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Mass walk-out at trans woman’s funeral

Activist says preacher gave anti-trans sermon



Lashay Mclean

Remarks by a pastor who presided over the July 27 funeral service for Lashai Mclean, a transgender woman who was shot to death in D.C. last month, prompted as many as 100 people in attendance to walk out of the church in protest, according to activists who were present.

“Basically, he said that God let her get killed so that people could get saved,” said D.C. gay activist and comedian Sampson McCormack, who attended the service. “And that came after somebody, I think it was a deacon, said when you live a certain lifestyle this is the consequence you have to pay.”

McCormack and D.C. resident Arriel Horton said they knew Mclean and were among more than 300 people attending her funeral service at Purity Baptist Church near Capitol Hill.

D.C. police said Mclean, 23, was shot near the corner of 61st and Dix Streets, N.E., in a case where investigators have yet to determine a motive and to identify a suspect. Transgender activists say they are concerned that Mclean may have been targeted due to her status as a transgender woman, even though police say they have no immediate evidence to classify the incident as a hate crime.

McCormack and Horton told the Blade that a sermon delivered by Rev. A.W. Montgomery Sr., pastor of Agape Missionary Baptist Church in Suitland, Md., who presided over the funeral service, offended many of those in attendance, including many of Mclean’s transgender friends.

The two also said friends of Mclean became angry when clergy and others speaking at the service referred to Mclean as “he.” McCormack said many in the audience responded by shouting the word “she.”

In a telephone interview on Wednesday, Montgomery disputed claims that his remarks at the service were disrespectful or disparaging toward Lashai Mclean or the transgender community.

“My perception of some things is strictly from the perception of the Bible,” he said. “Sin is sin is sin. I don’t care who you are. There’s no perfect person on this planet. Whether you’re the pope or the poorest person, all of us sin. So my remarks would never be disparaging at all. I preached the Gospel. I don’t think I was harsh.”

Montgomery said he’s deeply saddened over Mclean’s untimely death. He said one of his objectives in delivering the eulogy was to comfort the family.

“I have nothing to do with Myles’ life choices,” he said. “And I don’t have a problem with Lashai. That’s what she decided to do. I decided to be a preacher,” he said.

“I will say this. We all make choices, and some choices are good and some choices are bad. And there’s consequences for all our choices, good and bad, and I would never say that in a disparaging way.”

Rev. Robin Toogood, pastor of Purity Baptist Church, said his church agreed to host the service after the funeral home that made the funeral arrangements approached him. He said funeral home officials told him that Montgomery’s church in Suitland, to which Mclean’s family members had ties, was too small to accommodate the number of people expected to attend the service.

Toogood said he gave welcoming remarks at the service before turning over the service to Montgomery.

Horton, who said he was a friend of Mclean’s, said people began to leave the church while Montgomery delivered the eulogy.

“Where I was sitting, most people walked out before he finished,” he said.

“I was just kind of stunned,” said McCormack. “I was just sitting there listening and I and the other people were looking at each other and people in the back just started getting up and left. It was like a mass exit.”

D.C. transgender activists Earline Budd and Jeri Hughes, who knew Lashai Mclean through their work with the D.C. transgender services organization Transgender Health Empowerment, said they recognize how Montgomery’s remarks could have been offensive to those attending the service, especially Mclean’s friends.

But the two noted that Mclean’s family members, who were struggling over Mclean’s status as a transgender woman, organized the service and selected Pastor Montgomery to preside. Budd said some of Mclean’s family members are members of Montgomery’s church.

“The pastor seemed to be more conciliatory after some people started to leave,” said Budd.

Hughes said she thought most of the people who walked out did so because the service lasted a long time and many were becoming tired.

“I wasn’t particularly offended, even though I didn’t agree with him,” Hughes said of Montgomery. “He was talking about what preachers talk about – sin and all of that. He’s just being a preacher.”

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  1. Rick Rosendall

    August 2, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    Just to be clear: my criticism is directed at the pastor and deacon as described by Sampson, not at Lashai’s family. And I respectfully disagree with my friend Jeri Hughes. “Just being a preacher” does not excuse anti-gay or anti-trans bigotry. We have seen entirely too much of this at funerals. There are many LGBT-affirming congregations and clergy in the District. Here’s a list published by the Mayor’s Office of GLBT Affairs:

    • Shalome Kim Felder

      August 5, 2011 at 1:03 pm

      Excellent response, especially the listing of affirming churches.

    • David Gibson

      August 6, 2011 at 3:08 am

      I might live in NC, but I attend a church that is more than welcoming towards LGBT communties. I agress with others here, there is NEVER a reason to bully, and spread hatred… no matter if it is to soothe the fragile ego’s of a grieving family. No one should ever be subjected to that kind of torture.

  2. laurelboy2

    August 2, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    Some people aren’t satisfied with anything.

  3. brian

    August 3, 2011 at 1:06 am

    Thanks for the LGBT-affirming congregations and clergy link, Rick. I’ll pass it on to our neighborhood listservs.

    What a sad, hypocritical spectacle. The visiting pastor and a deacon demonized both transgenders and the deceased whose funeral service they were officiating/ serving? That’s just stunning. I hope everyone takes note of how deep anti-trans prejudice runs– and what some will do, in the name of God, to promote it.

    I have no problem with those who chose to leave that service rather than be tacit participants in the open promotion of such bigotry. I think we’re all ennobled by such acts of conscience.

    • Dee Omally

      August 4, 2011 at 6:22 pm

      exactly Brian…I want to start a Christian Trans study group here in the Pasadena, CA area. You mentioned listserves….sounds like this is the best way to proceed…what is the web link for it?

      Thanx,,,,Dee…a Christian who professes and practices love to all…trans or not. I love this preacher because he is deserving….but I hate his message of hate….proof that religious transphobia is far from over. In fact, it is ironic that the trans female died because of trans hate, apparently, and this “pastor” is adding more fuel to the fires of trans hate…he needs to be “disbarred” from pastoring.

  4. TransAlien-Menace

    August 3, 2011 at 1:46 am

    I find it particularly distressing (of) Ms. Hughes attitude to what happened at the funeral…this coming from someone who works as a Trans activist? What the pastors did was UN-conscionable,and it is exactly this type of vitriol-hatred being spread by these pastors that does lead to this kind of outcome!

    • Joe

      August 24, 2011 at 11:32 pm

      Who gives John the right to kill anyone…

  5. laurelboy2

    August 3, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    If they’re out working the streets doesn’t that inherently carry a great deal of risk and potential for violence? Especially when the john discovers the real deal? Come on. Get real. If people want to trans and lead a productive, “normal” life in so doing, then that’s their business. When people want to trans and then lead a life of walking the streets then I have no pity for what becomes of them.

    • Jen

      August 3, 2011 at 1:43 pm

      I dont think this article was intended to prompt a discussion about whether the victim was in some way responsible for her own death (which, by the way, is a ridiculous assertion.) The article is about the remarks made by church leaders, and the subsequent response of the attendees. kudos however, on finding a way to trump the judgmental remarks of the pastor, with your own brand of bigotry.

      • laurelboy2

        August 3, 2011 at 6:21 pm

        Jen, you’re naive and a loon. I’m simply stating fact. If you’re plying the streets, then you get what’s coming to you. Nuff said.

        • dawn storrud

          August 3, 2011 at 9:45 pm

          Laurelboy, If this young lady was on the street working within that economy it wasn’t because she had plenty of other options. Transpersons of color are more than twice as likely to be unemployed in the US. They are much more likely to have been denied familial support or societal safety net aid. They are 30 times more likely to be murdered than the average white male, not because they work the streets but because bigots such as yourself find justifications for dehumanizing and dismissing them.

        • naut

          August 3, 2011 at 9:46 pm

          did you ever stop to consider why she may or may not have been on the streets? The reality of trans people of color isnt all rainbows and ponies. A study recently released actually shows that tpoc are discriminated against much more often and finding jobs can be even harder – especially as a transwoman of color. Secondly, was it ever stated that she *took to the streets* anyway? But even if, how is that in any way related to the article?

        • Dee Omally

          August 4, 2011 at 6:14 pm

          No…laruelboy2…you have it completely wrong….the shoe u threw at Jen, surprise surprise fits you exactly? Why?…because what you just said is “plying the streets deserves one dying a violent death”. How about placing blame on the perp and not the victim?….then this shoe would not fit.

        • Mike

          August 4, 2011 at 8:47 pm

          That’s really great laurelboy2, thanks for opening up the sanction to murder for everyone. I’m glad you’re such a comprehensive legal and ethical expert on who deserves to live and die. Just so everyone’s clear can you give us a complete bullet point list of activities people might perform that immediately and irrevocably mark them for death? I mean, we’d all hate to just sort of blunder into a ‘death spot’ in our daily lives. Forewarned is forearmed as they say.

          Oh, and you’re an idiot.

        • imfromdc

          August 5, 2011 at 10:57 am

          @laurelboy2, great name considering you find the time to browse a gay website and promote violence towards its community. I’m sure Michelle Bachman’s husband would love to hear your ideas.

        • Anon

          August 6, 2011 at 12:57 am

          Lmao, seriously? Where’s Jesus when you need him. He needs to come and help rebuild your glass house you keep throwing rocks out of.

    • Balto

      August 3, 2011 at 3:11 pm

      After all, everyone chooses what job they take to get enough money to eat, right? Derp! Derp!

    • ellecs

      August 3, 2011 at 6:03 pm

      WTF. No one does that. That’s not how it works.

    • nyoro_n

      August 3, 2011 at 9:53 pm

      Where has anyone said that she was “working the streets” as you put it? Way to stereotype and blame the victim jerk.

    • Laya

      August 4, 2011 at 11:42 am

      The problem with your logic is that trans people have a lot going against them. This was my cycle for example. You get fired from your job because your trans (no job), then your family disowns you (no back up support or place to stay), some of your friends disown you so you know have to make new friends (no back up back up place to stay) , you can’t afford your rent so your work the streets, you can’t afford health care and it’s hard to get a job because your trans. It’s a cycle. It’s not like trans women wake up and decide I think I’m gonna work the street that’s a good career move. Society pushes them to that and for what, so they can feel better about themselves religiously. Jesus teaches to love all including the tax collectors and the prostitutes. It’s easy to love your close one’s it’s harder to love your enemies. Do not judge others for who they are. Were only people

    • Carl K

      August 4, 2011 at 12:18 pm

      Who the hell said she was “working the streets”?! For all you know, she could have worked at Walmart! Why would you automatically say she was s prositute just because she is transgender!? Hell, I’m a biologist. If I get shot in the streets does that make me a prostitute?

    • Will

      August 4, 2011 at 12:26 pm

      Do you have sympathy for “normals” prostitutes who get murdered? Just curious. Because IMO, it’s pretty sad that someone would revoke all sympathy just because they’re doing something to make money that is risky… Should people stop having sympathy for police officers that get killed? Their jobs are inherently risky, they know what they’re getting into and they made that choice anyhow. Why sympathize with them if they get murdered?


      Many trans people, especially transwomen, are forced to turn to prostitution. Discrimination against them runs high in the workforce, so it can be difficult for them to find a “real” job. Surgery and HRT is very expensive, especially since insurance doesn’t tend to even cover HRT, and prostitution becomes a quicker way to make money. If health insurance treated transsexuality as a medical condition (since it is) and not as a “cosmetic choice”, and if trans people had more protection in the workforce against discrimination, then maybe more trans people wouldn’t turn to prostitution.

      Being trans myself, I know how hard it is. People just don’t want to hire “a freak”. And prostitute or not, this poor woman deserves sympathy as well as justice. No one deserves to die like that.

      • Dee Omally

        August 4, 2011 at 6:16 pm

        …so true…reminds me of when I asked Kaiser to do an orchiectomy….after 40 years of living, I was surprised to find out that I had been born with jewelry in place….my testicles were “cosmetic” all along….

    • Newmoonlmt

      August 4, 2011 at 2:10 pm

      There is NOTHING in this article to suggest this woman was “working the streets.” “Transsexual” does not equal “prostitution.” The funeral service was completely inappropriate. The death was a tragedy. A life has been taken. NOBODY asks to be murdered.

    • Isis

      August 5, 2011 at 11:03 am

      Your are assuming she was a working girl… Are you serious??? The unimaginable stereotypical propaganda that is spread about LGBTQ people is ridiculous and you just fed right into it!! A human being lost their life in a very violent way. No matter the life choices that is extremely sad!! I wish his family strength, courage, and wisdom through this time. And I wish you some real intelligence and some compassion for human life!

    • Shalome Kim Felder

      August 5, 2011 at 1:13 pm

      It is most unfortunate that many transitioning individuals have to deal with a plethora of hostilities on a daily basis and simultaneously, have little family support to sustain them. Prostitution has been a resource, albeit not the best choice, for many women, transgendered as well as biological. In a kinder, gentler world where transgendered women would not have to deal with discrimination, perhaps prostitution would be a less viable alternative.

    • Anon

      August 6, 2011 at 12:53 am

      The point I think your missing here is that funerals are for the living, not the dead. One should save one’s personal judgement when doing something like this because no one mourning a friend or family member really wants to go there just to hear the pastors judgement of the person’s life. And frankly I won’t bother getting into exactly what she was doing that night as I do not know, and I highly doubt you do either. Let me put it this way, I doubt anyone at your grandmother’s funeral did this, “…and lo, she was a good woman, except her incessant greed and need for more shoes and clothes. And pay for her sinful greed she did with her death…” All sins are equal no? Would this be any less ok?

    • Sean

      August 22, 2011 at 9:03 pm

      Yeah, the nerve of them– expecting to be treated like real people when they’re so icky and different than other folks! And after all those nice “normal” employers have rejected them in favour of hiring “normal” employees instead of the icky trans folks, they should be grateful for those nice “normal” johns who don’t beat them to death!

      Now, go look up the word “privilege.” As in, “laurelboy2 has the privilege of not being rejected by most potential employers based on gender identity.”

    • Bearcor

      September 26, 2011 at 7:15 pm

      If the unemployment rate of transgenders was lower than 78% they probably wouldn’t have made that choice, would you approve of begging as an alternative?

  6. eddieVroom

    August 3, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    Here’s hoping people walk out of his church en masse, and take their money with them.

  7. David Wainwright

    August 3, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    I am not at all religious but was pleasantly surprised at a roman catholic funeral of a trans friend of mine who died from HIV AIDS when the priest began by saying something like ” I dont want anyone passing judgement or pointing fingers on this young person , as in the eyes of the church you are all sinners and no one is without sin , so look to yourselves before passing judgement or comment on this life , and may this soul be in paradise / heaven ” .
    It was extremely comforting for his family , it being a roman catholic church and a morning funeral half the church was filled with congregation there for holy communion , I was most impressed with the humanity and common sense expressed by that particular priest .

    • Chris

      August 4, 2011 at 12:42 pm

      As a person raised Catholic – there should be more like him – for he has embraced the true meaning of his calling – COMPASSION!!!

  8. eddieVroom

    August 3, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    Here’s a quaint little tradition that I’m thinking we should adopt for these occasions:

  9. Toni P

    August 3, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    Lashai Mclean was a person! She deserved respect and to be Honored at her own funeral. This is not the time to preach about so-called sin, or place blame on the Victim. Talk about the person, talk about HER life. Do not insult, condemn or try to “save” (in the preachers mind). Honor her, celebrate her as a person and also grieve the injustice that was done to her.

  10. Laughriotgirl

    August 3, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    “He was talking about what preachers talk about – sin and all of that. He’s just being a preacher.” I’ve attended many funerals in my life. At no time has “sin” been a topic during a eulogy or sermon during one. Heck, my grandfather was one of the meanest, hurtful, adulterers ever, and none of that was mentioned.

  11. Casey

    August 3, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    Do you have ANY IDEA at all how hard it is for some transgender people to find a job in which they are not being discriminated against? Any idea at all? my guess is NONE.

    • laurelboy2

      August 3, 2011 at 10:58 pm

      Easy answer. DO NOT BECOME A TRANS.

      • Zoe Brain

        August 4, 2011 at 1:33 am

        Do not become Black either. That’s just as much of a choice.

        I’m probably wasting my time trying to educate – but never mind, I have to try.

        I’ll quote the abstract from Sexual Hormones and the Brain: An Essential Alliance for Sexual Identity and Sexual Orientation Garcia-Falgueras A, Swaab DF Endocr Dev. 2010;17:22-35

        The fetal brain develops during the intrauterine period in the male direction through a direct action of testosterone on the developing nerve cells, or in the female direction through the absence of this hormone surge. In this way, our gender identity (the conviction of belonging to the male or female gender) and sexual orientation are programmed or organized into our brain structures when we are still in the womb. However, since sexual differentiation of the genitals takes place in the first two months of pregnancy and sexual differentiation of the brain starts in the second half of pregnancy, these two processes can be influenced independently, which may result in extreme cases in trans-sexuality. This also means that in the event of ambiguous sex at birth, the degree of masculinization of the genitals may not reflect the degree of masculinization of the brain. There is no indication that social environment after birth has an effect on gender identity or sexual orientation.

        Some people are born with female neuro-anatomy, but superficially look male. Some are Intersex, and may have other “lady bits” inside, apart from the brain, but still look male.

        • Dee Omally

          August 4, 2011 at 6:10 pm

          Exactly as yu say Zoe!!….gender assignment occurs while in the womb, despite genitalia. Gender is assigned by nature….and cannot be changed by nurture….as doctors used to do with fatal cosequences at times due to mutilation of infants…

      • Will

        August 4, 2011 at 12:33 pm

        Don’t become an idiot.

        I hope Zoe’s post made you rethink your rather ignorant life view, though I doubt it; I just hope you realize that it’s people who hold sentiments like yours that end up getting people killed. The idea that you can “become a trans” or “not become a trans” is completely false. It is something one is born with, end of story.

      • Sean

        August 4, 2011 at 2:38 pm

        And if you don’t like homophobia, don’t become gay?

        Maybe we should start naming and blaming the people that give trans folks a hard time instead. Care to share your name first?

  12. Mike

    August 3, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    A funeral service is not the time to make any comments about life choices, not that all of his comments were about choices anyway. Most were just accepting who she is. This s exactly why organized religion has and never will have any part in my life.

    • Amy

      August 4, 2011 at 12:42 am

      I’m a Unitarian Universalist minister and I am utterly appalled that anyone would use a eulogy to talk about the deceased’s wrongdoings (even indisputable ones). And my religion accepts transgender people. I’m not sure you’d call us organized though. ;-)

      • laurelboy2

        August 4, 2011 at 11:17 am

        I’m not sure you culd define what Unitarian Universalist means anyway!!

  13. Mimi

    August 4, 2011 at 1:31 am

    As a clergy person myself, I think it is despicable that someone would accept the task of presiding at a person’s funeral – a known transgender person – and then use that occasion to criticize what is not even a “choice” but an embracing of who she really was! This is a time to emphasize God’s amazing love and acceptance and extravagant welcome to each child of God! Shame on that pastor! How sad for the family and friends to be left with such a cruel judgement. Please encourage people to find out who the accepting and educated and loving clergy are in the area and then request one of those clergy for funerals. This story made me want to cry. What a way to treat a grieving family and friends.\

  14. Jeri Hughes

    August 4, 2011 at 10:18 am

    if you want tolerance, you have to exhibit it yourself. the family has a right to grieve in their own way, with a preacher of their own choice. the girls who attended respected that, earline respected that, i respected that. this was a serv…ice for a friend, not an opportunity for a political statement. show some tolerance and understanding. nothing that happened was about me, and certainly, it wasn’t about you. tolerance. love one another. “be the change you want to see in the world.” gandhi

  15. Meaghan

    August 4, 2011 at 10:25 am

    If a sin is a sin then I ask all preachers/pastors/priests to call out adulterers, abusers, liars, thieves and the rest of the sinners when they die, at their funerals, in front of their family and friends. No doubt these pastors/preachers/priests have a list of offenses a mile long, too. Compassion was one of Jesus’ most noble qualities, and religion does a great job of making people forget that.

  16. Jeri Hughes

    August 4, 2011 at 10:25 am

    and just FYI, the mass exit was initiated by a desire to smoke and talk to one another….no one was horrified by what the ministers had to say. just tired of hearing it. he was the fifth preacher who spoke. of course, i do know that because i was there. don’t believe everything you read in the paper. the perspective of two individuals makes it true for them, not for everyone. and i am not an activist, or at least i don’t consider myself one. just a human being, just a woman. i hate injustice, i despise intolerance. i fight it. i don’t need any labels for that, do i? i am a human being.

    • Kat

      August 4, 2011 at 7:29 pm

      “don’t believe everything you read in the paper”

      Uhhh…The paper contains what you’re saying as well.

    • Debbie M.

      August 5, 2011 at 5:43 pm

      We cannot say why ppl exited the service. A funeral service is not the time to discuss the choices one made in life. The service is t celebrate the life of Lashai Mclean the beuatiful young woman whose life was cut short by someone with hate and disdain for one transgender woman. I happen to be transgener and I am very aware that this could happen to me whether I walking the streets at 4:30 am or 4:00 pm.

  17. Kitty

    August 4, 2011 at 11:21 am

    Dude…a funeral is no time to preach. It’s also not about him, it’s about Lashai Mclean and the people who loved her. This guy needs to get over his ego.

  18. Ashley

    August 4, 2011 at 11:33 am

    I am a christian. But I don’t give a Rats behind what other people do. That is between them and God. And what that Preacher man said was so wrong. HE ruined her funeral. And even if her parents were struggling with her status, they shouldn’t have allowed these things to be said. That is your child. You are to love them no matter what!! God is the ONLY one who should pass judgment on ANYONE!!! It is not our place. And seeing as how she already passed anyway, nothing should have even been said about it. UGH!!!!!

  19. angrytransactivist

    August 4, 2011 at 11:52 am

    If only the media cared this much about how public officials talked about trans people (who have said far worse than that preacher). Or how the laws and policies of this city allow for these kinds of murders to be common place. But I suppose that doesn’t make as good a news story as (re)framing black preachers as all inherently transphobic/homophobic regardless of the fact that his statements are precisely the kind that come from most officials in this city.

    Why aren’t we seeing stories about how Prostitution Free Zones profile trans women of color and force women into dangerous areas or how the criminalization of sex work keeps women from getting better jobs (an only option for many young folks who don’t have a formal education or access to the formal economy)? Why aren’t we seeing stories about how trans women of color are all assumed to be sex workers or how this particular journalist chose to portray the deceased as a sex worker when there was zero evidence to support this assumption? Why aren’t we seeing stories demanding that something be done NOW to keep the most abused and forgotten of our communities safe?

    The real injustice here is not how a conservative preacher disrespected a woman already so disrespected but our communal complacency with a system that will just keep killing these young people. Until we actually do something about the bigger issue, we can continue looking forward to these annual murders.

  20. Mykelb

    August 4, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    They should have stood up and thrown their buybulls at the self righteous idiot. Why do people allow jackasses like this to preside over their funerals?

  21. Kat

    August 4, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    Here’s the irony. The Church the Pastor was from is named “Agape Missionary Baptist Church” – The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. used the Greek term “agape” to describe a universal love that “discovers the neighbor in every man it meets.”

  22. Sean

    August 4, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Killed in the name of bigotry.
    Grave shat upon in the name of bigotry.

    These Christians are terrible human beings.

    • Dee Omally

      August 4, 2011 at 6:04 pm

      No….Christianity doesn’t teach to hate on people….he is a so-called “Christian”….his deeds prove so.

      • Anne Marie

        August 4, 2011 at 8:55 pm

        That’s a No True Scotsman fallacy. He is a Christian because he believes in Jesus Christ. Being a prejudiced Christian doesn’t make you not a Christian. The commenter above specified “these Christians” anyway, not all of the. And yes, many forms of Christianity do teach hate. It may make them hypocritical or mean but it doesn’t make them not Christian.

        • dee omally

          August 5, 2011 at 5:03 pm

          Ok…so I have $20,000 in the bank and I decide to call myself a millionaire. So am I now a millionaire simply because I call myself one?

      • NonnyMouse

        August 4, 2011 at 9:18 pm

        Blah, blah, No True Scotsman, blah, blah.

  23. Daystrom

    August 4, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    What wonderful examples of Jesus’ love these cretins are! I’m really, really disappointed that Lashai’s family and friends didn’t commence to whippin’ some butt instead of walking out. I’m not one to get physical with things but every once in a great while, a good foot in the posterior end is exactly what the doctor ordered.

  24. Rev. Jefferson Beeker

    August 4, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    I am a pastor and I am gay. My church accepts all people and lovingly ordains both straight and gay clergy. I think what this pastor did in this service was shameful and not at all appropriate. This was a time to show comfort and the unconditional love of God for all.

  25. Dee Omally

    August 4, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    Here we are in 2011…a “person of the cloth” who purports to show others the journey that leads to the gates of heaven, privileged to preside over the passing of a child of God…privileged to bring consolation to the family and euologize a life and praise the goodness within the child. Rather, he chose to represent God by being un-Godly…he brought forth pain to the family, passed judgement on that child of God, in essence said loud and clear “he” got what “he” deserved…”may that be a warning to the rest of u abominable trans persons”…utter disregard for the femaleness of the victim and for the biology behind gender identity that begins in the womb,,,despite genitalia.

    Lets test this judgment by a fallible “person of God”. Beyond my comprehension and understanding, way too often children die at the hands of their “parents” as discussed by Nancy Grace. I suppose this “man of God” would euologize them by saying “they deserved to die because they chose the wrong parents”. These non-Christian Christian pastors are whom I refer to as “hypcorites of the cloth”.

    I suppose if he were to go to a non-Christian country on a mission…and was standing on a street corner preaching and he fell victim to religious hate, another pastor might then say “He chose the Christian lifestyle and so this is the consequence” Huh….Reverend Montgomery, you would do better working at Del Taco than misrepresenting God’s work….

    I still am trying to comprehend how a pastor could preside over the final farewell of a trans person (such as I), in the presence of family already grieving over this most violent of deaths, and present a frictional, adversarial “sermon” that was so overtly condemning that no lines inbetween need have been read. If I had been there, (hindsight) I would have considered convening the attendees outside then done everything in my power to send that “preacher” back to the worship center of ill repute so he could crawl back into the hole he came out of. He chose to overlook the fact that as an imperfect creature, he was not even remotely close to passing judgement on anyone for any reason. He overstepped his duty by far and chose to “console by vitriol”. I mean we already face imminent danger in life, and now imminent hate in death? His deed is nothing short of abominable….I am going to let him know as u all should..

  26. Doctor Whom

    August 5, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    Guess what, Pastor. You’ve made Fundies Say the Darndest Things.

  27. gabby newton

    August 7, 2011 at 9:55 am

    its a shame that a religeon that professes to preach love seems to be so full of hate and incite hate towards minority groups,
    why are christians so full of hate and devoid of common sense??????

  28. edivajc

    August 15, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    so I guess if an innocent person gets killed it was their own fault and I’ve never seen nor heard of people leaving a funeral because the service was too long.

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Comings & Goings

Nathanson takes role at Outright Action



Rikki Nathanson

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. 

Congratulations to Rikki Nathanson on her new position as Senior Advisor – Global Trans Program with OutRight Action International in New York. Nathanson will be based in D.C.  

 “I am absolutely thrilled to be taking on this new role as Senior Advisor in OutRight’s Global Trans Program,” said Nathanson. “I have finally found the perfect fit for me: as a trans woman who has been fighting for equality not only for myself, but for others globally, this position is not only a job, it’s intrinsically part of who I am. So, what better way to live, nurture and grow myself.” 

Nathanson will be working closely with all program staff to ensure a cohesive and intentional approach to gender issues throughout OutRight’s programs, including its approach to gender ideology movements. She will lead new initiatives on gender advocacy and policy change, focused but not limited to legal gender recognition and anti-discrimination legislation and policies.

Prior to this Nathanson was director of housing programs at Casa Ruby in D.C. She has also held a number of other positions including: founder/executive director of Trans Research, Education, Advocacy & Training (TREAT), Zimbabwe; chairperson Southern Africa Trans Forum, SATF, Cape Town, South Africa; executive director, Ricochet Modeling Agency, Zimbabwe; and company secretary for Dunlop Zimbabwe Limited, Zimbabwe. 

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SMYAL Director Shakir to step down Dec. 31

Board to launch Executive Search beginning in January



SMYAL Executive Director Sultan Shakir addresses the crowd at the 2021 Fall Brunch. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Sultan Shakir, who has served as executive director of D.C.’s LGBTQ youth advocacy organization SMYAL since August 2014, announced on Friday that he will be stepping down from his position effective Dec. 31.

In a Dec. 3 announcement, SMYAL said details of Shakir’s future career plans would be announced in the coming weeks.

“While we are sad to see Sultan leave, we wish him nothing but the same success in his new endeavor as he had at SMYAL,” said Rob Cogorno, SMYAL’s board chair. “His leadership and vision enabled SMYAL to expand greatly needed services to LGBTQ youth in the DC metro area throughout his tenure,” Cogorno said.

“I am immensely proud of the work we have been able to accomplish together in my time at SMYAL,” Shakir said in a statement released by SMYAL. “SMYAL has been an integral and vital resource in the DMV community for over 37 years, and while we have come a long way in combating homophobia, transphobia, racism, sexual health stigma, homelessness, violence against the LGBTQ community, and oppression, we have a long way to go,” he said.

“This work has never been about one person,” said Shakir. “SMYAL was founded by our community and we’re still around because of our community,” he said. “I leave knowing that the commitment and passion of the SMYAL Board, staff, volunteers, and youth leaders have created a solid foundation from which our work will continue to grow until LGBTQ youth no longer need us.”

The SMYAL statement says that under Shakir’s tenure, SMYAL, which stands for Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders, expanded its programs and services for LGBTQ youth. Among other things, in 2017 SMYAL opened its first of several housing facilities for homeless LGBTQ youth that include culturally competent case management, education and employment assistance.

“The Youth Housing Program now comprises five programmatic models that serve a combined 61 youth residents,” the statement says.

It points out that also under Shakir’s leadership, SMYAL expanded the age range of the youth its programs serve under a new Little SMYALs program, which welcomes LGBTQ youth ages 6-12. And earlier in 2021 under Shakir’s guidance, SMYAL began a new Clinical Services Department “which provides affirming and accessible mental health counseling,” the statement says.

“The SMYAL Board of Directors will officially launch an Executive Search beginning in January 2022 and expects to have named a new Executive Director by summer 2022,” the statement says. It says the board will soon name an interim executive director to work with SMYAL’s Deputy Executive Director, Jorge Membreno, and the organization’s leadership team to oversee the day-to-day activities until a new executive director is named.

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Rainbow History Project to honor LGBTQ ‘Pioneers’

Virtual celebration to take place on Dec. 9



David Mariner, gay news, Washington Blade
David Mariner (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

D.C.’s Rainbow History Project says it will honor and recognize 12 individuals and one organization by designating them as Community Pioneers “for their diverse contributions to the Washington-area LGBTQ community” at a Dec. 9 virtual celebration.

“Rainbow History Project is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to collecting, preserving and sharing the LGBT history of metropolitan Washington, D.C.,” the group says in a statement announcing the event. “The Pioneers awards recognize diverse community leaders for their roles as organizational founders, innovators, advocates and volunteers,” the statement says.

“The Pioneers celebration will be held virtually and is designed with special features that reproduce the feeling of attending in-person, such as live streaming and video chatting with other attendees and Pioneers before and after the core awards programing,” according to the statement.

“Celebrating our Community Pioneers has been a cherished tradition since Rainbow History Project’s founding 21 years ago,” said Rob Berger, the organization’s chairperson. “It’s always an inspiring event, and we are happy that our virtual platform will still allow participants to meet and talk with the Pioneers,” Berger said in the statement.

The virtual event is free and open to the public, the statement says. Organizers released this link for those interested in attending, saying a short registration process may require registering in advance. 

Remo Conference

Following is the list of Community Pioneers scheduled to be honored at the Dec. 9 event as released by Rainbow History Project along with the project’s description of their backgrounds.

Arlington Gay and Lesbian Alliance, a local group that since its founding has addressed equal rights issues for LGBTQ Virginians from a state and local perspective.

– Eboné F. Bell, founder and editor-in-chief of Tagg Magazine and Tagg Communication LLC.

Bart Forbes, founding member of “Gay Fairfax,” a pioneering television newsmagazine program in Northern Virginia.

– Ellen Kahan, youth and family advocate, president of Rainbow Families, former director of the Lesbian Services Program at Whitman-Walker Health, and currently senior director of programs and partnerships at the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.

– Theodore Kirkland (deceased), a co-founder of D.C. Black Pride in 1991, member of the Gay Liberation Front and Skyline Faggots, active community health volunteer and advocate.

– Paul Marengo, community leader through LGBTQ organizations including Reel Affirmations, Cherry Fund, and Pride celebrations for youth, Latino, Black and Transgender communities.

– David Mariner, executive director of CAMP Rehoboth, and former executive director of the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community.

– Mark Meinke founder longtime chair, Rainbow History Project, and co-founder of Rainbow Heritage Network, a national organization for the recognition and preservation of sites, history and heritage associated with sexual and gender minorities.

– Michael “Micci” Sainte Andress, artist, health educator and advocate and an early leader in bringing African Americans into HIV/AIDS clinical trials.

– Boden Sandstrom, founder and owner of Woman Sound (later City Sound), the first all-woman sound company, which makes LGBTQ rights rallies and the women’s music scene possible.

Casse Culver (deceased), nationally acclaimed D.C. lesbian feminist singer-songwriter, and partner of Boden Sandstrom, whose followers said her love songs and feminist lyrics moved audiences from foot stomping to silent reflection.  

Alan Sharpe, playwright, director and co-founder of the African American Collective Theater in Washington, D.C., in 1976, which now focuses on LGBTQ life and culture in the Black community.

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