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D.C. Jail guards accused of beating gay inmate



A 39-year-old gay man being held in the D.C. Jail has accused jail guards of severely beating him last month, saying they carried him, handcuffed, down three flights of stairs while deliberately knocking his head against the walls and handrails.

The gay inmate, John Burrows, a D.C. resident, gave a detailed account of the incident to his mother and sister, who released the information this week to the DC Agenda.

“They handcuffed his hands behind his back and handcuffed his feet, picked him up and carried him down three flights of steps and in the process they were banging his head against the railings and into the wall,” said Margaret Groat, Burrows’ sister, in an e-mail.

“[T]hey beat him in the stairwell and choked him,” she said. “I think they were trying to kill him. He has two black eyes, a concussion; he still can’t feel three of his fingers from the handcuffs being so tight.”

A spokesperson for the D.C. Department of Corrections, which oversees the jail, said the Dec. 17 incident was under investigation and the department had no immediate comment.

“Please be advised that this matter is currently under investigation by the Department of Corrections,” said department spokesperson Sylvia Lane in an e-mail to the Agenda. “There is no further information available at this time.”

Groat said Burrows gave a detailed description of the incident in two letters he mailed to their mother, Judy Burrows. She said her brother noted in one of his letters that the beating may have been triggered when he threw a bar of soap at one of the guards after the guard “harassed” him.

According to Groat, jail officials have refused to allow her and her mother to contact John Burrows by phone and informed them that they could not visit him at the jail.

“They said they put him in protective custody and that he can’t have any visitors until Jan. 27 at the earliest,” Groat said.

Lane did not respond by press time to questions by the Agenda about why D.C. Jail officials placed Burrows in protective custody and have refused to allow his sister and mother to visit him.

Mafara Hobson, a spokesperson for Mayor Adrian Fenty, said she would look into the matter. But she added, “Ms. Lane is correct in that the matter is under investigation, so we can’t comment further on the incident.”

When informed about Burrows’ alleged jail beating, D.C. Council member Phil Mendelson (D-At Large), who chairs the Council committee that oversees the jail and Department of Corrections, said he, too, would make inquires to learn more about what happened.

Court records show that Burrows is being held in jail without bond on felony charges of first-degree sexual abuse and robbery of a senior citizen in connection with an October 2008 encounter with a D.C. man over age 60. The records show that Burrows was arrested for the two offenses in September while he was incarcerated in an out-of-state prison for an unrelated theft charge, to which he pleaded guilty.

A D.C. Superior Court charging document says the two charges for which Burrows is currently being held were filed against him by a man who told police he engaged in consensual oral sex acts with Burrows on Oct. 5, 2008, in the man’s Northwest Washington apartment. The man, who is listed as the complainant in the case, told police he paid Burrows $100 in cash after the sexual encounter for the purpose of having Burrows use the money to purchase marijuana for the man, according to the charging document.

The next day Burrows returned. But the man said that instead of handing over the marijuana, Burrows grabbed him in a “choke hold,” bound him “by ligatures,” and forced him into his bedroom, according to the charging document. It says the man told police that Burrows then sexually abused the man before stealing $100 in cash and his ATM card. The man told police that Burrows pressured him into revealing the PIN number for the card.

The charging document says police obtained surveillance video from the complainant’s bank showing Burrows making an illegal withdrawal of $500 with the use of the complainant’s ATM card.

Margaret Groat, Burrows’ sister, acknowledged that her brother has a substance abuse problem and a record of arrests on drug and theft-related charges, all of which, she said, were non-violent offenses. Groat said her brother denies assaulting or sexually abusing the complainant in the case pending against him.

Premal Dharia, an attorney with the D.C. Public Defender Service who is representing Burrows, did not return calls seeking comment on the alleged jail beating or the criminal charges pending against her client.

According to Groat, her brother said the sexual encounters between Burrows and the complainant were entirely consensual. She said her brother told her a dispute arose over a prior agreement that the complainant would pay Burrows for the sex and that Burrows may have taken some money for the payment he believed he was owed. She said the complainant had requested to be bound as part of a pre-arranged “bondage” encounter, according to her brother’s account of what happened.

“Whatever he did or didn’t do in terms of his arrest, he didn’t deserve to be beaten in jail,” Groat told the Agenda in a telephone interview. “He’s had problems and issues with the law, but I can tell you that he’s not a violent person.”

Groat said she contacted the Gay & Lesbian Activists Alliance and the D.C. LGBT community center about her brother’s allegation that he was the victim of a prison beating by guards.

“We have been in touch with the family and we’re following this closely,” said David Mariner, executive director of the LGBT Center. “This raises concerns.”

Court records show that Burrows was scheduled to appear in D.C. Superior Court on Thursday, after the Agenda press deadine, for a status hearing and possible discussion of a plea bargain offer by the government.



22 ways to celebrate Pride month in Delaware

From Wilmington to Rehoboth, there’s something for everyone



Delaware hosts an array of Pride-related events this month.


QUEER FILM: The Rehoboth Beach Film Society and CAMP Rehoboth kick off the three-day Pride Film Festival featuring 12 movies, ranging from “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” to “Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project,” which explores author Giovanni’s life and six decades of work. The schedule has not been announced yet as of publication of this guide. The films will be shown at Cinema Art Theatre at 17701 Dartmouth Rd. #2 in Lewes. $12 per film.

A HISTORY LESSON: Delaware LGBTQ history researcher Carolanne Deal explores the queer history of Sussex County and a new exhibition with parts of Delaware’s queer history in the Zwannendael Park by the museum with the same name. 5 p.m. at 102 Kings Highway in Lewes. Free.


PRIDE FESTIVAL: Delaware Pride is putting on its annual Pride festival, with more than 100 vendors and many entertainers making up the single largest LGBTA gathering in Delaware, the organization says. Seventeen entertainers are listed on Delaware Pride’s Facebook page, including “American Idol” contestant Alisabeth Von Presley – “Lady Gaga meets Pat Benatar with a dash of Michael Jackson,” Little Village Magazine writes; Aunt Mary Pat, the drag queen and singer; Jenna Tall, who’s won five Miss titles; The Manhattan Prairie Dogs, a dance group that’s legal to watch despite prairie dogs being illegal to keep as a pet in New York; and Ryan Cassata, a singer and public speaker on trans issues. That’s not even mentioning 83 vendors that are scheduled to attend. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at 411 Legislative Ave. in Dover. Free.

PRIDE AFTER-PARTY: Double D’s Taphouse is hosting an after-party throughout Saturday night for adults 21 and over, hosted by Scarlett Masters (who’s also hosting the drag bingo above). 6-10 p.m. at 137 Jerome Drive in Dover. $15.

COUNTRY DANCING: Get yir boots on and saddle up, gays! Atlantic Sands Hotel & Conference Center is hosting a country dance party for gay men and women in Rehoboth. 7 p.m. at 1 Baltimore Ave. on the Boardwalk in Rehoboth. $10.

BRING YOUR GAY ASS OVER HERE: Flash your colors at Wilmington’s Crimson Moon bar. Brush up on your gay history to understand why: When it was illegal to be gay, LGBTQ people put a colored handkerchief in their back pocket to signal their queerness to other community members. Community leaders periodically changed that color so they would not reveal their sexuality to undercover cops. Over time, it evolved into what it is today – a way to show who you are and what you’re looking for. 9 p.m. at 1909 W. 6th St. in Wilmington. No cover.


RUN FOR FUN AT THE FUN RUN: Fun for run, no, run for fun in Rehoboth, organized by a Delaware shoe store, Charm City Run. 8-9 a.m. at 200 Rehoboth Ave. in Rehoboth. Free.

MIDDLETOWN PRIDE: Middletown is hosting its second annual Pride Walk and Festival – with vendors this time. 12-5 p.m. in Middletown. Free.

BINGO FOR A CAUSE: AIDS Delaware is hosting a spring bingo with The Rainbow Chorale in the Mill Creek Fire Company’s Chambers, with all proceeds benefitting the two organizations. It’s hosted by drag queens Scarlet Masters and Aura Buboyz and organizers encourage guests to dress in Pride attire or your “best ally” attire. Doors open at 5 p.m., games begin at 6 p.m. at 3900 Kirkwood Hwy in Wilmington. $15 for admission and one game board.

SUPPORT AGING LGBTQ+ PEOPLE: Learn about the challenges facing older LGBTQ adults and resources for them in a roundtable discussion hosted by Sussex Pride at the Unitarian Universalists of Southern Delaware’s building in Lewes. 6-7:45 p.m. at 30486 Lewes Georgetown Hwy. Free.  


A NIGHT OUT: Bring your friends and (queer) family to this LGBTQ social event at Constitution Yards Beer Garden. It had a record turnout of about 300 last year, and organizers are hoping to crack 400 this year. 6-9 p.m. at 308 Justison St. in Wilmington. Free. 

GAME NIGHT: If going out isn’t your thing and you’d prefer a more chill night, fear not: Sussex Pride is hosting a game night in the Epworth United Methodist Church. 6:30-8:15 p.m. at 19285 Holland Glade Rd. in Rehoboth. Free.


GET INTO THE HOMO SPIRIT: Listen to CAMP Rehoboth’s Chorus singing all-time favorites like Chad & Jeremy’s “A Summer Song,” Chicago’s “Saturday in the Park,” and, of course, a Beach Boys medley at Epworth United Methodist Church. Friday and Saturday 7 p.m., and Monday 3 p.m. at 19285 Holland Glade Road in Rehoboth. $25. 

GAYEST SONGS EVER: Celebrate the super gay pop hits of yesteryear (and this year) with performer Todd Alsup. 8:30-10:30 p.m. at The Pines, 56 Baltimore Ave. in Rehoboth. $25-150.


DRAG BRUNCH: Miss Troy, who is also performing at the Pride Festival, is hosting a drag brunch at The Queen in its Crown Room. The Queen is normally a live music venue but has a history of hosting all kinds of events. 12 p.m. at 500 N. Market St. in Wilmington. $39-61.50

POOL PARTY: If you want to take a splash in the pool while being a little tipsy this is the place to do it. Bring your own booze if desired, and bring food if you wish. 3-9 p.m. at 128 Honey Brook Lane in Felton. Free.

PLAY DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: Take a break from celebrating with a round of Dungeons & Dragons hosted by Sussex Pride at the Groome Church. 6:30-8 p.m. at 601 Savannah Rd. in Lewes. Free.


QUEER STORY TIME: Bring your little (or not so little) kids to the Woodlawn Library and read picture books with LGBTQ characters. You must register for the event beforehand here. Masks are strongly encouraged at the event. 11 a.m.-12 p.m. at 2020 W. 9th St. in Wilmington. Free.

BRING YOUR DADDY TO BRUNCH: Goolee’s Grill encourages you to bring your dad (or daddy) to this family-friendly drag brunch because it’s Father’s Day. The event is hosted by the runner up for Rehoboth’s Best Drag Queen in the 2019 Blade awards, Regina Cox. 12-2 p.m. at 11 South 1st St. $15.


ZOO VISIT: The Brandywine Zoo is holding its annual Pride Day – only the third – with educational programming, a scavenger hunt, and story time. 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at 1001 N. Park Dr. in Wilmington. $7 for seniors and youth, $9 for adults.


STONEWALL RELIVED: Listen to four actors recreate the 1969 Stonewall Uprising at CAMP Rehoboth with the words of those that were there – reporters, drag queens, trans youth, gay people, and homeless kids that confronted the police, letting out their anger. It wasn’t the first LGBTQ uprising of the era, but the most consequential. 4 p.m. & 7 p.m. at 37 Baltimore Ave. in Rehoboth. $25. 


GAY COMEDY: Standup comedian Jen Kober, an out lesbian from Louisiana, is touring the country and stopping in Rehoboth Beach at The Pines along with Jeff D. She won NPR’s Snap Judgment of Comedic Performance of the Year and went viral for her standup about Girl Scout cookies. 7 p.m. at The Pines in Rehoboth. 

Did we miss anything? Let the author know at [email protected] 

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People of Pride: A look at Maryland’s LGBTQ community

Prominent activists, leaders spoke with the Baltimore Banner



Marquis Clayton, 35, poses for a portrait around Mount Vernon in Baltimore on May 31, 2023. (Photo by Kaitlin Newman for the Baltimore Banner)

By John-John Williams IV | With the LGBTQ community under assault in many states, LGBTQ Marylanders say Pride month has taken on added meaning this year.

There are an estimated 11 million LGBTQ adults in the United States, with 151,000 in the state of Maryland, according to the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law and Public Policy at UCLA School of Law. The community covers a diverse spectrum of genders, identities, races and cultures.

The Baltimore Banner spoke and emailed with members of the community about the meaning of pride and the greatest challenges facing the LGBTQ community. Here are their answers, some of which have been edited for length and clarity.

The rest of this article can be found on the Baltimore Banner website.

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Anti-LGBTQ activists protest Fairfax City Pride event

Stacy Langton organized demonstration



Anti-LGBTQ protestors gather outside Old Town Hall in Fairfax City, Va., on June 3, 2023, to protest the city’s Pride celebration. (Photo from Public Advocate of the United States /Instagram)

The Fairfax City Council declared June as LGBTQ Pride Month, with a celebration planned at Old Town Hall on Saturday to include a drag queen performance. Outside of the event in front of the building roughly two dozen people gathered in protest of the city’s Pride event.

According to the local conservative right publication the Washington Examiner, the protest was coordinated by Stacy Langton, a Fairfax County resident who gained notoriety for leading a group of parents protesting two controversial LGBTQ-themed books available in high school libraries in September 2021 that Langton falsely claimed promoted pedophilia. 

The Fairfax County School Board, and officials with Fairfax County Public Schools announced they had removed the books from the school libraries to reassess their suitability for high school students.

At the time the Washington Blade reported: “I’m not one of those activist moms or disgruntled moms,” Langton stated in an interview with Fox News. “This is not about being anti-gay, anti-trans or whatever. I would have been there and said every single word I said if this had been the depiction of a heterosexual couple with heterosexual acts — pornography is pornography and I don’t care what the gender is.”

Langton also appeared in several ads for now Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin during his 2021 gubernatorial election.

Also appearing at the protest were members of the Southern Poverty Law Center-listed hate group, Public Advocate of the United States, and its leader, Eugene Delgaudio.

The Examiner reported that Fairfax Mayor Catherine Read, who was attending the event, told the tabloid that the city is paying for the event. Other sponsors of the event include George Mason University and Fairfax Ace Hardware.

The announcement from the city published online stated:


Saturday, June 3rd
5PM – 10PM
Old Town Hall
3999 University Drive, Fairfax

The city of Fairfax and Mason are thrilled to host its inaugural “Fairfax Pride” event on June 3rd, 2023!

While Pride is celebrated 365 days of the year, it’s most recognized during the month of June. Pride Month evolved out of the 1969 Stonewall Riots and has since become a time to reflect and celebrate both the progress and the people of the LGBTQIA+ community.

This collaborative event will kick off In Old Town Hall with informational vendors from both Mason campus and the NOVA area, as well as children’s activities, such as face-painting, Fairy Hair, crafts and more! Later in the evening, a warm welcome will be given by representatives from both the city of Fairfax and Mason, to commemorate this exciting new event. The event will conclude with a dance party featuring several drag queen performances throughout the evening.

All are invited and welcome to attend! 

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