across hot coals for?

Louie

 

What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?

I’m not every girl’s pet.

 

What’s your favorite LGBT movie?

“The First Wives Club.” That’s basically an LGBT movie at this point.

 

What’s the most overrated social custom? 

Why can’t I have my elbows on the table when I eat?

 

What trophy or prize do you most covet?

I’m proud of the recognition from the Helen Hayes for No Rules as the outstanding emerging theatre company back in 2012. That meant a lot to me.

 

What do you wish you’d known at 18?

Start saving money!

 

Why Washington?

I love how embracing this arts community is. I think because the city is so transient, it’s open to new talent, which his very exciting for me and the young people I work with. It doesn’t hold on to preconceived notions as much, which I love.

16
Apr
2014

Doin’ it our way

Lou Ann Sandstrom, Kathleen Kutschenreuter, Foundry United Methodist Church, same-sex weddings, wedding, same-sex marriage, gay marriage, marriage equality, gay news, Washington Blade

Lou Ann Sandstrom, left, and Kathleen Kutschenreuter at their wedding recessional at Foundry United Methodist Church on Sept. 28, 2013. (Photo by Paul Morse Photography; courtesy the couple)

Like the couples themselves, same-sex weddings come in all shapes and sizes.

We got to know three local couples that each went about it in different ways.

Kevin Anthony Rowe, 31, married Will Shreve, 28, last Sept. 19 at the Jefferson Memorial. They kept it “small and quick” so they could tie the knot before Shreve left for the Middle East on Christmas Day for his deployment with the U.S. Navy.

Greg Alexander, 43, married his partner of 13 years, Paul K. Williams, 47, on Jan. 31 at the Baltimore City Circuit Courthouse.

Kathleen Kutschenreuter, 43, and Lou Ann Sandstrom, 54, did the more traditional “big church wedding.” They had about 130 guests when they wed last Sept. 28 at Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington, an event that was also the day of their then-6-month-old daughter, Ava Kae’s, baptism.

For myriad reasons, each couple’s decision, they say, made the most sense for them.

David Lett, Kevin Anthony Rowe, Will Shreve, gay marriage, same-sex marriage, marriage equality, gay news, Washington Blade, wedding

Kevin Anthony Rowe, left, with husband Will Shreve, right. They were married Sept. 19 by Rev. David Lett, center. (Photo by John Ellis)

Rowe and Shreve met on a Sunday evening at Nellie’s Sports Bar in January 2012.

“It sounds cliché, but I knew from the minute I met him, this is the guy I was going to end up with,” says Rowe, a budget analyst at National Geographic who also tends bar on weekends at Town Danceboutique. “I’d had long relationships before … but I never had been so sure about something. …. In my mind, it was only a matter of time.”

He says they might have done a destination wedding had time not been so pressing, but they’re happy with how things worked out. They chose the Jefferson Memorial because it’s Shreve’s favorite D.C. memorial.

Rowe says it was all pretty easy to arrange. After downloading a form from the National Park Service website and sending $100, the permit was e-mailed back to them within about three days.

“It was super easy,” he says. “Once you get there, there are only certain areas you can have it, but you just ask at the little guard spot and they tell you where you can and can’t go.”

The ceremony lasted about 15-20 minutes and Rev. David Lett, a friend of the couple, officiated. They were at the site about an hour.

On the Thursday of their wedding, they had dinner beforehand and an after party at Number Nine, a gay bar on P Street, with balloons and Champagne.

Rowe says the separation is hard but he’s making do with Skype, texts and the like. They video chat every couple days and are planning a few trips throughout the year to see each other. Rowe says he keeps busy working two jobs and has great friends around to help fill the void.

Because they had lived together near Columbia Heights about a year before getting married, Rowe says the wedding itself didn’t change how their relationship felt.

“It kind of just felt like another day together,” he says. “We fit so well on every level and it’s so comfortable that just because the label was there now didn’t change anything.”

Greg Alexander, a magazine editor, thought he would feel pretty much the same way. He and Williams had lived together for about 10 years by the time they wed last month.

“It’s hard to describe it,” he says. “We’d been together 13 years and I didn’t expect it to feel any different. We’d exchanged rings on our 10th anniversary, just the two of us in the garden. But something about it, after it was done, not to sound cheesy, but it feels more real. When I look at my ring, it’s not just, ‘Oh, those are the rings we gave each other because we love each other.’ Now it’s more like, ‘Yes, we are married.’”

The couple thought about getting married when same-sex marriage became legal in Maryland in January last year, but decided to wait. When key parts of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) were repealed by the Supreme Court later in the year, Alexander says, “That was kind of the final push we needed.” They waited until 2014 for tax purposes.

“We were pretty sure this is what we wanted,” says Williams, who is president of Congressional Cemetery. “I think we were more concerned we might offend some family members or friends by not doing something bigger, but we talked about it with them and decided to do some nice dinners with our two families a few months later. That’s just kind of the way it worked out best for us, especially for our families and their schedules.”

Alexander says in early discussions that, “luckily we were on the same page about this.” They’d had large parties with family, friends, banquet halls, private chefs and that type of thing for each other on their respective 40th birthdays, so when it came time to tie the knot, they agreed simpler was the way to go.

Paul K. Williams, Greg Alexander, wedding, gay marriage, same-sex marriage, marriage equality, gay news, Washington Blade

Paul K. Williams, left, with husband Greg Alexander the day they married at the Baltimore City Circuit Courthouse. (Photo courtesy the couple)

He says there was some initial concern that doing it so low key might feel anticlimactic, but he says the courthouse didn’t have the bare bones feel he thought it might.

“I thought it might be a little two-second thing like going to jury duty or something, but we were pleasantly surprised,” Alexander says. “It’s actually pretty nice. The people were amazing, which kind of caught us a little off guard. … You go into a little room that’s decorated and they have an officiant do your vows. … We couldn’t get over how excited the city employees were. We had total strangers hugging us and telling us they were so happy two gay men could get married. We didn’t expect that from the Baltimore City Courthouse.”

The license was about $85 and there was an additional $25 charge for the civil ceremony. Three couples joined them for dinner afterward.

“I think the couple needs to really ask themselves how they want to remember the occasion,” Williams says. “I know when we had the big [birthday] party, it went so fast and it was so involved and complex, I barely remember the conversations we had. I think it’s just something that’s very individual and each couple needs to look at themselves and how they like to entertain and decide how they want to do it.”

Kutschenreuter and Sandstrom were struck by Rev. Dean Snyder’s homily when they visited Foundry United Methodist Church in November 2012. As he shared a story of a same-sex couple whose wedding he had officiated the previous day and Kutschenreuter and Sandstrom discovered the church’s social justice, community and LGBT advocacy work, it hit a nerve.

“We really knew we wanted a sacred space to really honor our desire to express our commitment in front of family and friends and we didn’t want to do it on our own, we wanted witnesses,” says Kutschenreuter, who works for the Environmental Protection Agency. “We had a desire to do it in front of a higher power … . To us, we felt for our marriage to have the best chance and to be the most grounded, we wanted it to be grounded in a spiritual context.”

They say the cost of the church was a “drop in the bucket,” considering what they spent on their reception. They said it was “less than $2,000” for the church, clergy and a team of musicians who performed. Foundry offers a discount to members.

“It’s between about $500 and $2,000 depending on how lean or heavy you want to go,” Kutschenreuter says. A reception was held that evening at the Hay-Adams Hotel.

“We have absolutely no regrets about it,” says Sandstrom, who works for the FBI. “We saw it as an investment and everyone had a fantastic time.”

“We did think along the way, ‘Oh my gosh, what are we doing, this is so stressful,’” Kutschenreuter says. “But we weren’t being elaborate just to be elaborate. We were trying to honor the fact that we’re older people, we have a daughter, it was Lou Ann’s Dad’s 90th birthday and both our dads walked us down the aisle, we had people coming from all over; there was just so much more to it than there would have been for a younger couple. But we knew this group of people would never be together any other time so we wanted it to be special. It was definitely worth it.”

13
Feb
2014