Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights http://www.washingtonblade.com America's Leading LGBT News Source Thu, 19 Apr 2018 19:09:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.6 Man claims painkillers turned him gay, says he won’t stop taking them http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/04/19/man-says-painkillers-turned-gay/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/04/19/man-says-painkillers-turned-gay/#respond Thu, 19 Apr 2018 19:09:54 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=40406880

Scott Purdy (Screenshot via YouTube)

Scott Purdy says that he was a straight 23-year-old man who was attracted to his girlfriend before he started taking painkillers.

After a go-karting accident, Purdy was prescribed Lyrica (Pregabalin) for pain. In an interview with British TV show “This Morning,” Purdy says he started to feel sexually attracted toward men until he decided to stop taking the medication.

“All I craved was male attention so I thought it was a bit weird and stopped taking it just in case,” Purdy says. “As soon as that happened my sexual attraction towards my ex-girlfriend went back up and I was more intimate and cuddly and it was normal again. But the pain started building back up and so I started taking Pregabalin again.”

Purdy explains that he had “quite a few” girlfriends in the past and was never attracted to men. However, he did recall kissing another boy when he was a teenager out of curiosity but says he decided it wasn’t for him.

He continued that he isn’t in contact with his family but when he told his friends about his sexuality change they were confused.

“When I put it on Facebook about a week and a half ago I didn’t say the reason why, and everyone was saying they didn’t see it coming and it’s a great shock because it was so out of character,” Purdy says.

Purdy broke up with his girlfriend and now says he doesn’t want to stop taking the medication because he’s happy.

Dr. Ranj Singh also appeared on the show to advise that the medication didn’t change Purdy’s sexuality but that the medication’s side effect of calming nerves let Purdy be his “true self.”

“These feelings were probably always there, and sexuality is complex,” Singh says. “It’s not black and white. Different people experience it differently, and some people are fluid.”

Singh, who is gay, also gave his own experience with the drug.

“I’ve been on Pregabalin myself,” he says. “I’m sorry to say it didn’t make me any gayer.”

Watch below.



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Australia’s ‘Bachelor in Paradise’ accused of queerbaiting viewers http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/04/19/40403091/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/04/19/40403091/#respond Thu, 19 Apr 2018 18:37:56 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=40403091

‘Bachelor in Paradise” (Screenshot via YouTube)

Australia’s “Bachelor in Paradise” has been accused of queerbaiting in a recent promo for the show.

In the promo, Megan Marx, who is bisexual, says she finds fellow contestant Elora Murger “absolutely gorgeous.” The next clip appears to show Marx and Murger, who has long brown hair, kissing in the ocean. However, in the actual episode, Marx is kissing contestant Thomas Perras, who also has long brown hair.

Viewers were outraged that the series promoted a same-sex hookup that never occurred.

Marx has been open about her sexuality since appearing on the fourth season of Australia’s “The Bachelor.” After leaving the show she and fellow contestant Tiffany Scanlan briefly dated.

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AIDS foundations seek to end epidemic in South http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/04/19/aids-foundations-seek-end-epidemic-south/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/04/19/aids-foundations-seek-end-epidemic-south/#respond Thu, 19 Apr 2018 17:58:28 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=40404870 Elton John Foundation, gay news, OUTright Center, Elton John, David Furnish, gay news, Washington Blade

Elton John and David Furnish (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The Elton John AIDS Foundation, the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, and the Aileen Getty Foundation have announced they are joining forces to award an expanded series of grants aimed at “ending the AIDS epidemic in the Southern United States.”

In an April 9 statement, officials with the three foundations said they would be awarding grants for $625,000 each to 12 organizations that would seek to end, among other things, the disproportionate impact of AIDS in the South on young people and communities of color.

“We’re thrilled to have the Aileen Getty Foundation join our existing partners at The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, making this one of the largest philanthropic partnerships addressing AIDS in the Southern United States,” said Elton John AIDS Foundation Chair David Furnish.

“By bringing particular focus on the needs and aspirations of young people and communities of color, and by delivering support to community-rooted organizations that have been engaging the epidemic for years, this partnership has incredible potential to reduce transmissions, improve quality of life, and speed the South’s progress toward an AIDS-free generation,” Furnish said.

Among the projects the grants will support, according to a statement released by the Elton John AIDS Foundation, are a “welcoming, affirming, and safe center for LGBTQ youth” in Birmingham, Ala.; “comprehensive and LGBTQ-inclusive youth wellness services” in Corpus Christi, Texas; “HIV-specific services, including pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis education” in Memphis, Tenn.; and “expanded mobilization and advocacy programs for LGBTQ youth of color” in Atlanta, Ga.

“Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation is once again extremely honored and humbled to be on the forefront of a transformative HIV response in the U.S. south in concert with Elizabeth Taylor’s dear friend, Elton John, and family member, Aileen Getty,” said Joel Goldman, managing director of the Taylor Foundation.

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Rockville school named after civil rights icon Bayard Rustin http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/04/19/rockville-school-named-civil-rights-icon-bayard-rustin/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/04/19/rockville-school-named-civil-rights-icon-bayard-rustin/#respond Thu, 19 Apr 2018 17:39:44 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=40404056 Black History Month, Bayard Rustin, Freedom Fighters, gay news, Washington Blade

Bayard Rustin served as co-organizer of the 1963 March on Washington. (Blade archive photo by Doug Hinckle)

The Montgomery County, Md., Board of Education voted 6-2 on April 12 to name a new elementary school in Rockville after African-American civil rights leader Bayard Rustin, marking the first time a school in the county has been named after a well-known gay person.

The Bayard Rustin Elementary School is scheduled to open in September.

Rustin, a lifelong civil rights activist, served as an adviser to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. He is best known for his role as lead organizer of the 1963 March on Washington in which King delivered his famous “I Have A Dream” speech.

Although his sexual orientation was known to his civil rights colleagues in the 1960s, published biographies say Rustin became an outspoken supporter of the LGBT rights movement in the late 1970s and 1980s. He died in 1987.

In its decision to select the name Bayard Rustin Elementary School, the school board overruled a recommendation by an advisory committee of parents and community members created by the board that called for naming the school after Lillian Brown.

Brown was a Rockville native, educator and author who was barred as a child from attending the county’s public schools due to racial segregation. She died in 2002.

According to Bethesda Magazine, parents of LGBT current and former students in the Montgomery County school system spoke out forcefully for naming the school after Rustin at two community meetings. Some, the magazine reports, expressed concern that opponents of naming the school after Rustin posted messages on social media claiming it would be inappropriate to name an elementary school after a gay person.

“This kind of statement marginalizes as well as effectively makes invisible children who are part of LGBTQ families and children who may identify as LGBTQ themselves,” the magazine quoted Lucinda Grinnell, a professor of LGBTQ history and whose child will attend the school, as saying.

“In my opinion, it would be great for Montgomery County Public Schools to honor a black gay man who made such an important contribution to the civil rights movement,” the magazine quoted her as saying. “It’s important for children’s sense of self-worth to see themselves represented in their schools,” she was quoted as saying.

The magazine quoted the mother of a former gay student as saying people who question the propriety of naming an elementary school after a gay person “are implying that there is something about gayness that compromises the innocence of our children.”

The mother, Lily Qi, added, “So let me be very clear. There is nothing vulgar or scandalous about being gay. The sooner we can begin these conversations, the more effective they will be,” the magazine quoted her as saying.

Among those who expressed support for naming the school after Rustin were U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), who worked with Rustin and King on civil rights issues; and Walter Naegle, Rustin’s longtime life partner.

Members of the advisory committee that wanted the school to be named after Lillian Brown said they did not object to Rustin because he was gay. They said Brown would be a better choice for the school name because she was a native of Rockville who later taught in Montgomery County schools and co-authored a book on the history of Montgomery County’s black public schools, Bethesda Magazine reports.

A statement released by Montgomery County Schools after the board voted to name the school after Rustin describes Rustin as “a believer in non-violence, a socialist, a civil rights organizer, and an openly gay black man.” It adds that Rustin “played a major role in civil rights and equality movements of the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s” and noted he was active in the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).

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National Cannabis Festival returns for 4/20 weekend http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/04/19/national-cannabis-festival-returns-420-weekend/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/04/19/national-cannabis-festival-returns-420-weekend/#respond Thu, 19 Apr 2018 14:29:49 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=40397778 National Cannabis Festival, gay news, Washington Blade

Last year’s National Cannabis Festival in Washington. (Photo courtesy NCF)

National Cannabis Festival


Saturday, April 21


Noon-8 p.m.


RFK Stadium


2400 E Capitol St., S.E.





The National Cannabis Festival plans to bring music, education and good vibes to RFK Stadium with plenty of LGBT support.

The festival was the brainchild of Caroline Phillips who envisioned a cannabis event that was more affordable than the typical cannabis trade show. Phillips also wanted a space for people to learn about advocacy groups that have worked toward the legalization of cannabis nationwide for decades. In 2015, the inaugural National Cannabis Festival, founded and executive produced by Phillips, welcomed an estimated 5,000 attendees for its all-day event that included a concert from De La Soul.

This year marks the festival’s third annual event, which is expected to bring in an estimated 10,000 attendees for music, games, contests, food and education sessions.

Legendary hip hop group Cypress Hill will headline the all-day concert, which will include performances from reggae artist See-I and newcomer Beau Young Prince. Local artists will also take the stage including go-go band Backyard Band, DJ Ayes Cold, indie-soul band Oh He Dead, Names and Marlee. Samy K and Reesa Renee will host the concert.

For attendees more interested in policy, the festival also hosts the National Cannabis Policy Summit on Friday, April 20 at the Newseum (555 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.). There will be speakers and panels such as “All the Buzz: How Does Media Portrayal Impact the Future of Cannabis?,” “The Exit Drug: Can Medical Cannabis End the Narcotics Epidemic?” and more. Registration is free.

Laila Makled was running the D.C. chapter of Women Grow, a women’s business cannabis networking organization, when she was introduced to Phillips. Interested in further pursuing a career in cannabis advocacy, Makled came on board as co-chair of the National Cannabis Festival Advocacy Committee. Makled says that throughout the festival there will be speeches from activists and leaders including Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-District of Columbia), D.C. Council member At-Large Robert C. White Jr., Maryland Del. David Moon and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii).

For Makled, mixing education throughout the concert is an ideal way to let attendees have fun but still learn cannabis policy.

“We want those people who are just coming to chill, smoke and listen to music to come in and see that we have an education pavilion where we’re having policy talks all day. We have an advocacy pavilion where they can go talk to the advocacy groups, sign up for email lists and get involved on a local level,” Makled says. “With all of those things they really have no choice but to walk out with a little extra knowledge than they had before. It’s ingrained into the festival.”

The Weedmaps Educational Pavilion will give some of that knowledge with lessons on cannabis legalization and the cannabis industry. Guests can also peruse the Bulb Wellness Pavilion where they can speak with medical professionals, holistic medicine practitioners, yoga instructors, dispensary owners and more.

When attendees aren’t learning about cannabis health, policy or listening to music, they can wander through the Exhibitor Fair, which features more than 70 exhibitors from around the United states. The D.C. Glass Gallery General Admission Lounge will have high-end pipes, accessories and activities throughout the day.

Guests can stop by the Hempworx Munchine Zone for snacks, beverages and free water. Other on-site activities will include lawn games, a photo booth and game zone.

The LGBT community will be well represented at the festival with LGBT-identifying speakers and LGBT-friendly vendors.

Statistically, the LGBT community has been more accepting of cannabis usage than heterosexuals. According to a 2014 study conducted by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 30 percent of LGBT Coloradans had consumed cannabis in the past month compared to 12.9 percent of heterosexuals. And 64.4 percent of LGBT respondents surveyed also said that they had consumed cannabis in their lifetime compared to 48.7 percent of straight respondents.

A study conducted by the General Social Survey also reports that in 2016, 80 percent of LGBT Americans supported the legalization of cannabis compared to 58 percent of heterosexuals.

Makled, who identifies as queer, says that for her the LGBT community and the cannabis community share a common stigma by society.

“I think there’s a natural connection between the cannabis movement and the LGBTQ movement. I had come out at a very young age,” Makled says. “I was 16. I realized I wanted to pursue a career in advocacy and business within cannabis. It was a whole other coming-out process. Because both the cultures have been living on the fringe of society and have been forced to celebrate behind closed doors. Not only are you having to come out saying, ‘I’m gay’ but also coming out saying, ‘I support consuming and legalizing cannabis and criminal justice reform.’”

LGBT participants this year include D.C. Vote’s Barbara Hemlick; Get Hemp Butter’s Kyla Hill; Marijuana Policy Project’s Kate Bell; Hemp Kettle Tea Company, a queer-owned indy tea company; Jenn Michelle Pedini from VA NORML; and Drug Policy Alliance’s Queen Adesuyi.

Makled hopes that more widespread cannabis legalization and criminal reform will lead to people becoming more open about cannabis usage.

“I think like any group of people or culture there’s a need and desire to celebrate that culture. That’s exactly what the National Cannabis Festival is. It’s the perfect intersection of culture, advocacy, arts and music. More people would come out of the green closet, which people compare coming out of the LGBTQ closest, to coming out of the cannabis closest. The more people are comfortable, the more people realize the medicinal and social benefits of cannabis, the more people will start to come out,” Makled says.

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Cuba National Assembly choses country’s next president http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/04/19/cuba-national-assembly-choses-countrys-next-president/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/04/19/cuba-national-assembly-choses-countrys-next-president/#respond Thu, 19 Apr 2018 14:26:59 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=40379896

Miguel Díaz-Canel will succeed Raúl Castro as the president of Cuba. (Photo public domain)

Miguel Díaz-Canel has been chosen to succeed Raúl Castro as Cuba’s next president.

Members of the Cuban National Assembly on Wednesday overwhelmingly backed Díaz-Canel, the country’s first vice president and the only person nominated to succeed Castro. Díaz-Canel will be Cuba’s president who is from outside the Castro family since the 1959 revolution that brought Raúl Castro’s brother, Fidel Castro, to power.

Fidel Castro died in 2016.

The National Assembly on Thursday officially announced Díaz-Canel will become president.

Raúl Castro will remain the head of Cuba’s Communist Party. His daughter, Mariela Castro, who spearheads LGBT-specific issues as director of the country’s National Center for Sexual Education (CENESEX), is a member of the National Assembly.

Some of Mariela Castro’s Cuban supporters who attended a speech that she gave last May in Havana to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia described her as “our next president.” Mariela Castro downplayed speculation over whether she would succeed her father.

New president supported LGBT cultural center

Díaz-Canel, 57, was born in Villa Clara Province.

A source in the province with whom the Washington Blade spoke on Wednesday said Díaz-Canel recently defended Mariela Castro’s doctoral thesis that focused on the “social integration” of transgender people. The source also pointed out that Díaz-Canel supported El Mejunje, an LGBT cultural center and nightclub in the city of Santa Clara, when he was secretary of the Communist Party in the province.

El Mejunje is an LGBT cultural center and nightclub in Santa Clara, Cuba. Miguel Díaz-Canel, who will succeed Raúl Castro as Cuba’s next president, supported El Mejunje when he was secretary of the Communist Party in Villa Clara Province. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

The selection of Díaz-Canel to succeed Raúl Castro took place less than a month before CENESEX will hold a series of events in Havana and in the city of Pinar del Río that will commemorate IDAHOT.

The Obama administration in 2014 normalized relations between the U.S. and Cuba. President Trump last June reinstated some travel and trade regulations and reaffirmed his administration’s support of the U.S. embargo against the Communist island, even though Trump’s company and several of his associates reportedly violated it in 1998 and again in late 2012 or early 2013.

Díaz-Canel will also take power against the backdrop of a stagnant economy and continued criticism over Cuba’s human rights record.

Victor Manuel Dueñas — an activist from Villa Clara Province who worked independently of Mariela Castro and CENESEX — and his cousin are among the group of LGBT Cubans who traveled to Amsterdam in January and asked the Dutch government for asylum. Other independent LGBT activists with whom the Blade has spoken in recent years maintain they face discrimination and even arrest if they publicly criticize Mariela Castro, her father or the Cuban government.

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QUEERY: Guillaume R. Bagal http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/04/19/queery-guillaume-bagal/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/04/19/queery-guillaume-bagal/#respond Thu, 19 Apr 2018 13:02:47 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=40395020 Guillaume Bagal, gay news, Washington Blade

Guillaume Bagal (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

First, a question: If Washington has everything on the books one could pretty much hope for by way of LGBT rights, why is GLAA still needed?

GLAA, founded in 1971 as Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, is an all-volunteer, non-partisan, non-profit political organization that defends the rights of LGBT Washingtonians. There are about 20 active members and 150 who are periodically engaged. Guillaume R. Bagal, its president for the last year and a half, says there’s more work to be done.

“While the District is more progressive on LGBT issues than many other jurisdictions, we still have a long way to go in making sure that existing … protections are accessible to the more vulnerable members of our LGBT family,” the 32-year-old Greenville, N.C., says. “We are just scratching the surface when it comes to LGBT cultural competency … which is unacceptable given how many LGBT people live (here).”

Passing laws, Bagal says, is only part of the story.

“Once (pro-LGBT) laws are passed, are they actually being enforced and evaluated,” he says. “We also have to do better (at) folding the lives and experiences of trans people, immigrants and other minority groups into the baseline assumption from which we are writing these laws.”

GLAA has its 47th annual Anniversary Award Reception on Thursday, April 26 at 6:30 p.m. at Policy Lounge (1904 14th St., N.W.). This year’s honorees (chosen by GLAA members and officers) are Check It Enterprises, Council member Mary Cheh and Whitman-Walker’s Don Blanchon. Tickets are $50 ($25 for students and seniors) but several patron levels are available. Details at glaa.org.

Bagal joined GLAA two years ago recognizing its mission is “one that I feel honored to carry on.”

He’s engaged to Bobby Gondola and splits his time between Providence, R.I. and McLean, Va. Bagal works by day as assistant director of policy at Whitman-Walker Health. He enjoys concerts, photography, coffee and cooking/baking in his free time.


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

I came out to most people when I was about 20. I waited another decade to come out to my biological father; living an ocean apart since I was 11 made it somewhat less of a priority until I proposed to the most amazing man I’ve ever met. He didn’t take it well (my dad, Bobby said yes!) but he’ll come around eventually.


Who’s your LGBT hero?

James Baldwin because of his unique contribution to American literature and the civil rights movement, all while navigating intersectional identities.


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

The Fireplace. It gets a bit crowded (intimate?) sometimes, but the music is always good and the drinks are cheap and strong. 


Describe your dream wedding.

The black-tie Newport wedding Bobby and I are having this August, with everything from foie gras appetizers to a gourmet French fries food truck.


What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?

All issues directly or indirectly affect LGBTQ people, but our broken education system is an issue I’m very passionate about and wish to meaningfully take on — once I’m consistently sleeping more than five hours a night.


What historical outcome would you change?

As far as changing recent history, definitely Ivanka’s dad winning the 2016 election.


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

Seeing “Hamilton” on Broadway in New York with Bobby. I still get a little teary-eyed thinking about Angelia reaching for Hamilton’s hand when I listen to “It’s Quiet Uptown.”


On what do you insist?

That Bojangles is superior to Popeye’s. Sorry not sorry.


What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?

Pictures of my friends and me conducting a season special’s quality check at Popeye’s, almost exactly a year after Burger King acquired them. You see, we worry about things that matter.


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

“No, You Can’t Just Call Me G”


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

Advocate against it. But what if a gay guy and his straight girlfriend think they are soul mates? Nah, they may end up not being sexually compatible at all and now we’re dealing with sacrifices and guilt and resentment. Yeah, definitely not a science area we should meddle in, even though I would “go straight” for Issa if she was interested.


What do you believe in beyond the physical world? 

I’m Catholic-light, very light. Mostly believe in just being a good person and trying to make the world a more equitable place.


What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?

Listen more, talk less.


What would you walk across hot coals for?

A never-before-released Amy Winehouse album.


What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?

That I must be friends with that gay guy you went to school with who may now live in the D.C. area.


What’s your favorite LGBT movie?

“To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar”


What’s the most overrated social custom?

Everything about Valentine’s Day.


What trophy or prize do you most covet?

First place prize in a major portrait photography contest.

What do you wish you’d known at 18?

That being gay and out would be as awesome as it feels today.


Why Washington?

It’s a phenomenal place to be working on policy issues. The breadth and depth of expertise in people I encounter daily continue to blow me away.

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Vigil set for Thursday in response to anti-gay attack http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/04/19/vigil-against-hate/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/04/19/vigil-against-hate/#respond Thu, 19 Apr 2018 12:46:11 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=40394777 Vigil Against Hate, gay news, Washington Blade

Police are looking for three suspects in an anti-gay attack earlier this week.

An official with an LGBT-friendly sports league announced he and others were organizing a candlelit ‘Vigil Against Hate’ scheduled for 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 19, at Stead Park near Dupont Circle in response to an anti-gay attack early Sunday morning in the U Street entertainment district.

D.C. police on Monday released a video that captured part of the attack, in which three unidentified male suspects punched and kicked two gay men around 12:30 a.m. Sunday, April 15, near the intersection of 10th and U Streets, N.W. Police said one or more of the attackers shouted anti-gay slurs.

The two victims were treated and released from Howard University Hospital, with one suffering a broken nose and chipped tooth and the other a concussion after being knocked unconscious.

Fox 5 News reported that someone witnessing the incident unfolding used a cell phone to capture part of it on video and posted the video on Twitter.

“Two of our own were viciously attacked in full view of cameras, witnesses and passersby who felt posting to Twitter was more important than stopping an assault that left one of them lying in U Street unconscious, and the other bloodied nearby with a busted nose,” said Jerry Blackmon, the lead organizer of the vigil, in a Facebook posting.

“This candlelit Vigil Against Violence is a visible expression of solidarity with the two members of our community who were viciously attacked,” Blackmon said. “This is the first of a series of events that will, in fact, be what I’m calling a ‘Muscular Response’ to end this violence once and for all,” he said.

Added Blackmon: “It is 2018. We will not stand for this. We have had enough.”

Blackmon said he was aware of at least one other attack against two gay men in the U Street entertainment area that reportedly occurred about two weeks ago. Four gay bars are located within two blocks from where the most recent attack occurred.

Stead Park is located near the intersection of 17th and P Streets, N.W. directly behind the 17th Street gay bar JR.’s. Blackmon said JR.’s would be donating 175 LED candles that will be distributed to people attending the vigil.

He said among those tentatively scheduled to speak at the vigil were transgender rights advocate Ruby Corado and D.C. Police Lt. Brett Parson, who oversees the department’s LGBT Liaison Unit. Local drag entertainer Kristina Kelly was expected to serve as emcee for the event, according to Blackmon.

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Campaign seeks to expose anti-LGBT history of ‘The Real Mike Pence’ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/04/19/campaign-seeks-expose-anti-lgbt-history-real-mike-pence/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/04/19/campaign-seeks-expose-anti-lgbt-history-real-mike-pence/#respond Thu, 19 Apr 2018 11:05:07 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=40391609
Mike Pence, gay news, Washington Blade

A new report seeks to expose the anti-LGBT record of Vice President Pence (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The nation’s largest LGBT group launched a new campaign on Thursday seeking to expose the anti-LGBT record of the No. 2 public official in the United States: Vice President Mike Pence.

The Human Rights Campaign initiative consists of a video highlighting Pence’s past anti-LGBT statements over his years in public office as well as a report detailing his anti-LGBT record and positions contrary to other progressive causes, such as abortion rights for women, climate change and gun control.

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement Pence “has made a career out of attacking the rights and equal dignity of LGBTQ people, women and other marginalized communities.”

“Now as vice president, he poses one of the greatest threats to equality in the history of our movement,” Griffin added. “With the world distracted by Donald Trump’s scandal-ridden White House, Mike Pence’s nefarious agenda has been allowed to fly under the radar for too long. He has become not only the most powerful vice president in American history, but also the least scrutinized. No more.”

One highlight of the material is the “religious freedom” bill Pence signed into law as governor of Indiana enabling individuals and businesses to deny services to LGBT people. But the campaign also talks about his time as a lawmaker, when he took to the floor of the U.S. House to support a U.S. constitutional amendment that would have banned same-sex marriage nationwide and spoke out against hate crimes protections, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal.

In his role as vice president, the Human Rights Campaign credits Pence with quietly lobbying Congress to pass an amendment that would barred payment in the U.S. military health system for gender reassignment surgery. (The amendment failed on the House floor). With rumors circulating Pence was a driving force behind President Trump’s transgender military ban, the report asserts the vice president had a helping hand on the issue. Pence’s office has denied any major involvement on the issue.

Read the report here and watch the video below.

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PHOTOS: NBIC ‘Best of the Best’ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/04/19/photos-nbic-best-best/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/04/19/photos-nbic-best-best/#respond Thu, 19 Apr 2018 04:05:57 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=40380399 NBIC, gay news, Washington Blade

Olympian Adam Rippon receives the NBIC Champion Award at the NBIC ‘Best of the Best’ awards dinner on April 18 at the Washington Hilton. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The National Business Inclusion Consortium (NBIC), a group that advocates for the business interests of a diverse range of people including the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), held its third annual “Best of the Best” awards ceremony at the Washington Hilton on Wednesday.

Journalist Jonathan Capehart served as the emcee. Awardees included Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.), singer/songwriter Mandy Harvey and Olympian Adam Rippon. NBIC, gay news, Washington Blade (Washington Blade photos by Michael Key)

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