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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

Use of HIV prevention pill ‘sluggish’ in D.C. area

Truvada, Gilead, gay news, Washington Blade

Truvada (Photo courtesy of Gilead)

An official with Whitman-Walker Health, D.C.’s largest AIDS treatment and service organization, said that similar to current nationwide trends, a relatively small number of people at risk for HIV infection in the D.C. area are taking a drug approved for preventing them from contracting HIV.

Dr. Richard Elion, Whitman-Walker’s director of clinical research, told the Washington Blade that fewer than 50 Whitman-Walker clients have signed up so far for the prescription drug Truvada, a daily pill approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a pre-exposure prophylaxis, or “PrEP,” to greatly reduce the chances of becoming infected with HIV.

“So the uptake on PrEP is that the District has been sluggish at most places,” Elion said in discussing the local demand for taking Truvada as a prevention pill.

“It’s important to have a lot of educational efforts on this because this is a prevention strategy that to me has not really gotten the recognition and the press that it deserves,” he said.

Officials with at least three other local organizations that provide AIDS-related services and prevention programs targeting gay and bisexual men – Us Helping Us, SMYAL, and Metro Teen AIDS – said they, too, believe PrEP is an important new prevention strategy that should be encouraged for people deemed at high risk for HIV, especially young gay and bisexual men.

“Us Helping Us fully supports PrEP and will publicize it to our clients through meetings and social media,” said Ron Simmons, the group’s executive director. Us Helping Us reaches out to black gay and bisexual men in the D.C. area on AIDS prevention and other AIDS-related programs.

Adam Tenner, executive director of Metro Teen AIDS, and Andrew Barnett, executive director of SMYAL, each said they are encouraged over the potential PrEP has for their clients, who range in age from 13 to 21. But the two said they have yet to determine whether PrEP is appropriate for youth as young as 13 through 17.

“We are encouraged over the effectiveness of the treatment in preventing infection,” Tenner said. “But we are going to be very cautious about PrEP for adolescents. For kids 18 and older there are fewer questions,” he said.

Tenner and Barnett each said they are awaiting guidance from experts, including pediatricians, on the advisability of prescribing Truvada to people as young as 13 or 14. According to Tenner, youth of that age often are sexually active and at risk for sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.

He said Metro Teen AIDS sponsors HIV prevention programs targeting youth in that age range but has yet to embrace PrEP for young teens without having access to more information.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which earlier this month issued new guidelines advocating the wider use of PrEP for HIV prevention, and the American Academy of Pediatrics didn’t immediately respond to an inquiry from the Blade about the advisability of PrEP for youth between 13 and 17 years old.

The Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the nation’s largest AIDS service and treatment organization, which has facilities in D.C. and Maryland, has expressed strong opposition to PrEP, saying it has the potential to discourage condom use.

Michael Weinstein, the organization’s CEO, has pointed to studies showing that large numbers of people enrolled in the studies failed to take the Truvada pill on a daily basis as prescribed, placing them at risk for HIV infection.

Weinstein told the Blade that although AIDS Healthcare Foundation opposes the widespread use of PrEP, it believes it should ultimately be up to a patient and his or her doctor as to whether to enroll in PrEP. He said his organization’s medical clinics, including the one in D.C. and Temple Hills, Md., would not refuse to prescribe Truvada to people who specifically request to go on PrEP.

Sex workers who choose to have intercourse without using a condom would be especially suited for enrolling in PrEP, he said.

Elion disputes claims by AIDS Healthcare Foundation that large numbers of people on PrEP, men who have sex with men, are likely to stop using condoms.

“In the studies that have looked at over 12,000 patients we’ve not seen an increase in STDs in any of the people on PrEP,” Elion said. “And so I think that lack of an increase in STDs is indicative that they are not doing more risky behaviors once they start taking PrEP.”

Weinstein said a lack of an increase in sexually transmitted diseases in people on PrEP doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t engaging in risky behaviors. He said sexually transmitted diseases other than HIV are at epidemic proportions in the U.S. for gay and bisexual men or MSM.

“The baseline is already very high,” he said.

28
May
2014

Calendar: events through Jan. 23

Birdie LaCage, gay news, drag, Washington Blade

Birdie LaCage hosts a ‘Grease’ sing-along Tuesday at JR.’s. (Washington Blade file photo by Blake Bergen)

Friday, Jan. 17

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. 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.

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.

POV Live is tonight with Glorious, a “livetronica” drummer and D.C.-area native, performing with DJ Tempo at the W Hotel (515 15th St., N.W.). She also plays Saturday night with DJ Oz. Free. RSVP at whappenings@brandlinkdcrsvp.com.

Saturday, Jan. 18

Burgundy Crescent, a gay volunteer organization, volunteers today for the Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation at the Falls Church PetSmart (6100 Arlington Blvd., Falls Church, Va.) at 11:45 a.m. today. You will be paired with a dog on a leash to walk around and play with. Wear casual clothes. For more information, visit burgundycrescent.org.

Bistro Bistro (1726 Connecticut Ave., NW.) hosts “Let Freedom Ring,” a Martin Luther King weekend ladies bash, tonight from 11 p.m.-3 a.m. Enjoy music from two lesbian DJs with the cast of lesbian web series “District Heat.” There will be giveaways by Style is Freedom, a lesbian clothing line. Cover is $10 before midnight and $15 after midnight. Admission is limited to guests 21 and over.

Onyx Cocktail Party and Gear Show, a leather/BDSM auction, is at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill (400 New Jersey Ave., N.W.) today from 2-6 p.m. All proceeds from the auction will be donated to SMYAL, a local organization that aids LGBT youth in the District. For details, visit leatherweekend.com.

Several Species: the Pink Floyd Experience,” a Floyd tribute show, is tonight at the Lincoln Theatre (1215 U St., N.W.). Doors at 7 p.m. Tickets are $35. Details at thelincolndc.com.

Merrifield Garden Center starts its winter/spring series of free seminars on gardening and landscaping today with events at each of its three locations. A session on orchids with the Smithsonian’s Jonathan Kavalier will be held at the Merrifield location (Merrifield Community Hall, 8104 Lee Highway, Merrfifield, Va.). “A Gardener’s Calendar” with plant specialist David Yost will be held at Fair Oaks (Fair Oaks Meeting Room, 12101 Lee Highway in Fairfax, Fa.). Terrariums with Regina Lanctot, a tropical plant specialist, will be held at the Gainesville location (Our Garden Room, 6895 Wellington Road, Gainesville, Va.). Visit merrifieldgardencenter.com for details.

Sunday, Jan 19

Del Ray Artisans (2704 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria, Va.) hosts “From Board Game to Book,” a workshop to create a hand-bound notebook or journal with a board game as the cover, today from noon-4 p.m. Recycle any cardboard board game into an art book using traditional bookbinding methods. Supplies will be provided. Tickets are $48 for Del Ray Artisans members and $53 for non-members. For details, visit thedelrayartisans.org/bookmaking.

Patty Boom Boom (1359 U St., N.W.) hosts “Free to Be,” an LGBT dancehall event, tonight from 8 p.m.-2 a.m. Dance to reggae, dancehall and roots music to raise funds to support J-Flag, an organization dedicated to supporting LGBT people in Jamaica. Entry is free. Admission is limited to guests 21 and over. For details, visit pattyboomboomdc.com.

Perry’s (1811 Columbia Rd., N.W.) hosts its weekly “Sunday Drag Brunch” today from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The cost is $24.95 for an all-you-can-eat buffet. For more details, visit perrysadamsmorgan.com.

Monday, Jan. 20

The D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W.) hosts a free relationship workshop for lesbian couples today from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. It’s the first workshop in a series of six. This workshop focuses on sex and intimacy led by professional relationship coach Jayne Kelly. Bring your partner and lunch to learn how to have a healthy and sexually satisfying relationship. For details, visit thedccenter.org.

The D.C. Center (2000 14th 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.

Nellie’s Sports Bar (900 U St., N.W.) hosts poker night tonight at 8 p.m. Win prizes. Free to play. For more information, visit nelliessportsbar.com.

Tuesday, Jan. 21

Burgundy Crescent, a gay volunteer organization, volunteers today for the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop and Atlas Performing Arts Center’s Remembrance of Martin Luther King Jr.  at the Atlas Center (1333 H St., N.E.) tonight at 7 p.m. Duties include ushering the event and a chance to watch the concert. For more information, visit burgundycrescent.org.

Special Agent Galactica performs “Intoxicating” with Peter Fields at Banana Café (500 8th St., S.E.) tonight at 7:30 p.m. The show is a mix of jazz, burlesque and modern hits. No cover. For details, visit pinkhairedone.com.

Green Lantern (1335 Green Ct., N.W.) hosts its weekly ”FUK!T Packing Party” from 7-9 p.m. tonight. For more details, visit thedccenter.org or greenlanterndc.com.

Birdie LaCage hosts a “Grease” sing-a-long at JR.’s (1519 17th Street, N.W.) tonight at 10 p.m. Drinks are two-for-one ‘til midnight.

Wednesday, Jan. 22

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.

The D.C. Center and Professionals in the City host speed dating for women in their twenties and thirties 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.

Thursday, Jan. 23

Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence (GLOV) hold a meeting at The D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W.) tonight from 7-8:30 p.m. GLOV works to reduce violence against LGBT individuals through community outreach, education and assisting members of anti-LGBT violence. For more details, visit thedccenter.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.

SMYAL (410 7th St., S.E.) hosts “Café SMYAL,” a fun event to get out of the cold, today from 4-5 p.m. Drink hot cocoa, play board games and make new friends. For more information, visit smyal.org.

Whitman-Walker provides free and confidential HIV testing at Miriam’s Kitchen (2401 Virginia Ave., N.W.) today from 4-6 p.m. For details, visit whitman-walker.org.

16
Jan
2014

Pride Parade Party

The Washington Blade and Whitman-Walker Health co-hosted a post-parade party at the end of the Capital Pride Parade Route. Guests included the NFL’s Chris Kluwe and several local politicians. The Pride Parade Party was sponsored by HAILO, DC Brau, Devil’s Backbone, Vino Lovers, Whitman-Walker Health, Flowers on Fourteenth, Miss Pixies and Chipotle. (Washington Blade photos by Damien Salas) Pride Parade 

09
Jun
2014

Calendar: Jan. 24-30

Foundry United Methodist Church, gay news, Washington Blade

Foundry United Methodist Church welcomes Rev. Frank Schaefer for a special service Sunday. Despite anti-gay teaching from its hierarchy, Foundry continues to advocate strongly for LGBT believers. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Friday, Jan. 24

Red Knight Productions presents “The Ballad of the Red Knight,” the story of a prince who must save his kingdom from an evil villain Lord Fango, at Port City Playhouse (1819 N. Quaker Ln., Alexandria, Va.) tonight at 8 p.m. The show runs through Feb. 8 with shows on Fridays at 8 p.m. and Saturdays at 2 and 8 p.m. Tickets range from $9-$16. For more information, visit portcityplayhouse.org.

The 16th annual Sugarloaf Crafts Festival begins today at Dulles Expo Center (4320 Chantilly Shopping Center Dr., Chantilly, Va.) from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. The festival continues through Sunday. Purchase sculpture, glass, jewelry, fashion and more from 250 American artists. Live music, children’s entertainment and food vendors will also be available. Tickets are $8 online and $10 at the door. Children under 12 are free. For details, visit sugarloafcrafts.com.

D.C. Shorts hosts “Pasties and Popcorn” at the U.S. Navy Memorial’s Burke Theater (701 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.) at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Watch sexually themed films from the D.C. Shorts archive, enjoy burlesque shows and see dance and comedic performances. Tickets are $20. For details and to purchase tickets, visit pasties.dcshorts.com.

Women in Their 20s, a social discussion group for lesbian, bisexual, transgender and all women interested in women, meets today at The D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W.) from 8-9:30 p.m. All welcome to join. For details, visit thedccenter.org.

Saturday, Jan. 25

Burgundy Crescent, a gay volunteer organization, volunteers for Food and Friends (219 Riggs Rd., N.E.) today from 8-10 a.m. Volunteers will chop vegetables and pack groceries. To volunteer, email jonathan@burgundycrescent.org. For more details, visit burgundycrescent.org

The Latino Queer Bilingual Writing Group hosts its monthly workshop at the D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W.) today from 12:30-2:30 p.m. The focus will be on memoirs. Open to writers of any genre and levels of experience to share creative work in Spanish or English. Workshop is free and no prior experience is necessary. For details, call 202-682-2245 or email washeg@gmail.com.

Adult entertainment star Ryan Rose appears at Town (2009 8th St., N.W.) tonight. Rose was named Falcon Studios’ 2013 “Man of the Year.” Doors open at 10 p.m. The drag show starts at 10:30 p.m. Drinks are $3 before 11 p.m. The cover is $8 from 10-11 p.m. and $12 after 11 p.m. Admission is limited to guests 21 and over. For details, visit towndc.com.

Brother Help Thyself hosts its grant reception today at Ziegfield’s/Secrets (1824 Half St., S.W.) at 2 p.m. Doors open at 1 p.m. Brother is a community-based organization committed to providing support to non-profit organizations that serve the LGBT and HIV/AIDS community. For details, visit thedccenter.org.

A benefit concert for A Wider Circle featuring the music of Ralph Vaughan-Williams, Gustav Holst and Percy Grainger is tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church (9601 Cedar Lane) in Bethesda. Director Henry Sgrecci will lead the Cedar Lane Chamber Orchestra and Choir. Oboist Jeanine Reinier will also perform. A Wider Circle is a local charitable organization. Admission is free; donations will go to the charity. Open to all.

Concert pianist Denis Matsuev plays Haydn, Schumann, Rachmaninoff and more tonight at 7 p.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore Hall (5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, Md.). Tickets range from $35-75. Visit Strathmore.org for details.

Sunday, Jan.26

Foundry United Methodist Church (1500 16th St., N.W.) presents “Service of Hope and Justice with Frank Schaefer” today at 9:30 and 11 a.m. Schaefer was recently defrocked for officiating the same-gender marriage of his son. Jimmy Creech, also defrocked for officiating a same-gender marriage, and Beth Stroud, who was defrocked and now is in a same-gender relationship, will also be in attendance. A panel discussion follows at 12:30 p.m. For details, visit foundryumc.org.

Perry’s (1811 Columbia Rd., N.W.) hosts its weekly “Sunday Drag Brunch” today from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The cost is $24.95 for an all-you-can-eat buffet. For more details, visit perrysadamsmorgan.com.

MetroStage (1201 North Royal St., Alexandria, Va.) presents “Ella Fitzgerald: First Lady of Song” today at 3 and 7 p.m. The show chronicles Fitzgerald’s life both onstage and backstage. Tickets are $60. The show runs through March 16. For details, visit metrostage.org.

Monday, Jan. 27

The D.C. Center (2000 14th 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.

The D.C. Center presents “When Social Security and Same-Sex Marriage May Not Be Enough” at The Residences at Thomas Circle (1330 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.) today from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Attorney Michele Zavos and Financial Advisor DeWayne Ellis will discuss the issues that LGBT people face when they are not fully legally protected. Light refreshments will be provided. For more information, visit thedccenter.org.

Tuesday, Jan. 28

Genderqueer D.C. holds a discussion group at The D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W..)  at 7 p.m. tonight. The group is for anyone who identifies outside of the gender binary. For more information, visit thedccenter.org.

Bachelor’s Mill (1104 8th St., S.E.) offers all drinks half price tonight until 2 a.m. Enjoy pool, video games and cards. Admission is free. Must be 21 and over. For more details, visit bachelorsmill.com.

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.

Wednesday, Jan. 29

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.

Fresh Market (3680 King St., Alexandria, Va.) opens its new location today at 8 a.m. Enjoy chef demonstrations, food samplings throughout the store and drawings for The Fresh Market gift cards. The first 1,000 customers receive a sample bag of Fresh Market coffee and a reusable shopping bag. For details, visit thefreshmarket.com.

Thursday, Jan 30

Nellie’s Sports Bar (900 U St., N.W.) hosts its weekly “Beat the Clock Happy Hour” tonight from 5-8 p.m. Drink specials start at $2 and increase by a dollar each hour. For more information, visit nelliessportsbar.com.

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.

SMYAL (410 7th St., S.E.) hosts “Café SMYAL,” a fun event to get out of the cold, today from 4-5 p.m. Drink hot cocoa, play board games and make new friends. For more information, visit smyal.org.

Whitman Walker provides HIV testing at Glorious Health Club (2120 West Virginia Ave., N.E.) tonight from 10:30 p.m.-1 a.m. For details, visit Whitman-walker.org.

23
Jan
2014

Name change for AIDS Walk

AIDS Walk, gay news, Washington Blade

From left, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, Mitchell Gold, Bob Williams and Joe Izzo march in the 2013 AIDS Walk. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Whitman-Walker Health this week announced a name change for its annual AIDS Walk held in October. Beginning this year, the event will be known as “The Walk to End HIV,” to reflect the progress made in combating HIV/AIDS.

The 28th annual event is scheduled for Oct. 25 in D.C. The name change is being touted by Whitman-Walker as the first such change in the country and the announcement was timed to coincide with National HIV Testing Day, held June 27.

Whitman-Walker’s executive director Don Blanchon is scheduled to officially announce the change at an event on June 26.

25
Jun
2014

Calendar: Feb. 21-27

calendar, Mark Evans, Book of Mormon, gay news, Washington Blade

Mark Evans in ‘Book of Mormon,’ which opens next week in Baltimore. (Photo by Joan Marcus; courtesy Broadway Across America)

Events calendar for the week ahead.

Friday, Feb. 21

Katzen Arts Center (4400 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.) presents “RENT” tonight at 8 p.m. It runs through March 1st. The musical is set during the AIDS epidemic in New York City and follows a group of young bohemian artists, including a drag queen, a lesbian couple and a gay couple, as they fight against their capitalist landlord who wants to make changes to their neighborhood. Tickets are $15. For more details, visit american.edu/cas/auarts.

Ziegfeld’s Secrets (1824 Half St., S.W.) hosts its fifth year anniversary party with adult entertainment star Angel Rock tonight at 9 p.m. There will be special events on both floors all night. Music by DJ Steve Henderson and a special laser show by John Klaja. For details, visit secretsdc.com.

Gay District meets at the D.C. Center (1318 U St., N.W.) tonight from 8:30-9:30 p.m. The facilitated group discussion covers building understanding of gay culture and personal identity and awareness of community events for LGBT men between the ages of 18 and 35 in the D.C. area. For more details, visit thedccenter.org or gaydistrict.org.

Saturday, Feb. 22

Burgundy Crescent, a gay volunteer organization, volunteers for Food and Friends (219 Riggs Rd., N.E.) tonight from 8-10 a.m. Volunteers will chop vegetables and pack groceries. To volunteer, email jonathan@burgundycrescent.org. For more details, visit burgundycrescent.org.

Town  (2009 8th St., N.W.) hosts “Bear Invasions: SCRUFF’D UP,” hosted by Johnny Scruff, tonight from 10 p.m.-3 a.m. Cover is $8 from 10-11 p.m. and $12 after 11 p.m. Drinks are $3 before 11 p.m. Drag show starts at 10:30 p.m. Admission is limited to guests 21 and over. For details, visit towndc.com.

Cobalt (1639 R St., N.W.) hosts “CTRLympics Closing Ceremonies” tonight from 10 p.m.-1 a.m. Enjoy $3 PBR Tallboys, $5 rail drinks and $4 Fireball shots. Music by DJs Jeff Prior and Adam Kousarri-Amin. There will be a special Olympics competition. Cover is $5. For details, visit cobaltdc.com.

The D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W.) hosts a free relationship workshop for lesbian couples today from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. This workshop is led by professional relationship coach Jayne Kelly and focuses on family. Bring your lunch and learn how to address spoken and unspoken needs and how to strengthen your bond with your partner for a healthy family. For details, visit thedccenter.org.

Sunday, Feb. 23

“Music with the Angels” concert series presents “Vocal and Instrumental Music of the 20th Century” at Church of the Holy City (1611 16th St. N.W.) today at 3 p.m. There will be musical performances and poetry readings. Reception follows. Admission is free but donations to the Organ Fund are appreciated. For details, visit churchoftheholycity.org.

Adventuring, an LGBT outdoors club, hosts a C&O at Seneca Quarries hike this morning at 10 a.m. The walk goes through 19th century industrial ruins, including Rowsers Ford and Riley’s Lock, in the Washington area. Lunch will be near the Seneca Creek Aqueduct. Bring beverages, lunch, boots and $6 for transportation fees. Meet at Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro station (10300 Rockville Pk., Bethesda, Md.) on the red line. For details, visit adventuring.org.

Nellies Sports Bar (900 U St., N.W.) hosts a drag brunch today with two shows at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. For more information, visit nelliessportsbar.com.

Monday, Feb. 24

SAGE Metro D.C. and AARP D.C. present a screening of “The New Black” at the D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W.) tonight from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The documentary focuses on how the African-American community is dealing with the gay rights issue by examining the black church and documenting activists, families and clergies on both sides of the debate. For details, visit thedccenter.org.

The D.C. Center (2000 14th 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.

Allied in Greek,” an amateur drag competition and Trevor Project fundraiser, has been rescheduled for tonight from 7-9 p.m. at Lisner Auditorium (730 21st Street, N.W.) after snow forced a postponement two weeks ago. Allied in Pride, the George Washington University LGBT student advocacy organization, and the GW Greek Community are joining efforts on the event which will feature contestants in drag who will lip sync to a song. Chanel Devereaux, a local drag queen, will be on the judging panel. Half of the proceeds will go to the Trevor Project. Tickets are $5 general admission. Find out more by searching for “Allied in Greek” on Facebook.

Tuesday, Feb. 25

Tony Award-winning musical “Book of Mormon,” a satirical comedy about two Mormon missionaries who are sent to Uganda, opens at the Hippodrome at France-Merrick Performing Arts Center (12 N Eutaw St., Baltimore) tonight at 8 p.m. and continues through March 9. Tickets range from $43.55-$199.85. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit baltimore.broadway.com.

The D.C. Center and Pros in the City host speed dating for gay men at the Navy Yards Boilermaker Building (300 Tingey St., S.E.) 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. Cost is $30. For details, visit thedccenter.org.

Genderqueer D.C. holds a discussion group at The D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W..)  at 7 p.m. tonight. The group is for anyone who identifies outside of the gender binary . For more information, visit thedccenter.org.

Revel hosts a queer women’s “#BeachLife” happy hour at VeraCruz Gallery (2108 Vermont Ave., N.W.) this evening at 6 p.m. Enjoy Caribbean décor and drink specials. The first 20 guests receive a free pair of sunglasses. Mautner Project, a women’s health organization, will join to share information on women’s wellness, fitness and health care options.

Wednesday, Feb. 26

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.

The D.C. Center and Pros in the City host speed dating for lesbian and bisexual women at the Navy Yards Boilermaker Building (300 Tingey St., S.E.)  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. Cost is $30. For details, visit thedccenter.org.

Thursday, Feb. 27

Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence (GLOV) hold a meeting at the D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W.) tonight from 7-8:30 p.m. GLOV works to reduce violence against LGBT individuals through community outreach, education and assisting members of anti-LGBT violence. For more details, visit thedccenter.org.

Whitman Walker provides free and confidential HIV testing at Glorious Health Club (2120 West Virginia Ave., N.E.) tonight from 10:30 p.m.-1 a.m. For more information, visit whitman-walker.org.

SMYAL (410 7th St., S.E.) hosts “Café SMYAL,” a fun event to get out of the cold, today from 4-5 p.m. Drink hot cocoa, play board games and make new friends. For more information, visit smyal.org.

20
Feb
2014

‘AIDS Walk’ is now ‘Walk to End HIV’

AIDS Walk 2013, Whitman-Walker Health, gay news, Washington Blade

(Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

After a number of years, Whitman-Walker Clinic morphed into Whitman-Walker Health. It changed from being a small gay men’s health clinic often running on a shoestring budget to a thriving health center serving the entire community. That shouldn’t be construed to mean that Whitman-Walker has forgotten its roots because it hasn’t. But the needs of the LGBT community have changed along with Whitman-Walker.

That change is a big reason for changing the name of “AIDS Walk” to “Walk to End HIV.” Last week the D.C. government released its report on HIV/AIDS in the District and while we still have infections at epidemic numbers, the incidence of new infections continues to go down. With the right care people with AIDS can live long productive lives and we have it in our sights to end new infections. Just after Whitman-Walker made its announcement of the “Walk to End HIV,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York announced his goal to end new HIV infections in New York by 2020.

Many of us remember our first encounter with Whitman Walker. For me it was when a friend was diagnosed with AIDS and I called the clinic for help. Those were the days when many of us got up each morning and checked the obituary notices first saying a silent prayer we wouldn’t see another friend’s name. It was a time when going to funerals of young men seemed to be the norm and name after name got crossed off in our address books. It was a time when the majority of the money for the Clinic had to come from private donations. With others I joined the Clinic’s Development Committee and we pleaded with friends to attend benefits and dig deeper into their pockets, which they did. Many of the donations were made in memory of a friend or loved one who died of AIDS.

Thankfully things have changed and today the rate of HIV infections is going down. In the District, Mayor Vincent Gray has had success in his vision and strategy for bringing down the infection rate and Whitman-Walker Health has been a major partner in that effort.

In announcing the name change, Don Blanchon, executive director of WWH said, “This name change reflects a cataclysmic shift to what HIV is today — a chronic, manageable disease.”

Dr. Raymond Martins, chief medical officer of WWH added, “When we say that we are walking to end HIV, this is not just a pipe dream. Even without a cure or vaccine, through testing, early detection, and a comprehensive care plan, we can create an AIDS-free city and hopefully be moving towards ending HIV. We have the tools and we know how to do it. Now we need everyone’s participation and support to make it a reality.”

This is an achievable goal and the incredible staff at WWH, with the help of a motivated community, will make it happen. Under the leadership of Blanchon, WWH has seen a stunning turnaround of its own. When Blanchon came to Whitman-Walker in 2006, the clinic was in dire financial trouble. Founded in 1978 as a nonprofit LGBT community health clinic it soon became a force to be reckoned with in the 1980s and ‘90s as the AIDS epidemic was at its height. But as the 21st century arrived there was continuing evidence that the clinic could not continue on the same path or it would eventually have to close its doors. Blanchon led a turnaround that saw WWC become WWH and go from being millions in the red to functioning in the black in just five years. He and his staff have built a health center for the future that will always be here to care for clients.

Now we can all help as WWH continues to lead the nation in moving to end new HIV infections. This year, the “Walk to End HIV,” formerly AIDS Walk Washington, will take place on Oct. 25 and as in previous years will begin and end at Freedom Plaza (Pennsylvania Avenue and 13th St., N.W.). Funds raised benefit the HIV programs and services of Whitman-Walker Health along with more than 20 community partners that provide critical services in and around the D.C. area. To get more information and participate in the walk, and help to reach the goal of raising $1 million and ending new HIV infections in the District, visit walktoendhiv.org.

09
Jul
2014

Importance of openly gay elected officials

Jim Graham, Washington, D.C., gay news, Washington Blade, gay elected

Gay D.C. Councilmember Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) (Washington Blade file photo by Jeff Surprenant)

Like so many others, I have gone through many stages as a gay man. Knowing who I am, and being comfortable with all that, has taken time. I have gone from denying my sexuality and marrying a woman (who I loved then and still do to this day), to divorce. What followed were awkward personal times working in the U.S. Senate where there was then zero tolerance for being gay.

But when I became the volunteer President of Whitman-Walker Clinic on April 1, 1981, I came out of the closet with a roar — for a time everyone (whether they liked it or not) had to be told by me that I was gay. Those were my “Billboard Years.” More change followed after 16 years as head of the Clinic. I became more “right sized.” Being gay was a key part but only one part of my make-up. When I ran for D.C. Council in 1998, I ran on that basis and got elected, and re-elected ever since.

With all that in mind, I was struck by a recent suggestion by a Blade columnist that it wouldn’t matter if the D.C. Council went from its current two gay members to none at all.

It’s amazing that a gay columnist for a gay newspaper would suggest that not having gay elected leaders is of no significance! Harvey Milk must be turning over in his grave.

I have never campaigned just as a “gay man.” Had I done so, I would never have won. When I was first elected in 1998, Ward One was 71 percent minority population — 46 percent black and 25 percent Latino. I ran against an incumbent, African-American male, well known for his leadership in D.C. and in the national Civil Rights Movement.  In 1998, one out of every four Ward 1 residents were living in poverty. My record at Whitman-Walker demonstrated a commitment to all people as well as poor people –especially those living with HIV and AIDS, from the earliest days of the pandemic.

Why do people vote a particular way? The reasons are limitless, and surely sexual orientation, race, gender, religion, are all part of it. “Identity politics” is hardly dead. It matters — sometimes positive, sometimes negative — that a candidate is gay. It can make a big difference.

My sexual orientation informs what I do and say. But being gay is only part of who I am. I work every day to integrate all aspects of my life.

Yet to suggest as the columnist did “that LGBT residents are fully integrated into the fabric of local life” — and that “sexual orientation of elected officials is inconsequential” is just plain wrong. LGBT candidates bring a unique experience to government.

For example, I was just honored by the DC Center for my work on a recently passed bill establishing an LGBTQ homeless services program with 10 beds for these kids only.

Would that have passed without the energetic support of a gay Council member? Maybe, maybe not. But the DC Center surely thought it made a positive difference.

And why else does the Victory Fund endorse openly gay and lesbian candidates?  It’s not because — as the columnist suggested — “that the gay community is fully integrated into our different communities.” It’s because that having one of our own at the table counts.

But that is just the start. I, along with hundreds of other out LGBT elected officials, cannot win without earning the trust of our communities to stand with them and fight for everyone.

14
Mar
2014

HIV researchers reportedly among victims of Ukraine plane crash

Australia, South Australia, HIV, AIDS,

A number of prominent HIV/AIDS researchers who were traveling to the 2014 International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia, were reportedly passengers on a Malaysian airliner that was apparently shot down in eastern Ukraine on Thursday. (Image by MJC via Wikimedia)

Reports indicate a number of prominent HIV/AIDS researchers and advocates who were traveling to the 2014 International AIDS Conference were among those on the Malaysian airliner that was apparently shot down in eastern Ukraine on Thursday.

Joep Lange, a prominent Dutch HIV researcher who is a former president of the International AIDS Society, which organizes biennial gathering that is scheduled to begin in Melbourne, Australia, on July 20, is reportedly among the 283 passengers and 15 crew members who were on Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. Pim de Kuijer, another Dutch national who worked for Stop AIDS Now, and Glenn Thomas of the World Health Organization are among those who were also reportedly on the flight.

An Australian newspaper is reporting as many as 100 HIV/AIDS advocates were on Flight 17.

Malaysian Airlines said on its Twitter page that it will release the names of the passengers who were on the flight once their next-of-kin have been notified.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported Flight 17 was to have connected with another Malaysian Airlines flight that is scheduled to arrive in Melbourne on Friday.

“The International AIDS Society today expresses its sincere sadness receiving news that a number of colleagues and friends en route to attend the 20th International AIDS Conference taking place in Melbourne, Australia, were on board the Malaysian Airlines MH17 flight that has crashed over Ukraine earlier today,” said the International AIDS Society in a statement. “At this incredibly sad and sensitive time the IAS stands with our international family and sends condolences to the loved ones of those who have been lost to this tragedy.”

Philip Tijsma of COC Nederland, a Dutch LGBT advocacy group, told the Washington Blade “it’s certain that several” HIV/AIDS advocates from the Netherlands were on Flight 17.

He said members of his organization had already arrived in Australia when the flight crashed.

“It’s a tragedy,” said Tijsma.

Whitman-Walker Health is among the HIV/AIDS service organizations and other groups that have expressed condolences to those who were on Flight 17, their families and colleagues.

“HRC wishes to extend our condolences to the friends and families of everyone aboard Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17,” said the Human Rights Campaign on Thursday. “We are deeply saddened to learn about the deaths of the many HIV/AIDS advocates believed to be on the plane. HRC joins the international community in mourning the loss of all those who lost their lives today, including such dedicated health professionals. They will be sorely missed.”

Rod McCullom, a Chicago-based journalist who reports on global HIV/AIDS and health issues, arrived in Melbourne on Thursday before Flight 17 crashed in Ukraine.

“It’s a cold, somber and bittersweet morning in Melbourne on the eve of the opening of AIDS 2014,” wrote McCullom on his Facebook page. “The Malaysian Airlines jet that was shot down over Ukraine apparently was carrying a number of researchers, scientists and NGO (non-governmental organization) employees bound for AIDS 2014 Melbourne. Prayers for them, their families and all the loved ones of the many passengers and crew. A horrible and senseless tragedy.”

McCullom told the Washington Blade through Facebook that people who are in the lobby of the convention center where the 2014 International AIDS Conference will take place are crying.

He said one of the organizers of a pre-conference gathering on men who have sex with men who he met at the airport in Sydney said he was “looking forward to meeting several colleagues from Amsterdam.” McCullom told the Blade the man was not sure whether they were scheduled to travel to Melbourne through Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok.

“I encountered many people headed to the conference on the long flight from (San Francisco) and the short flight from (Sydney),” said McCullom. “As usual on these trips, everyone seemed very excited about the conference. I’ve only spoken with several people this morning and the mood is more guarded. Such a senseless tragedy. What a strange twist of irony that people working to end suffering would die so violently.”

The 2012 International AIDS Conference took place in D.C.

The Blade will provide further updates on this story as they become available.

18
Jul
2014