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Queery: Chris Delucchi

The breast cancer survivor answers 20 gay questions



Chris Delucci (Blade photo by Michael Key)

When Chris Delucchi was diagnosed with breast cancer in the summer of 2009, she started with the traditional route of treatment — she had a lumpectomy and started chemotherapy.

But while chemo is no picnic for anyone, Delucchi found the treatments especially toxic. Against her doctor’s wishes, she turned to a non-traditional, diet-based approach.

“My body just didn’t resonate with the high toxicity so I started researching natural approaches and even found a woman who’d tried it who had the exact same kind of cancer I had,” the 46-year-old Portland native says. “I did a lot with juices, wheat grass, a plant-based diet, changing stress levels, having vitamin C IVs and that sort of thing … I don’t go out and preach that everybody should take this approach, but it worked for me and I just had a sense that it would.”

She got a clean bill of health in December.

Delucchi will speak more about her experience at a storytelling event Tuesday at Woolly Mammoth Theatre hosted by Philips Healthcare and the Moth ( to raise breast cancer awareness. She’ll be joined by two other breast cancer survivors for the 7:30 p.m. event. Those interested in attending should e-mail [email protected] for details.

Delucchi, a lesbian, came to Washington for her first job out of college as a sales assistant at the Washington Post where she worked for about three years. She owns two communications/marketing companies, Delucchi Plus and Blue Bug Digital, and lives in Cleveland Park. Delucchi enjoys travel, spas, skiing, painting, writing and reading in her free time.

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

I have been out since I was 30 and the hardest people to tell were my parents because I thought they would be disappointed in me. They were very supportive and it’s a non-issue today while I do think there was a time of adjustment for everyone.

Who’s your LGBT hero?

For me it’s anyone who can be themselves in all areas of their lives. I love Ellen for coming out on TV to the world.

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

14th Street

Describe your dream wedding.

Destination wedding on a beach in Greece.

What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?

Educating people about how to take control of their health and be their own advocate.

What historical outcome would you change?

9-11 and terrorism today.

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

When I met Warren Buffet and got a picture with him to give to my father on his 70th birthday (His idol is Warren Buffet).

On what do you insist?

Integrity, honesty, passion and change.

What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?

Photos from the side of the road on the Jersey Turnpike —Roadside BBQ & Bear carvings. I thought I was in another world. I was.

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

From Coffee to Kale — How Breast Cancer Saved Me From Myself”

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


What do you believe in beyond the physical world? 

A power greater than myself has a plan for me.

What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?

Stay strong in your convictions.

What would you walk across hot coals for?

My partner, my family and to have my father survive his stage four lung cancer.

What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?

Having stereotypes in the first place like butch, femme, etc. We are just people!

What’s your favorite LGBT movie?

Tied: “Birdcage,” “Brokeback Mountain” and “The Kids Are All Right”

What’s the most overrated social custom?


What trophy or prize do you most covet?

First place in the Benton County Fair for my blueberry muffins.

What do you wish you’d known at 18?

What I know at 46. Family first and that success is defined by happiness.

Why Washington?

My first job out of college was with the Washington Post so I moved the week after graduation and never left.

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  1. Marcia Delucchi

    May 31, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    What better compliment could a parent have, than to have raised such a beautiful daughter. Both inside and out. To say we are so proud her is an under statement.

  2. Carolyn Van Konynenburg

    May 31, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    Oh Chris,
    Your interview is just inspiring! As a lovely person inside and out, your parents are so pround of you.
    I feel I know a bit more about you and will forward this email to Stephanie Holdenried, a daughter of a dear college friend, who been a travel agent in the Bay Area for years and now wants to focus on nutrition, especially for cancer patients and survivors. As a breast cancer survivor, she chose me as her “project”. Fun and challenging at the same time.

    Thank you for being so helpful to your parents. Marcia and I have know each other since kindergarten, as you may recall from our conversation in Carmel last July. And Phil is a jewel! I hope he and “Kitty” get well aquainted.

    Take care and God Bless,


  3. Cathy Crowley

    June 5, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    Chris you are such an inspiration and a truly beautiful person inside and out!

  4. David Root

    October 1, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    Thank you for sharing this, and I am glad that your family accepts you for who you are!!!!!!

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Arts & Entertainment

After COVID hiatus, John Waters resumes touring schedule

‘Every single thing is different after COVID’



John Watersis on the road again. (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

For the first time in nearly two years, writer and filmmaker John Waters will be appearing on stage this fall before live audiences in the Baltimore-Washington area, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Waters, who lives in Baltimore, is scheduled to bring his spoken-word holiday show, “A John Waters Christmas,” to The Birchmere in Alexandria, Va., on Dec. 15, and Baltimore Soundstage on Dec. 21. He’ll also be at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco on Nov. 29 and The Vermont Hollywood on Dec. 2.

Waters’ holiday shows were cancelled in 2020 due to the theater closings and travel restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Some book signings for fans were converted to Zoom sessions. He last toured the country in November and December of 2019.

This year, with vaccinations on the rise, Waters has made a few in-person appearances, including a concert with gay country crooner Orville Peck in Colorado in July, where he was “special guest host”; a Q&A session with fans in Provincetown in August and a music festival last weekend in Oakland, Calif. He’s scheduled to visit another 18 cities between now and the end of the year, including a weekend in Wroclaw, Poland, where he’ll be honored during the American Film Festival there in November.

Waters said he has completely rewritten his spoken-word shows to reflect changes brought about by the COVID pandemic. “I haven’t done it in a year and a half,” he said in an interview with Town & Country magazine. “Every single thing is different after COVID. You cannot do the same show. Nothing’s the same.”

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‘Hadestown’ comes to the Kennedy Center

Levi Kreis discusses return to live theater



Levi Kreis is an out actor who plays Hermes in the national tour of ‘Hadestown’ soon opening at the Kennedy Center. (Photo courtesy of Levi Kreis)

Through Oct. 31
The Kennedy Center
$45.00 – $175.00
For Covid-19 safety regulations go to

Early in September at New York’s Walter Kerr Theatre, out singer/actor Levi Kreis was in the audience for the long-awaited Broadway reopening of “Hadestown,” Anaïs Mitchell’s rousing musical reimagining of the Orpheus myth in which the legendary Greek hero descends into the underworld to rescue his lover Eurydice. 

After almost 18 months of pandemic-induced closure, the Tony Award-winning folk opera was back and the house was full. In a recent phone interview, Kreis describes the evening as “love-filled, and electrifying and emotional after such a difficult time.” Now, Kreis is onstage in the national tour of “Hadestown,” currently launching at the Kennedy Center. As Hermes, the shape-shifting god of oratory, Kreis is both narrator and chaperone to the story’s young lovers. 

A Tennessee native, Kreis, 39, has triumphantly survived turbulent times including a harrowingly prolonged coming out experience that included six years of conversion therapy, education disruptions, and music contract losses. He officially came out through his acclaimed album “One of the Ones” (2006), which features a collection of piano vocals about past boyfriends. And four years later, he splendidly won a Tony Award for originating the role of rock and roll wild man Jerry Lee Lewis in the rockabilly musical “Million Dollar Quartet.” 

Throughout much of the pandemic, Kreis leaned into his own music and found ways to reconnect with his largely gay fan base. But he’s happy to now be touring, noting that all the “Hadestown” cast have been hungering to perform before a real live audience.

When not on the road, he’s based in New York City with his husband, classical-crossover recording artist Jason Antone. 

WASHINGTON BLADE: Hermes is the same role for which André De Shields—the brilliant African American actor, also gay, and some decades your elder won a Tony and has resumed playing on Broadway, right?

LEVI KREIS: That’s right. It’s really a testament to the creative team. Rather than laying us over what Broadway created. They’re creating a tour that’s uniquely different; still true to the beauty of the story but with a different flavor. 

BLADE: What attracted you to the part?

KREIS: First, I fell in love with the show. My own musical sensibilities understand the origins of where this music comes from. It’s very bluesy and gospel. Southern and rootsy. And that’s everything I’ve created in my career as a singer/songwriter.

BLADE: With your life experience, do you feel called to mentor?

KREIS: The biggest effort I’ve given to this narrative is being a pioneer of the out-music movement starting in 2005 which was a moment when gay artists were not signed to major labels. I want through eight major labels—when they found out I was gay things always went south. 

It’s been amazing to be a voice in LGBTQ media when no one was speaking about these things. It’s popular now, but back when it mattered it was a lot harder to start my career as an openly gay artist and speak about these issues rather than keep quiet, cash in, and only then come out. 

BLADE: Where did that nerve come from?

KREIS: Less about nerve and more about being beaten down. How many things have to happen before you give up and decide to be honest?  

BLADE: For many theatergoers, “Hadestown” will be their return to live theater. Other than it being visionary and remarkably entertaining, why would you recommend it? 

KREIS: We need encouragement right now. But we also need art that facilitates a lot of important conversation about what’s happening in the world. This has both elements.  

“Hadestown” is not a piece of art that you easily forget. You’re going to walk out of the theater with a story that sticks with you. You’ll realized that your own voice matters. There’s a part in the show, Orpheus’ song, when the gods encourage him to get the balance of the world back again by telling him that his voice matters. 

BLADE: Is it timely?

KREIS: Art is here to change the world. And this piece of art hits the nail right on the head. I’m a purist when it comes to art and song. There’s a reason why we do it. people are listening now in a way they haven’t listened before. To miss that is to miss the role of society, I think. 

BLADE: And going forward? 

KREIS: It’s going to be interesting. We could double down on super commercialized theater or we may decide to really go the other direction and reclaim innovation. That remains to be seen. 

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Book details fight to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

Clinton-era policy was horrific for LGB servicemembers



‘Mission Possible: The Story of Repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’
By C. Dixon Osburn
c.2021, self-published $35 hardcover, paperback $25, Kindle $12.99 / 450 pages

When Senior Airman Brandi Grijalva was stationed at Tyndall Air Force Base, she talked with a chaplain’s assistant about some problems she had at home. The chaplain’s assistant said what she told him would be confidential. But when she revealed that she was a lesbian, the chaplain’s assistant no longer kept her conversation with him confidential. Grijalva, after being investigated was discharged.

Craig Haack was a corporal in the Marines serving in Okinawa, Japan. Haack, who had made it through boot camp, felt confident. Until investigators barged into his barracks. Looking for evidence “of homosexual conduct,” they ransacked everything from his computers to his platform shoes. Haack was too stunned to respond when asked if he was gay.

In 1996, Lt. Col. Steve Loomis’ house was burned down by an Army private. The Army discharged the private who torched Loomis’ house. You’d think the Army would have supported Loomis. But you’d be wrong. The army discharged Loomis for conduct unbecoming an officer because a fire marshal found a homemade sex tape in the ashes.

These are just a few of the enraging, poignant, at times absurd (platform shoes?), all-too-true stories told in “Mission Possible: The Story of Repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” by C. Dixon Osburn.

As a rule, I don’t review self-published books. But “Mission Possible” is the stunning exception that proves that rules, on occasion, are made to be broken.

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) was the official U.S. policy on gay, lesbian and bisexual people serving in the military. Former President Bill Clinton announced the policy on July 19, 1993. It took effect on Feb. 28, 1994.

Sexual orientation was covered by DADT. Gender identity was covered by separate Department of Defense regulations.

Congress voted to repeal DADT in December 2010 (the House on Dec. 15, 2010, and the Senate on Dec. 18, 2010). On Dec. 22, 2010, Former President Barack Obama signed the repeal into law. 

DADT banned gay, lesbian and bisexual people who were out from serving in the U.S. military. Under DADT, it was not permitted to ask if servicemembers were LGB. But, LGB servicemembers couldn’t be out. They couldn’t talk about their partners, carry photos of their girlfriends or boyfriends or list their same-sex partner as their emergency contract.

It took nearly a year for the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to go into effect. On Sept. 20, 2011, Obama, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff “certified to Congress that implementing repeal of the policy {DADT} would have no effect on military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion or recruiting and retention,” Osburn writes.

Before DADT, out LGBT people weren’t permitted to serve in the military. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was intended to be a compromise—a policy that would be less onerous on LGB people, but that would pass muster with people who believed that gay servicemembers would destroy military readiness, morale and unit cohesion.

Like many in the queer community, I knew that DADT was a horror-show from the get-go. Over the 17 years that DADT was in effect, an estimated 14,000 LGB servicemembers were discharged because of their sexual orientation, according to the Veterans Administration.

But, I had no idea how horrific “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was until I read “Mission Possible.”              

In “Mission Possible,” Osburn, who with Michelle Benecke, co-founded the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), pulls off a nearly impossible hat trick.

In a clear, vivid, often spellbinding narrative, Osburn tells the complex history of the DADT-repeal effort as well as the stories of servicemembers who were pelted with gay slurs, assaulted and murdered under DADT.

Hats off to SLDN, now known as the Modern Military Association of America, for its heroic work to repeal DADT! (Other LGBTQ+ organizations worked on the repeal effort, but SLDN did the lion’s share of the work.)

You wouldn’t think a 450-pager about repealing a policy would keep you up all night reading. But, “Mission Possible” will keep you wide-awake. You won’t need the espresso.

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