Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights http://www.washingtonblade.com America's Leading LGBT News Source Wed, 15 Aug 2018 21:29:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 Jack Phillips in court again after refusing to make cake for trans customer http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/08/15/jack-phillips-in-court-again-for-refusing-to-trans-birthday-cake/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/08/15/jack-phillips-in-court-again-for-refusing-to-trans-birthday-cake/#respond Wed, 15 Aug 2018 21:08:51 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=46160866 Supreme Court issued narrow ruling to baker who refused to make gay wedding cake

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Masterpiece Cakeshop, gay news, Washington Blade

Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop is back in court after refusing to make a transgender birthday cake. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop who become notorious after a lawsuit against him for refusing to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple went to the U.S. Supreme Court finds himself back in litigation — this time because his bakery wouldn’t make a cake celebrating the transition of a transgender person.

Alliance Defending Freedom, an anti-LGBT legal firm that represented Phillips in the wedding cake lawsuit, announced on Wednesday it has sued the Colorado Civil Rights Commission for finding probable case he violated the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act for refusing to make the cake.

Kristen Waggoner, senior vice president of the U.S. legal division at Alliance Defending Freedom, said in a statement Colorado is “ignoring the message of the U.S. Supreme Court by continuing to single out Jack for punishment and to exhibit hostility toward his religious beliefs.”

“Even though Jack serves all customers and simply declines to create custom cakes that express messages or celebrate events in violation of his deeply held beliefs, the government is intent on destroying him—something the Supreme Court has already told it not to do,” Waggoner said. “Neither Jack nor any other creative professionals should be targeted by the government for living consistently with their religious beliefs.”

Phillips finds himself back in court after the Supreme Court in June issued a narrow ruling in his favor after he was sued for refusing to make a wedding cake in 2012 for the same-sex marriage of Charlie Craig and David Mullins. The Supreme Court found the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had an anti-religion bias when adjudicating the case, therefore the ruling against him was vacated, although the Colorado non-discrimination law and its LGBT protections remained in place.

According to ADF, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission has found probable cause had yet again engaged in anti-LGBT discrimination by refusing to make a birthday cake celebrating a gender transition.

In a complaint dated July 20 and made public by ADF, the complainant, Autumn Scardina, declared she was transsexual, requested a birthday cake with a blue exterior and pink interior to celebrate her transition, but was denied by a female employee on the basis of religious objections.

According to the complaint, Scardina was “stunned” by the response, asserted the phone was disconnected and when she called back, was hung up on. When she called back again and asked for the employee’s name, she asserts she again was hung up on.

“I believe that other people who request birthday cakes get to select the color and theme of the cake,” Scardina writes. “I believe that I was not allowed to order a birthday cake because I requested that its color and theme celebrate my transition from male to female. The woman on the phone told me they do not make cakes celebrating gender changes.”

ADF also made public the determination made by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission dated June 28 finding probable cause Phillips engaged in unlawful anti-LGBT discrimination for refusing to make the cake.

“The respondents asserts that it will not provide the service of creating cakes that ‘promote the idea a person’s sex is anything other than an immutable God-given biological reality,'” the complaint says. “The evidence thus demonstrates that the refusal to provide service to the complainant was based on the complainant’s transgender status. A claim of discriminatory denial of full and equal enjoyment of a place of public accommodation has been established.”

On Wednesday, ADF announced it has filed a federal lawsuit against the Colorado Civil Rights Commission for continued hostility to Phillips and his religious belief for finding probable cause against him, arguing the finding defies the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case.

“For over six years now, Colorado has been on a crusade to crush Plaintiff Jack Phillips…because its officials despise what he believes and how he practices his faith,” the lawsuit says. “After Phillips defended himself all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and won, he thought Colorado’s hostility toward his faith was over. He was wrong. Colorado has renewed its war against him by embarking on another attempt to prosecute him, in direct conflict with the Supreme Court’s ruling in his favor.”

The filing points out the State of Colorado admitted in a filing before the Supreme Court in the same-sex wedding cake case a baker “may refuse service for many reasons, including the specific design of a requested product” and not be in violation of state law.

“The arbitrary basis on which the state is applying its law makes clear that its officials are targeting Jack because they despise his religious beliefs and practices,” ADF senior counsel Jim Campbell said in court. “Jack shouldn’t have to fear government hostility when he opens his shop for business each day. We’re asking the court to put a stop to that.”

Daniel Ramos, executive director of One Colorado, criticized ADF in a statement for filing the lawsuit, accusing the legal firm of looking for another opportunity for a court ruling asserting a First Amendment right to refuse service to LGBT people.

“What the ADF was looking for in the Masterpiece case was a license to discriminate, and they did not get that when the Supreme Court upheld Colorado’s nondiscrimination laws,” Ramos said. “This is another attempt by the ADF to undermine laws that protect Coloradans in the areas of public accommodations, employment, and housing. These laws reflect our state’s values of fairness and equality for all, and Colorado will not stand for this latest attack on civil rights protections.”

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Vote for the homo, not the Cuomo for N.Y. governor http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/08/15/vote-for-the-homo-not-the-cuomo-for-n-y-governor/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/08/15/vote-for-the-homo-not-the-cuomo-for-n-y-governor/#respond Wed, 15 Aug 2018 20:23:19 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=46163516 Nixon is a true progressive who will fight the corporate agenda

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Pauline Park led the campaign for the transgender rights law enacted by the New York City Council in 2002 and in 2005 became the first openly transgender grand marshal in the history of the New York City LGBT Pride March. She has a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Cynthia Nixon’s challenge to Gov. Andrew Cuomo is generating attention for many reasons, not least because the former “Sex & the City” star brings Hollywood celebrity to what otherwise might be a dull and uncontested re-election campaign by the dull and thoroughly anti-progressive Andrew Cuomo. But while I enjoyed the HBO television series and Cynthia Nixon’s role as Miranda Hobbs back in the day, her TV stardom has nothing to do with my decision to vote for her and endorse her for governor.

The simple fact is that Democrats have a choice between a genuine progressive and a phony one when they go to the polls in September to vote for the Democratic nominee for governor of the state of New York. Nixon is running on a progressive platform that includes alternatives to incarceration, legalization of marijuana and driver’s licenses for all New Yorkers, including undocumented immigrants as well as a host of other important progressive agenda items foreign to Andrew Cuomo’s anti-progressive corporate agenda.

In sharp contrast, Cuomo has surrounded himself with corporate lobbyists and his cronies are being convicted of corruption, including Joseph Percoco, one of Cuomo’s top aides who Cuomo has said is ‘like a brother’ to him and who was found guilty on three counts by a federal jury in March 2018.

I don’t vote on the basis of identity politics alone or even primarily, but the fact that Cynthia Nixon is openly queer is not at all an irrelevant fact, especially given Andrew Cuomo’s notorious role in organizing the ‘vote for Cuomo, not the homo’ smear campaign during his father Mario Cuomo’s race against Ed Koch for the Democratic nomination for mayor of New York in 1977.

And of course, Andrew Cuomo himself has tried to use identity politics against Nixon, most notoriously when he sent his attack dyke Christine Quinn out to publicly savage his rival in March 2018. Quinn was forced to apologize for calling Nixon an ‘unqualified lesbian’ and the former New York City Council Speaker has not been heard from since that disastrous gaffe. Cuomo often brags about his role in getting the marriage equality bill through the Republican-controlled Senate, but he never mentions the fact that he refused to support the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act and actually undercut GENDA by signing an executive order instructing the State Division of Human Rights to add gender identity and expression to the list of categories under which it accepts complaints of discrimination.

Nor does the governor mention the fact that he has almost single-handedly kept the Senate in Republican hands by prompting Sen. Jeff Klein to form the Independent Democratic Conference to split the Democrats and enable the IDC to prop up the Republican minority and retain control of the upper chamber of the state legislature; Republican control of the Senate has had significant consequences for the state, enabling Cuomo to block progressive legislation from coming to his desk. Republican control of the Senate has also enabled Cuomo to boast about his ability to ‘reach across the aisle’ and work with Republicans in the Senate as well as Democrats in the Assembly, even while concealing his crucial role of maintaining Republican control of the Senate.

While the Democratic Party establishment has closed ranks behind Cuomo, progressives are flocking to Cynthia’s banner, including independents not closely associated with the party. And I will be casting my vote for Cynthia Nixon in the primary on Sept. 13. When it comes to the choice between Cynthia Nixon vs. Andrew Cuomo, my advice is this: Vote for the homo and not the Cuomo!

 

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Omarosa, Trump deserve each other http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/08/15/omarosa-trump-deserve-each-other/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/08/15/omarosa-trump-deserve-each-other/#respond Wed, 15 Aug 2018 20:17:28 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=46162309 In new book, one greedy egomaniac writes about another one

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Peter Rosenstein is a longtime LGBT rights and Democratic Party activist.

The latest installment of our obscene reality show, otherwise known as the Trump presidency, has one of the characters, Omarosa, fired and writing a book about Trump, calling him a liar and a racist.

Trump in response calls her a low life. Well it takes one to know one as they say. The crazier part of all this is why anyone would think this is news. It would have been more newsworthy, though not believable, had she written that in one-on-one conversations he is actually a decent guy.

Lest we forget, Omarosa is the nobody Trump turned into a reality TV star on “The Apprentice.” She tried to convince us that through editing he made her into the ‘bitch’ that season; now we know it didn’t require editing. Reading her Wikipedia page you find out “in the 1990s, Omarosa worked in the office of Vice President Al Gore during the Clinton Administration.” She later stated the job had been “a very difficult environment, because they don’t believe in training. They just kind of throw you in the fire.” Gore’s former office administrator, Mary Margaret Overbey, has said Omarosa “was the worst hire we ever made.” She was later transferred to the Commerce Department via the White House personnel office. Cheryl Shavers, who then served as the department’s under secretary for technology administration, has said that at the time, Omarosa was “unqualified and disruptive,” adding, “I had her removed.”

Omarosa Manigault-Newman. (Photo by Gaga Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons)

I won’t read the book but the media are giving her all the free publicity she craves. She lives for being famous and having people talk about her. They are certainly doing that on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News and “Meet the Press,” where Chuck Todd got into the mud with her simply by having her on as a guest.

She says she knew Trump was a racist from when he was doing “The Apprentice.” Yet she didn’t let that bother her when she agreed to work for his company and then took the White House job. Clearly to her it is all about money and fame, being connected to power, and the ensuing publicity that brings. She got all those things but must have known through it all people were laughing not with her, but at her. She has outdone even some of his most ardent supporters in what she has said about Trump prior to writing this book. “Referring to the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, in which President Barack Obama mocked Trump, then in the midst of his ‘birther’ campaign and considering a run for the presidency, Omarosa said ‘Every critic, every detractor, will have to bow down to President Trump. It’s everyone who’s ever doubted Donald, whoever disagreed, whoever challenged him — it is the ultimate revenge to become the most powerful man in the universe.’” So will she now join those bowing down to him?

I met Omarosa Manigault Newman once. It was at a cocktail party to honor David Shulkin after he was confirmed as Secretary of the Veterans Administration. Through some good investigative reporting we now know that was a fiasco in which he was complicit.

At the party I chatted with Omarosa and also with General Kelly who was then Secretary of Homeland Security. She seemed pleasant enough. During our conversation I mentioned I had a letter with me for Ivanka, which was a copy of my Blade column, ‘An Open Letter to Ivanka’ and had hoped to meet someone at the party from the White House. Omarosa said she would be happy to take the letter and personally give it to Ivanka. That was at a time many of us thought Ivanka had some clout in the administration and was a decent human being. During our conversation Omarosa spoke proudly about her work in the White House and spoke glowingly of Trump. It was funny reading in the Washington Post that she was fired for “abusing the government car service.” At that cocktail party, which wasn’t an official event but a private party, she mentioned a couple of times how her driver had dropped her off and was waiting for her outside. I actually kidded her saying I have a driver too, he works for Uber. Turns out I never heard from Ivanka about the letter and Omarosa never responded to the two emails I sent her asking if she had delivered it.

With Omarosa’s book we are treated to one greedy egomaniac writing about another one. It would be funny if one of them wasn’t the president of the United States.

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Leah Vukmir emerges as Tammy Baldwin’s opponent http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/08/15/leah-vukmir-emerges-as-tammy-baldwins-opponent-after-wis-primary/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/08/15/leah-vukmir-emerges-as-tammy-baldwins-opponent-after-wis-primary/#respond Wed, 15 Aug 2018 19:49:40 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=46149571 Republican rejected measure against anti-LGBT bullying in Wisconsin Senate

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Wisconsin state Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Milwaukee County) is Tammy Baldwin’s opponent in the 2018 election. (Photo public domain)

When the smoke of the Wisconsin primary cleared on Tuesday night, one thing became clear: The opponent of Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) in November will be State Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Milwaukee County).

In a primary with the Steve Bannon-backed Kevin Nicholson, Vukmir — the established candidate backed by the state Republican Party machine — won a plurality of 49 percent of the vote compared to the 42 percent Nicholson won.

If Vukmir succeeds in the general election against Baldwin — an outcome that would defy polls, but not impossible amid considerable Koch brother spending in the race — the Republican will have succeeded in ousting a longtime champion of LGBT rights and the first openly gay person elected the U.S. Senate.

Cast by LGBT rights groups as an anti-LGBTQ extremist, Vukmir has a history of votes in nearly 16 years in office in the Wisconsin legislature against LGBT rights.

Top among them is her opposition to a measure against anti-LGBT bullying added to an education omnibus bill in 2010.

According to an article at the time from the progressive Wisconsin Gazette, Vukmir voted against the measure in committee and on the floor one day for the National Day of Silence, a student-initiated annual event that seeks to bring attention to anti-LGBT harassment in schools.

The Wisconsin Gazette reported prior to the votes in an email exchange on Feb. 12, 2010, Vukmir consulted with the Wisconsin Family Council, an anti-LGBT group, in seeking to defeat the measure.

After telling Vukmir the anti-bullying measure is “dangerous” and “promoted by the pro-gay group GLSEN and others,” Julaine Appling, head of the Wisconsin Family Council, gave Vukmir “alternative language” for the measure. Vukmir told the anti-LGBT group she was “open to your suggestions.”

According to a 2006 report in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Vukmir supported a constitutional amendment on the ballot approved 59 percent by voters that banned same-sex marriage in the state. The U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals later overturned the measure as unconstitutional.

Unlike other politicians who evolved on the issue, Vukmir has never articulated support for same-sex marriage. In fact, in 2014, Vukmir voted against a resolution to remove from the books the state provision that only marriages of one man and one woman be recognized, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, Vukmir has also declined to co-sponsor pro-LGBT bills, including a measure barring widely discredited “ex-gay” conversion therapy for youth, a measure to add gender as a protected class to the state hate crimes law and and a bill to allow same-sex couples to file a joint state tax return in same way that permitted for different-sex couples.

Wendy Strout, Wisconsin state director for the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement after the primary the Human Rights Campaign is ready to help Baldwin defeat Vukmir.

“The choice for fair-minded Wisconsinites couldn’t be clearer this November,” Vukmir said. “We can either support pro-equality champions like Sen. Tammy Baldwin, who have spent their careers fighting to ensure that every Wisconsinite can live a life free from discrimination and harassment, or side with anti-equality candidates like Leah Vukmir who, time and time again, has worked to undermine equality for the LGBTQ community.”

But there’s no record of Vukmir publicly ranting about LGBT rights or disparaging LGBT people like other Republican candidates for U.S. Senate. Among them is Roy Moore, who urged Alabama to ignore the U.S. Supreme Court for same-sex marriage and last year lost his special election in that state.

Among those heaping praise on Vukmir is President Trump, who on the morning after the primary congratulated the Republican on Twitter. Without naming Baldwin, Trump ridiculed the lesbian senator for having “done very little” despite her record for LGBT rights and distinction of being the first openly gay person elected to Congress.

“Congratulations to Leah Vukmir of Wisconsin on your great win last night,” Trump tweeted. “You beat a very tough and good competitor and will make a fantastic Senator after winning in November against someone who has done very little. You have my complete and total Endorsement!”

Polls are good for Baldwin. A NBC News/Marist poll published in July found Baldwin leading Vukmir by 55-38 with 6 percent undecided. Another Public Policy Poll last month had Baldwin leading Vukmir by 51-39 with 10 percent undecided.

Baldwin also has a financial advantage in terms of non-Super PAC money. According to OpenSecrets.org, Baldwin has raised $22,616,357, spent $16,087,381 and has $6,705,676 in cash on hand going into the general election. In contrast, Vukmir has raised $2,002,657, spent $1,573,068 over the course of her primary and has $429,590 in cash on hand.

But Koch brother-backed Super PACs have spent millions in the race for negative ads on Baldwin even before the primary. Now that establishment Republican has won the primary, that spending is likely to continue as well as the vicious campaign ads.

Moreover, progressive candidate Russ Feingold in 2016 had the same lead over Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) at this point in time, but ended up losing to the Republican in November.

Nathan Gonzales, editor of the D.C.-based Inside Elections, said Baldwin “starts the general election with an advantage” and hedged on whether Republican groups will still see the Wisconsin race as a pickup opportunity.

“I think Republicans outside of Wisconsin will take a fresh look at the race and decide whether it’s worth a big financial investment,” Gonzales said. “Wisconsin is technically a Trump state, but we’re not talking about West Virginia or North Dakota here. Republicans were also banking on a big win from Gov. Walker to boost the entire ticket, but that isn’t a given anymore.”

Annise Parker, CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund, in a statement predicted victory for Baldwin in November, contrasting her record to that of Vukmir’s on LGBT rights.

“Leah Vukmir built her career on opposing basic equality for LGBTQ Americans and considers designated hate groups among her closest supporters,” Parker said. “Wisconsin voters have a proud history of electing and reelecting groundbreaking LGBTQ candidates like Sen. Baldwin, and we are confident they will reject Vukmir’s hostile agenda come November.”

The Vukmir campaign didn’t respond to the Washington Blade’s request to comment Wednesday.

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Nicki Minaj criticized for ‘homophobic’ lyrics on new album http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/08/15/nicki-minaj-criticized-for-homophobic-lyrics-on-new-album/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/08/15/nicki-minaj-criticized-for-homophobic-lyrics-on-new-album/#respond Wed, 15 Aug 2018 19:37:32 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=46160454 The rapper accuses Young Thug of wearing dresses, uses the term 'sissies'

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Nicki Minaj (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

Nicki Minaj dropped her highly anticipated fourth studio album “Queen” on Friday but the album’s release came with some controversy.

On the track “Barbie Dreams,” Minaj gives a list of all the men she’s rejected including Drake, 50 Cent and DJ Khaled. She also mentions Young Thug and says the reason it didn’t work out is because the rapper likes to wear dresses.

“Used to fuck with Young Thug / I ain’t addressing this shit / caught him in my dressing room / stealing dresses and shit / I used to give this ni**a with a lisp testers and shit / how you want the pu-thy? / can’t say s’s and shit,” Minaj raps.

In another song called “Majesty,” featuring Eminem and Labrinth, she includes the lyric “Who want it with Nicki now? / I smoke ‘em like hippies now / they see me say ‘Yippie’ now / home runnin’ like Griffey now / they switchin’ like sissies now / you n***as is iffy now.”

Minaj has made a reference to “sissies” before. On her 2008 track “Dead Wrong” she rapped: “First they love you / then they switch / yeah, they switch like faggots / that’s why I keep the llamas in Gabbana’s fabrics.”

The lyrics ruined the hype of Minaj’s album for some fans who took to Twitter to blast the rapper.

 

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Two gay artists plan Rehoboth exhibits http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/08/15/two-gay-artists-plan-rehoboth-exhibits/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/08/15/two-gay-artists-plan-rehoboth-exhibits/#respond Wed, 15 Aug 2018 19:31:14 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=46159960 Fisher, Wright to display work at Gallery 50 this month

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Gallery 50, Gary Fisher, gay news, Washington Blade

Gary Fisher (Photo courtesy of Fisher)

Two talented gay artists will exhibit their work in Rehoboth Beach this month. Their art will line the walls of Gallery 50, at 50 Wilmington Avenue (m.me/gallery50art or 302-227-2050).

The gallery opened its doors in 2007 and regularly offers a variety of artworks from renowned, established and emerging artists in a variety of mediums. During each exhibition, the gallery focuses primarily on the work of one to two artists. The gallery also hosts private events, parties, book signings, film screenings and more. In addition to being a gallery, it retains a master framer who can frame anything from your important works of art to your children’s masterpieces.

The first show opens Friday, Aug. 17 and will feature the works of one of D.C. and Rehoboth’s premier artists, Gary Fisher, who’s has had a long career as an environmental enforcement attorney with the U.S. Justice Department. He began painting almost 30 years ago and has developed a wide following.

“It is an expression of the beauty I see around me and my optimistic outlook on life,” Fisher says. “My paintings reflect my highly individual vision of the scenery or subject matter that surrounds me. Color dominates my vibrant surfaces as the play of light is expressed in applications of intense and sometimes surprising hues. Paint strokes are infused with an exuberant energy. The results are dream-like canvases that evoke a sense of playfulness and spontaneity.”

His canvases often appear to take on a life of their own — fresh and exciting.

It isn’t always easy to get one of his pieces as much of his work is now on a commission basis. Over the years, Fisher has been featured in special exhibits at the Children’s National Medical Center, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, U.S. Government buildings and U.S. embassies around the world as part of the State Department’s Art in Embassies Program.

The second show begins on Friday, Aug. 31 and will feature the work of Jason Wright, a Hawaii resident. He studied painting and graphic design at the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington. While there he began his career illustrating and designing graphics for the surfing, skateboarding and snowboarding industry.  That makes sense as aside from being a talented and accomplished artist Jason is a medaled athlete and skydiving instructor. I think he just likes the freedom of being in the water and up in the sky and the challenges the sports he participates in represent.

“This show continues my study on the beauty of isolation,” Wright says. “I wanted to evoke the mystery and magic one feels during first light on a cold winter day. That special moment when the golden hues of the sun collide with the cool tones of the water, which often reminds me of childhood. It’s a feeling I’ve always wanted to capture. These paintings are inspired by my time spent on the eastern shore over the years chasing winter swells and my love of the small towns and rural areas that surround the beach towns.” 

Wright’s paintings are created with a palette knife and are a mixture of oil and acrylic paint. His studio is located on The Big Island of Hawaii.

“My love for nature has never faded,” he says. “I still catch the surf on my way to the studio every day.”

Jason Wright (Photo courtesy of Wright)

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RuPaul shocks Leslie Jones with ‘Drag Race’ invitation http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/08/15/rupaul-shocks-leslie-jones-with-drag-race-invitation/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/08/15/rupaul-shocks-leslie-jones-with-drag-race-invitation/#respond Wed, 15 Aug 2018 19:04:10 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=46158722 The 'SNL' cast member has been live-tweeting old episodes

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Leslie Jones (Screenshot via Twitter)

“Saturday Night Live” cast member Leslie Jones recently became a fan of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” but she’s already gotten the attention of Ru himself.

Jones began binge-watching the reality competition and live tweeting it, in May.

Jones’ tweets seemed to have made their way to RuPaul. While appearing on “Access Live,” Jones was given a surprise message from Ru inviting her to be a guest judge on the show.

Watch Jones’ freak out below.

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‘Matilda Challenge’ becomes latest viral craze http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/08/15/matilda-challenge-becomes-latest-viral-craze/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/08/15/matilda-challenge-becomes-latest-viral-craze/#respond Wed, 15 Aug 2018 18:25:38 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=46154491 Mara Wilson, the film's star, approves of the social media sensation

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Mara Wilson in ‘Matilda’ (Screenshot via YouTube)

“Matilda” may have hit theaters in 1996 but the cult classic is making a comeback thanks to the “Matilda Challenge.”

The fantasy film, based on the novel by Roald Dahl, tells the story of Matilda Wormwood (Mara Wilson) who is bullied by her cruel parents and strict principal. After learning she has the power of telekinesis, she starts to stand up for herself.

The challenge is based on the famous scene from the film where Matilda practices her newfound telekinesis power in her living room while “Little Bitty Pretty One” by Thurston Harris plays in the background.

Now, people are pretending to have the power of telekinesis by having other people move items around a room. Of course, the song also plays in the background.

Wilson, who came out as bisexual in 2016, approved of the challenge even posting some of her favorites.

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In first, trans candidate wins major party nomination for governor’s race http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/08/14/historic-trans-candidate-wins-major-party-nomination-for-statewide-office/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/08/14/historic-trans-candidate-wins-major-party-nomination-for-statewide-office/#respond Wed, 15 Aug 2018 01:17:28 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=46107411 In a historic moment, Christine Hallquist won the Democratic nomination Tuesday to run to become the next Vermont governor, making her the first transgender candidate ever to obtain a major party nomination in a gubernatorial race. The Associated Press declared Hallquist, former CEO of the Vermont Electric Cooperative, won the Democratic Party in Vermont at […]

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Christine Hallquist has become the first transgender candidate to win a major party nomination to run for statewide office.

In a historic moment, Christine Hallquist won the Democratic nomination Tuesday to run to become the next Vermont governor, making her the first transgender candidate ever to obtain a major party nomination in a gubernatorial race.

The Associated Press declared Hallquist, former CEO of the Vermont Electric Cooperative, won the Democratic Party in Vermont at 9:14 pm shortly after polls closed at 7 pm. With 97 percent of precincts reporting, Hallquist obtained 48 percent of the vote, compared to 22 percent for environmental activist James Ehlers, 21 percent for progressive activist Brenda Siege and 8 percent high school student Ethan Sonneborn. (Vermont has no age requirement for candidates.)

Should Hallquist succeed in the general election in November, she’d be the first openly transgender people elected as governor in the United States.

In a statement to the Washington Blade in May, Hallquist said her win in November would be a “positive signal for all LGBTQ people” because she would be the first transgender governor and represent a rural state.

“Typically, rural communities have been viewed as less affirming,” Hallquist said. “Marginalized communities have historically had problems with winning executive positions. For too long leadership has been associated with masculinity and the dominant culture. Vermonters choosing me, a trans-woman, as their governor, would expand the realm of possibility for generations to come. My success would mark a new milestone in acceptance.”

Hallquist was endorsed by LGBT rights groups, including the LGBTQ Victory Fund and the National Center for Transgender Equality Action Fund.

Annise Parker, CEO of the Victory Fund, said in a statement Hallquist’s victory is “a defining moment in the movement for trans equality” at a time when few transgender officials are in government.

“Many thought it unthinkable a viable trans gubernatorial candidate like Christine would emerge so soon,” Parker said. “Yet Vermont voters chose Christine not because of her gender identity, but because she is an open and authentic candidate with a long history of service to the state, and who speaks to the issues most important to voters.”

According to the Victory Fund, 13 openly trans people are serving in elected office in the United States. The Victory Fund has endorsed seven transgender candidates this election cycle.

Another transgender candidate seeking statewide office this year was Kim Coco Iwamoto in Hawaii. A former member of the Hawaii Board of Education, Iwamoto sought the Democratic nomination to run for lieutenant governor, but came up short in the primary on Saturday.

Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality Action Fund, said in Hallquist’s victory “cannot be overstated.”

“Our mission as an organization is deeply rooted in bringing transgender people into the center of society, and Christine’s nomination is a massive step forward in that fight,” Keisling said.

Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez also commended Hallquist in a statement, calling her win an “inspiration to LGBTQ people everywhere.”

“We are excited to stand behind her and the entire slate of fantastic Democratic nominees in Vermont,” Hallquist said. “There’s no doubt that Christine and her fellow nominees will join a strong ticket this November that will fight for our values and serve as dedicated advocates for Vermont’s working families. Vermont voters know that Democrats have their backs and share their values, and they’re ready to organize to turn more seats blue this November.”

Hallquist’s Republican opponent in the general election will be incumbent Gov. Phil Scott. A moderate who signed into law gun control legislation, Scott faced a challenge from conservative candidate, but came out on top in the primary.

Political observers say Hallquist faces an uphill battle in the general election against the incumbent Republican. The Cook Political Report, Inside Elections Nathan L. Gonzales and have each rated the race either solid or safe Republican.

Larry Sabato, a political scientist at the University of Virginia, called Hallquist’s win “a historic breakthrough” and predicted she’ll be the focus of tremendous media attention, but said the road ahead is difficult.

“On the one hand, Vermont is clearly liberal, except on guns,” Sabato said. “On the other, it’s going to be very tough to beat Gov. Phil Scott, who is one of three moderate GOP governors leading in blue states this year (Massachusetts and Maryland are the other two). For Hallquist to win, Scott will have to make some big mistakes, or there would have to be the ‘blue’ wave tsunami that Democrats hope is coming.”

Despite the challenge Hallquist faces in the general election, it should be noted she obtained more voters in the Vermont primary than her Republican opponent. With 97 percent of precincts reporting, Hallquist obtained 27,381 votes compared to the 23,857 votes Scott won.

Hallquist is one of four LGBT candidates who’ve obtained the Democratic nomination to run for governor in Election 2018. The other three are Rep. Jared Polis in Colorado and former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez in Texas, who could be the first openly gay people elected governor in the United States, as well as Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, who’s bisexual and seeking re-election.

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Lena Waithe says her haircut has made her ‘gayer’ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/08/14/lena-waithe-says-her-hair-cut-has-made-her-gayer/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/08/14/lena-waithe-says-her-hair-cut-has-made-her-gayer/#respond Tue, 14 Aug 2018 20:17:32 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=46101114 The 'Master of None' star thought about the chop a long time

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New tings. Cut by : @barberdolltheslayer

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Lena Waithe’s new haircut has made the actress, producer and screenwriter feel “gayer.”

Waithe appeared at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Grants Banquet on Thursday and explained to Variety’s Marc Malkin she had been contemplating the big chop for a long time.

“I felt like I was holding onto a piece of femininity that would make the world feel comfortable with who I am,” Waithe said. “I thought for a long time, ‘Oh, if I cut my hair, I’ll be a stud — in the gay world, there’s a lot of categories — I’ll be a stud or I’ll be a butch,’ and I’ve always thought, ‘Well, no, I’m not that, I’m still soft,’ and I said, ’Oh, I gotta put that down, ’cause that’s something that’s outside of me.’”

Waithe joked that the cut made her feel “gayer” but on a serious note she says the decision makes her feel “so free and so happy and so joyful.”

“I really stepped into myself,” she added. “If people call me a butch or say, ‘She’s stud,’ or call me sir out in the world — so what? So be it. I’m here with a suit on, not a stitch of makeup, and a haircut. I feel like, ‘Why can’t I exist in the world in that way?’”

In a constant state of gratitude. 🙏🏾 cut by the one and only : @barberdolltheslayer

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