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Suspected gunman worked for DC gay center

FBI has man in custody after incident at Family Research Council HQ



FRC, gay news, Washington Blade
FBI unit at Family Research Council headquarters, gay news, Washington Blade

The Family Research Council headquarters building in Washington D.C. was cordoned off by police and the FBI Wednesday. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The suspect apprehended Wednesday morning for the shooting of a security guard in the lobby of the headquarters of the Family Research Council, one of the nation’s leading anti-gay groups, worked as a volunteer for the DC Center for the LGBT Community.

“We’re as surprised as everyone else,” DC Center President Michael Sessa told the Blade Wednesday night. “He volunteered for us.”

The Associated Press reported that a law enforcement official identified the suspect as Floyd Corkins II, 28, of Herndon, Va. The AP was the first to report that Corkins worked as a volunteer for the D.C. Center, but it didn’t disclose how it learned of Corkins’ association with the Center.

Sessa said the Center conducted a background check on Corkins.

Police and the FBI said a suspect shot the security guard in the arm about 10:50 a.m. Wednesday in the building’s lobby at 801 G St., N.W., which is located about a block from the Verizon Center. The guard, who suffered a non-life-threatening wound, was taken to a hospital for treatment, a police spokesperson said.

D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier and FBI Washington Field Office Director James McJunkin told reporters at a news briefing outside the building that the FBI took a male suspect into custody in connection with the case and had not charged him as of Wednesday afternoon.

The Washington Post reported that police and the FBI said they had yet to determine a motive for the shooting.

“We don’t know enough about him or his circumstances to determine what his connection is to this group or his mental state or what he was doing or thinking of doing,” the Post quoted McJunkin as saying. “So we’re going to try to sort this all out, pull the evidence together, do all the interviews we can,” the Post quoted McJunkin as saying.

Fox News reported an unidentified source familiar with the incident said the suspect “made statements regarding [the Family Research Council’s] polices and then opened fire with a gun striking the security guard.”

“He always struck me as kind, gentle and unassuming young man,” the AP quoted Center director David Mariner as saying. “I’m very surprised that he could be involved in something like this.”

According to the Post, McJunkin said the FBI became involved because of the possibility that the incident could be classified as a federal crime. The Post reported that as of early Wednesday, it was not clear whether D.C. police or the FBI would take the lead in the investigation.

D.C. police spokesperson Araz Alali told the Blade that the FBI became involved because the building in which the shooting occurred was federally owned. But the U.S. General Services Administration, which administers federal buildings, couldn’t immediately be reached to confirm whether the federal government owns or has an interest in the building.

A flag bearing the name of the Family Research Council hangs over the front of the building. The words “Faith, Family, Freedom” are inscribed in the building’s façade.

The Family Research Council and its executive director, Tony Perkins, have long denounced homosexuality as immoral and have linked it to pedophilia. The group has lobbied Congress and state legislatures in opposition to virtually all LGBT rights legislation.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, a nationally recognized civil rights group, has included FRC on its list of “hate groups,” saying it so classified the group because of its use of false and misleading information to defame LGBT people in a way that harms the LGBT community.

R. Clarke Cooper, executive director of the national gay group Log Cabin Republicans, released a statement condemning the shooting.

“As fellow conservatives, Log Cabin Republicans are often in the same room with the Family Research Council,” Cooper said. “Though we rarely see eye to eye, we absolutely condemn the violence that occurred today,” Cooper said.

“Keeping in mind that at this time we know little about the shooter or his motives, whatever our political disagreements, in this country, we use ballots, not bullets, to address them. We offer prayers for the injured security guard, his family, and everybody at the FRC building, barely a fifteen minute walk away from Log Cabin Republicans national headquarters,” Cooper said. “In many ways, this is a reminder that we aren’t so far apart.”

An FRC spokesperson couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

The leaders of 40 LGBT advocacy organized issued a joint statement expressing sadness over the shooting incident at the Family Research Council building.

“Our hearts go out to the shooting victim, his family, and his co-workers,” the statement says. “The motivation and circumstances behind today’s tragedy are still unknown, but regardless of what emerges as the reason for this shooting, we utterly reject and condemn such violence. We wish for a swift and complete recovery for the victim of this terrible incident.”

Among those signing the statement were the heads of the Human Rights Campaign; National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays; National Center for Transgender Equality; and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, which released the statement on its letterhead. David Mariner, executive director of the D.C. LGBT Center, also signed the statement.

D.C. transgender activist Jeri Hughes said she, too, condemns the shooting incident at the FRC headquarters but asked why a half dozen or more FBI agents rushed to the scene of an incident that appeared to be a local law enforcement matter.

“I’d love to have the FBI investigate all the unsolved murders of the transgender women here in D.C. over the last several years,” Hughes said.

FBI spokesperson Jacqueline MaGuire told the Blade Wednesday night that the FBI and D.C. police were working with the U.S. Attorney’s office and an announcement would be made Thursday morning on a charge or charges expected to be filed against the suspect.


District of Columbia

Bowser: No credible threats to D.C. Pride events

Mayor spoke with the Blade after flag-raising ceremony at the Wilson Building



D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser at the flag-raising of the Progress Pride flag at the Wilson Building in D.C. on June 1, 2023. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser on Thursday said authorities have not received any credible threats to upcoming Pride events.

“We don’t have any to report,” she told the Washington Blade.

“MPD is constantly working with all of our agencies to make sure we have safe special events and we’re going to keep going with our planning, like we do every year,” added Bowser. “There’s always a scan for any threats to the District.”

Bowser spoke with the Blade after she joined D.C. Council Chair Phil Mendelson, Council members Anita Bonds, Charles Allen, Kenyon McDuffie and Zachary Parker, D.C. Attorney General Brian Schwalb, D.C. Mayor’s LGBTQ Affairs Office Director Japer Bowles and other officials and activists in raising the Progress Pride flag in front of the Wilson Building.

The Blade last month reported D.C. police are investigating a bomb threat a Twitter user made against the annual District Pride concert that will take place at the Lincoln Theater on June 29. Bowles in a May 19 statement said his office reported the tweet, but further stressed that “no credible threat at this time has been made.”

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Moore issues Pride month proclamation

Governor on May 3 signed Trans Health Equity Act



Maryland Gov. Wes Moore (Public domain photo/Twitter)

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore on Thursday proclaimed June as Pride month in recognition of  “the contributions, resilience, courage and joy of LGBTQIA+ Marylanders,” according to a press release.

“In Maryland, we lead with love and inclusion. I want everyone in our LGBTQIA+ community to know that they deserve to be seen for who they are, and our administration will stand with them in the fight for equality and equity,” Moore said. “We need to elevate the stories, embrace the courage, and celebrate the humanity of our LGBTQIA+ community — and as long as I am governor, we will take the steps forward to protect and celebrate all Marylanders.”

Moore on March 31 became the first governor in Maryland history to recognize the Transgender Day of Visibility and last month he signed into law the Trans Health Equity Act into law, which requires Maryland Medicaid to provide coverage for gender-affirming care beginning next year.

“This month is a celebration of the beauty and uniqueness of the queer community, but it’s also a time to reaffirm our commitment to uplifting LGBTQIA+ Marylanders and continuing to fight against hatred, discrimination, and bigotry,” Lt. Gov. Aruna Miller said in the same press release that Moore’s office released. “LGBTQIA+ Marylanders deserve to be who they are, to live their pride — without fear or having to hide. This administration will always stand alongside and protect the rights of all Marylanders.”

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District of Columbia

Point Foundation offers growing range of scholarships, support

‘Resources to succeed and thrive rather than just make it through’



Celina Gerbic, a member of the Point Foundation’s board of directors, speaks at last year’s event. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Many in D.C. know the Point Foundation for its longstanding scholarship program and its popular Taste of Point fundraiser each spring. But the nonprofit is offering a growing range of services to its young scholars, including mental health resources and social media support.

This year’s Taste of Point brought mixologists, restaurateurs, and donors together on May 3 at Room and Board for the annual celebration. With a number of local businesses and organizations donating to the silent auction, the event both raised money for Point Foundation’s scholarships while recognizing scholarship recipients and program alumni.

Among the lineup of featured speakers was one of the foundation’s flagship scholarship recipients, Rio Dennis, a dual master’s and law candidate at Georgetown University.

“I applied for the Point Foundation Flagship Scholarship because I believed in its mission of helping LGBTQ+ students achieve their academic goals while also providing training and resources so we can become better leaders within the LGBTQ community during school and long term,” Dennis said in her speech. 

The Taste of Point celebration began in 2013, born from another event called the Cornerstone Reception. Originally planned as a normal fundraiser with hor d’oeuvres, the foundation transformed it into the current Taste of Point celebration that facilitates partnerships with new, local restaurants.

Some restaurants, like Compass Rose and Hank’s Oyster Bar, partnered with Point Foundation for their first celebration. They have been catering at the fundraiser ever since.

“It really gives you the sense of the amount of love and the amount of community that we have around the Point Foundation and mission,” said Celina Gerbic, a member on the foundation’s board of directors. “They really see, with hearing from the scholars, what the effects can be if we’re raising money for those scholarships and mentoring opportunities.”

The event also allows the foundation to showcase new offerings, such as the Community College Scholarship that was rolled out just before the pandemic in collaboration with Wells Fargo. The community college program gives scholars a financial scholarship each year of their community college experience as well as coaching and admissions counseling for students planning to transfer to a university. 

Meanwhile, the foundation is also expanding its new BIPOC scholarship, which announced its next round of recipients on May 22. The scholarship is currently supporting between 500 and 555 scholars across the country.

Omari Foote, one of the current BIPOC scholarship recipients, appreciates how the scholarship recognizes her as a Black queer student. She is even encouraging other queer students and friends to apply to receive similar assistance.

However, Point is even more than that, Dennis notes. 

Before the school year started, the Point Foundation sent Dennis and all of the new flagship scholars to Los Angeles for a leadership development conference. Scholars discussed how to become active leaders on campus, how to ask for certain resources, what is offered by their campuses, and what tutoring programs are available.

This year, Point also did a joint partnership with an online therapy program to offer discounted prices for all scholars. 

“I have anxiety and depression and I struggled a lot in undergrad with trying to balance that with my having to support myself financially,” Dennis said. “So I was definitely grateful that Georgetown did have a program that is specifically for people of color to get free therapy and Point definitely helped with… asking those questions because it is one of those programs that isn’t as well publicized.”

Point even provided Dennis with a mentor who was also a Point Scholar in law school. Meeting monthly on Zoom and texting all throughout the month, Dennis’s mentor provides academic support that helps her use the right resources and make decisions about her career.

Foote finds the scholarship unique in other ways as well. As a recipient of a handful of other scholarships outside of Point, Foote’s interactions with her scholarship programs mostly stop after they send instructions for writing donor thank you notes. But Point keeps reaching out to maintain a relationship with scholars long after that.

“They’ve reached out to me to spotlight me on Instagram,” Foote said. “They reached out to me even for this dinner, paying for my transportation to and from the dinner … It’s like they’re not just there to give you the money. They’re there to really help you navigate the college world and to be that caring supportive system that a lot of us just don’t have anymore now that we are living by ourselves.”

Last November, the foundation also held an Out in Higher Ed Week, wherein they teach scholars how to be LGBTQ+ advocates on campus. These resources help students navigate the ins and outs of discussing LGBTQ+ issues in university settings.

After graduation, Dennis has even thought about returning to the Point Foundation as a mentor to help future Black queer students, especially first generation law students, balance their mental health and financial situations.

“Point has connected me with fellow scholars who have become my friends. Point has provided me with resources and support to succeed and thrive rather than just make it through,” Dennis said. “I definitely plan on continuing to be involved with Point.”

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