May 13, 2010 at 9:23 am EDT | by David J. Hoffman
Men of Mautner to honor Catania

All MOMs should report to the rooftop of 701 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., on May 26, says Mautner Project executive director Leslie Calman.

And do it for your mom, she says, or your sister, your daughter or other loved one or friend — anyone who partners with other women and who has ever needed health care services including “during a time of overwhelming challenge of threatening illness.”

Why? “Because the Men of Mautner will celebrate another year of partnership on Wednesday, May 26 when we come together to honor the 2010 Man of Mautner, DC Councilman David Catania,” Calman adds.

Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be plentiful that evening, she says, and she also promises a gorgeous rooftop view of the city as well as the chance to meet other Men of Mautner, those volunteers and donors who help the non-profit organization now in its 20th year serving the health care needs of women who partner with women whether as lesbian or bisexual or trans individuals.

Catania, D.C. Council member at large and chair of the Health Committee, declared: “I could not be more excited or honored about this award,” adding that he has “supported the Mautner Project in fundraising and other ways for such a long time, because of its important, indeed indispensable, role in serving the health care needs of the lesbian community in the D.C. area.”

Catania pointed in particular to the Mautner Project’s leadership role, together with other LGBT groups, in spearheading a drive to encourage smoking cessation and the results have been “a phenomenal success,” he said, “seeing dramatic drops in the rate of smoking” among LGBT individuals. “Mautner provides a crucial voice and can clearly reach into the community with messages we need to have heard to improve health outcomes”

The 2009 Men of Mautner honoree, Bill Gannon, MD, the first man to be elected to Mautner’s board, in 2003, hailed the selection of Catania as his successor MOM this year as “an important step to acknowledge the critical leadership role of elected officials in meeting health care needs of LGBT people” as well as for Catania’s major role in promoting same-sex marriage equality in the enactment of the District’s recent landmark law.

Gannon, a physician specializing in oncology and cancer-related clinical trials for biotech and pharmaceutical companies, noted that “men play a key supportive role to women in these initiatives, and a lot of us see this as helping our sisters — actual or otherwise — touched by cancer and also as a way of giving back to the gay community.”

He also noted that in his own case his mother-in-law — partner David Weidner’s own mother — is a breast-cancer survivor. “So it’s up close and very personal for me.”

Gannon urged all men, and all others, to invest in the work of the Mautner Project. Tickets are $100 for the event, which is from 7-9 p.m., Wednesday, May 26 at 701 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W. The event is sponsored by Ackerman Legal PLLC. Catania will speak after being introduced by Washington Blade editor Kevin Naff.

Speaking of the Men of Mautner fundraiser, host Glen Ackerman, head of the law firm Ackerman Legal, PLLC, said: “I have served on the Mautner board for just a little over a year, but this affiliation has afforded me the opportunity for the most personal growth and learning I have experienced so far, since as a gay man I’ve now had to learn all about women’s health issues and all the problems that lesbian women face in getting their health care needs met.” Ackerman also was co-chair of the Mautner Project’s 20th anniversary gala event.

The Mautner Project was founded in 1990, following the death due to breast cancer in 1989 of local lesbian-rights activist and mother Mary-Helen Mautner, then 42, who asked her partner Susan Hester to begin an organization to help other lesbians facing life-threatening illness. Calman calls this “our founding story … of how she literally outlined on a piece of paper a plan for how lesbians could help other lesbians deal with cancer.”

In the past 20 years, according to Calman, the Mautner Project has won many grants to advance such public health initiatives as smoking cessation and most recently obesity among women who partner with women, especially including African-American women. That newest project, a 3-year, $250,000 grant from the District’s Health Department, goes into effect later this month as an integrated research and public education outreach for direct intervention to change people’s behaviors leading to obesity.

Men of Mautner
May 26, 7 p.m.
701 Pennsylvania Ave, N.W.
Tickets $100

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