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Gay couple attacked in possible hate crime

Yoga instructor suffers fractured jaw, broken cheekbone



A D.C. gay man is recovering from surgery for a broken cheekbone and fractured jaw following an incident early Sunday morning, July 22, in which three unidentified male suspects attacked him and his partner near the intersection of 3rd and U streets, N.E.

Michael Roike told the Blade the suspects approached him and his partner, yoga instructor Michael Hall Jr., 29, after the two got out of one of the popular upscale cars for hire known as Uber Sedan and began walking to their apartment located about two blocks away.

Roike said one of three attackers punched Hall in the face, knocking him to the ground. He said one or more of the others started punching him, but his injuries were not serious. He said an ambulance took Hall to Howard University Hospital, where he later underwent surgery during which doctors inserted a metal plate to repair a seriously broken facial bone.

“We are investigating an aggravated assault that may have been motivated by hate bias,” said D.C. police spokesperson Gwendolyn Crump. Crump told the Blade the department’s Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit was notified of the incident.

“Sunday, July 22, at approximately midnight, two complainants were in the 1900 block of 3rd Street, N.E., when three suspects appeared from an unknown direction and began to yell homophobic slurs at them,” Crump said in an email.

“The three suspects then approached the complainants and assaulted them,” she said. “Suspects fled in an unknown direction…Lookout is for three black males wearing dark clothing.”

Roike said the driver was unfamiliar with the area, which is considered part of the city’s Eckington neighborhood, and turned onto a wrong street. Rather than direct the driver to their apartment building the two men decided to get out and walk the remaining two blocks, Roike said.

He said that while the attackers knocked Hall to the ground he fought back while the others attacked him before he began to scream as loud as he could for help. A woman from a nearby house ran out with a male friend and began shouting at the attackers, prompting them to run away, Roike said.

“She was like our guardian angel,” he said. “If that lady hadn’t come running out I don’t know what would have happened. When she came out the kids dispersed. They got his phone but they didn’t get anything else,” he said, referring to Hall’s cell phone.

Police are seeking information from possible witnesses. Crump said anyone with information that could help in the investigation should call police at 202-727-9099. She said anonymous information may be submitted to the department’s Text Tip Line by text messaging 50411.

The attack against Roike and Hall came about four months after another 29-year-old gay man suffered a broken jaw and other serious injuries from an attack by at least four assailants who shouted anti-gay names at him at Georgia Avenue and Irving Street, N.W., in Columbia Heights.

Similar to Roike and Hall, the victim, who has requested that his name be withheld, was arriving home in a cab on March 12 and decided to get out about two blocks from his home. The assailants, who remain at large, attacked him minutes after he left the cab and began walking home.

The attack in March against the 29-year-old gay man took place within a few days of a shooting of a man at the nearby Columbia Heights International House of Pancakes restaurant, which police listed as an anti-gay hate crime, and the beating of a transgender woman in Northeast D.C. The three incidents prompted friends of the 29-year-old and LGBT activists to organize a protest march in Columbia Heights against anti-LGBT violence that drew more than 700 people.

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  1. brian

    July 24, 2012 at 9:22 am

    The attack against Roike and Hall came about four months after another 29-year-old gay man suffered a broken jaw and other serious injuries from an attack by at least four assailants who shouted anti-gay names at him at Georgia Avenue and Irving Street, N.W., in Columbia Heights …The assailants, who remain at large, attacked him minutes after he left the cab and began walking home.

    At Council’s Judiciary Committee hearing of June 29, Chiefs Lanier and Groomes were not conversationally familiar with whether or not the Georgia Avenue and Irving case, cited above, had been classified by MPD as a hate crime. That tells us a good deal about how seriously they take violent anti-LGBT hate crimes.

    Chief Lanier continues to stiff-arm DC’s LGBT residents, as well as their premier public safety advocacy organizations (GLAA, GLOV, DCTC).

    In this particular case, as of this post, nearly two and a half days after this crime, it is outrageous that the Metropolitan Police Department, through its MPD-5D community listserv, has not alerted LGBT residents throughout the Fifth District of this brutal anti-gay assault.

    Would it have been a big effort to post a *BOLO* (Be On the Look Out)/ public safety advisory alert on the MPD-5D listserv? That’s why those listservs exist. If MPD can’t protect LGBT residents, then it should at least provide local LGBT residents prompt crime alerts so that we can try to protect ourselves.

    However, Lanier’s MPD continues to largely exclude anti-LGBT hate crimes from reporting and/or discussion on MPD’s district listservs. That is inexplicable discrimination. And that’s outrageous, as well. LGBT taxpayers in DC pay for those MPD listservs, too.

    Additionally, the BrooklandGLBT listerv– whose members span MPD’s entire 5th District, with a good number of members in bordering Eckington– could have been given the courtesy of a heads-up note regarding this crime– whether from 5D or SLD. And GLLU’s middle name is *LIAISON*, after all.

    Lanier’s MPD, in word and deed, continues to convey the message– to DC’s LGBT residents and hate crimes perpetrators alike– that anti-LGBT hate crimes simply are not a serious priority for MPD.

  2. E. Rucastle

    July 24, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    Do we have a description of the suspects? That would be helpful if we are to protect ourselves and notify police if necessary. Surely the police reports include descriptions.

  3. Billy

    July 24, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    I wonder if the police have tracked the phone. They took it, if it’s a modern cell phone it can be tracked pretty easily. Maybe leading them right to the guys that did this.

  4. Watcher

    July 25, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    You realize you are slurring some of the victims, right? You also know that white men have been perpetrators time and time again in homophobic attacks? Remove your head from your ass, try to do something positive about the problem of gay bashing, or STFU if you cant

    • Watcher

      July 29, 2012 at 8:53 am

      My comment was directed toward a post that has since been deleted.

  5. Adrian Salsgiver

    July 31, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    Until the Gay Community starts exercising their Second Amendment Rights the violence will increase.

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Comings & Goings

Umana named associate with Gustafson Guthrie Nichol



Wolfgang Umana (Photo courtesy of Umana)

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 Wolfgang Umana on being named an associate with Gustafson Guthrie Nichol (GGN). He has been with them for more than five years and is currently its D.C. studio’s office manager. 

“I am honored to become GGN’s newest Associate,” Umana said.I have the glorious privilege of supporting GGN’s continuing dedication to progress, inclusion, social justice, sustainability, and beautification of the world we live in.”

Umana also works with NBR Computer Consulting as an LLC Computer Technician consultant. He has experience in social media, communications, outreach, and technical services, and provides a dynamic approach to the fast-changing world of technology. NBR Computer Consulting, LLC is a gay-owned business. 

Umana has also served as D.C. Army National Guard Director of Environmental Affairs and with EMS Consultation Services. 

He has his bachelor’s in Environmental Science & Public Policy, Human and Ecosystem Response to Climate Change, from George Mason University. 

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Capital Pride bids for D.C. to host World Pride 2025

International event draws thousands of visitors



Confetti rained down in New York’s Times Square at Stonewall 50 WorldPride New York’s closing ceremony two years ago. D.C. organizers hope to host the event in 2025. (Blade photo by Lou Chibbaro, Jr.)

The Capital Pride Alliance, the group that organizes D.C.’s annual LGBTQ Pride events, announced on Sept. 21 that it has submitted a bid to host 2025 World Pride, the international Pride event that draws thousands of participants from throughout the world to the host city.

The announcement by Capital Pride says its bid to host the event in D.C. notes that the event, among other things, would commemorate the 50th anniversary of D.C.’s first LGBTQ Pride event in 1975, which began as a block party near Dupont Circle.

World Pride is licensed and administered by the international LGBTQ organization InterPride. The World Pride events themselves, which usually take place every other year, are organized by InterPride’s member organizations such as Capital Pride Alliance.

The Capital Pride announcement notes that World Pride “promotes visibility and awareness of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+) issues on a global level.” The announcement adds, “World Pride events include parades, marches, festivals and other cultural activities often enjoyed at Pride celebrations, along with other components such as a human rights conference and large-scale opening and closing ceremonies.”

The InterPride website says the deadline for submitting a bid for the 2025 World Pride has passed. It says D.C.’s Capital Pride and Kaohsiung Pride, located in the large Taiwan port city of Kaohsiung, are the only two remaining cities in competition for hosting the 2025 World Pride.

Ryan Bos, Capital Pride’s executive director, said InterPride was expected to make its decision on which of the two cities to select sometime in November of this year.

“A recent study conducted by Booz Allen Hamilton revealed that the annual Capital Pride Celebrations, during normal years, result in approximately $371 million in positive economic impacts to the region, a number that may be doubled if the organization is awarded the prestigious event,” the Capital Pride statement says.

The 2021 World Pride took place earlier this year in Copenhagen, Denmark. The 2019 World Pride was held in New York City to commemorate the 50th anniversary of New York’s Stonewall riots, which many activists consider the start of the modern LGBTQ rights movement.

InterPride says the 2023 World Pride will take place in Sydney, Australia.

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Va. county supervisors back resolution against ‘required’ pronoun questions

Unanimous vote in Stafford County allows school defunding



What's Your Pronoun? review, gay news, Washington Blade
(Image courtesy of Liveright Publishing)

The Stafford County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution that gives it the authority to deny funds to schools that require students to give their pronouns and teach the 1619 Project and critical race theory.

The resolution denounces “the teaching of the 1619 Project and critical race theory (CRT) and related principles in Stafford County Public Schools,” and states the board does not support Stafford County Public School students “being required to identify their chosen pronouns.”

The approved document had been updated to change “requested” to give pronouns to “required.”

Republican Supervisor Gary Snellings told the board he brought the resolution forward, which passed by a 6-0 vote margin, in response to communication from parents. One supervisor was not present.

Snellings called critical race theory “racism.” He also called the New York Times’ 1619 Project published on the 400th anniversary of the arrival of enslaved Africans to the Virginia colony a “theory.”

Critical race theory is not taught in Virginia public schools, but a state law passed in 2020 requires local school boards to adopt policies that are more inclusive for transgender and non-binary students that follow, or exceed, guidelines from the state’s Department of Education.

Snellings said the problem with preferred pronouns was in requiring students to give them. He said that was not in the governing Virginia law.

“This (resolution) does not eliminate anything. It just follows state law,” Snellings said.

A Virginia court in July dismissed a lawsuit that challenged the Department of Education’s guidelines for trans and non-binary students. Equality Virginia and the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia were parties to the amicus brief in support of the protections.

“We are deeply disappointed that these adults made such a hateful decision for kids in the community,” tweeted the ACLU of Virginia in response to the board’s vote.

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