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Partner accused of murder in Md. man’s death

Stabbing death happened day before Valentine’s

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The arrest of a gay man for allegedly murdering his partner one day before Valentine’s Day in the partner’s apartment in Temple Hills, Md., has prompted friends and family members to struggle over the specter of domestic violence, people who knew the victim have said.

Prince George’s County police have charged Eldridge Slaughter, 42, a Northeast D.C. resident, with first-degree murder in the stabbing death of Christopher Alan Trueheart, 44.

“Christopher was such a gentle soul who loved everyone. His friends are truly stunned and saddened,” said Dwayne Smith, one of Trueheart’s friends.

Friends said Trueheart’s romantic relationship with Slaughter was widely known. Trueheart’s Facebook page – still active as of last week – included a photo of the two men leaning their heads together in an intimate pose.

In his Facebook profile, Trueheart wrote, “I currently have a partner who I love and care for very much.” He stated in his profile that the anniversary of the relationship was Sept. 28, 2008.

A spokesperson for P.G. County police declined to discuss the relationship between the two men and said he could not confirm whether the murder was an incident of domestic violence.

The spokesperson, Cpl. Henry Tippett, said the murder was related to some kind of “personal dispute.”

The Washington Post reported on Feb. 15 that police and law enforcement sources identified Slaughter and Trueheart as being in a “romantic relationship.”

Police said a member of Trueheart’s family found him unconscious in his apartment on the 4400 block of 23rd Parkway, Temple Hills, on Sunday afternoon, Feb. 13.

A police report says an autopsy determined the cause of death was “multiple sharp force injuries.” The police report says investigators quickly identified Slaughter as a suspect in the case and brought him in for questioning. According to the report, Slaughter was in possession of property belonging to Trueheart.

“The defendant waived his constitutional rights and provided a full confession, including details of the murder that would have been only known by the person committing the murder,” the police report says.

Slaughter is being held without bond pending trial.

Others who knew Trueheart said friends and family members, stricken with grief over Trueheart’s death, were reluctant to immediately talk about whether they were aware of signs of abuse in Slaughter’s behavior toward Trueheart.

Amy Loudermilk, co-chair of Rainbow Response, a D.C. group that monitors domestic violence in the LGBT community, said domestic violence is a “major public health” issue and should not be treated as a private matter.

“Silence only contributes to the stigma and taboo around this issue, especially in the LGBT community,” she said. “While friends should certainly be respectful to surviving relatives, and should take their own time to heal before speaking out if they need to do so, every voice possible is needed to fight the epidemic of domestic violence.”

Said Loudermilk, “Additionally, many friends find strength and healing in speaking out and doing something to help prevent another tragedy.”

Rainbow Response provides information about how domestic violence impacts the LGBT community and how the community should address the issue on its website, rainbowresponse.org.

Loudermilk said Rainbow Response supports the routine disclosure by police about whether a crime is linked to domestic violence.

“Again, silence only contributes to the perpetuation of the problem,” she said. “It’s important for another person going through the same situation to be able to read about it and realize that they are not the only one, and perhaps reach out for help.”

She said reporting cases of domestic violence also helps gather statistics on the frequency of the problem that’s needed to better enable advocacy and anti-domestic violence groups to provide services to victims.

She said anyone who feels threatened over possible domestic violence can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline 24 hours a day at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

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Delaware

Delaware’s Sussex Pride launches free statewide HIV, STI testing

Special program honors National HIV Testing Day on June 27

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Each year on June 27, people across the United States are encouraged to get tested for HIV. This year for Delawareans, it’s easier than ever.

Sussex Pride has partnered with STDCheck to offer free HIV and syphilis testing everywhere in Delaware. There are more than 20 locations across the state, making it simple to find a testing center.  

David Mariner, executive director of Sussex Pride, told the Blade, “We are thrilled with this new partnership with STDcheck. The ultimate goal is to empower individuals with knowledge about their HIV status, provide necessary support, and facilitate early intervention to improve health outcomes in our state.”

Finding a testing center, getting tested, and getting results is simple. Start by finding a lab near you using this link (https://www.stdcheck.com/std-test-center.php). Then call STDcheck at 800-456-2323 and request a free Sussex Pride HIV and/or syphilis test. Make sure to mention Sussex Pride in the call to get the test for free. Then schedule a time and get tested. 

“If you are HIV positive, the sooner you know, the better,” Mariner added. “Early and sustained treatment can help you live a long and healthy life. It can also help protect others.”

This special program is in honor of National HIV Testing Day, created in 1995 to highlight the lifesaving impact of HIV testing. HIV has historically had a disproportionate effect on the LGBTQ community. According to the CDC, 70% of all new cases of HIV in 2021 were among gay and bisexual men and other men who have sex with men.

The CDC’s theme for this year’s HIV testing day is “Level up your self-love: check your status.” The theme emphasizes, “valuing yourself, showing yourself compassion and respect, and honoring your health needs with self-love,” and the best way to do that is to test.

For more information on Sussex Pride’s testing program visit sussexpride.org/posts/testing/ and for more information on HIV visit CDC.gov/hiv.

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District of Columbia

D.C. police chief, officers marched in Pride parade in uniform

Capital Pride cautious about whether MPD violated ‘no uniform’ policy

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D.C. Police Chief Pamela Smith marches in the Capital Pride Parade on Saturday, June 8. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

D.C. Police Chief Pamela Smith led a contingent of D.C. police officers, including members of the department’s LGBT Liaison Unit, in the June 8 Capital Pride Parade with the chief and all the officers in uniform in what appeared to be a violation of a Capital Pride policy of not allowing law enforcement officers to participate in the parade in uniform.

The Capital Pride Alliance, the group that organizes most D.C. Pride events, including the parade, posted a statement on its website in June of 2020 announcing that a policy it adopted in 2018 that does not allow uniformed police officers to march in the parade remained in effect. The group told the Washington Blade this week in a statement that the no uniform policy remained in place for this year’s Pride parade.

In her own statement released on the day of the parade Chief Smith appeared to take exception to the no uniform policy without saying so directly.

“I am proud to march in today’s Capital Pride Parade in full uniform to support our LGBTQ+ colleagues and to further our commitment to creating inclusive and supportive environments,” the chief said. “MPD will continue to support, and ensure security, at Pride events and different community focused events year-round,” she said.

The chief’s statement, which was sent to the news media in a press release, added, “Having been selected as the department’s first Chief Equity Officer, and now as the Chief of Police, I’m committed to celebrating diverse identities. I will always stand up for diversity, equity and inclusion for our members and our community.”

In response to an inquiry from the Blade asking for confirmation of whether the “no uniform” policy was still in effect for the 2024 Pride parade, Capital Pride Alliance responded with a statement. 

“The Capital Pride Alliance policy concerning MPD remains in place,” the statement says. “If the group officially registers for the march, they must participate out of official uniform,” it says. 

“This year, the police did not register and as such were not an official parade contingent,” the statement continues. “The police chief walked the route with on-duty police officers, and being on-duty, officers are required to be in uniform.”

The statement adds, “We continue to have conversations with MPD, including the Chief of Police, about how we build a collaborative relationship with our community.”

D.C. police didn’t immediately respond to a Blade request for comment by Chief Smith or a spokesperson on the claim by Capital Pride officials that the police were not in an official contingent in this year’s parade.

Capital Pride officials did not respond to the Blade’s additional request this week for an explanation of why the no uniform policy was adopted and whether the policy is still needed.

In earlier statements posted on its website in past years, Capital Pride officials cited the Black Lives Matter movement and the police killing of Black Minneapolis resident George Floyd that triggered anti-police protests across the country as an issue that made some in the LGBTQ community and others participating in the Pride parade uncomfortable in the presence of uniformed police officers.

“Pride this year comes on the heels of a global pandemic and a nation confronting the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers,” the group said in a June 3, 2020, statement. The Floyd case and the 2020 police shooting deaths of a Black woman in Louisville, Ky., and a Black transgender man in Tallahassee, Fla. “have created a nationwide uprising crying out for racial justice and the protection of Black life,” the statement said.

“As members of the Black and Brown communities have stood with the LGBTQ+ community, the Capital Pride Alliance stands in complete solidarity to unite against these disparities that impact communities of color,” the 2020 statement said. “We pledge that we will work together to find solutions and make positive changes that are so desperately needed to end inequity, injustice, and violence against people of color.”

Activists have acknowledged that the LGBTQ community nationwide has been divided over decisions to ban uniformed police participation in Pride parades in cities across the country, including New York and San Francisco.

A June 2019 nationwide poll of 801 LGBTQ people in the U.S. conducted by the polling firm Whitman Insight Strategies and BuzzFeed News found that 79 percent of LGBTQ adults said, “police should be welcome to join pride events,” with just 8 percent expressing opposition to police presence, according to BuzzFeed.

“People of color, who made up 21 percent of all survey respondents, support cops in pride events by 77 percent to 8 percent (15 percent say it makes no difference either way),” BuzzFeed reported in a June 24, 2019, article.

Earl Fowlkes, the founder and former CEO of the D.C.-based Center For Black Equity, which organizes D.C.’s annual Black Pride events, told the Blade that Black Pride has not adopted a policy of restricting uniformed police officers from participating in any of its events.

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Comings & Goings

McCarty named director of partnerships at Universe

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Steven McCarty

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 Steven McCarty on his new position with Universe, as Director of Partnerships. Universe supports movement organizations, labor unions, and Democratic campaigns, with the software they need to win. On accepting the new position he said, “I’m most excited to take my years of campaign and technology experience to down-ballot Democrats across the country as we fight to preserve our Democracy this election cycle.” 

Prior to this, McCarty was Business Development + Partnerships Lead, at STAC labs (State Technology Acceleration Collaborative), where he spearheaded strategic business development initiatives, expanding STAC labs’ partner network by 400% with the launch of the Progressive Tech Index and doubling DemLaunch user base from four to 11 states within a year. Prior to that he was president at The Kiwanis Club of Washington, D.C.; Senior Customer Success Manager at Crowdskout; Vice President at Circle K International, Indianapolis, Ind.; and a summer fellow at Michigan State AFL-CIO, Lansing, Mich. 

He has done a lot of volunteer work, including being an elected Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner for ANC 2G04, representing Blagden Alley, Naylor Court, and Shepherd Court. He received a Youth Champion Award for outstanding support to LGBTQ Youth, from SMYAL; and was named a Kiwanis Member of the Year, Kiwanis Club of Washington, D.C.

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