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Queery: Esther Hidalgo

The organizer of Friday’s event for Latina lesbians answers 20 gay questions

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Esther Hidalgo (Blade photo by Michael Key)

Esther Hidalgo is sometimes surprised when she meets other Latina lesbians in Washington and as she was discussing with a colleague this week, she sometimes wonders why their paths don’t cross more often.

“Unless it’s a Latin venue, we really don’t see each other,” says the D.C.-area native, whose parents are Cuban and Puerto Rican. “And we can’t always easily identify each other when we do see each other. Sometimes you don’t realize there may be other Latinas in a room.”

So Hidalgo is starting “Mujeres en el Movimiento,” a networking event for Latina lesbians that launches tonight (Friday) from 6:30 to 8:30 at the new MOVA (2204 14th St., N.W.). It’s an official event of the Latino GLBT History Project. Based on attendance, organizers will decide whether to make it a regular event.

“I’m sure we’ll do it annually at least, but maybe more often,” she says.

The name means “women in the movement” and has a dual meaning — movement as in coming together socially, but also as an extension of the larger LGBT rights movement. It’s a happy hour event with Latin music and a digital exhibition of black and white photos by Kevin Kenner of Latina activists from the area titled “Heroes Latinas.” A suggested donation of $5 includes a vodka drink (for more information, contact Hidalgo at [email protected] or 202-670-5547).

Hidalgo, a graduate student studying for a master’s in library and information science part time at Catholic University, met History Project founder Jose Guttierez years ago when they both worked at the Leather Rack. She joined the group two years ago working on its archives and Pride festivities. She juggles three jobs when she’s not in school — she prints black and white photos in a studio, works for a collections archive in Northeast D.C. and works as a student tech at the National Archives in College Park sorting and preserving government documents.

Hidalgo, who grew up in Langley Park, Md., but mostly attended school in D.C., lives now in Columbia Heights with her girlfriend of two years. (Blade photos by Michael Key)

How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?

Since around 18. Coming out to my dad was scary because I am close to my parents and an only child. Without missing a beat, he said that he could relate because “women are softer and they smell better.”

Who’s your LGBT hero?

Just one? I’m looking forward to meeting a few of them as they are featured in Friday’s exhibition. Most recently, my heroes are the Mujeres en el Movimiento Committee Members. In addition to working for political and humanistic causes, they saw the importance of this idea and worked hard to help bring it to fruition.

What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present? 

Wednesday Ladies Night at Chaos.

Describe your dream wedding.

There will be a lot of dancing and a lot of hip-hop.

What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?

This is difficult to answer because most social issues from immigration to domestic violence to education can and do affect members of the LGBT community. We are an intrinsic component of everyday society.

What historical outcome would you change?

That first moment in history where a woman took crap from a man and high-waisted jeans.

What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?

Michael Jackson Moonwalking.

On what do you insist?

Compassion

What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?

Mujeres en el Movimiento networking reception hosted by the Latino GLBT History Project on Friday, March 23rd from 6:30-8:30pm at MOVA. I am the event chair and super excited about it and promoting it all the time! :-)

If your life were a book, what would the title be?

I don’t know but it should definitely be a graphic novel.

If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?

Sit them down and have a real serious discussion about ethics (or just blow up the lab).

What do you believe in beyond the physical world? 

In Buddhism, Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo is, among other things, the name of the mystic law that governs life eternally throughout the universe. I chant this every day as a form of prayer.

What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?

I think they should continue to build bridges of communication and cooperation between their respective causes. 

What would you walk across hot coals for?

Are you really asking me to choose between my girlfriend and my cat?

What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?

That gay men have all the style and lesbians have all the guitars.

What’s your favorite LGBT movie?

“Dog Day Afternoon”

What’s the most overrated social custom?

Starting a conversation by asking. “So, what do you do?”

What trophy or prize do you most covet?

To positively affect the lives of others through action.

What do you wish you’d known at 18?

The heart will mend.

Why Washington?

D.C. holds a lot of hidden histories, like those of LGBT Latino organizations and activists, that shape the consciousness of its residents whether they realize it or not. Plus, it is the home of go-go.

 

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Photos

PHOTOS: Baltimore Pride Parade

Thousands attend annual LGBTQ march and block party

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A scene from the 2024 Baltimore Pride Parade. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The Baltimore Pride Parade and Block Party was held on Charles Street in Baltimore, Md. on Saturday, June 15. 

(Washington Blade photos by Michael Key)

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Sports

Washington Mystics to hold annual Pride game

Team to play Dallas Wings on Saturday

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(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The Washington Mystics will be having their upcoming Pride game on Saturday against the Dallas Wings.

The Mystics Pride game is one of the team’s theme nights they host every year, with Pride night being a recurring event. The team faced off against the Phoenix Mercury last June. Brittney Griner, who Russia released from a penal colony in December 2022 after a court convicted her of importing illegal drugs after customs officials at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport found vape canisters with cannabis oil in her luggage, attended the game. 

Unlike the NBA, where there are currently no openly LGBTQ players, there are multiple WNBA players who are out. Mystics players Emily Englster, Brittney Sykes, and Stefanie Dolson are all queer.

The Mystics on June 1 acknowledged Pride Month in a post to its X account.

“Celebrating Pride this month and every month,” reads the message.

The game is on Saturday at 3 p.m. at the Entertainment and Sports Arena (1100 Oak Drive, S.E.). Fans can purchase special Pride tickets that come with exclusive Mystics Pride-themed jerseys. 

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Theater

Queers win big at 77th annual Tony Awards

‘Merrily We Roll Along’ among winners

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(Photo courtesy of the Tony Awards' Facebook page)

It was a banner night for queer theater artists at the 77th annual Tony Awards, honoring the best in Broadway theater at the Lincoln Center in New York on Sunday. Some of the biggest honors of the night went to the revival of the Stephen Sondheim musical “Merrily We Roll Along” and the dance-musical based on Sufjan Stephens’ album “Illinoise.

“Merrily We Roll Along,” which follows three friends as their lives change over the course of 20 years, told in reverse chronological order, picked up the awards for Best Revival of a Musical and Best Orchestrations. 

Out actor Jonathan Groff picked up his first Tony Award for his leading role as Franklin Shepard in the show, while his costar Daniel Radcliffe earned his first Tony Award for featured performance as Charley Kringas. 

Groff gave a heartfelt and teary acceptance speech about how he used to watch the Tony Awards as a child in Lancaster County, Pa.

“Thank you for letting me dress up like Mary Poppins when I was three,” he said to his parents in the audience. “Even if they didn’t understand me, my family knew the life-saving power of fanning the flame of a young person’s passions without judgment.”

Groff also thanked the everyone in the production of “Spring Awakening,” where he made his Broadway debut in 2006, for inspiring him to come out at the age of 23.

“To actually be able to be a part of making theatre in this city, and just as much to be able to watch the work of this incredible community has been the greatest pleasure of my life,” he said. 

This was Groff’s third Tony nomination, having been previously nominated for his leading role in “Spring Awakening” and for his featured performance as King George III in “Hamilton.” 

Radcliffe, who is best known for starring in the “Harry Potter” series of movies, has long been an ally of the LGBTQ community, and has recently been known to spar with “Harry Potter” creator JK Rowling over her extreme opposition to trans rights on social media and in interviews. It was Radcliffe’s first Tony nomination and win.

Lesbian icon Sarah Paulson won her first Tony Award for her starring role in the play “Appropriate,” about a family coming to terms with the legacy of their slave-owning ancestors as they attempt to sell their late father’s estate. It was her first nomination and win.

In her acceptance speech, she thanked her partner Holland Taylor “for loving me.” Along with Paulson’s Emmy win for “American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson,” she is halfway to EGOT status.

The Sufjan Stephens dance-musical “Illinoise,” based on his album of the same name, took home the award for Best Choreography for choreographer Justin Peck. It was his second win.

During the ceremony, the cast of “Illinoise” performed “The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades is Out to Get Us!”, a moving dance number about a queer romance.

A big winner of the night was the adaptation of the S.E. Hinton novel “The Outsiders,” which dominated the musical categories, earning Best Director, Sound Design, Lighting Design, and Best Musical, which earned LGBTQ ally Angelina Jolie her first Tony Award.

Also a big winner was “Stereophonic,” which dominated the play categories, winning the awards for Best Play, Featured Actor, Director, Sound Design, and Scenic Design.

“Suffs,” a musical about the fight for women’s suffrage in the U.S., which acknowledges the lesbian relationship that suffragist Carrie Chapman Catt had in song called “If We Were Married,” took home awards for Best Book of a Musical and Best Score, both for creator Shaina Taub. 

Had “Suffs” also won for Best Musical, producers Hilary Clinton and Malala Yousafzai would have won their first Tony Awards. 

Other winners include Maleah Joi Moon for her lead role and Kecia Lewis for her featured role in the Alicia Keys musical “Hell’s Kitchen,” Jeremy Strong for his lead role in An Enemy of the People, and Kara Young for her featured role in “Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch.”

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