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2013 in photography

2013 was a banner year for the LGBT community. Here are the top Washington Blade photos of the year. (Washington Blade photos by Blake Bergen, Tyler Grigsby, Michael Key, Kevin Majoros, Damien Salas, Lee Whitman and Jon Wooten) buyphoto 

03
Jan
2014

DragBall

Stonewall Kickball held the third annual “DragBall” game between the JR’s and Cobalt divisions on Sunday in Stead Park. JR’s won the day by a score of 10-7. The halftime show included a game of tug-of-war, a food-eating contest and a run around the bases while putting together a drag outfit. Local performer Ophelia Bottoms served as the emcee. (Washington Blade photos by Michael Key) buyphoto 

03
Jun
2013

Staying in the game

DCGFFL, D.C. Gay Flag Football League, sports, gay news, Washington Blade

D.C. Gay Flag Football. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The LGBT sports community of Washington continues to impress with a full lineup of offerings in the coming months.

The Capital Tennis Association will host the Capital Classic XXI from Sept. 13-15.  Registration is now open for the event, which will include matches in singles, doubles and mixed doubles.

Open and B draws will be played on clay and A, C and D draws will be played on hard courts (indoor and/or outdoor). The tournament will be contested at the Rock Creek Tennis Center and the East Potomac Tennis Center at Hains Point. Registration can be found at capital-tennis.org.

The Federal Triangles Soccer Club will host the Rehoboth Beach Soccer Classic XV from Aug. 30 to Sept. 1 in Rehoboth Beach. Registration for the event is individual and is now open at federaltriangles.org.

The Washington Scandals Rugby Football Club will travel to Beaver Bowl VI in Ottawa, Canada from Aug. 24-25. The event will be their first full contact tournament and will coincide with Ottawa Pride. The Club can be found at dcscandals.org.

The District of Columbia Aquatics Club will be traveling to Seattle for the International Gay and Lesbian World Championships from Aug. 13-18 where they will attempt to take back their world title.

The swimmers will host the Fall Ball swim meet at Woodrow Wilson High School from Oct. 12-13. The meet will be held in conjunction with the Washington Wetskins water polo tournament and registration will be available at swimdcac.org.

Stonewall Kickball will open registration for their fall league on Aug. 13. The League will begin Sept. 8 and run for 11 weeks on Sundays at Stead Park. This League fills up fast and free agents are welcome. Registration will be available at stonewallsports.org/kickball.

Stonewall Bocce will open registration for their fall league on Aug. 13. The League will begin Sept. 12 and run for eight weeks on Thursdays at the Logan Circle Bocce Field. This League also fills up fast and free agents are welcome. Registration will be available at stonewallsports.org/bocce.

The Washington Renegades Rugby Football Club will begin its fall season practices on Aug. 6 at Cardozo High School at 7 p.m. Information on the club is at dcrugby.com.

The Lambda Links Golf Club will host its Fun Tournament on Aug. 24. Information is forthcoming on the event and will be available at lambdalinks.org.

The D.C. Gay Flag Football League will open registration for its fall league on Aug. 6. New player tryouts and evaluations will begin Aug. 7 and the League will begin on Sept. 8.

The League will be sending at least two of its travel teams to Gay Bowl XIII in Phoenix from Oct. 10-14. Information on the League is at dcgffl.org.

The Chesapeake and Potomac Softball League will be hosting the NAGAAA Gay Softball World Series from Aug. 26-31 at three separate complexes in the area. The tournament, the largest annual LGBT sporting event in the world, will welcome 170 teams participating in more than 600 softball games.

Organizers are expecting more than 4,000 athletes and fans visiting Washington for the weeklong tournament. More information on the event is at dcseries2013.com. The League can be found at capssoftball.org.

Team D.C. and the Federal Triangles Soccer Club and D.C United will co-host United Night Out on Sept. 15 as the D.C. United take on the L.A. Galaxy at RFK Stadium.

The event is part of the Team D.C. Night Out Series and is a great opportunity for the LGBT community to experience a professional soccer match in a safe and welcoming environment. Tickets will be available at unitednightout.com.

01
Aug
2013

Challenges of organizing local sports leagues

Randall's Island Park, gay news, Washington Blade

New York City created a 273-acre local sports and recreational playground floating on the East River. Could D.C. find similar space for its local amateur athletes? (Photo courtesy of the Randall’s Island Park Alliance)

D.C. is home to one of the largest and most organized LGBT sports communities in the world. The list of LGBT local sports teams has grown to more than 30 clubs and the athlete base is well over 3,000 members.

Those kinds of numbers would not be possible without the leadership that is demonstrated by members of each of the clubs.

But the success of local organizers doesn’t mean they don’t encounter obstacles to growth. Some of the challenges facing them include lack of playing space, high costs for space, accessibility and the local permit process.

The permit process, especially for a new team forming, can cause major frustration for those not familiar with the process. There are cross-jurisdictional issues and some of the entities that may present a challenge are the National Park Service, the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation, the Department of General Services Realty Office as well as the facility or school that the space sits on.

One person who knows the permit process well is Alex Bearman, executive director of District Sports who manages leagues and playing space for 240 primarily straight soccer teams at 15 different locations in the area.

District Sports primarily uses playing fields that are run by schools, which means that their process includes being approved by the athletic director, the vice principal or the principal.  “There is a lot of hand-holding, showing up and talking,” says Bearman. “You can make it through the permit process and then be turned down by the facility because there are just not enough incentives for the facility to offer their space. There is also the added cost of paying for a maintenance man to be on site.”

Nick Napolitano leads the permit process for the Federal Triangles Soccer Club and agrees that the schools do not have enough incentives to risk having their fields torn up by an adult sports league.

“You really have to establish a relationship with the school principal and prove that you will respect the condition of their field,” says Napolitano. “In the past we have had to enlist the help of D.C. Council member Jim Graham just to get our foot in the door. Even when you get to that point, it is still hard to budget for the fees as they can fluctuate.”

When the DC Gay Flag Football League (DCGFFL) began, it targeted the fields near the FDR Memorial as their home base and came up with no results during the permit process.

“We ended up going through our roster of players just to find someone who knew someone or at least knew the process,” says JJ Johnson, league commissioner. “Even after securing the spot, we were still confronted by a park ranger on the first day.”

DCGFFL, D.C. Gay Flag Football League, sports, gay news, Washington Blade

D.C. Gay Flag Football plays at Carter Barron Fields. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The DCGFFL outgrew that field almost immediately and is now ensconced at the Carter Barron Fields on Sundays. The group considers themselves lucky to have access to such a large amount of space as they have grown to 276 players.

Carter Barron is federally owned, administered by the National Park Service, and permitted by the DC Department of Parks and Recreation.

“It was very confusing at first,” says Johnson. “We now show up at the permit office several times a year just to shake hands and chit chat. We want them to know who we are and that we are appreciative.”

Martin Espinoza of Stonewall Kickball agrees that the permit process can be stressful as the kickball league faces two permit renewals each year. They generally have their calendar set up for the upcoming season without knowing if their permit will be renewed. To be safe, league registration is always scheduled after the permit approval date.

Currently, the kickball league plays on Sundays at Stead Park Field. When the club started in 2010, the city was not allowing use of Stead Park on Sundays. “We were very fortunate,” admits Espinoza. “The city made an exception to allow us to play on Sundays.”

Stonewall Kickball, sports, Stead Park, 17th Street, Washington Blade, gay news

A gay kickball league is among the groups that make use of Stead Park. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Stonewall Kickball has seen incredible growth since its inception with a current member list of 550 players. Because they were unable to secure a permit for an additional night, they have spilled over into the predominately straight DC Kickball League, which holds the permit for Thursday nights at Stead Park Field.

“We are hoping to grow this season by securing additional time on Sundays,” says Espinoza. “Even though we arrive at the permit office with all of our paperwork on the first day of renewal, it is still a waiting game. Youth, senior and city programs are looked at first. Adult sports come last.”

Stonewall Kickball will face another obstacle in 2014 when the $1.6 million renovation of Stead Park Field will begin. It is unclear at this time whether they will have a place to play or not.

In March of 2013, a new LGBT sports team joined the fray in the struggle for playing space.  The Washington Scandals Rugby Club has not yet found a field to call home. Being new to the process, they are running into the same obstacles that seem to plague all new sports teams.

“We have been looking for space on weeknights in the District and there is nothing available for adult sports groups,” says Arc Riley of the Scandals. “The field we are practicing on is so small that half of our 40 players are standing on the sidelines while the other half practice.”

The struggle with getting a response from the Department of Parks and Recreation has led the Scandals to start looking for space in Montgomery County for the winter months. “We are hoping to be back in the District by spring,” says a hopeful Riley.

Faced with a similar space shortage back in the 1990s, New York City, along with the Randall’s Island Park Alliance (RIPA) created a 273-acre sports and recreational playground floating on the East River.

Randall’s Island boasts more than 60 sports fields, accommodating sports such as soccer, baseball, softball, lacrosse, field hockey and rugby.  Also included on the island is a world-class track stadium, a tennis center, golf facilities as well as cultural and natural areas.

Formerly used over the centuries for a range of public facilities including a boy’s home, a hospital, and a home for Civil War veterans, the island was first designated as a park in 1936 by Franklin Delano Roosevelt. By the early 1990s it was in serious disrepair.

RIPA was formed in 1992 as a 501c3 non-profit organization to work with New York and local communities to transform the island. Today, Randall’s Island is New York’s premier recreational destination and home to dozens of sports leagues for youth, adult, senior and the LGBT sports communities.

The bottom line in the D.C. area is that although the permit process can be tedious, the lack of playing space is the primary obstacle in accommodating the ever-growing sports community.  The overwhelming success of the Long Bridge Park sports complex in Arlington in November 2011 is a perfect example of the need for more sports space in the area.

The possibility of 190 acres opening up in the future at Metro accessible RFK Stadium is giving many in the sports community dreams of a dedicated sports complex in Prince George’s County.

RFK Sports Park anyone?

29
Aug
2013

Best of Gay D.C. 2013: People

Best of Gay D.C., Best Artist, Wicked Jezabel, gay news, Washington Blade

Wicked Jezabel (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best singer or band:

Wicked Jezabel

Wickedjezabel.com

Runner-up: Tom Goss

 

Best of Gay D.C., Eric Fanning, Pentagon, Air Force, Best Bureaucrat, gay news, Washington Blade

Eric Fanning (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best bureaucrat:

Eric Fanning

Runner-up: Nancy Sutley

 

As acting secretary of the Air Force, Eric Fanning personifies the service motto of ”Aim High … Fly-Fight-Win.”

He’s the highest-ranking openly gay civilian official in the U.S. military, overseeing procurement and operations for a $140 billion department at the Air Force. Fanning wins the 2013 award for Best LGBT Bureaucrat or Federal Worker and is the first-ever winner from the Washington Blade in this new category.

Fanning, 45, has had a long political career in D.C. After his initial work on Capitol Hill, Fanning worked during the Clinton administration at the Pentagon and the White House. Once President Obama assumed office, Fanning went to work within the Department of the Navy and continued in that role until he was nominated as Air Force under secretary.

Although the Senate confirmed Fanning for the lesser role as under secretary for the Air Force, Fanning became acting secretary when Michael Donley retired. Since that time, he was among the speakers at an LGBT Pride celebration at the Pentagon in June.

In an interview with the Washington Blade, Fanning said he left the Pentagon after “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was implemented in the 1990s and didn’t want to come back until a president was elected who would end it.

“It was very difficult when we were getting to the end of the first two years and it wasn’t clear if we were going to be able to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’” Fanning said. “I didn’t know what I was going to do if we didn’t get the repeal through because some people couldn’t work because they were openly gay or lesbian.” (CJ)

 

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Local heroine:

Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C.’s long-serving congressional delegate and a longtime proponent of LGBT equality.

Runner-up: Katy Ray

 

 

David Perruzza (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

David Perruzza (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Local hero:

Dave Perruzza

Runner-up: Freddie Lutz (Freddie’s Beach Bar)

 

Dave Perruzza, perhaps best known as manager of JR.’s, also devotes much time to organizing the annual 17th Street High Heel Race. The 27th annual race is scheduled for Oct. 29. After serving in the U.S. Navy, Perruzza began working at the well-known Dupont Circle gay bar in 1996, handling coat check. He soon worked his way up to the top spot at the 17th Street, N.W., bar known for its friendly environment and popular theme nights. Readers from near and far appreciate that Perruzza strives to make everyone feel welcome and at home, whether you’re a local headed to happy hour after a long day on the Hill or a tourist looking for a friendly face.

 

 

Xavier Bottoms (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Xavier Bottoms (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best drag king:

Xavier Bottoms

Runner-up: Sebastian Katz

 

Best of Gay D.C., Best Realtor, Mark Rutstein, gay news, Washington Blade

Mark Rutstein (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best Realtor:

Mark Rutstein

Runner-up: Ray Gernhart

 

Mark Rutstein is a repeat winner in this category. He works both as manager of Cobalt and as a Realtor for Coldwell Banker on 17th Street.

 

DJ Wess (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

DJ Wess (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best DJ:

DJ Wess

Runner-up: Chord Bezerra

 

Heidi Glüm (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Heidi Glüm (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best drag queen:

Heidi Glum

Runner-up: Ba’Naka

 

For Heidi Glum (aka Miles DeNiro), drag was a ticket out of a miserable job.

“I was a shampoo person at a salon,” she says. “It was a terrible job. I was essentially a maid. So I quit and all I do now is drag. I’ve been busting my ass to make it a career.”

Glum (pronounced “gloom”) started drag about five years ago in New York where she says she was a long-time “club kid.” Back in D.C. the past two years, Glum has several monthly gigs — a drag bingo at Mellow Mushroom, Gay Bash, WTF and Crack and “a lot of stuff in New York too.”

At times it’s been rough going. Glum was attacked by two patrons at Manny & Olga’s, a pizzeria on 14th Street in June after a Black Cat performance. Glum was beaten and called “tranny” and “faggot” in an incident captured on video.

She says her philosophy of great drag means infusing feeling in the work.

“You can tell when someone is really feeling it,” she says. “It comes up from somewhere inside you. You either have it or you don’t, this sort of spark. You can tell some of them are just dressed up for the hell of it.” (JD)

 

Best of Gay D.C., Ed Bailey, Best Business Person, Town Danceboutique, Number Nine, gay news, Washington Blade

Ed Bailey (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best businessperson:

Ed Bailey (Town Danceboutique)

Runner-up: Karen Diehl

 

Eddie Weingart (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Eddie Weingart (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best massage:

Eddie Weingart

Deep Knead Massage Therapy and Body Work

Runner-up: The Legendary Dave

 

For Eddie Weingart, “making people feel whole is the number one thing,” in his massage work.

Having survived a serious car accident in 2001, he knows first-hand about pain management. He says his work, which incorporates both ancient and modern techniques, is tailored to “bring a wellness of body, mind and spirit.”

Weingart is gay and is based in Silver Spring, though he has many clients in D.C. He guesses about 95 percent of his clients are LGBT. He’s been in the area three years and averages 50-60 massages per week. (JD)

 

Denis Largeron (Photo by Denis Largeron)

Denis Largeron (Photo by Denis Largeron)

Best visual artist:

Denis Largeron

Runner-up Lisa Marie Thalhammer

 

Digital photographer Denis Largeron has been shooting part-time professionally for about three years. By day, he works at World Bank.

He focuses on commercial work and does weddings, portraits, what he calls “boudoir” photo and various gay events.

“I think last year I shot about every gay circuit party there was on the East Coast,” he says. “Most of the time, it’s promoters who hire me to shoot their events but I also shoot for some magazines as well.”

Largeron is gay and came to the U.S. about six years ago to be with a then-boyfriend.

“For me, it’s all about having a client and meeting their specific need,” he says. “Every client has a different expectation and that’s what I like about it. You have to adjust.” (JD)

 

Bethany Carter Howlett (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Bethany Carter Howlett (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best personal trainer:

Bethany Carter Howlett

Runner-up: Drew McNeil

 

Finding the motivation to maintain a healthy lifestyle can be difficult. Bethany Carter Howlett makes it easier with her fitness expertise.

Howlett is a professional fitness athlete, formerly a body builder and registered dietician. She holds multiple certifications and trains anyone from children to professional athletes. She also owns four gyms in Virginia.

“I feel being a trainer who practices what she preaches by competing, training and living the healthy lifestyle of a professional athlete allows for a strong advantage in my favor among other personal trainers in the area,” Howlett says.

Her training programs are diverse from one-on-one sessions to group classes. Howlett can train people in person or even online. Her diet plans are specially made to suit the needs of the individual from their genetic lineage to their health history.

A Virginia native, Howlett began gymnastics at age 3. As an undergraduate at the University of Virginia, where she received her bachelor’s degree in molecular biology, she was a cheerleader.

Howlett is married to Jason Rowley and they are expecting their first child. Howlett has continued training clients and working out throughout her pregnancy. She hopes to be back in the gym two weeks after she gives birth. (MC)

 

 

Bruce DePuyt (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Bruce DePuyt (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best TV personality:
Bruce DePuyt WJLA, News Channel 8
Runner-up: Chuck Bell, NBC4

 

“News Talk with Bruce DePuyt” on News Channel 8 remains among the metropolitan area’s most influential local news programs.

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier, Maryland state Del. Heather Mizeur (D-Montgomery County) and other politicians and officials frequently discuss the important issues of the day. LGBT-specific topics that include the implementation of the U.S. Supreme Court decision that found a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, efforts to repeal Virginia’s gay nuptials ban and Russia’s LGBT rights record are also a regular part of the weekday talk show’s line-up.

“I’ve been a loyal reader of the Washington Blade for 30 years, so this is a very special honor,” DePuyt said upon learning he had won.

DePuyt has been with News Channel 8 since 1993.

He covered Maryland politics extensively until he became the host of “News Talk” in 2002.

“I also want to acknowledge my employer of the last 20 years, WJLA/NewsChannel 8 for always being in my corner,” DePuyt said.

DePuyt was a reporter and anchor at WVIR in Charlottesville, Va., before he arrived at News Channel 8. He also produced an award-winning weekly talk show, “21 This Week” on “Cable News 21” in Montgomery County, Md.

“News Talk” airs on News Channel 8 weekdays live at 10 a.m. (ML)

 

 

Best of Gay D.C., best actor, Logan Sutherland, gay news, Washington Blade

Logan Sutherland (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best actor:

Logan Sutherland

Runner-up: Will Gartshore

 

At just 22, Logan Sutherland is at the beginning of his acting career and he’s already winning awards. “This is an incredible surprise,” he says. “I didn’t even promote myself. I’ve been way too busy!”

After graduating from American University’s musical theater program in the spring, Sutherland began landing acting gigs straight away beginning with multiple roles in the Source Festival at Source Theatre in June. Shortly after, he drew praise for his showy turn in this summer’s Fringe Festival favorite “One Night in New York.”

“It was like Disney had made a big gay musical about a guy coming to New York looking for love,” he says. “I played Andy, one of the bitchy people that he met in Chelsea. He was like the Regina George [from “Mean Girls”] — a real bitch.”

A genuine triple threat, Sutherland has been performing since he was a kid in small town Schwenksville, Pa. Currently the out actor is understudying for “Lulu and the Brontosaurus” at Imagination Stage in Bethesda. Later this season he will appear in Woolly Mammoth’s “The Summoning of Everyman,” a morality play that now reads as satire.

When not acting, Sutherland works as a server at Founding Farmers three blocks from the White House.  He’s considering film work, which may involve a move to New York or California in the future. But for now, the Dupont Circle resident says he’s learning a lot and happy to be a part of the D.C. theater scene. (PF)

 

Best actress:

Jessica Thorne

Runner-up: Holly Twyford

 

Jessica Thorne is a fresh and definitely welcomed face on the local theater scene. The self-described straight LGBT ally initially left her native Georgia for D.C. to attend Catholic University’s musical theater program. After graduating in 2011, she immediately began performing with Synetic Theatre Company, the never boring movement-based troupe based in Crystal City.

“I’m incredibly grateful to Synetic. They changed me as an artist,” says Thorne who remains a member of the company. “As an actor it makes you incredibly comfortable with your body and who you are in space and time. It was a great experience and very singular to the company.”

Last season, Thorne was an ensemble member in director Ethan McSweeney’s gorgeous production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the Shakespeare Theater Company. And more recently she shone as wholesome Janet in Studio Theatre’s “Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show.”

As a freshman in high school, Thorne was certain she wanted to pursue a career in theater. She is grateful to her mother and grandmother for supporting her choice to study theater in college. “They’ve been there every step of the way,” she says. “For me, that support has been really imperative in becoming an artist. You base a lot of your success on the people who are backing you.” She also thanks her colleagues in the D.C. theater community whom she describes as incredibly supportive and generous.

Currently studying voice in New York with singer/composer Marisa Michelson, Thorne considers D.C. home and is slated to perform here in two shows this spring (about which she cannot yet reveal details). We promise to keep readers posted. (PF)

 

Kat Skyles (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Kat Skyles (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best Hill staffer:

Kat Skiles

Runner-up: Guy Cecil

 

President Barack Obama (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

President Barack Obama (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best straight ally:

President Barack Obama

Runner-up: Brooke Jordan

 

Best of Gay D.C., Best Bartender, Carlos Arroyo, JR's, gay news, Washington Blade

Carlos Arroyo (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best bartender:

Carlos Arroyo (JR.’s)

Runner-up: Liz Warner-Osborne (Cobalt)

 

Carlos Arroyo says the relaxed atmosphere at JR.’s makes it a great place to work.

“It’s a great vibe overall,” he says. “The clientele is super awesome. We have amazing regulars and people just go there to have a great time. It’s not pretentious. They leave work and everything at the door. … It’s probably one of the most relaxed bars I’ve worked in.”

Arroyo has been in D.C. about 13 years and has dabbled in theater, communications work, personal training, catering and more. He also helps his partner with a photography business and says the two “travel quite often.”

Arroyo previously worked at Number Nine on P Street for about a year and a half, but moved over to JR.’s. He’s quick to assert he has enjoyed working at both hotspots.

“When JR.’s comes calling, you can’t turn them down,” he says. “It’s one of the busiest gay bars in D.C.” (JD)

 

Jamie Romano (Washington Blade photo by Kevin Naff)

Jamie Romano (Washington Blade photo by Kevin Naff)

Best Rehoboth bartender:

Jamie Romano (Purple Parrot)

Runner-up: Chris Chandler (Blue Moon)

 

Jamie Romano is a repeat winner, having taken this prize two years ago. He reclaims it this year in a close contest with Chris Chandler. Romano has an uncanny ability to remember his customers’ favorite drink and often has one at the ready before you sit down. You can find him behind the main bar at the gay-owned Purple Parrot and at the popular outdoor bar in back, known as the Biergarten.

 

 

Best of Gay D.C., Josh Deese, Trevor Project, Judy Shepard, Committed Activist, gay news, Washington Blade

Josh Deese (Photo courtesy of Josh Deese)

Most committed activist:

Josh Deese

Runner-up: Halley Cohen

 

Florida native Josh Deese knew he wanted to make a difference in the LGBT community after being bullied for his sexuality growing up led him to attempt suicide.  His experience drew him to The Trevor Project’s Youth Advisory Council (YAC).

“Just having a feeling that people don’t appreciate you and that you’re worthless takes its toll on you,” says Deese. “It only takes one, a friend, parent or ally to stand up and save someone’s life and let them know they aren’t alone.”

Deese, who cites Harvey Milk as one of his heroes, has spoken with The Trevor Project about LGBT youth suicide, most recently at The National Cathedral with Judy Shepard, Matthew Shepard’s mother. He also serves as the Neighboring Commuter Representative on the University of Maryland Government Association.

In the future he plans to work in real estate in the D.C. area and eventually would like to run for the U.S. House. He hopes his efforts to help the LGBT community will lead to LGBT youth feeling safer and appreciated in the future. He says he wants them to understand life is an option.

He’s a sophomore at the University of Maryland majoring in government and politics with a minor in LGBT studies. (MC)

 

 

Maryland Del. Heather Mizeur (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Maryland Del. Heather Mizeur (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best gay politician:

Del. Heather Mizeur (Maryland)

Runner-up: Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.)

 

Del. Heather Mizeur has represented Takoma Park and Silver Spring in the Maryland General Assembly since 2006. But she’s best known now as the openly gay candidate for governor. She faces current Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and Attorney General Doug Gansler in the contest. She would make history as the state’s first female governor and the country’s first openly LGBT elected governor if she prevails next year.

“Diversity is enormously important,” she told the Blade. “Not simply to have a gay governor, but to have a governor who can represent the voices of people in communities that have not always had a voice in the process.”

 

 

Allyson Robinson (Washington Blade photo by Blake Bergen)

Allyson Robinson (Washington Blade photo by Blake Bergen)

Best trans advocate:

Allyson Robinson

Runner-up: Ruby Corado

 

It was a difficult year for Allyson Robinson, who stepped down from her position as executive director of OutServe-SLDN in June. Robinson, who led OutServe-SLDN for nine months, was the only openly transgender leader of a national LGBT rights organization. A new group, Servicemembers, Partners and Allies for Respect and Tolerance for All (SPARTA) announced its formation in July, following the turmoil at OutServe-SLDN. Robinson remains a prominent voice for transgender rights and LGBT equality.

 

 

Best of Gay D.C., Best Amateur Athlete, Stonewall Kickball, Martin Espinoza, gay news, Washington Blade

Martin Espinoza (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best amateur athlete:

Martin Espinoza (Stonewall Kickball)

Runner-up: Julie Olsen

 

Diego Orbegoso (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Diego Orbegoso (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best stylist:

Diego Orbegoso, Bang Salon

Runner-up: Dmitri Lords, Zoe Salon & Spa

 

Diego Obregoso says the best part of being a stylist is “the magical boosting of people’s energy by making them feel good.”

With a background in makeup and cosmetology, Obregoso has been at Bang Metropole (1519 15th St., N.W.) for six years. He’s gay and estimates about 60 percent of his customers are LGBT.

A native of Lima, Peru, Obregoso has been in the U.S. 11 years. (JD)

 

 

Best of Gay D.C., David Lett, Best Clergy, gay news, Washington Blade

The Very Rev. David B. Lett (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best clergy:

Rev. David Lett

Runner-up: Rabbi Shira Stutman

 

Sometimes Saturday is a very short night sleep-wise for David Lett. He’s often out until the wee hours hostessing (as Lena Lett) the drag show at Town Danceboutique. Sundays are often spent doing spiritual duties as supply clergy with the North American Old Catholic Church, an LGBT-affirming offshoot of the Roman Catholic Church where years ago, Lett went to seminary and studied in Rome.

Lett says the two roles aren’t as dissimilar as they might seem.

“To be a drag performer, you have to be confident and you have to be able to put yourself in front of people and …. take them from wherever they are to a new place. A priest does a lot of the same things, there’s just not as much liquor going around. … The basic tenets of the role are identical. It’s just the means by which they are done that is completely different.”  (JD)

 

Rev. Dean Snyder (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Rev. Dean Snyder (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Lifetime achievement award:

Rev. Dean Snyder (Foundry United Methodist Church)

 

Rev. Dean Snyder has been an LGBT ally for 40 years and he is the inaugural recipient of the Blade’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

He has fought to change his denomination’s ban on same-sex marriages being performed by the church’s ministers. In 2010, the Foundry congregation voted 367-8 to allow same-sex marriages to be performed in the church.

A large portion of Foundry’s congregation is LGBT, including couples that have been in committed relationships for decades. This brought Snyder to question the church’s laws.

“We started doing services to honor gay and lesbian committed relationships, which we argued were not a violation of the rules because we weren’t actually consecrating a marriage,” Snyder told the Blade. “But then … when it was clear marriage was going to become legal in Washington, D.C., then we couldn’t fudge anymore. It was either marriage or it wasn’t.”

24
Oct
2013

Best of Gay D.C. 2013: Community

Foundry United Methodist Church, Best of Gay D.C., Best Place of Worship, gay news, Washington Blade

Foundry United Methodist Church (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best house of worship:

Foundry United Methodist Church

1500 16th St., N.W.

202-332-4010

foundryumc.org

Runner-up: Bet Mishpachah

 

Miss Pixies, Best of Gay D.C., Best Home Furnishings, gay news, Washington Blade

Miss Pixie’s (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best home furnishings:

Miss Pixie’s Furnishings and Whatnot

1629 14th St., N.W.

202-232-8171

misspixies.com

Runner-up: Room & Board

 

Best property management:

Coldwell Banker Mid-Atlantic

6031 University Blvd. Suite 140

Ellicott City, MD

coldwellbanker.com

Runner-up: Bozzuto Group

 

Best hotel:

The W

515 15th St., N.W.

202-661-2400

whotels.com

Runner-up: Carlyle Suites Hotel

 

Best of Gay D.C., Best Art Gallery, Corcoran Gallery of Art, gay news, Washington Blade

Corcoran Gallery of Art (Photo by Kmf164; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Best art gallery:

Corcoran Gallery of Art

500 17th St., N.W.

202-639-1700

Corcoran.org

Runner-up: The Phillips Collection

 

Whitman-Walker Health, Don Blanchon, Best of Gay D.C., Best Non-Profit, gay news, Washington Blade

Whitman-Walker Health (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best non-profit:

Whitman-Walker Health

1701 14th St., N.W.

202-745-7000

wwc.org

Runner-up: SMYAL

 

Logan 14 Aveda (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Logan 14 Aveda (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best salon/spa:

Logan 14 Salon Spa — Aveda Hair & Body

1314 14th St., N.W.

202-506-6868

logan14salonspa.com

Runner-up: Aura Spa/Bang Salon

 

Universal Gear, Best of Gay D.C., Best Men's Clothing, gay news, Washington Blade

Universal Gear (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best men’s clothing:

Universal Gear

1529 14th St., N.W.

202-319-0136

universalgear.com

Runner-up: H&M

 

Best women’s clothing:

Proud Threads

Proudthreads.com

Runner-up: Buffalo Exchange

 

VIDA Fitness (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

VIDA Fitness (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best gym:

Vida Fitness

Multiple locations

Vidafitness.com

Runner-up: Results

 

Kennedy Center (Photo by Steve; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Kennedy Center (Photo by Steve; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Best theater:

Kennedy Center

2700 F St., N.W.

202-416-8000

kennedy-center.org

Runner-up: Studio Theatre

 

Rocky Horror, theater, Studio Theatre, Best of Gay D.C., Best Theater Production, gay news, Washington Blade

Rocky Horror (Photo by Igor Dmitri; courtesy of Studio Theatre)

Best theater production:

“Rocky Horror” at Studio Theatre

Runner-up: “Book of Mormon” at Kennedy Center

 

Stonewall Kickball's 21 Amendments (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Stonewall Kickball’s 21 Amendments (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best LGBT sports team:

Stonewall Kickball’s 21st Amendments

Stonewallsports.org

Runner-up: D.C. Front Runners

 

Flowers on Fourteenth, Best of Gay D.C., Best LGBT-Owned Business, gay news, Washington Blade

Flowers on Fourteenth (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best LGBT-owned business:

Flowers on 14th

1718a 14th St., N.W.

flowerson14th.com

Runner-up: Grassroots Gourmet

 

Best comedy club:

D.C. Improv Comedy Club

1140 Connecticut Ave., N.W.

202-296-7008

dcimprov.com

Runner-up: Washington Improv Theater

 

Dos Locos, Rehoboth, Delaware, Best of Gay D.C., Best Rehoboth Business, gay news, Washington Blade

Dos Locos (Photo courtesy of Dos Locos)

Best Rehoboth business:

Dos Locos

208 Rehoboth Ave.

Rehoboth Beach, Del.

302-227-3353

doslocos.com

Runner-up: Blue Moon

 

Best LGBT social group:

Burgundy Crescent Volunteers

Burgundycrescent.org

Runner-up: Nice Jewish Boys

24
Oct
2013

Calendar: Nov. 8

Bridegroom, gay news, Washington Blade

Shane and Tom, the central figures in the film ‘Bridegroom,’ which will be screened Thursday at HRC. (Still courtesy Mozark Productions)

Friday, Nov. 8

Town (2009 8th St., N.W.) hosts Bear Happy Hour tonight from 6-11 p.m. There is no cover charge and admission is limited to guests 21 and over. For more information, visit towndc.com.

Green Lantern (1335 Green Ct., N.W.) hosts “JOCK” tonight from 9 p.m.-3 a.m. with DJ Jake Marx. Dress code is sports gear or just a jock. Dress code strictly enforced. There is an open bar from 9-10 p.m. Cover is $10. For details, visit greenlantendc.com.

Nellie’s Sports Bar (900 U St., N.W.) hosts “Kickoff” featuring DJ Matt Bailer tonight from 10 p.m.-closing. For more information, visit nelliessportsbar.com.

Bachelor’s Mill (1104 8th St., S.E.) holds a happy hour from 5-7:30 p.m. tonight with all drinks half price. Hip music begins at 11 p.m. Enjoy pool, video games, and cards. Admission is $5 after 9 p.m. Must be 21 and over. For more details, visit bachelorsmill.com.

Saturday, Nov. 9

Singer and actress Melissa Errico performs “A Passion for Broadway” with Broadway songs focusing on Stephen Sondheim and more, at The Barns at Wolf Trap (1635 Trap Rd., Vienna, Va.) tonight at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $40-$42. For details, visit wolftrap.org.

Stonewall Kickball hosts its “Fall 2013 All Stars Game” at Stead Park (1625 P St.,) today from 2-4 p.m. Cobalt and JR.’s division will be playing. For details, email events@stonewallkickball.org.

Team D.C. presents its fall casino night at Buffalo Billards (1330 19th St., N.W.) tonight from 8 p.m.-midnight in support of local LGBT sports clubs. Play poker, blackjack and craps to win raffle prizes. The LGBT sports teams will be running the tables including D.C. Aquatics, D.C. Strokes Rowing Club, Capitol Area Rainbowlers and more. There is no cover charge. $10 is worth $100 in chips and $20 is worth $250 in chips. For more details, visit teamdc.org.

Sunday, Nov. 10

Temple Emanuel (10101 Connecticut Ave., Kensington, Md.) hosts its “Brotherhood Brunch with Guest Speaker Professor Ethan Hutt” this morning at 9:15 a.m. Hutt is an assistant professor at University of Maryland who recently published an article on educational malpractice. Admission is $7 for non-Brotherhood members and $5 for Brotherhood members. RSVP at mudsharkmel@yahoo.com or call 301-942-2000.

Burgundy Crescent, a gay volunteer organization, volunteers for D.C. Central Kitchen (425 2nd St., N.W.) today from 9 a.m.-noon. Volunteers will cook alongside chefs who are graduates of D.C. Central Kitchen’s job training program. To volunteer, RSVP at jonathan@burgundycrescent.org. For more information, visit burgundycrescent.org.

Arlington Philharmonic presents a free concert for its season opener featuring soloist Jeffrey Work, principal trumpet of the Oregon Symphony, today at 3 p.m. at the Washington-Lee Auditorium (1301 N. Stafford St., Arlington, Va.). For details, visit arlingtonphilharmonic.org.

The Choral Arts Society of Washington presents the East Coast premiere of Steven Stucky’s “Take Him, Earth,” an orchestral commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination, today at 4 p.m. at the Kennedy Center (2700 F St., N.W.). Tickets range from $23-$68. For more details, visit kennedy-center.org.

The D.C. Center celebrates the life of Joe Rio from the Center Careers program at DC9 (1940 9th St., N.W.) today from 2-4 p.m. Rio assisted individuals to find jobs and careers, facilitated weekly “Job Club” and “Masterminds” groups at the D.C. Center and the Spanish language Career Development at Casa Ruby for the D.C. Center. To RSVP, email larryd2156. For more details, visit thedccenter.org.

Church of the Holy City (1611 16th Street, N.W.) hosts its “Music with the Angels” concert series today at 3:30 p.m. featuring cellist Natalie Spehar and violinist Zachary Wu performing works by Fiorillo, Ravel and more. Tickets are $10 for adults; $5 for children and seniors. Visit churchoftheholycitydc.org for details.

Monday, Nov. 11

The D.C. Center (1318 U St., N.W.) hosts coffee drop-in hours this morning from 10 a.m.-noon for the senior LGBT community. Older LGBT adults can come and enjoy complimentary coffee and conversation with other community members. For more information, visit thedccenter.org

Us Helping Us  (3636 Georgia Ave., N.W.) holds a support group for gay black men to discuss topics that affect them today, share perspectives and have meaningful conversations. For details, visit uhupil.org.

Tuesday, Nov. 12

Us Helping Us is having a town hall meeting tonight at 7 p.m. to discuss implementation of the Affordable Care Act at its headquarters (3636 Georgia Ave., N.W.). The meeting will discuss the impact the act will have on the LGBT community and provide an overview of the D.C. Health Exchange. On-site enrollment will also be offered. The event is free and open to the public. Visit uhupil.org for details.

D.C. Bi Women hosts its monthly meeting in the upstairs room of Dupont Italian Kitchen (1637 17th St., N.W.) from 7-9 p.m. tonight. For more details, visit thedccenter.org.

SMYAL (410 7th St., S.E.) hosts a “Rap Group” today from 5-6:30 p.m. Discuss stressful issues like school, bullying, getting into college or finding a job in this support group. For more details, visit smyal.org.

Wednesday, Nov. 13

Big Gay Book Group meets tonight at 1155 F St., N.W. Suite 200 at 7 p.m. to discuss “Mary Ann in Autumn” by Armistead Maupin, a story about Mary Ann Singleton’s homecoming to San Francisco after spending 20 years pursuing a television career in New York City. For details, email biggaybookgroup@hotmal.com.

The Lambda Bridge Club meets tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Dignity Center (721 8th St., S.E.) for duplicate bridge. No reservations required and new comers welcome. If you need a partner, call 703-407-6540.

SMYAL (410 7th St., S.E.) provides free and confidential HIV testing drop-in hours today from 3-5 p.m. For more information, visit smyal.org.

Thursday, Nov. 14

Human Rights Campaign hosts a free screening of the documentary “Bridegroom” this evening at 6 p.m. at its headquarters (1640 Rhode Island Ave., N.W.) as part of its “Equality Talks” speaker series. Shane Bitney Crone, the film’s producer, will speak. “Bridegroom,” directed by Linda Bloodworth Thomason, tells the story of two men in a committed relationship and what happens after an accident cuts short their lives together. The film explores how a partner can be legally shut out without having proper protections in place. Doors open at 6 p.m. for the event. View the trailer at bridegroommovie.com. Details on the event are at hrc.org/bridegroom.

Burgundy Crescent, a gay volunteer organization, volunteers for Food and Friends (219 Riggs Rd., N.E.) tonight from 6-8 p.m. Volunteers will chop vegetables and pack groceries. To volunteer, email jonathan@burgundycrescent.org. For more details, visit burgundycrescent.org.

Rude Boi Entertainment hosts “Tempted 2 Touch,” a ladies dance party, at the Fab Lounge (2022 Florida Ave., N.W.) tonight. Doors open at 10 p.m. Drink specials $5 and vodka shots $3 all night. No cover charge. Admission limited to guests 21 and over. For more details, visit rudeboientertainment.wordpress.com.

The D.C. Center and Professionals in the City host speed dating for women in their 20s and 30s at Finn and Porter located inside the Embassy Suites Hotel (900 10th St., N.W.) tonight from 7-9 p.m. Dating is approximately one hour. After enjoy a mixer with fellow speed daters. Cash bar. Check in is at 7 p.m. and dating begins at 7:20 p.m.  Complimentary valet parking offered to anyone who purchases two drinks or other items from the bar or restaurant. Cost is $30. For details, visit thedccenter.org.

“RuPaul’s Drag Race” contestant Pandora Boxx performs her standup comedy show at Cobalt (1639 R St., N.W.) tonight at 9 p.m. Doors open at 8:30 p.m. Admission is $5. For more information, visit cobaltdc.com.

07
Nov
2013

Mayor attends grand opening of D.C. Center’s new home

Jack Evans, Vincent Gray, D.C. Center, David Mariner, gay news, Washington Blade

Mayor Vincent Gray and four members of the D.C. Council were on hand for the D.C. Center’s grand opening on Saturday. (Washington Blade photo by Blake Bergen)

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and four members of the City Council joined more than 100 guests on Saturday for the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community’s grand opening celebration of its new offices in the Reeves Center municipal building at 14th and U streets, N.W.

With Gray and Council members Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) and Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) standing before an overflowing crowd in the Center’s conference room, Center President and CEO Michael Sessa drew loud applause and cheers when he shouted, “We’re finally here – hooray!”

Also attending the event were Council members David Grosso (I-At-Large) and Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4) and Busboys and Poets restaurant owner Andy Shallal, who donated food from his restaurant.

Shallal, Evans and Bowser have announced they are candidates for mayor in the April 1, 2014 D.C. Democratic primary. All three as well as Gray, who has yet to announce whether he will run for re-election, have been longtime supporters of the LGBT community.

Gray reiterated statements he made earlier this year that the city will make sure the D.C. Center finds another suitable space in which to move if the Reeves Center closes over the next two or three years to make way for a new development project linked to a land swap deal to build a soccer stadium next to the city’s Southwest waterfront.

“I just want to put that to rest as best we can, that we didn’t come this far to have this be just a temporary stopover,” Gray said. “We’ve come this far to make sure that the D.C. Center has a place in the future that it can count on to be able to do its work.”

Gray and the Council members attending the grand opening celebration called the D.C. Center a vital part of the LGBT community and an important part of the cultural fabric of the city.

Gay sports advocate Brent Minor announced at the gathering that on behalf of the Dupont Social Club, which organizes the city’s annual Miss Adams Morgan drag pageant, he was presenting the D.C. Center with a check for $16,000 to help support the Center’s programs.

Martin Espinoza of Stonewall Kickball, a D.C.-based LGBT sports league, announced his group has donated $10,000 to the D.C. Center and has pledged $50,000 in contributions to the Center over the next five years.

Bernie Delia, executive director of Capital Pride, the organization that sponsors the city’s annual LGBT Pride parade and festival, said Capital Pride has pledged $5,000 to the D.C. Center. Capital Pride rents office space at the Center.

D.C. Allen, co-owner of the Crew Club, a D.C. gym and spa catering to gay men, said the Crew Club was pleased to have donated $25,000 to the D.C. Center earlier this year to “jump start” the Center’s campaign to raise money to complete the renovation work needed to get its new space at the Reeves Center ready for occupancy.

Saturday’s celebration marked the culmination of a competitive bidding process that began more than two years ago in which the Center submitted a bid to rent space at the Reeves Center under a city program that invited both commercial businesses and non-profit organizations to propose different ways the space in the city-owned building could be used that would benefit the city and the community. Gray announced last December that the D.C. Center won the bid after a restaurant that initially had been selected for the space withdrew.

“I want to thank the mayor and his staff,” Sessa said. “They have been wonderful to work with. They have been gracious. They have been patient. They have really helped us establish this fabulous space.”

25
Nov
2013

Kickball holiday party

Stonewall Kickball held its holiday party at Long View Gallery on Dec.16. (Washington Blade photos by Damien Salas) buyphoto 

17
Dec
2013

All-Star

Stonewall Kickball held an ‘All-Star’ game between the best of the JR’s Division and Cobalt Division. JR’s bested Cobalt 13-2. (Washington Blade photos by Michael Key) buyphoto 

04
May
2013