Connect with us

Local

Jeff Coudriet dies at 48

Long-time D.C. gay activist succumbs to lung cancer

Published

on

Jeff Coudriet, a local gay rights leader who worked as a congressional staff member before serving in various positions with the D.C. government, died Saturday in Washington following a year-long struggle with lung cancer. He was 48.

Coudriet is credited with playing a key role in efforts to repeal D.C.’s sodomy law and to pass the city’s first domestic partners law during his tenure as president of the Gay & Lesbian Activists Alliance from 1992 to 1995.

Following his stint as GLAA president, Coudriet served as president of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, the city’s largest LGBT political group.

Coudriet was a native of Endicott, N.Y. He graduated from New York’s Cornell University before joining the Washington staff of Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.) from 1993 to 1999. He later served on the staff of D.C. Council member Sharon Ambrose (D-Ward 6), where, among other things, he helped Ambrose draft sweeping legislation to overhaul the city’s liquor law.

In 1996, the city’s Democratic Party leaders appointed Coudriet to represent the District on the Electoral College in connection with that year’s presidential election.

He joined the staff of D.C. Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) in 2001 and served there until 2004, when he left to take a position with the city’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration. Coudriet returned to Evans’ staff in 2007 to become clerk of the Council’s Committee on Finance and Revenue, which Evans chairs.

He remained on Evans’ staff until the time of his death.

“It is impossible to put into words the contributions Jeff made to our city and its residents,” Evans said.  “My staff and I share the grief and extend our condolences to Jeff’s family and friends, and deeply mourn his passing.”

D.C. Council Chair Kwame Brown (D-At-Large) said he was deeply sadened upon learning of Coudriet’s passing.

“He was a true public servant who dedicated his career to improving the lives of District residents,” Brown said. “Jeff will be sorely missed, and his absence from the halls of the Wilson Building will be felt by many.”

News of Coudriet’s death stunned many of the city’s LGBT and civil rights activists, who worked closely with him on LGBT and other city-related issues for more than 20 years.

“Jeff’s insider knowledge of the District finances was invaluable to Shaw on many occasions, when funding needed to be identified for important projects,” said Alex Padro, a gay activist and Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner representing the city’s Shaw neighborhood.

In messages posted on a memorial site that Coudriet’s brother set up on Coudriet’s Facebook page, many of his friends and those who worked with him on various issues said he was known as a helpful and considerate person with a wry sense of humor. Others said he was always respectful when expressing disagreement with them on government and political issues.

“While he led the gay Democrats, I led the gay Republicans in town,” said Carl Schmid, former president of the D.C. Log Cabin Republicans group.

“Party differences never got in the way of a true gentleman because we were always fighting for the same goal,” Schmid said. “I wish so many others were like him.  He will be greatly missed.”

Bob Dardano, a Stein Club member who worked with Coudriet on LGBT issues in the 1990s, said of Coudriet, “He was a passionate advocate of his beliefs and did it all with professionalism and a sense of humor.”

Coudriet, a long-time smoker, was diagnosed last spring about a year after he’d quit smoking. He was candid about his treatments and progress on his Facebook page and, for a time, was doing well.

A memorial service fhas been scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 16 at 11 a.m. at Foundry United Methodist Church (1500 16th St., N.W.) in Washington, D.C.  All are welcome. A funeral service will also be held on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, 701 West Main St., in Endicott, New York.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Barrie Daneker

    February 7, 2011 at 10:01 am

    Jeff was one of the good guys. He will be so missed!

  2. Rick Rosendall

    February 7, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Jeff was smart, funny, wise, and will be greatly missed. Small correction: the domestic partnership law passed under Jeff’s predecessor as GLAA President, Mindy Daniels. I took over from Jeff when he became President of Stein. He was a hard act to follow.

  3. Charles Gaither

    February 7, 2011 at 11:57 am

    Jeff was a sincere human being and model citizen. It was a pleasure to have known him. I will miss his presence in Washington DC.

    Charles Gaither

  4. Tom Howarth

    February 7, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    I first met Jeff when I worked for Jubilee Housing. He was very fine young man and he and his skills will be missed in DC. I was rather shocked to get this news. I used to see him on the street. As a cancer survivor I wish we spent as much finding a cure as we do on aircraft carriers. I suspect that Jeff would agree.

  5. Mindy Daniels

    February 7, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    Jeff was my trusted right hand for many years. His dedication and sense of humor was unmatched. His last fight against this disease was ferocious and his spirit never wavered. I will miss Jeff’s friendship the rest of my life. I love you, Jeff.

  6. brigid quinn

    February 7, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    i am so sad. i first met jeff in early 1993 when our offices were next to each other in the longworth building. he worked for congressman hinchey and i worked for the house district committee. when i moved on from dc politics we would run into each other often in and around the logan circle neighborhood. i can’t believe i won’t be seeing him again. coincidentally, jeff’s last job as clerk of the d.c. council’s finance and revenue committee was a job i held when the late john wilson chaired that committee, just prior to his becoming council chair. jeff was so smart, so funny and so dedicated and hard-working. wow. will he be missed.

  7. rhonda

    February 8, 2011 at 1:25 am

    This is why people need to be valued when they are alive. Way too many good people have been abused by the irresponsible and ungrateful public. A wake up call is needed, DC has turned into a vicious place.

  8. wanda

    February 8, 2011 at 11:14 am

    I was shocked and saddened as I just learned of Jeff’s passing during the Council hearing on Tuesday morning. He was kind, funny, and well-respected as a civil servant here in DC and will be missed.

  9. John Coudriet

    February 9, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    Slight update on Jeff’s BIO…out of Cornell he worked for Rep. Matt McHugh until his retirementment when he then joined the Hinchey team.

  10. roberta weiner

    February 10, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    I was shattered to hear this terrible news–Jeff and I went back to working on the Hill where we both worked for members of the NY delegation, to living on the Hill, where we would run into each other on the street, to doing politics on the same issues and causes, to being my go-to guy in sharon’s office and at abra–and on and on and on. kind, thoughtful, helpful, and very funny. there will be an absence where jeff got things done and helped the rest of us along the way.

  11. Jim Graham

    February 11, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    I guess this is an object lesson in the perils of smoking. Quit now, and maybe stay alive.

    • Robert

      February 12, 2011 at 3:28 pm

      That was rather cold and insensitive

    • Jack

      February 17, 2011 at 8:11 pm

      Jim, that is horrifying. You know, Jeff never liked you, and yet he always played nice. I never could understand how, or why. You are insensitive, borish, and so self-absorbed it boggles the mind.

    • Stephen

      June 24, 2011 at 9:31 am

      Could you say something nice considering how many years you worked with him you petty little man. Remember he did quit smoking more than a year beforehand. For you to use this forum to express your views on smoking when Jeff was just lost makes me so glad you are not my council member

  12. Tom

    February 12, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    Jeff was a great and smart and dedicated and funny guy who didn’t suffer fools easily.

    In that spirit I add my tribute to his life and memory, so as to ensure that the fool’s comment directly above is not left to stand as the last word today.

  13. Marie

    February 16, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    Tom, you’re right. The tiniest councilmember, as Jeff always referred to him, must mean ABJECT lesson. Let his ugly commentary rest in obscurity, as surely he, himself, will.

  14. Mike S.

    February 19, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    Hundreds of Jeff’s friends filled the Foundry Methodist Church on Wednesday for a celebration of his life. Mayor Vince Gray spoke, as did Councilmembers Jack Evans and David Catania. Jeff’s brother spoke, representing the family, and Peter Rosenstein spoke for the gay activist community. Wayne Jennings’ singing of Ave Maria was breathtaking. The huge crowd was as diverse and wonderful as Jeff’s circle of friends and colleagues. It gave testimony as to what a gift Jeff’s life was to us, and how much he will be missed.

  15. Frank Zampatori

    February 19, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    Jeff will be missed. It was always great to run into him at functions or just on the street. Always with that smile, sense of humor and insight on some District matter. A genuine good guy!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Local

Long-time LGBTQ activist running for Md. House of Delegates

Patrick Paschall is former FreeState Justice executive director

Published

on

Patrick Paschall (Photo courtesy of Eli Sauerwalt of Patrick Paschall for Delegate)

Former FreeState Justice Executive Director Patrick Paschall last week announced via social media that he is running for the Maryland House of Delegates.

“As a proud parent of two kids in Prince George’s County public schools, former Hyattsville City Council member, and lifelong civil rights advocate and policy analyst, I’ve spent my life and career working for equity, community and sustainability for my family,” Paschall said in a statement posted to Facebook on Nov. 23. 

Paschall, who currently is the American Rescue Plan Program Manager for the city of Hyattsville, previously served as executive director for FreeState Justice from 2015 to 2017. 

His LGBTQ advocacy work also includes serving as senior policy counsel for the National LGBTQ Task Force, as an organizer for Pride at Work and as a policy fellow for the National Center for Transgender Equality.  

He also worked for Family Equality Council, an organization advocating for the rights of same-sex couples and their children. 

“One of the things I’m running on is being a parent,” Paschall told the Washington Blade. “We can provide more opportunities for families to succeed in our communities.”

Paschall is running to represent District 22, which includes Hyattsville, where he has lived for over 10 years with his two children, who currently attend Hyattsville Elementary School, and his wife, who identifies as pansexual. 

He told the Blade he views his family as a “rainbow family,” but pointed out he and his wife did not have to endure the same difficulties as his friends who are married same-sex couples when they wanted to adopt children.

“When I became a parent, no one stopped by my house to make sure it was an adequate living situation for my child, no one checked to make sure I had a room dedicated to the child and for no other purpose,” he said. “But my friends Jamie and Sean went through all of that when they tried to adopt a kid.”

Paschall explained that even though he and his wife didn’t go through these experiences, there was still room for Maryland to improve in the areas of adoptions and civil rights. 

“It strikes me how much privilege I have because the state doesn’t design to make it hard for me like it does for so many same-sex couples,” he explained. 

Patrick Paschall with his family. (Photo courtesy of Eli Sauerwalt of Patrick Paschall for Delegate)

Much like with the recent elections in neighboring Virginia, Paschall said helping parents is an important issue for him — one he wants to carry to Annapolis — if elected “because my district deserves better schools for our kids, more child care options and family support like paid family leave.”

“I think that District 22 needs a voice in Annapolis to represent progressive parents and to exercise policy expertise in achieving the values of our community,” he added. “And I have the experience to get it done.”

Continue Reading

Local

D.C. area LGBTQ bars, eateries receive $100K COVID-19 relief grant

Pitchers, League of Her Own received NGLCC, Grubhub funds

Published

on

indoor dining, gay news, Washington Blade
(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The D.C. LGBTQ sports bar Pitchers and League of Her Own, its adjoining lesbian bar, are among the nation’s first LGBTQ bars that serve food as well as alcoholic beverages to receive a $100,000 COVID-19 relief grant under a $2 million Community Impact Grant Program.

The program, aimed at supporting LGBTQ-owned and LGBTQ-allied small businesses struggling from the pandemic, was launched in September as a joint project of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, which goes by the initials NGLCC, and the global online food delivery company Grubhub.

In a Tuesday announcement, NGLCC and Grubhub said Pitchers and League of Her Own, which operate as one business in adjoining buildings in D.C.’s Adams Morgan neighborhood, are among the first three recipients of $100,000 grants under the Community Impact Grant Program. The other two recipients are FOODE + Mercantile of Fredericksburg, Va., and Café Gabriela of Oakland, Calif.

“Following this initial round of recipients, more grants will be issued in late 2021 and early 2022,” the announcement by the two groups says. In an earlier announcement, the groups said the application period for the grants program took place from September through Oct. 12, and the grants would range in amounts from $5,000 to $100,000.

“The impact of COVID-19 has been debilitating for countless restaurant and bar owners, including the many LGBTQ+-owned restaurants across the country who have persisted through lockdowns, operational changes and labor supply shortages,” said NGLCC Co-Founder and President Justin Nelson. “We’re grateful to have partnered with Grubhub to offer real lifelines to support businesses throughout the nation,” Nelson said.

“Building community in a fun and safe place has been our mission since the very beginning,” said David Perruzza, the owner of Pitchers and League of Her Own. “We’re relieved and thankful for these funds, and are looking forward to more stable days ahead,” Perruzza said.

“As a trans masculine and queer immigrant person of color, I’ve worked hard and put all my love and energy into building a beautiful and welcoming space in Café Gabriela,” said owner Penny Baldado. “I’ve remained resilient through COVID, and this grant is the injection of funds that we need to continue along our journey to full recovery,” Baldado said.

The statement announcing the first three grant recipient says funds for the $2 million grant program were generated by Grubhub’s “Donate the Change” program of which NGLCC became a partner in June. Grubhub says the program asks customers receiving food delivered by Grubhub “to round out their order and donate the difference” to the charitable fund.

“COVID has turned the restaurant industry on its head the last 18 months, and at Grubhub, we’ve been working hard every day to support our restaurant partners across the country,” said Amy Healy, Grubhub’s vice president of government relations. “As the world starts to return to a new normal, we’re proud to partner with the NGLCC and provide these grants to LGBTQ+-owned and LGBTQ+ ally-owned restaurants across the country that are pillars of their communities.”

Continue Reading

Virginia

Va. businessman apologizes for burning of rainbow flag poster

‘Shocked and horrified’: Ashburn incident caught on video

Published

on

Organizers of an event where a Pride symbol was burned say the incident was a misunderstanding.

The owner of a Virginia technology company that hosted a private Veterans Day party on the grounds of an Ashburn, Va., brewery in which a company employee used a flame-throwing device to ignite a rainbow flag poster said the selection of the poster was a mistake and he and his company have no ill will toward the LGBTQ community.

The Washington Blade learned about the poster burning from a customer of the Old Ox Brewery in Ashburn, where the incident took place on its outdoor grounds. The customer made a video of the incident with his cell phone and sent a copy of the video to the Blade.

The video, which includes an audio recording, shows a man using a hand-held flame-throwing device to ignite the rainbow poster, which was hanging from a cable and appeared to be mounted on cardboard or a thin sheet of wood. Bystanders can be heard laughing and cheering as the poster is set on fire.

The poster consisted of a variation of the LGBTQ Pride rainbow flag that included the word “love” configured from an upper white stripe on the rainbow symbol.

The customer who took the video, who has asked not to be identified, thought the decision to set the poster on fire was a sign of disrespect if not hatred toward a longstanding symbol of LGBTQ equality and pride.

Chris Burns, Old Ox Brewery’s president, shared that view, telling the Blade he and his staff were “shocked and horrified” when they learned later that a rainbow flag poster had been burned on the brewery’s grounds. Burns said Old Ox supports the LGBTQ community and participated in LGBTQ Pride month earlier this year.

He said the company that held the private party paid a fee to hold the event on the brewery’s grounds, but the brewery did not know a rainbow poster would be burned.

“I’m mortified that our event was interpreted in this way,” said Nate Reynolds, the founder and partner of Hypershift Technologies LLC, the Falls Church, Va.-based technology company that organized the Nov. 11 party at Old Ox Brewery. “I can assure you that ZERO ill-will or offense was meant,” Reynolds told the Blade in a Nov. 24 email.

“We held a small private party for a few clients, which included a demonstration of Elon Musk’s Boring Company ‘Not a Flamethrower,’” he said in his message. He was referring to one of billionaire businessman Elon Musk’s companies that specializes in boring through the ground to create tunnels for cars, trains, and other purposes. 

“After so many being isolated during COVID, we wanted to have an event that was lighthearted and to some small effect, silly,” Reynolds said in his message to the Blade.

According to Reynolds, in thinking about what should be used for “fodder” for the flame-thrower, he went to a Five Below discount store and purchased items such as stuffed animals and posters, including a “Space Jam” movie poster as well as what he thought was a poster of the British rock group The Beatles.

“When I pulled the Beatles poster out of the tube it was instead the ‘Love’ poster,” he said, referring to the rainbow flag poster the Blade asked him about in an earlier email.

“All I focused on was the ‘Love’ wording and not the rainbow and did not draw the conclusion that the poster was an icon that represents the LGBTQ community,” Reynolds said. “It was my own ignorance of not connecting the symbolism of the poster. If I had realized it was a symbol of the LGBTQ community, I would not have used it,” he said.

“I feel terrible, and I want to emphasize that I am solely responsible for this mistake – not the Old Ox Brewery,” he wrote in his message. “Nobody at Old Ox had anything to do with this activity.”

Reynolds added, “Hate has no place in my heart, and I sincerely apologize for any offense that could have been drawn from what I now realize was poor judgement on my part. I simply didn’t correlate this poster with the LGBTQ pride symbol.”  

(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Before Reynolds issued his statement of apology, Burns, the Old Ox Brewery co-owner, told the Blade in an email he was “saddened and upset” over the rainbow poster burning on the grounds of his brewery.

“We do not wish to benefit from this event,” he said in his email message. “Therefore, Old Ox is donating 100% of the revenue generated from the private event to GLSEN.”

GLSEN is a national LGBTQ advocacy group that focuses on education and support for LGBTQ youth. Burns said Old Ox Brewery also donated proceeds from a Pride month event it organized earlier this year to GLSEN.

LGBTQ activists and organizations contacted by the Blade said they were unfamiliar with the variation of the rainbow flag with the word “love” that was the subject of the poster burning incident. The poster is available for sale at Five Below stores in the D.C. metropolitan area for $5.

Small print writings on the poster show it is produced by Trends International LLC, which describes itself on its website as “the leading publisher and manufacturer of licensed posters, calendars, stickers and social stationery products.” The Blade couldn’t immediately determine who designed the poster.

 The video of the poster burning incident can be viewed here:

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us @washblade

Sign Up for Blade eBlasts

Popular