Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights http://www.washingtonblade.com America's Leading LGBT News Source Sat, 20 Oct 2018 00:48:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 Matthew Shepard candlelight vigil set for Dupont Circle http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/10/19/matthew-shepard-candlelight-vigil-set-for-dupont-circle/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/10/19/matthew-shepard-candlelight-vigil-set-for-dupont-circle/#respond Sat, 20 Oct 2018 00:48:20 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=49894029 Gay Wyo. college student murdered in 1998

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A candlelight vigil to commemorate the life of Matthew Shepard is scheduled to take place in Dupont Circle on Oct. 25, 2018. (Photo courtesy of the Matthew Shepard Foundation)

A candlelight vigil to commemorate the life of Matthew Shepard on the evening before his ashes will be interred at Washington National Cathedral is scheduled be held in Dupont Circle on Thursday, Oct. 25, at 7 p.m.
 
The vigil will be presided over by Rev. Alex Dyer, pastor of the nearby St. Thomas Episcopal Church. It is being sponsored by Dupont Festival, a nonprofit group that organizes arts and cultural events inside Dupont Circle.
 
“This will be a short, respectful, and dignified vigil — and an opportunity for those in our community who are unable to attend the Friday services [at the National Cathedral] to join together to bear witness, and give honor and respect to Matthew, his family, those who loved him, and to reaffirm our unity in the face of hatred and violence,” a statement released by Dupont Festival says.
 
The statement says that among those scheduled to speak at the vigil in addition to Rev. Dyer, is Rev. Gene Robinson, the former Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire who became the first openly gay bishop in the history of the Episcopal Church.
 
“We have also reached out to several other neighborhood congregations with long established LGBTQ+ outreach to also take part,” the statement says. “All are welcome.”
 
The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington will perform and “lead us in song” at the Oct. 25 vigil, according to the statement.
 
Earlier this month Judy and Dennis Shepard, Matthew Shepard’s parents, and the National Cathedral announced that Matthew’s cremated ashes of which his parents retained possession in the 20 years since their son’s death would be laid to rest in the Washington National Cathedral’s crypt in a private ceremony on Friday, Oct. 26.
 
The family and Cathedral also announced that a “thanksgiving and remembrance” service for Matthew Shepard open to the public would be held at the Cathedral that same day at 10 a.m.

Shepard, an openly gay student at the University of Wyoming, was murdered in the outskirts of Laramie, Wyo., in one of the nation’s most infamous anti-gay hate crimes in October 1998 at the age of 21.

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GLAA awards high scores to Reeder, Silverman http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/10/19/glaa-awards-high-scores-to-reeder-silverman/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/10/19/glaa-awards-high-scores-to-reeder-silverman/#respond Fri, 19 Oct 2018 20:14:41 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=49849165 Lesbian Council candidate receives rating of +7

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Dionne Bussey-Reeder, gay news, Washington Blade

Dionne Reeder (Photo via Twitter)

Lesbian businesswoman Dionne Reeder, who’s running as an independent for an at-large D.C. Council seat, received a rating of +7 from the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, the same rating that GLAA gave to Mayor Muriel Bowser.

GLAA, a local nonpartisan LGBT advocacy group, has been rating local D.C. candidates on LGBT and some non-LGBT related issues since the 1970s. It rates candidates on a scale from -10, the worst possible score, to +10, the highest score. It bases its ratings on responses to a questionnaire it sends to all candidates and on the candidates’ record on LGBT issues.

In a statement accompanying its ratings the group said Reeder “agreed with GLAA on all issues except for a waffling response on legislation regarding commercial sex.” The group was referring to a bill introduced last year by Council member David Grosso calling for decriminalizing prostitution, a position that GLAA and other LGBT organizations support.

Other candidates lost points over their response to the sex worker decriminalization bill, which has been stalled in committee with no sign of it coming up for a vote any time soon.

Incumbent Council member Elissa Silverman (I-At-Large), Reeder’s main rival for the at-large seat, received a GLAA rating of +7.5. At-Large incumbent Anita Bonds, a Democrat, received a +10 rating.  The other at-large candidates, all of whom will be on the same ballot in the Nov. 6 election, received these ratings: David Schwartzman (Statehood-Green Party), +7.5; Rustin Lewis (I), +4; and Ralph Chittams Sr. (R), -1.

In the mayoral race, in addition to Bowser receiving a +7, her lesser known rivals who, virtually all political observers predict will finish far behind Bowser in the election, gay Libertarian Party candidate Martin Moulton received a +2.5 and Statehood Green Party candidate Ann Wilcox received a +4.5.

Although GLAA said Moulton has a record of support for LGBT people his questionnaire responses were at odds with GLAA’s positions on a number of issues.

In the Ward 1 Council race, incumbent Democrat Brianne Nadeau received a +9.5. Her sole rival, gay independent candidate Jamie Sycamore, received a +6.

In the remaining races, GLAA awarded these ratings:

Ward 3: Incumbent Mary Cheh (D) +10; challenger Petar Dimtchev (I) +3.

Ward 5: Incumbent Kenyan McDuffie (D) +8; challenger Kathy Henderson (I) -1.

Ward 6: Incumbent Charles Allen (D) +10; challenger Michael Bekesha (R) +3.5.

Candidates’ responses to the GLAA questionnaire and the group’s breakdown of its ratings points can be viewed here.

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Gay man assaulted, robbed in Dupont Circle apartment http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/10/19/assault-robberey-imperial-house-condominium/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/10/19/assault-robberey-imperial-house-condominium/#respond Fri, 19 Oct 2018 19:54:00 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=49847007 Victim discovered by partner

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Imperial House Condominiums (Photo by r AgnosticPreachersKid via Wikimedia Commons)

A gay man was assaulted and robbed inside his apartment at the Imperial House Condominium near Dupont Circle about 2 a.m. on Oct. 9 by an unidentified male suspect who he invited into the apartment for drinks, according to D.C. Police Lt. Brett Parson, who oversees the department’s LGBT Liaison Unit.

A police report on the incident says the victim told police he remembers being struck in the head by the suspect.

Parson said the victim was found by his partner and roommate asleep on the sofa with blood on his face and body about 2:30 a.m.

The partner immediately noticed that a desk had been rifled through and cash and other items were missing. The police report says among the items stolen was $3,000 in cash, a lock box, and a cell phone.

The victim told Parson he met the man who assaulted him on the street in front of his apartment building at 1601 18th St., N.W. while the victim was outside smoking a cigarette. Parson said the victim told him he started a conversation with the suspect as he walked by the building.

“He chats him up and they eventually go upstairs to the apartment,” Parson recounted the victim telling him. “He invited him in and they had some drinks,” said Parson, who added the victim thinks he was punched by the suspect about 45 minutes after entering the apartment.

Police have not released a description of the suspect but Parson said his image may have been captured by one or more security cameras in and around the apartment building.

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‘Boy Erased’ author joins mother in panel on conversion therapy http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/10/19/boy-erased-author-joins-mother-in-panel-on-conversion-therapy/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/10/19/boy-erased-author-joins-mother-in-panel-on-conversion-therapy/#respond Fri, 19 Oct 2018 19:21:44 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=49845228 2016 memoir turned into major Hollywood film

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Boy Erased, gay news, Washington Blade, conversion therapy

Garrard Conley’s ‘Boy Erased’ has been turned into a major Hollywood film coming next month.(Image courtesy Penguin)

The author of a memoir written by a gay man about his experience as a 19-year-old sent by his parents to a conversion therapy camp to change his sexual orientation from gay to straight joined his mother at the National Press Club on Oct. 12 to talk about the impact of the “therapy” on their lives.

Garrard Conley, whose 2016 memoir “Boy Erased” has been made into a Hollywood film with the same name, and his mother, Martha Conley, gave an impassioned account of how they each became outspoken opponents of conversion therapy after Martha accepted Garrard for who he is.

Garrard and Martha Conley spoke as panelists at a National Press Club forum on conversion therapy organized by the Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C. as an event to commemorate LGBT History Month.

“We were very moved by Garrard and his mom talking about the importance of banning conversion therapy and discussing not only how they survived the experience but came out of it closer than ever as they fight to ban conversion therapy,” said Mattachine Society President Charles Francis.

Francis told the forum that the Mattachine Society has conducted extensive research on conversion therapy as part of its mission to shed light from an historic perspective on how the government and society has persecuted LGBT people, in part, over the long disproven belief that homosexuality was a mental illness.

“We think it’s so important to put conversion therapy in the historical context going back to the 1940s lobotomies, electro shock therapy, chemical therapies, St. Elizabeth’s Hospital to the current day of religious conversion therapy,” Francis said.

All of the nation’s mainline professional mental health organizations, including the American Psychiatric Association, have declared conversion therapy ineffective in changing a person’s sexual orientation and have said the practice is harmful to the mental health of those who undergo the so-called therapy.

During the forum, a short documentary video produced by Mattachine called “Welcome Garrard” was shown. It includes interviews with Garrard and Martha Conley, who tells of how she changed her belief that homosexuality was a sin from her upbringing as a fundamentalist Christian in a small town in Arkansas.

Also shown at the forum was the official preview trailer for the film “Boy Erased,” which stars Nicole Kidman who plays the character of Martha Conley. Actor Russell Crowe plays Garrard’s father. The film is scheduled to be released Nov. 2.

Martha Conley told the Washington Blade after the forum that her beliefs as a devout Christian began to change concerning homosexuality after she realized the conversion therapy that she and her husband pressured their son to undergo had a harmful impact on him. She said her changing views on the subject were also brought about by her own research on conversion therapy through which she discovered its harmful effects.

“And a lot of my issue was I just didn’t know anyone who was gay,” she said. “And so I just believed everything I was told. And once you get out there and do the research and you meet these people and they’re lovely people – it goes back to you,” she said. “We’re not supposed to judge, we’re supposed to love.”

National Press Club board member Kimberly Adams served as moderator for the forum. Others who spoke included Mattachine Society of Washington official Pate Felts and attorney Lisa Linsky, a partner in the law firm McDermott Will & Emery, which has provided pro bono legal services for Mattachine.

Linsky is one of 15 attorneys with the law firm that conducted volunteer research and authored a just released “white paper” on conversion therapy that focuses on the practices of the now defunct conversion therapy residential facility where Garrard Conley was enrolled called Love In Action. The paper, over 100 pages in length called The Pernicious Myth of Conversion Therapy: How Love In Action Perpetrated a Fraud on America, can be accessed at stopconversiontherapy.org.

Boy Erased, gay news, Washington Blade

The panel for ‘Boy Erased’ at the National Press Club included, from left, moderator Kimberly Adams, writer Garrard Conley, Martha Conley, Mattachine Society of Washington official Pate Felts and attorney Lisa Linsky. (Washington Blade photo by Lou Chibbaro, Jr.)

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Years & Years frontman Olly charms with strong vocals, charisma at D.C. show http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/10/19/years-years-frontman-olly-charms-with-strong-vocals-charisma-at-d-c-show/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/10/19/years-years-frontman-olly-charms-with-strong-vocals-charisma-at-d-c-show/#respond Fri, 19 Oct 2018 18:32:22 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=49727484 Band touring behind July concept album ‘Palo Santo’

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Years & Years, Olly Alexander, gay news, Washington Blade

Years & Years split its Oct. 11 D.C. concert almost evenly with selections from its two records ‘Communion’ and ‘Palo Santo.’ (Washington Blade photo by Joey DiGuglielmo)

Touring a concept record can be tricky — interspersing thematically connected material with earlier songs and coming up with a set list that makes sense takes care. For Brit pop band Years & Years, however, the somewhat half-baked concepts of its current album “Palo Santo,” released in early July, actually worked to its advantage at its D.C. concert Oct. 11 — there was no overarching message to get, it was simply a great evening of top-shelf current gay pop music. It was the band’s fifth show of the fall leg (19 dates) of the “Palo Santo Tour,” which wraps Oct. 30 in Seattle before moving on to Europe in November.

The “Palo Santo” concepts are pushed more through a 15-minute promo video in which the band depicts a future where gender and sexuality norms are gone and androids yearn for human emotion. The album, however, just plays like easy-on-the-ear dance/pop and you kinda forget there’s supposed to be an overarching story attached.

That’s how the concert felt too. No scenes from the videos were shown or reenacted. Out frontman Olly Alexander — tight abs on display all evening in a crop top — seemed more interested in selling the songs on their own sonic merits. He shimmied and improvised choreography — sometimes sexy, sometimes goofy — and kept it all going with solid vocals. His voice is a little Michael Jackson-ish, but thinner. The 28-year-old, possessing an undeniable “it” factor bolstered by his accent,  sounded just as good live as he does on the band’s two albums, “Palo Santo” and “Communion,” which were represented almost equally.

The band was tight, the light show was impressive (much more elaborate than their previous D.C. appearances) and the set was spare but effective. A set of stairs gave Alexander a nice prop on which to dance and pose. Three symbols from the album artwork were recreated on stage and changed hue throughout the evening. His banter was friendly but minimal.

Standouts included “If You’re Over Me,” their no. 6 UK hit from the new record, “King,” a no. 1 UK hit from the first album and “Karma,” a particularly catchy “Palo Santo” earworm. The almost full house — which was odd because for weeks the Lincoln had been billing the show as sold out — was fully invested. Even though the band hasn’t broken big in the U.S. (they’ve never cracked the Hot 100 but have had decent success on the dance charts), by gay standards, they’re a huge band stateside. Much like the Troye Sivan concert at the Anthem the previous week, this felt like gay millennial night out. Nobody sat down the whole night, even in the balcony, even for the lone ballad, “Eyes Shut,” on which Alexander played keyboard.

Years & Years is a bit of a mystery band. It’s hard to quite figure out the relationship between Alexander and bandmates Mikey Goldsworthy and Emre Turkmen (both straight). They’ve taken more of a backseat as the band has taken off but unlike, say, the Supremes, you don’t get the feeling they seem to mind. They’re joined by one other player and two background singers on the current tour. The playing was tight all night with arrangements pretty faithfully recreated from studio versions.

My only slight quibble is that it was a bit heavy on opening acts. Gender-bender Tunde Olaniran and singer/songwriter CYN were both good, but Years & Years only ended up playing a 65-minute set, not even coming on ’til 9:45 p.m. (the show started at 8). I know you don’t expect something of Springsteen proportions from a band that’s only on its second album, but a few more songs from the headliners and one opening act would have made for a better overall night.

— The Blade’s Mariah Cooper contributed to this article.

SET LIST:
Years & Years
Lincoln Theatre
Washington, DC
Oct. 11, 2018

9:45 p.m.

1.  Sanctify

2.  Take Shelter

3.  Shine

4.  Eyes Shut

5.  Karma

6.  Ties

7.  Desire

8.  Palo Santo

9.  Rendezvous

10.  Worship

11.  Hallelujah

12. Gold

13. If You’re Over Me

ENCORE

* band intros

14. All for You

15. King

10:50 p.m.

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CARTOON: Most bullied http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/10/19/cartoon-most-bullied/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/10/19/cartoon-most-bullied/#respond Fri, 19 Oct 2018 18:17:52 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=49842625 Melania hears tiny violins

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Melania Trump, gay news, Washington Blade

(Washington Blade editorial cartoon by Ranslem)

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Former Town manager plans new weekend dance/drag party http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/10/19/former-town-manager-plans-new-weekend-dance-drag-party/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/10/19/former-town-manager-plans-new-weekend-dance-drag-party/#respond Fri, 19 Oct 2018 17:57:34 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=49727732 Weekly Avalon Saturdays events at Soundcheck to feature Lena, Ba’Naka et. al.

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Ba'Naka, gay news, Washington Blade, Avalon, Avalon Saturdays at Soundcheck

Local drag legend Ba’Naka will be at the first Avalon Saturdays event this weekend. (Photo courtesy Avalon)

The closing of Town left a hole in D.C. LGBT nightlife that is slowly being repopulated by parties at smaller venues throughout the city.

Avalon Saturdays at Soundcheck (1420 K St., N.W.) is the latest gay dance party to emerge in the city’s post-Town world. Promoter Dougie Meyer told the Washington Blade he decided to start a new party after hearing people over the summer mourn the loss of Town.

“Town as everyone in this city knows was an institution,” Meyer says. “That’s where everyone went and knew they could have a great time and dance all night long. Once it closed it was almost like there was no dance club left. We had many bars in the city but there was no actual dance club space. Over the summer, all I was hearing from so many people was, ‘I wish we had a dance club.’”

He decided that he could make it happen.

Meyer, who previously worked as a general manager at Town, reached out to Soundcheck as the home for Avalon Saturdays. He explains that he chose the space because of its D&B Audiotechnik Y-series speakers and its lighting system. Meyer says he, “could think of no better space to create a dance party than in a space like Soundcheck.”

Avalon Saturdays presents its debut party on Saturday, Oct. 20 at 10 p.m. Drag queens Lena Lett, Ba’Naka, Sasha and Gigi will perform. Eddie Danger and Trevor Northman will give dance performances and DJ Steve Sidewalk will spin tracks all night. General admission tickets are $15. VIP tickets are $25 and give ticket holders access to express entry and a private VIP lounge with private bar.

If partygoers hope to make Avalon Saturdays their new weekly hotspot, they won’t get bored. Meyer promises that each party will have a weekly rotation of drag queens and DJs to give each party its own vibe.

Meyer also thinks it’s important to switch up the type of music played throughout the night. He surveyed groups of people immersed in D.C.’s nightlife to discover what people want.

“They want a little bit of everything from pop music and EDM remixes. But there’s also a massive group who want circuit music. There’s also people who want to see drag queens, they want to see performances. You’re going to get a little mixture of everything throughout the night,” Meyer says. “It’s not going to be a set, sit-down drag show but you’re still going to get those drag performances that are going to pop up throughout the night. You’re going to be able to come early on and get more of the top 40s, EDM remix feel but as the night goes on it will be more circuit.”

Upcoming events include Avalon’s Halloween party on Saturday, Oct. 27 and numerous other events throughout November and December.

Although there will be varying music throughout each party and something new to expect at each event, Meyer hopes that every partygoer has the same feeling when they leave Soundcheck.

“I’m hoping that when they walk away they have a smile on their face because they danced their face off and they had one of the best nights that they’ve had in a long time,” he says. “I want everyone who goes there to feel safe and accepted and in a happy place, a happy space, and it’s gong to make them want to come back and do it the next week.”

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D.C. Swag captures division title at Sept. softball tournament http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/10/19/d-c-swag-captures-division-title-at-sept-softball-tournament/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/10/19/d-c-swag-captures-division-title-at-sept-softball-tournament/#respond Fri, 19 Oct 2018 17:46:18 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=49728063 LGBT ladies team from D.C. perseveres despite rain, heat

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D.C. Swag, gay news, Washington Blade

Local queer ladies won big at the ASANA Softball World Series held in New Orleans last month. (Photo courtesy D.C. Swag)

After four days of competition in New Orleans (Sept. 16-23), D.C. Swag captured the title in the D Division at the 2018 ASANA Softball World Series. The women from D.C. fought their way back from a deficit in nine of the 14 games they played.

The Chesapeake and Potomac Softball League (CAPS) sent three travel teams to the annual championships — DC Swag, Crazy Pitches and D.C. Sharks. All three teams competed in the D Division.

The Amateur Sports Alliance of North America (ASANA) was created in 2007 as a non-profit organization comprised of women dedicated to promoting the participation of LGBT people in an organized softball competition.

This year’s championships boasted roughly 1,100 players on 38 teams from across the United States. This was D.C. Swag’s fourth appearance in the tournament; their road to the title began in 2011 when the team was formed by Rhonda Jackson and Diana Ring.

“We were looking for an opportunity to play more ball and began identifying women in the CAPS leagues who wanted to be more competitive,” Jackson says. “We started out by playing in regional tournaments in Philadelphia and New York.”

In their first two years of the World Series, D.C. Swag didn’t win a single game. After receiving mentorship from teams in Philadelphia, they rose to a third place finish in 2017. Their victory this year came in a 9-4 win in the championship game over Austin’s Cleats and Cleavage.

“Over the years, Philadelphia showed us how to win. We played through four days of hot weather, rain delays — a little bit of everything,” Jackson says. “We really have a great mix of talent and chemistry. We are a team and a family, and it shows in our play.”

Jackson is from Massachusetts and was a three-sport athlete in high school in basketball, field hockey and fastpitch softball. She was a four-year starter in basketball at Virginia Commonwealth University. She earned a master of public health degree at George Washington University and now works as an epidemiologist.

She has been a member of CAPS since 2008 and shares what she loves most about the ASANA Softball World Series.

“I love the competitive level, making new friends and the camaraderie. You get to see all the best players from all the divisions,” Jackson says. “These are people who share a love of playing ball and it is a space where women and athleticism are celebrated.”

The third day of the World Series was PINK day in support of breast cancer awareness. The players from D.C. Swag wore tribute jerseys to honor one of their players, Tonia Jones, who died last year from cancer. They dedicated their win to their fallen teammate.

CAPS commissioner Tony Mace chimed in on what the championship title for D.C. Swag means to him.

“At the ASANA Softball World Series, you are getting the best of every team. Their win meant the world to me as their friend and as league commissioner. I am still on cloud nine,” Mace says. “It has always been my goal to support our men’s and women’s teams in doing the things necessary for them to grow and succeed. D.C. is a city of champions.”

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Asexuals, you are not alone http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/10/19/asexuals-you-are-not-alone/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/10/19/asexuals-you-are-not-alone/#respond Fri, 19 Oct 2018 17:35:51 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=49839738 Finding freedom in the aces and aros community

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(Image public domain)

I first realized I might be asexual in early 2011, when I was 18. Later that year, I went to an event hosted by the Asexuals of the Mid-Atlantic. AMA is a meet up group for asexual-spectrum people (aces) who want to meet other people like them. Attending this event introduced me to the concept of aromanticism, and I realized that I might also be aromantic (aro). This forced me to actually think about my potential future relationships in a way I never had before. After my first event with AMA, I didn’t go to another one for six months. It freaked me out to actually be surrounded by people who could relate to feelings I had always thought made me an anomaly.

Once I accepted my identity enough to be comfortable around other aces and aros, I not only became a regular at AMA events, I also started hosting events myself. The monthly book club I host is now in its sixth year. About a year ago, a few members of AMA, including myself, started an asexual advocacy organization called The Asexual Awareness Project (TAAP).

Over the past seven years, I’ve had more than six different jobs, I’ve completed college, and I’ve stabilized from suicidal to emotionally healthy. But one of the most significant changes I’ve experienced is my acceptance of my asexual and aromantic identities. Now most of my social circle is made up of other aces and aros. One question I frequently hear when explaining my group of friends to people who aren’t ace or aro is “Why?” Why do you need to have a meet up group for aces? Why do you need an advocacy group? Why is an identity that defines itself by negatives important?

Well, why does a group for any other queer identity exist? Most of them exist for some combination of three reasons: dating, advocacy, and social support. Ace and aro groups exist for the same reasons.

One reason many queer groups exist is to help people find partners who are interested in dating someone of the same gender, or other queer partners in general.. As far as aces go, many are aromantic, but some certainly are not, and they might prefer to date others who also do not want sex. Some aces and aros may want to form strong relationships that fall outside of the traditional partner dynamic, and it may be easier to explain those preferences to other people in your community. While I don’t want to form any kind of romantic relationship, it is gratifying to be around people who do not consider friendship to be beneath romance.

Other groups exist for advocacy. Unlike TAAP, those groups did and do fight well-known cultural and legal battles for acceptance. Those advocacy groups have been extremely successful in promoting queer equality, although there is certainly a long way to go. But asexuality and aromanticism aren’t illegal, and the social stigmas attached to being ace or aro aren’t obvious to many people. In fact, many of us practice a lifestyle that many social conservatives wish all queer people would adopt – to simply refrain from any sex life at all.

However, invisibility is its own struggle, and aces and aros face the difficulty of many people not knowing what those orientations are — most aces and aros themselves go years before they even know that it is a possibility. We must convince our families, friends, acquaintances, and even medical professionals that there isn’t anything wrong with us. We constantly have to justify our existence. It is important that aces and aros can find resources that will actually be able to help them without invalidating their identity.

While both of these reasons are important, the principle reason aces and aros come together is to find common ground, and to find other people who make them feel that they aren’t alone in this world and that their experiences aren’t unique. That is why TAAP’s acronym includes the word “awareness”: that is what we’re fighting for. We simply want to be seen, to be acknowledged as legitimate and deserving of respect.

This is the point many people ignore when they dismiss aces, or say that they are limiting themselves by putting a label on their experiences. The labels I adopt are not stifling, but grant me a sense of freedom. They remind me that I belong to a community, and that I am not alone.

 

Isabel Nathan is a board member of The Asexual Awareness Project.

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Blade to celebrate 50th anniversary http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/10/19/blade-to-celebrate-50th-anniversary/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/10/19/blade-to-celebrate-50th-anniversary/#respond Fri, 19 Oct 2018 17:08:29 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=49759227 Countdown begins to major milestone for nation’s oldest LGBTQ newspaper

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The Washington Blade this week begins a yearlong countdown to its 50th anniversary celebration in October 2019.

This week, we debut a new 50th logo; more changes are on the way, including a complete redesign of the print edition along with new features and events.

The Blade debuted in October 1969 in the aftermath of the Stonewall riots and is the nation’s oldest LGBTQ newspaper. Much has changed in the ensuing 49 years but our commitment to covering the issues important to D.C.’s LGBT community remains the same. What began as a modest one-page mimeographed newsletter has evolved into a 24/7 news operation with robust digital and social media platforms. The Blade remains the only LGBTQ outlet in the White House each day. We are members of the presidential press pool and the White House Correspondents’ Association. Two years ago we embarked on an ambitious project to cover LGBTQ issues in Latin America and the Caribbean; that work continues. And, of course, our commitment to D.C. and the surrounding areas remains our priority.

In January, we’ll unveil the redesigned print product and new online features. We will offer expanded international news coverage as well as more celebrity interviews, film reviews and Hollywood news courtesy of our sister outlet, the Los Angeles Blade.

There are new events coming, too, so stay tuned. As always, we rely on our readers and advertisers to support our important mission. You can make a tax-deductible donation to our non-profit entity the Blade Foundation today at bladefoundation.org and don’t forget us on Giving Tuesday on Nov. 28.

If you’re interested in advertising and sponsorship opportunities during the Blade’s 50th, please contact our publisher, Lynne Brown, at lbrown@washblade.com.

At a time when the president attacks the media as enemies of the people and journalists are being targeted and killed for holding political leaders accountable, it’s critical that media organizations maintain their independence and aggressive pursuit of the truth. Niche outlets like the Blade serve an important function, telling our community’s stories through our own lens and ensuring the government is answering the questions important to us.

The Blade team is excited about 2019 and, as always, we appreciate the support of our readers and advertisers.

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