Gay What ?
Rest of site back up shortly!

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

LGBT Media Journalists Converging

MSNBC reporter Andrea Mitchell gave the keynote address at the LGBT Media Journalists Converging conference on Friday at the AFL CIO headquarters. (Washington Blade photos by Michael Key) LGBT media 

01
Mar
2014

Panel of journalists, activists tackles outing, Russia, ENDA

Kevin Naff, Thom Senzee, Mandy Carter, Sarah Blazucki, Rob Smith, Adam Moore, Will Walters, journalists, gay news, Washington Blade, outing

Panelists included (left to right) Kevin Naff, Thom Senzee, Mandy Carter, Sarah Blazucki, Rob Smith, Adam Moore and Will Walters. (Photo courtesy of Thom Senzee)

Last week’s engagement at the National Press Club of the “LGBTs In The News” panel series, currently on a nationwide tour, revealed differences in opinion about the ethics of outing.

Comprised of leaders from the fields of journalism, entertainment and activism, the panel also shed light on the need for greater opportunities for LGBT actors and broadcast personalities and for better coverage of people of color at the front lines of the LGBT-equality movement.

Citing a landmark report his organization released last year, which was researched and compiled by the Williams Institute at UCLA, SAG-AFTRA’s national director of EEO and diversity, Adam Moore noted that the entertainment industry in the U.S. is the “most visible workplace on Earth,” and that as LGBT actors and media professionals gain parity in job opportunities, the entertainment industry and news business can lead by example as models of equal opportunity.

“We’ve already come a long way in our industries,” said Moore. “But you might be surprised how far we still have to go. This is an industry that is still run by a lot of very traditional, very conservative and highly risk-averse people at the top.”

Perhaps surprisingly, the controversy surrounding the 2014 Winter Olympics at Sochi vis-à-vis Russia’s anti-gay-propaganda law was, for all intents and purposes, only modestly grazed as a point of discussion during the panel.

However, passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act was a hot topic among the panelists.

“What I believe, and as Arizona Governor Jan Brewer learned recently, corporations that have already instituted non-discrimination policies for LGBT workers are inclined to put pressure on congress to pass ENDA,” said panelist Will Walters, whose civil rights education organization, FreeWillUSA is a major sponsor of the panel series. “Ironically, big business may force ENDA to a ‘yes’ vote in the long run.”

The discussion, which was also sponsored by the Washington Blade and SAG-AFTRA (formerly the Screen Actors Guild) and held in the National Press Club’s Edward R. Murrow Room, soon turned to the enduring question of whether it is ethical for, or even incumbent upon, reporters to disclose secretly gay public figures’ sexual orientation.

“If you’re a private citizen with no public persona, that’s one thing,” Blade editor, Kevin Naff said. “However, there’s an entirely different set of rules that are specific to people in the public eye. They’ve chosen a path in the limelight and they are fair game—especially when they’re hurting other gay people and being hypocritical at the same time.”

According to Naff, ultimately it matters not whether a closeted public figure is hostile to the cause of LGBT equality.

“If they’re a public figure, reporting their sexual orientation is fair game,” he said. “If you’re in the public eye, this is part of what you signed up for.”

But author-activist and Iraq war veteran, Rob Smith disagreed.

“It’s not up to me to tell someone, even if they are against us publicly, ‘you’re going to be outed whether you like it or not,’” he said. “I’m sorry, but that’s not right; and it hurts us all in the long run.”

At least one other panelist, civil rights leader Mandy Carter, agreed with Smith.

“It can cause all kinds of damage in a person’s life to be outed, including loss of career and even suicide,” said Carter, who is co-founder of the National Black Justice Coalition. “I’m not going to be the one to decide for you whether or not you should come out of the closet.”

Working with other individuals and organizations, not least among them, Walter Naegle, surviving partner of the late Bayard Rustin, Carter has been a key figure in helping increase awareness about Rustin’s role alongside civil rights activist, A. Philip Randolph as chief organizer of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

There was consensus among all of the panelists about the importance of educating the world about Bayard Rustin, who was openly gay in the 1940s, ‘50s, ‘60s and beyond, but who—despite being among Dr. King’s closest advisers—was kept out of the public eye as much as possible for fear that the Civil Rights movement might be “tarnished” by Rustin’s homosexuality.

All of the panelists agreed that passing ENDA was probably the most important goal the LGBT community has on its plate at the moment. Yet, each agreed that passage of ENDA in 2014 is all but impossible.

“I think 2015 looks a little more plausible,” said National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association vice president of print and online media, Sarah Blazucki.

The next “LGBTs In The News” panel will be in late spring in New York City and will feature the theme: “LGBTs and Our Allies: We couldn’t do it without you.”

“New York promises to be a decidedly star-studded panel, as we expect to have some of the music industry’s most illustrious LGBT allies and community members on the panel,” said series founder and panel moderator, Thom Senzee, a freelance journalist.

“Stay tuned for a major announcement about our confirmed panelists for the New York engagement of LGBTs In The News.”

Visit lgbtsinthenews.com for more information.

07
Mar
2014

OBITUARY: Mike Ritter, Blade contributor, dies at 48

Mike Ritter, gay news, Washington Blade

Mike Ritter was a well-known, award-winning political cartoonist. (Photo by Michael Chesworth; courtesy GA Voice)

Mike Ritter, a Washington Blade contributor and art director for the LGBT newspaper GA Voice in Atlanta, died shortly after midnight on Sunday, March 30. He was 48.

He was admitted to the emergency room at Atlanta Medical Center on Friday, March 28, where doctors determined he had a dissection on his aorta, a severe condition. After undergoing a 10-hour surgery on Saturday, he died due to the severity of his condition and complications from undergoing open-heart surgery.

Ritter was a native of Washington State and attended college at Arizona State University. While working on the newspaper at ASU, Ritter was awarded 10 Gold Circle Awards from Columbia University’s Scholastic Press Association. He also won two first-place awards in the editorial cartoon and comic strip categories.

He was the editorial cartoonist at the Tribune in Phoenix from 1992-2005 and a syndicated cartoonist with King Features Syndicate.

Ritter was honored by the Suburban Newspapers of America while at the Tribune and was awarded first place for editorial cartooning by the Arizona Press Club in 1993, 1995 and 1996.

In 1999 he received the Thomson newspaper chain’s highest award for illustration and a Freedom of Information Award from the Arizona Newspaper Association.

He served as president of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists from 2003-2004. The AAEC noted Ritter was likely one of the first openly gay staff cartoonist at a mainstream daily newspaper while he worked for the East Valley and Scottsdale Tribune papers in Arizona. The East Valley Tribune has a slide show of his nationally recognized 9-11 political cartoon as well as many of his illustrations.

In 2004 he was profiled by Editor & Publisher magazine where he was also noted for being an openly gay staff cartoonist at a mainstream daily newspaper.

After Ritter moved to Atlanta, he joined the staff of the former Southern Voice where he was a graphic designer and cartoonist. He also was a cartoonist for GA Voice and worked for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution before joining the GA Voice staff as full-time art director last year. In 2011 as cartoonist for the GA Voice, he won third place for Best Original Editorial Cartoon in the National Newspaper Association’s Better Newspaper contest. The cartoon was a biting look at the Atlanta Police Department’s raid on the Atlanta Eagle after news broke that that the lead investigator of the raid was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol and marijuana. No drugs were found during the raid of the Eagle in 2009.

Many of his GA Voice and SoVo cartoons were picked up by other LGBT media outlets and blogs and he was an occasional Blade contributor, including work on several colorful and memorable front covers.

“Mike was a dear friend, a great person. He made me laugh. He made me think. He made me a better person and a better editor. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of old music and old movies. A true Renaissance man,” said Dyana Bagby, GA Voice editor. “He kept his great sense of humor until the very end even though he was in pain and uncomfortable. We at the GA Voice are heartbroken.”

Ritter’s impact goes far beyond his cartoons and graphic design, agreed Laura Douglas-Brown, GA Voice co-founder and former editor.

“I could talk about Mike’s brilliance, his skill as a cartoonist and illustrator, his keen political wit — but this would barely touch the surface of who Mike was to so many,” Douglas-Brown said. “There simply are no words big enough for the man he was or the legacy he leaves behind.”

His best friends, Will Alford and Tim Messier, are in contact with the family and plans for a memorial will be announced as soon as more information is made available.

He was born Aug. 21, 1965, and his family includes five older sisters, a brother and his parents.

02
Apr
2014

D.C. preparing for Gay Softball World Series

softball, gay news, Washington Blade, sports

(Photo by Grunkcommons via Wikimedia Commons)

The North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance and the DC Series 2013 host committee are preparing for this summer’s Gay Softball World Series to be held in the District.

“We are confident in the DC host committee and its support team, and know that Chesapeake & Potomac Softball will put on a fantastic event for our delegation,” said Chris Balton, commissioner of NAGAAA.

More than 4,000 athletes and their supporters representing 180 softball teams are expected in Washington for the series to be held Aug. 26-31.

“High voltage tournaments like the 2013 NAGAAA Gay Softball World Series draw teams from across the country, and we’re thrilled to welcome them to the nation’s capital,” said Elliott Ferguson, president and CEO of Destination DC.

Sponsors of the event include Destination DC, the Greater Washington Sports Alliance, Renaissance Washington, D.C. Downtown Hotel and Nellie’s Sports Bar. The Blade is a media sponsor for the World Series.

19
Jun
2013

Howard hosts 4th HIV Stigma Conference

Jeanne White-Ginder, Ryan White, HIV Stigma

Jeanne White-Ginder (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

More than 600 healthcare providers, public health officials, and others attended the 4th Annual International HIV Stigma Conference held Nov. 22 on the campus of Howard University in D.C.

Jeanne White Ginder, longtime AIDS activist and mother of Ryan White, was among the community activists and international experts that discussed strategies for the elimination of stigma associated with HIV, according to Howard University spokesperson Sholnn Freeman.

Experts attending previous HIV stigma conferences at Howard University have said the stigma associated with HIV often results in an increase in the HIV infection rate because it discourages people at risk for HIV from obtaining information and help they need to avoid becoming infected.

In a statement released last week, Freeman said Howard University would soon announce the launching of a new Stigma Research Center.

27
Nov
2013

Cartoon: long lines

D.C. Courthouse, gay marriage, same-sex marriage, marriage equality, gay news, Washington Blade

Long lines to get married (Washington Blade cartoon by Ranslem)

18
Sep
2013

WATCH LIVE: Ayanbadejo, Washington Blade announce partnership

Brendan Ayanbadejo, gay news, Washington Blade, Baltimore Ravens

Brendan Ayanbadejo (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The Washington Blade and Super Bowl champion and former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo today announce a special partnership to further the national dialogue on LGBT issues in professional sports.

Ayanbadejo will serve as guest editor of the Washington Blade’s Aug. 30 edition, which will be dedicated to sports issues.

The press and VIP event kicks off at 11 a.m. in the Woodward-Bernstein room at the Donovan House hotel in downtown Washington D.C.

A live stream of the event will be available below once the event begins. After the broadcast, video of the news conference will also be available on YouTube later in the day, as well as on this page.

During the live broadcast, the Washington Blade will take your questions at @washingtonblade

Ayanbadejo has been a long-time, outspoken ally for LGBT equality and since 2009 has publicly advocated for marriage equality for same-sex couples.  In 2013, Ayanbadejo and his NFL colleague, Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, filed a joint amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of same-sex marriage in the California Prop 8 case currently in front of the court.

The Washington Blade was founded in 1969 as a black and white, one-sheet community newsletter distributed in D.C.-area bars. In October 2009, the Blade celebrated its 40th anniversary as an award-winning news source with a large following in print and online. Readers locally and around the world have come to rely on the Blade’s unmatched coverage of LGBT news, earning the paper the moniker “the newspaper of record for the LGBT community.

Return to the Washington Blade later in the day to learn more about this special project.

Watch the press conference here.

Washington Blade, Brendon Ayanbadejo, gay news, Washington Blade

The Washington Blade sports issue will come out on Aug. 30.

06
Jun
2013

Queery: Joshua Vogelsong

Joshua Vogelsong, GAY/BASH!, Black Cat, gay news, Washington Blade

Joshua Vogelsong (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

GAY/BASH!, a monthly gay rock/dance party at the Black Cat (1811 14th St., N.W.) started almost as a fluke.

Joshua Vogelsong, who co-DJs the event with his roommate Dean Sullivan, got into a conversation with the cashier at Smash Records in Georgetown about his love for vintage hair metal. Off the cuff, he mentioned wishing there was a gay rock party such as those he enjoyed during the two years (’04-’06) he lived in New York. Phone numbers were exchanged and passed on and before long, the Black Cat had the party penciled in for a trial night. It’s been rolling there monthly since February 2011.

It starts at 9:30 p.m. but around 11:30, revelers gather around the stage for performances by “D.C.’s most experimental and avant garde queens, giving them a platform to express themselves in the most unconventional ways.”

GAY/BASH! is the Black Cat’s first monthly drag show. Vogelsong, who works by day at gay-owned Comet Ping Pong and spins other events at Black Cat, says the Cat has “a good mix of gay and straight” patrons.

The next GAY/BASH! is Saturday at 9:30 and is open to all ages (though D.C.’s curfew law is in effect). Cover is $5. Find the party on Facebook for more information. Rumor Millz and Heidi Glum host this weekend’s installment.

“It’s kind of a genre fuck but with a harder rock edge,” he says. “And there’s a sense of humor about it. We do a lot of stuff people will know. They just get kind of discombobulated and thrash around. It’s cute.”

Vogelson, a 29-year-old Houston native, has been in D.C. off and on for about 10 years. He lives in a group home near Columbia Heights, has been dating boyfriend Kevin for about a year and enjoys music, movies, restaurants and live shows in his free time.

 

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

I’ve always been a total ‘mo. When I told my parents at age 14, they were basically like, “We were just waiting for you to figure it out and we love you.” I’m very fortunate and I love my family very much.

 

Who’s your LGBT hero?

Divine, forever and ever.

 

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

I really miss Asylum.

 

Describe your dream wedding.

Marry in a courthouse, then throw a huge party.

 

What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?

Women’s health care and women’s issues in general. I’ve always looked up to my mother and watched her struggle in the military and other male-dominated workplaces. She’s a strong, smart woman and has always been my hero.

 

What historical outcome would you change?

I don’t feel comfortable discussing things like that.

 

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

The 1997 VMAs, for Fiona Apple’s amazing “this-world-is-bullshit” speech and Marilyn Manson’s butt-cheek-baring “Beautiful People” performance. I was forever changed.

 

On what do you insist?

Punctuality

 

What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?

It was about how I’m sad that summer is ending. This has been a really good one!

 

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

“Oh My God, Whatever.” It would be a best seller!

 

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

Inform the self-hating closeted gays so they’ll shut the hell up and leave the rest of us alone.

 

What do you believe in beyond the physical world? 

Nothing, really. I’m not exactly spiritual.

 

What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?

Be more angry and militant. Start scaring people.

 

What would you walk across hot coals for?

A lot of things, probably. I get passionate.

 

What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?

For gay men: That we’re somehow weak or not masculine.

For gay women: That they haven’t found the right man yet.

For trans people: That they’re confused and/or impulsive.

 


What’s your favorite LGBT movie?

“Poison” by Todd Haynes.

 

What’s the most overrated social custom?

So much emphasis on first impressions.

 

What trophy or prize do you most covet?

My trophy for first place at the third grade spelling bee.

 

What do you wish you’d known at 18?

It gets harder, so apply yourself.

 

Why Washington?

It’s clean and people are well-educated.

25
Sep
2013

VIP Rooftop Party

New York City Pride held a VIP Rooftop Party at Hudson Terrace on Saturday. (Washington Blade photos by Michael Key) buyphoto 

01
Jul
2013