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Heroic distinction ‘very humbling’

Capital Pride honors locals working to help others

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The Capital Pride heroes are honored in advance of this year's festival. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

This year’s Capital Pride Heroes include four individuals and two organizations. Meet the heroes below.

MARTA ALVARADO

Latina and LGBT rights advocate Marta Alvarado leads the annual “Creating Change” conference, an important contribution to advancing the cause of LGBT rights.

Alvarado, whose National Gay and Lesbian Task Force job title of program coordinator for movement building barely hints at the array of skills she brings to getting all those cantankerous ducks in a row for five days of intensive movement-building, which she calls “the largest gathering of LGBT people and their allies.” It’s an exercise requiring equal parts precision and empathy.

Next year’s “Creating Change” conference — February 2-6 in Minneapolis — is expected to draw 2,000-3,000 people, she says. The year after that she will bring the conference to Baltimore.

For Alvarado, the Capital Pride Hero award is “a big honor … I had to take a step back, and receiving it takes me back to age 15 to my very first Pride event, and now it’s 15 years later, and I know the significance of Pride, and it’s very humbling.”

DESTINY B. CHILDS

How many ways are there to be dazzled by Destiny B. Childs?

Her list of titles as female impersonator and lady-illusionist are legendary, including her newest title of Miss Capital Pride 2010, the award she just won in a June 4 competition with seven other contestants at Town Danceboutique to kick off Capital Pride’s schedule. As such, she will preside over the parade on Saturday evening and the festival on Sunday.

Also known as Richard Legg, a 32-year-old government contracting specialist during the day, Destiny will be married on Aug. 28 in D.C. to her beloved, Rudy Benavides. With her theme song by Diana DeGarmo of “I Believe” and her special motto of “defy gravity,” Destiny has been doing drag for seven years in D.C.

Born in Albuquerque, Legg entered the Army and then completed his undergraduate education with a bachelor’s in health care management from Southern Illinois University in 2005. In D.C., he has been the featured entertainer at Freddie’s Beach Bar for six years and also a member of the Ladies of Illusion at Ziegfeld’s.

REV. ELDER DARLENE GARNER

Garner, the mother of four, grandmother of seven and great-grandmother of three, is a warrior of the spirit. She was born in Columbus, Ohio but after her divorce in 1973 she moved to D.C. to take a job as an administrative assistant at the World Bank.

Raised in the National Baptist Church, in 1976 she joined the still relatively new Metropolitan Community Church, where she is now an ordained minister and member of the MCC Board of Elders. She leads the MCC Conference for African-American Leaders and has also worked as executive director of the Philadelphia Mayor’s Commission on Sexual Minorities and previously as chaplain for an AIDS hospice and as board president for the Northern Virginia AIDS Ministry. She also helped to found the National Coalition of Black Lesbians and Gays.

On March 9, she and her partner of many years, Rev. Candy Holmes, were married along with two other couples in the first ceremony under D.C.’s new same-sex marriage law.

DC CLERGY UNITED FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY

This diverse group of more than 200 “affirming and welcoming” clergy, representing religious institutions in every ward of the District, pushed back with robust fortitude and biblical testimony against the dogmatic naysayers from the homophobic corners of religious life.

“We are the District of Columbia clergy and religious leaders of many faiths, races, ethnicities, and sexual orientations,” they declared in a statement full of eloquent yet simple profundity: “We now join our voices again to speak a faithful word for freedom and equality.”

“We declare that our faith calls for us to affirm marriage equality for loving same-sex couples,” because “where love is present, God is also present,” and “it is holy and good.”

These clergy fought the “battle of Jericho” in D.C. and the walls came tumbling down.

DC FOR MARRIAGE

A program of the DC Center, this group of local residents became activists pushing politically every inch of the way to win votes on the D.C. Council in favor of this historic step. And the organization continues its important work today, for example in offering legal updates for D.C. residents on creating legal protections for “families of choice” brought together under the new marriage law. See more information on their ongoing work at www.dcformarriage.org.

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Maryland

As Md. advances bill to fund gender-affirming care, LGBTQ advocates stress it will save lives

Trans Health Equity Act would impact state Medicaid

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Md. state Sen. Mary Washington (D-Baltimore City) speaks at a press conference for the Trans Health Equity Act on Feb. 14, 2023. (Washington Blade photo by Linus Berggren)

By John-John Williams IV | Shaylie Elliette wishes the Trans Health Equity Act that appears headed for final passage in the Maryland General Assembly would have been around seven years ago, when she turned 18. She believes that transitioning earlier in life would have eliminated years of torment, abuse and discrimination all linked to transphobia.

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

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District of Columbia

Whitman-Walker announces leadership change

CEO Ryan Moran to become Deputy Secretary of Health in Maryland

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Dr. Ryan Moran is leaving his role as CEO of the Whitman-Walker Health System. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Dr. Ryan Moran, who has served since 2021 as CEO of the Whitman-Walker Health System, an arm of D.C.’s longtime LGBTQ and HIV health services provider Whitman-Walker Health, will be leaving his position next month after being named as Deputy Secretary of Health and Healthcare Finance and Medicaid Director for the State of Maryland.

According to a March 21 statement released by Whitman-Walker, Moran will begin his new job as a member of the Maryland Department of Health’s senior leadership team effective April 12.

The statement says Cindy Lewin, an official with nonprofit organizations for more than 25 years and who previously served as Executive Vice President and General Counsel at the AARP, will serve as interim CEO at Whitman-Walker Health System beginning April 10.

Around that time, the statement says, Whitman-Walker will begin a nationwide executive search “to secure a permanent CEO” for the top position at Whitman-Walker Health System.

The statement points out that Naseema Shafi will continue in her role as CEO of Whitman-Walker Health, the other component of Whitman-Walker that directly provides and oversees medical and health care services to patients and clients, including those from the LGBTQ community.

Whitman-Walker Health System, among other things, advances the mission of Whitman-Walker through expanding its financial and fundraising capacity through the Whitman-Walker Foundation, the Whitman-Walker Institute, and the Whitman-Walker Health System Real Property Holdings, the statement says.

“Whitman-Walker Health System is grateful for Ryan’s visionary leadership, which has advantageously positioned us for our once in a generation expansion of research and health services with our move to the Saint Elizabeth campus this year,” said Dr. Ann Bonham, the Whitman-Walker Health System Board Chair.

“While the organization will miss Ryan, his enthusiasm and passion for the work and his commitment to the mission of Whitman-Walker, I am sure he will be a transformative leader in his new role,” Bonham said.

“I am deeply grateful to Whitman-Walker for the opportunity to steward our mission-driven organization as a regional and national leader in LGBTQ+ care, advocacy, research, and education,” Moran said in the statement.

“I am honored to have contributed to this organization’s rich history, and I am proud of the work Naseema Shafi and I have accomplished together and of the exceptional board senior leadership team, and staff for their collaboration in building a strong foundation for Whitman-Walker’s future success,” he said.

The statement announcing the Whitman-Walker leadership change notes that Moran played an important role in continuing the organization’s previously started plans for opening its new Max Robinson Center at the city’s St. Elizabeth’s campus in Southeast D.C. According to the statement, the new center will provide services and programs to more than 15,000 people each year, a 300 percent increase from the existing Max Robinson Center located in Anacostia.

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Local

Comings & Goings

Inouye named Deputy Assistant Secretary in communications at Dept. of Education

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Shin Inouye (Photo public domain)

The Comings & Goings column is about sharing the professional successes of our community. We want to recognize those landing new jobs, new clients for their business, joining boards of organizations and other achievements. Please share your successes with us at [email protected].

Congratulations to Shin Inouye on his appointment as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Office of Communications and Outreach, U.S. Department of Education. He said, “I’m honored to join the Biden-Harris administration and the amazing team under Secretary Cardona.  Working with my outstanding colleagues, I am confident we will meet our goal to raise the bar and promote academic excellence in America.” 

Previously, Inouye served as Executive Vice President of Communications, The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and Human Rights, The Leadership Conference Education Fund. He also held a number of high-level positions in the Obama administration, including Press Secretary and Acting Senior Adviser for Intergovernmental and External Affairs, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; Adviser for Intergovernmental and External Affairs, Executive Office of the President; White House Office of Communications: Director of Specialty Media; and as an authorized spokesperson for the Obama Inaugural Committee, with a focus on specialty media outlets.

Inouye has received many honors, including being named one of 25 “LGBTI next generation leaders to watch” by Out in National Security and the Atlantic Council; and one of “40 Asian American Pacific Islander National Security & Foreign Policy Next Generation Leaders” by New America and the Diversity in National Security Network.

Congratulations also to Tristan Fitzpatrick, on his promotion to Senior Communications Consultant at APCO Worldwide. Fitzpatrick said, “I am thrilled to start this new position and look forward to the start of a new chapter advising clients on how to best achieve their communications and public affairs goals.” Tristan has worked with APCO for the past year and a half. They are the fifth largest independently owned PR firm in the United States. Prior to that, Fitzpatrick was a Digital Media Specialist with the National Public Pension Coalition in D.C. He worked as a Communications and Digital Adviser, to the Biden for President campaign. He advised the campaign’s Out for Biden Coalition on communications and digital best practices for turning out 11 million LGBTQ and 57 million pro-equality voters. Tristan has also been a Communications Manager and Digital Outreach Coordinator, Cancer Support Community, Washington, DC.   

Tristan Fitzpatrick
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