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Chief condemns anti-gay police flier & more

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Chief condemns anti-gay police flier

Following calls by LGBT activists for a public response, D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier issued a statement this week condemning the distribution of anti-gay fliers inside a police station by one or more unidentified officers.

Lanier said the department’s Internal Affairs unit was investigating the matter.

The fliers include a photo of two male detectives assigned to the department’s Major Crash Investigation Unit. The detectives are shown in the photo displaying gang hand signals, which resemble sign language used by the deaf. They are dressed in civilian clothes and appear to be standing in a police station office doorway.

“Celebrating D.C.’s First Deaf Mute Gay Marriage,” says a title above the photo. The flier goes on to describe the two detectives as “newlyweds using sign language to express their everlasting love and commitment for each other,” and says the men are “pictured as they enter the honeymoon suite prepared for hours of naked sweaty man love.”

Kristopher Baumann, chair of the labor committee of the Fraternal Order of Police, which serves as a police union, said the detectives pictured in the flier consider it highly offense. Baumann noted that someone distributed the same flier in May and department officials “took no action.”

A police source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the two detectives shown in the flier are straight but supportive of their gay and lesbian colleagues on the force.

The source said it’s known that a lieutenant at the crash unit took the photo, but it could not be determined if the lieutenant created the fliers. According to the source, police officials initially appeared more concerned that the media learned about the incident than the incident itself.

Gays & Lesbians Opposing Violence issued a statement last week calling the fliers a slur against the LGBT and deaf communities. The group’s co-chairs, Kelly Pickard and Joe Montoni, expressed concern that Lanier had not yet issued a public statement about the incident five days after the Washington Examiner broke a story July 13 about the flier.

In her June 19 statement, Lanier said the flier contained comments that were “both offensive and unacceptable.” She noted that she initially held off on issuing a statement because she “did not want to give attention or credence to such an unacceptable act.”

“The Metropolitan Police Department prides itself in having a diverse police department that provides above the board police services to all residents and visitors of the District of Columbia,” she said. “I am clear to all my members that I will not stand for any type of discrimination; therefore, individual acts, such as the creation and distribution of these fliers, are reprehensible and only serve to damage the fine efforts that our members strive to achieve in establishing respect and trust in the community.”

Baumann said department insiders have pointed to at least two other incidents in which anti-gay literature was placed inside police stations in recent years by members of the force. One was a Jehovah’s Witness religious pamphlet called “Homosexuality: How Can I Avoid It?”

He said authorities never determined who was responsible for placing the literature in areas of the police buildings not open to the public.

LOU CHIBBARO JR.

Gray criticized over Thorpe endorsement

D.C. City Council Chairman and mayoral candidate Vincent Gray (D-At Large) drew criticism this week for accepting the endorsement of a controversial Shaw neighborhood activist who has used anti-gay slurs to denounce people with whom he disagrees.

Leroy Thorpe, who has used the word “faggot” to attack gay and straight rivals during his tenure as an Advisory Neighborhood Commission member, endorsed Gray during a neighborhood block party July 17. Gray attended the event.

“Previously, Mr. Thorpe has said the most vile things about gay Americans and decent hardworking members of the D.C. Police force,” said Toni Williams, a supporter of Mayor Adrian Fenty, in an e-mail to local media. “Mr. Thorpe’s rants and hatred extend to Latinos, whites, and women.

“Why would Chairman Vincent Gray associate himself with such a divisive figure in the Shaw Neighborhood? Gray demonstrates that he truly did not learn from the PFOX incident that plagued Adrian Fenty,” Williams said, referring to an award the mayor’s office mistakenly gave the head of the anti-gay Parents & Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays, also known as PFOX.

Traci Hughes, a spokesperson for the Gray campaign, addressed Thorpe’s endorsement in an e-mail to the Blade.

“The fact that he is supporting Chairman Gray in no way suggests the two agree on anything more than this: Chairman Gray is the best person to put an end to cronyism and restore integrity and sound fiscal management to the mayor’s office,” Hughes said. “We are happy to have Mr. Thorpe’s unsolicited support and his vote on September 14th.”

Gay activist Peter Rosenstein, a Gray campaign adviser, called Young’s criticism unfair, and said that Gray’s long record of support for LGBT rights shows he neither supports nor condones any inappropriate statements Thorpe may have made in the past.

Rosenstein noted that another controversial neighborhood figure, Sinclair Skinner, distributed anti-gay posters attacking gay D.C. City Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) in 2006 at the same time Skinner endorsed and campaigned for Fenty.

“When Thorpe or Skinner endorse candidates, they endorse the views of those candidates, not the other way around,” Rosenstein said. “I can assure anyone that asks that Leroy Thorpe will have zero impact on Vince Gray’s ongoing commitment to the LGBT community, my community.”

LOU CHIBBARO JR.

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Comings & Goings

Lane named senior counsel at Brady United

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Thomas Patrick Lane

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 Thomas Patrick Lane the new Senior Litigation Counsel and Director of Affirmative Litigation with Brady United. According to its website, Brady’s mission is, “To unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.”

Jonathan Lowy, chief counsel and vice president of legal at Brady said, “The whole Brady team is thrilled to welcome Tom’s skills as a trial lawyer and his leadership as a champion for justice and a voice for inclusivity and equal rights. Tom is one of the top litigators in the country, and has been a fighter his whole life who has proven himself undaunted by any challenge, including taking on the gun industry for its role in causing gun violence in America. Tom’s expertise and insights into complex litigation involving emerging technologies, such as 3-D printed guns, “smart” technology, and online commerce, will bolster our fight for industry-wide change by holding companies accountable and forcing reforms that will make all Americans safer.”

Upon accepting the position Lane said, “From my time as a prosecutor to private practice, I have seen the effects of gun violence and the importance of defending victims and survivors and upholding common-sense laws that keep our families and communities safe. I am excited to bring that background to Brady and to continue this important work nationwide.”

Prior to joining Brady, Lane was a partner in the New York office of Winston & Strawn, LLP. Before that he was a partner in Thelen Reid Brown Raysman & Steiner LLP. He is recognized as one of the country’s top intellectual property and new media lawyers. He tried the first Internet music case and the first Digital Millennium Copyright Act safe harbor case before juries. He has also served as a senior trial attorney in the office of the New York Kings County District Attorney.

Lane represented the City of New York in litigation against major gun manufacturers in the early 2000s. LawDragon named him as one of the 500 Leading Lawyers in America.

Lane earned his undergraduate degree from Hamilton College, Clinton, N.Y.; and his J.D. from Tulane University School of Law in New Orleans. He has created an endowed scholarship there for LGBTQ students to help law firms realize the importance of hiring diverse rosters of attorneys, and to honor the courage of his uncles Bernard Lane (an Army Ranger decorated with two Bronze Stars) and Richard Morrison (a recovered alcoholic who devoted his life to counseling others).

Both men were known for their toughness tendered by humor and both lived openly in loving relationships with same-sex partners in the 1970s. Lane is a former board member of the National LGBT Bar Association. He directs all external legal matters for the Tyler Clementi Foundation, whose mission is to end bullying in schools, workplaces, and faith communities.

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100th anniversary celebration of Dupont Circle fountain set for May 17

GWU student creates tribute video

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Dupont Circle Fountain, Russian news agency, gay news, Washington Blade
The iconic Dupont Circle fountain turns 100 this month. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

LGBTQ residents and longtime visitors to D.C.’s Dupont Circle neighborhood are expected to be among the participants in the 100th anniversary celebration of the installation of the Dupont Circle fountain scheduled to be held at the circle on Monday, May 17.

Aaron DeNu, president of Dupont Festival, a nonprofit arts and cultural programming group that’s organizing the celebration, says it will take place from noon to at least sunset inside Dupont Circle.

The celebration will take place one week after the May 10 release of a YouTube video, “How Dupont Circle Evolved as a Hub for LGBTQ+ Life in the District,” produced by George Washington University student Dante Schulz. Schulz is the video editor for the G.W. student newspaper The Hatchet.

Among those appearing in the documentary video are veteran LGBTQ rights activists Deacon Maccubbin and his husband Jim Bennett, who owned and operated the Dupont Circle LGBTQ bookstore Lambda Rising beginning in the 1970s, which is credited with contributing to Dupont Circle’s reputation as the epicenter of D.C.’s LGBTQ community for many years.

Also appearing in the video is longtime D.C. gay activist and Dupont Circle area resident Craig Howell, a former president of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance.

“At this point in time due to COVID restrictions we’re not going to be doing any particular formal gathering of folks,” DeNu told the Washington Blade in describing the May 17 celebration. “But we’ll have a soundtrack that’s playing throughout the day from that original ceremony – the same songs they used in the original dedication a hundred years ago,” he said.

DeNu said the event will also feature “historic imagery” related to Dupont Circle and the people who have gathered there over the years.

“So, we’re really just inviting people to come and have lunch, stop by the park after work, and just stop and reflect on 100 years of Dupont Circle fountain, take a look at the imagery and see some old friends and hopefully stop by and see the Dupont businesses that are around the area,” DeNu said.

The LGBTQ video produced by Dante Schultz can be accessed here.

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Va. GOP governor nominee opposes transgender-inclusive youth sports

Glenn Youngkin made comment to Arlington voters in March

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Glenn Youngkin (Photo via Twitter)

 

The Republican gubernatorial candidate to succeed Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has said he does not support allowing transgender children to play on sports teams that are consistent with their gender identity.

“Biological males should not be allowed to play sports in girls sports,” Glenn Youngkin said during a meeting with a group of voters in Arlington on March 25, according to the Washington Examiner. “It’s just not fair.”

The Washington Blade has reached out to Youngkin’s campaign for comment.

Youngkin, the former co-CEO of the Carlyle Group, on Saturday defeated Pete Snyder, former House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights), state Sen. Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield County), Peter Doran, Sergio de la Peña and Octavia Johnson in the Republican Party of Virginia’s nominating convention. Virginia Republicans nominated Winsome Sears and Jason Miyares as their candidates for lieutenant governor and attorney general respectively.

The Democratic Party of Virginia will hold its primary on June 8. Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe is widely expected to win the vote, and run against Youngkin in the general election.

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