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‘Housewives’ charity event a bust & more

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‘Housewives’ charity event a bust

A party for “Real Housewives of D.C.” held at the now-closed EFN Lounge on Aug. 5 with show stars Tareq and Michaele Salahi raised no money for an AIDS charity.

Ads for the event said an unspecified portion of the proceeds would be given to Dab the AIDS Bear Project, an organization that, according to its founder, works in collaboration with the Jacksonville Area Sexual Minority Youth Network, a registered 501c3 organization.

The Blade could not independently confirm the connection between the two organizations before deadline, but Dab Garner, founder and CEO of Dab the AIDS Bear Project said Howard Cromwell, a gay Washingtonian who publishes D.C.’s Most Fabulous Magazine, told him that the event, was not successful and therefore no donation would be made.

Cromwell, who asked that questions about the event be submitted via e-mail and then did not respond, told Garner in an e-mail dated Aug. 12 that he couldn’t send any money to the charity because the event was not profitable.

“The goal was to donate 40 percent of the profit to each organization,” Cromwell wrote in the e-mail, which Garner shared with the Blade. “Unfortunately, we did not pull a profit from this event as expected. We barely broke even. Even though this event wasn’t financially successful for the charity organizations involved, we feel that it was still a huge success media-wise shedding a national spotlight on your organization.”

Garner said he sent teddy bears for the housewives to pose with for publicity shots at the party, but Michaele Salahi was the only cast member to attend. Other cast members attended a separate and official premiere party for the show.

Cromwell, Garner said, forgot to bring the teddy bears to the party and hasn’t returned them. Garner uses the teddy bears to promote his charity.

Garner, a 29-year HIV survivor, met Cromwell last year at an AIDS Drug Assistance Program Summit in Washington and said Cromwell approached his organization about being a benefactor of the “Housewives” party.

Other groups appear to have also been jilted. The New York Post reported that Honor & Remember was to receive 40 percent of the profits from Cromwell’s event, but also was told the event made no money so no donation would be given. Staff at Honor & Remember did not respond to the Blade’s requests for comment.

Tickets for Cromwell’s party ranged from $25 to $500. Press that attended described EFN Lounge as somewhat full downstairs, but not packed.

Bill Gray, who was manager of EFN Lounge at the time of the event and on scene that night, said the event seemed chaotic.

“They comped most of the tickets for press and their friends,” he said. “It seemed like a joke.”

Gay comedian to entertain at Alston House benefit

D.C.-based gay standup comedian Sampson will entertain tonight at 10 p.m. at the D.C. Arts Center in Adams Morgan with his routine, “Don’t Make Me Take Off My Earrings.”

Tickets are $15 and benefit the Wanda Alston House, Washington’s only home for homeless LGBT youth.

Sampson, born Korrell McCormick, grew up in North Carolina, but has been in the D.C. area for 10 years. The 25-year-old has been doing standup for about eight years and mixes social commentary with personal experiences about the foibles of the black and gay worlds, which often collide, a point he uses for comedic effect.

He performs in straight and gay venues alike and says it hasn’t been a problem.

“I’m just as funny as some of the straight comedians,” he says. “I don’t use the N-word and a bunch of [expletives]. It’s a different perspective, being openly gay. I can get away with more. Even flirting with men in the audience. Even the straight ones. They’re there to laugh and have fun, so they just go with it.”

Sampson, who has performed at Titan, Town, EFN Lounge and Phase 1, says tonight’s performance is inspired by his sense of activism.

But how does he balance the seriousness of his convictions with the lighthearted approach of a comedian?

“I still don’t know,” he admits. “Honesty can be very funny and open a lot of dialogue through pointing out the absurd. That’s what makes it funny. People don’t stop to examine how they sound.”

Brian Watson, who oversees Wanda’s House as a division of Transgender Health Empowerment, says the benefit was Sampson’s idea. Watson says he’s grateful for the aid.

“Things are going OK at the House, but we received a budget cut last year and are expecting one this year also,” he said. “Due to limited income this year, we aren’t even having our annual anniversary reception usually held in September.”

Watson said the House is full and has “a good group of kids,” but Transgender Health Empowerment will have to close its trans drop-in center on New York Avenue, N.W., this year because of the lack of funding through D.C. City Council members’ earmarks, which helped keep the drop-in center’s doors open.

Tickets for tonight’s performance can be purchased at the door or reserved by calling 202-462-7833. Guests are asked to arrive around 9:45 p.m. Visit www.sampson313.freehomepage.com for more about Sampson.

Two gay men punched en route to Nellie’s

A gay man who was walking along the U Street corridor with another gay man toward Nellie’s on Aug. 20 was attacked at about 11:30 p.m., one of the men told the Blade.

And minutes after being punched, the man said, they encountered another gay man who also was attacked.

The gay man who wasn’t attacked, a 27-year-old Columbia Heights resident who asked not to be identified because he does security work for an overseas non-profit, said he and his friend, who’s 31, had met on the corner of 14th and U streets, N.W., and were walking east on U Street when the attack happened near the Rite Aid between 13th and 14th streets.

“There were tons and tons of people out,” said the man who wasn’t attacked. “We were just walking and talking, passing tons of people, and all of a sudden I saw someone turn around and I had that ‘something’s not right’ feeling really quickly.

“They hit my friend on the side of the head. … My friend turned and was like, ‘What happened?’ and was looking to see, and the same person and one other person threw a couple more punches and then it just kind of ended itself. I got my friend sort of distanced away enough and those people kept walking.”

The man who wasn’t attacked said the group consisted of three young black men and two young black women whom he guessed were either coming or going from one of the straight bars on U Street. He said the group didn’t say anything to them or appear to be trying to rob them.

He said one man in the group was “thin and wiry.” Another was “heftier,” and a third was a “bigger guy” with shoulder-length dreads who did most of the punching. He noted that there was no verbal exchange during the attack, but the two girls laughed while his friend was being punched.

Seconds after the attack, another gay man approached them and asked if they’d been attacked, saying he had just been punched as well. The man who wasn’t attacked said the other gay man, whom he didn’t know, also was en route to Nellie’s when he was punched by the same group. They called police and waited together. Neither man who was attacked was seriously injured.

The man who wasn’t attacked said he believes they were targeted because they are gay.

“I don’t know for sure because they didn’t say anything, but there were so many people around, they could have caused problems with anyone, but we were attacked. Then like 15 seconds later another gay guy is attacked on the same block? There’s no doubt in my mind that’s what it was.”

Police arrested Tracee Freeman on Aug. 20 on simple assault and hate crime charges stemming from an incident at 1448 U Street at 11:16 p.m. that day. It wasn’t immediately clear if the incident tied to Freeman’s arrest was the same attack reported above or another attack. The victim cited in the police report said Freeman punched him in the chest and called him a faggot, according to the report.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Samuel Bronkowitz

    August 26, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    How did they just break even? They sold tickets and there was a cash bar. Howard Cromwell is just another social climbing, celebrity wanna be who is riding on the shady coat tails of the infamous White House crashing duo. The Salahis have had their own share of charity scandals. The fact that the press and friends were comp is very telling of their motives of self-promotion. They could give a crap about charities but saying it is for charity makes them look like DC’s most fabulous.
    Join our Facebook page: Tell the White House Party Crashers to Go Away http://www.facebook.com/WhiteHousePartyCrashers
    To find out more about their shady dealings

  2. PALADIN

    August 30, 2010 at 7:28 pm

    The manager of the Lounge is quoted as saying, “It seemed like a joke.”

    Well, trading upon the names of charities just to dupe people into spending big $$ for tickets is no joke.

    On the contrary, it is despicable.

    Maybe next time those charities and others will think twice or more before associating with Mr. Cromwell or the Salahis, the latter under investigation by the Commonwealth of Virginia for their questionable “charitable” fundraising.

    An old saying that still rings true: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

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McAuliffe: Youngkin ‘most homophobic’ candidate in Va. history

Former governor spoke with Blade on Oct. 21

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Terry McAuliffe (Photo courtesy of Terry McAuliffe for Governor)

Terry McAuliffe described Republican Glenn Youngkin as the “most homophobic” and most “anti-choice candidate” in Virginia history during an Oct. 21 telephone interview with the Washington Blade.

“I’m running against the most homophobic, anti-choice candidate in Virginia history,” said McAuliffe. “I ran against Ken Cuccinelli. That’s saying something.”

McAuliffe, a former chair of the Democratic National Committee, in 2013 defeated Cuccinelli, Virginia’s then-attorney general who vehemently opposed LGBTQ rights, in that year’s gubernatorial race. Youngkin, the former co-CEO of the Carlyle Group, a private equity firm, is running against McAuliffe in the race to succeed current Gov. Ralph Northam.

State Del. Hala Ayala (D-Prince William County) is running for lieutenant governor, while Attorney General Mark Herring is seeking re-election. They are running against Republicans Winsome Sears and Jason Miyares respectively.

The entire Virginia House of Delegates is also on the ballot on Nov. 2. The outcome of those races will determine whether Democrats maintain control of the chamber.

Youngkin remains opposed to marriage equality

The Associated Press a day after McAuliffe spoke with the Blade published an interview with Youngkin in which he reiterated his opposition to marriage equality, but stressed it is “legally acceptable” in Virginia and he would “support that” as governor.

The anti-LGBTQ Family Research Council, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has categorized as an extremist group, earlier this month endorsed Youngkin. The Human Rights Campaign and Equality Virginia’s political action committee are among the groups that have backed McAuliffe.

Youngkin earlier this year said he does not support allowing transgender children to play on sports teams that are consistent with their gender identity. Youngkin has also expressed support for Tanner Cross, a gym teacher at a Leesburg elementary school who was suspended in June after he spoke against the Virginia Department of Education guidelines that are designed to protect trans and non-binary students.

HRC in 2019 named the Carlyle Group as a “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality” in its annual Corporate Equality Index. McAuliffe scoffed at this recognition.

“They should have checked with their co-CEO who’s against marriage equality,” he told the Blade. “That would have been the first place I would have gone to ask.”

‘I’ve always been out front fighting to protect everybody’

McAuliffe’s first executive order as governor after he took office in 2014 banned discrimination against LGBTQ state employees. He also vetoed several anti-LGBTQ religious freedom bills, created Virginia’s LGBTQ tourism board and became the state’s first governor to declare June Pride month.

McAuliffe noted to the Blade that he is also the first governor of a southern state to officiate a same-sex wedding. The lesbian couple whom he married has recently appeared in one of his campaign ads.

“I spent four years vetoing every single legislation Republicans brought forth and came across my desk that would have discriminated against the LGBTQ community,” said McAuliffe. “I’ve always been out front fighting to protect everybody.”

McAuliffe noted that CoStar, a D.C.-based commercial real estate company, moved more than 1,000 jobs to Richmond from Charlotte after then-North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed House Bill 2, which banned trans people from using public restrooms consistent with their gender identity and prohibited municipalities from enacting LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination measures. McAuliffe described HB 2 to the Blade as the “anti-gay bill.”

“There’s real consequences … to discriminatory actions and I will not tolerate any of it,” he said.

Former President Barack Obama campaigns with Terry McAuliffe in Richmond, Va., on Oct. 23, 2021. Obama is among the prominent Democrats who have traveled to Virginia in recent weeks to campaign on behalf of McAuliffe. (Photo courtesy of Terry McAuliffe for Governor)

McAuliffe last month said during his first debate against Youngkin that local school boards “should be making their own decisions” with regards to the implementation of the Virginia Department of Education guidelines for trans and non-binary students. McAuliffe during his second debate against Youngkin stressed “locals” should provide input on the policy, but added “the state will always issue guidance.”

McAuliffe told the Blade he has “been so offended about how many folks have tried to really demonize our children here in this state.” McAuliffe referenced children with “self-identity issues” during the interview, but he did not specifically cite those who identify as trans or non-binary.

“We’ve got to help our children … we got to help our children who are desperately in need today,” he said. “And we got to show them that we’ll be there for them, as I say, no matter how they identify or who they love.”

Youngkin on Saturday during a campaign event in Henrico County said he would ban the teaching of critical race theory in Virginia schools. McAuliffe criticized his opponent on this issue when he spoke with the Blade.

“Critical race theory is not taught in Virginia, nor has it ever been taught,” said McAuliffe. “These are dog whistles that are used, and especially in the CRT, it’s a racist dog whistle and it just fits into this whole pattern of using our children as political pawns and I hate it.”

Youngkin ‘would drive businesses out of’ Va.

McAuliffe has continued to portray Youngkin as an extremist on other issues that range from abortion and vaccine mandates as polls suggest the race between the two has grown tight. McAuliffe also continues to highlight former President Trump’s support of Youngkin.

McAuliffe told the Blade that Youngkin is “100 percent against abortion” and said his opponent would “bring those Texas-style type abortion” laws to Virginia.

The law, which bans almost all abortions in Texas and allows private citizens to sue doctors and anyone else who helps a woman obtain one, took effect last month. The U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 1 will hear oral arguments in a case that challenges the law.

“We always knew that the Supreme Court would be a backstop on women’s rights issues: Roe v. Wade. That is gone. It’s over,” said McAuliffe. “Donald Trump’s Supreme Court is going to overrule the basic tenants of Roe v. Wade.”

McAuliffe added the Supreme Court “is going to allow these states to roll back women’s reproductive rights, so that’s no longer a talking point.”

“This is reality,” said McAuliffe. “Every woman in Virginia needs to understand it.”

Terry McAuliffe has said Glenn Youngkin poses a threat to abortion rights in Virginia. (Photo courtesy of Terry McAuliffe for Governor)

Youngkin, for his part, has said he would not have signed the Texas law.

Trump on Oct. 13 described Youngkin as a “great gentleman” when he called into the “Take Back Virginia Rally” in Henrico County that John Fredericks, host of “Outside the Beltway with John Fredericks” who co-chaired the former president’s 2016 campaign in Virginia, organized.

Participants recited the Pledge of Allegiance to an American flag that was present at the U.S. Capitol insurrection. Youngkin in a statement his campaign released said he “had no role” in the event and said it was “weird and wrong to pledge allegiance to a flag connected to January 6.”

“As I have said many times before, the violence that occurred on January 6 was sickening and wrong,” he said.

McAuliffe told the Blade that Youngkin would make Virginia “a dangerous place to live and work.”

“His governorship, if he were to be elected, would roll back individual liberties,” said McAuliffe. “He doesn’t support gay marriage, he is for eliminating abortion here in the commonwealth of Virginia and he will drive businesses out of our state and finally it is dangerous for people.”

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Whitman-Walker’s 35th annual Walk & 5K to End HIV held virtually

Participants picked their own routes throughout D.C. metro area

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Whitman-Walker’s 35th annual Walk & 5K to End HIV held virtually. (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Whitman-Walker Health, D.C.’s LGBTQ supportive health center, hosted its 35th annual Walk and 5 K Run to End HIV on Saturday, Oct. 23, in a format in which participants chose their own route to walk and run throughout the D.C. metro area.

The event, which serves as Whitman-Walker’s largest single fundraiser of the year, took place in what organizers called a virtual format for the second year in a row due to the COVID-19 pandemic, even though many participants walked or ran either by themselves or in small groups.

“Participants can sign up to run or walk a 5k route in Washington, D.C. and pass by local Whitman-Walker locations in Northwest and Southeast DC, or they can choose to walk or run a 5k route in their city!” Whitman-Walker said in a statement promoting the event.

In recent years prior to the start of the COVID pandemic, Whitman-Walker’s Walk & 5 K Run to End HIV began and ended at Freedom Plaza in downtown D.C., with as many as 1,000 or more participants running or walking together along a route that included Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., at Freedom Plaza, and parts of the National Mall.

“We decided to host the Walk virtually again this year, enabling folks to show their support for the 35th annual Walk & 5K to End HIV from near and far,” said Whitman-Walker spokesperson Jewel Addy. “Participants get to decide their level of COVID safety, and that was especially important again this year,” she said.

Whitman-Walker Health CEO Naseema Shafi said it was significant that the 35th anniversary of what started out in 1987 as the first annual AIDS Walk Washington took place this year on the 40th anniversary of HIV/AIDS.

“The 40th anniversary of HIV and the 35th anniversary of this event allow us to reflect on the barriers to care folks faced during the AIDS epidemic and continue to face during COVID,” Shafi said in a statement. “The current pandemic illustrates that we still have work to do in creating safer, affirming spaces for everyone in the community,” she said. “Our staff works to remove those barriers to care for patients and clients every day.” 

Addy told the Blade on Monday there were about “800+” registrants for this year’s event so far from individual participants who ran or walked or simply sent in contributions in support of Whitman-Walker’s work, which includes caring for over 20,000 patients.

“We are currently at $444,000 raised, with donations still coming in and fundraising going until Dec. 31,” Addy said. “With that, we’re confident we’ll meet or exceed our goal of $450K by year’s end.” 

In a statement prior to the start of the Oct. 23 event, Whitman-Walker said its fundraising goal for the event was $450,000.

In messages promoting the event, Whitman-Walker said supporters could “register, walk, run, and donate to this year’s walk,” through Dec. 31, 2021, at www.walktoendHIV.org.

The locations participants passed by in their walk or run on Oct. 23 included Whitman-Walker’s Liz Taylor facility at 14th and R streets, N.W., its headquarters, and medical care building at 1525 14th St., N.W., its Max Robinson Pharmacy at 2303 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., S.E.: and its St. Elizabeth’s Campus location at 1100 Alabama Ave., S.E.

“Complete the race wherever and whenever you would like,” Whitman-Walter stated in reminding participants that the event’s fundraising effort will continue through Dec. 31. “You can walk, run, use a treadmill, or participate in another race.”   

Among those expressing strong support for Whitman-Walker on the occasion of its 35th annual walk and run to end HIV was Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, who released a video praising Whitman-Walker for its work in fighting the AIDS epidemic since the start of the epidemic.

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Comings & Goings

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Troy Cline, gay news, Washington Blade
The 'Comings & Goings' column chronicles important life changes of Blade readers.

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]

The Comings & Goings column also invites LGBTQ+ college students to share their successes with us. If you have been elected to a student government position, gotten an exciting internship, or are graduating and beginning your career with a great job, let us know so we can share your success. 

Shin Inouye, gay news, Washington Blade
Steven McCarty

Congratulations to Steven McCarty on being named president of the Kiwanis Club of Washington, D.C. He said, “I’m honored to be installed as the president of the Kiwanis Club of Washington, D.C. and to be able to shepherd our programs and volunteers to impact youth where they are needed most. Our club’s new partnership with SMYAL has already turned a portion of their Youth Center in Southeast D.C. into the first Clinical Services Department in the District that offers free and affirming mental healthcare to LGBTQ Youth. As an openly gay man, I’m proud to further our club’s mission with radical empathy and inclusion.” McCarty has also recently been awarded Kiwanis’ highest honor, the George Hixson award.

McCarty is a Technical Program Specialist at stac labs in D.C. He is also founder and campaign manager at Abolish Racism 2020. He worked as a Senior Customer Success Manager,  Crowdskout. He was a workplace equality intern at Human Rights Campaign and a summer fellow at Michigan State AFL-CIO, in Lansing, Mich. 

McCarty earned his bachelor’s in Political Science and Communications Studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Congratulations also to Shin Inouye on his appointment as Executive Vice President of Communications, The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and Human Rights, The Leadership Conference Education Fund. 

Wade Henderson, interim president and CEO of The Leadership Conference and The Education Fund said, “We are thrilled Shin Inouye will be taking on even greater responsibilities on our senior leadership team. His incredible talent and commitment to this organization and our work are truly outstanding, and his strategic leadership will no doubt continue moving us forward in the fight to protect and advance civil and human rights.”

Inouye has held a number of positions with the organization including Managing Director of Communications. Inouye 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 served as an authorized spokesperson for the Obama Inaugural Committee, with a focus on specialty media outlets, including LGBTQ, AAPI, Native American, Youth/College, Faith, and Jewish press. Prior to that Inouye was Communications Director in the Office of Congressman Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.) and has also worked for the ACLU and as a summer intern with the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan. 

Inouye received a number of 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.

Shin Inouye
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