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Vandals target LGBT media boxes

Both the Washington Blade and Metro Weekly have been targeted

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Metro Weekly box vandalized

A vandalized Metro Weekly box on 17th Street, N.W. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

D.C. police continue to investigate several incidents of vandalism that have damaged LGBT newspaper boxes throughout the city.

Lynne Brown, publisher of the Washington Blade, noted that the newspaper began to receive these reports in February with some readers claiming they even witnessed the vandalism as it happened. She said that the unidentified vandal or vandals have also stolen newspaper copies from these boxes throughout Dupont and Logan Circles — this reporter observed empty Blade boxes last week on 17th Street, N.W., between P and Q Streets, N.W., and along Connecticut Avenue near Dupont Circle hours after that week’s issue was delivered to them.

“Thanks to all who have called, written and texted me their locations and witness to the event (s,) said Brown, who noted that the newspaper remains confident that the Metropolitan Police Department’s Gay, Lesbian Liaison Unit will apprehend those responsible for the vandalism. “A big thanks to Peggy and the Café Berlin folks on Capitol Hill and our tireless distribution company Media Point LLC. Those guys restock and repair as fast as humanly possible.”

The vandals have also targeted Metro Weekly boxes throughout Dupont Circle and surrounding neighborhoods.

The news magazine reported earlier today that the latest incidents occurred just hours after it distributed its latest issue when rotting food and what it described as “human and animal waste” in its boxes. This reporter observed banana peels and other garbage placed in Metro Weekly boxes in front of the CVS on the corner of 17th and P Streets, N.W., and near Annie’s two blocks north earlier on Friday.

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Robert Rockwell

    September 15, 2012 at 1:07 am

    Can one commit a “hate crime” against a media box?

  2. jerry

    September 15, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    There is a longer discussion of this problem in the current issue of Metroweekly in the online edition.

  3. brian

    September 18, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    *****
    Can one commit a “hate crime” against a media box?
    *****

    I’m not a lawyer, but IMHO, a hate crime can be committed against business entities whose owners and/or customers are among the designated classifications of people DC’s hate crimes law (#22-3701 +) is intended to protect.

    “Injury to property”– which as I understand it, covers a number of DC private property crimes (e.g., destruction of private property, both felony and misdemeanor, taking property without right, defacement, etc.)– is one of the “designated acts” specifically cited in DC’s hate crimes law.

    Let’s hope MPD catches this/ these perpetrator(s), and that USAO-DC can prosecute these acts of vandalism as the instances of anti-LGBT hate crimes they appear to be.

    DC’s hate crimes law is designed to facilitate victims’ rights and remedies under BOTH DC criminal and civil procedures. And its is MPD’s duty to protect victims’ rights by accurately reporting and classifying each incident.

    So it would appear– again, IMO, from press reports– that MPD should have already listed these crimes as possible hate crimes on their 251 reports. This would give the Blade and MW stronger options to seek civil remedies as well, in the future, if the perp(s) are caught and the circumstances/ situations warrant civil action under DC’s hate crimes law (Bias-Related Crimes Act).

    • jayson

      October 12, 2012 at 1:32 pm

      You are correct, you are certainly not a lawyer, but just as slanted as one.

  4. Jack Sprat

    September 18, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    I’m not a lawyer either, but I think you are STRETCHING the purpose of DC’s hate crimes law. I thought I was the victim of a hate crime, until representatives of DC’s Gay/Lesbian police unit informed me that what I experienced was a “hate bias incident.” So, if these media boxes are more protected than I am, then this is a serious problem.

  5. brian

    September 19, 2012 at 5:10 am

    *****
    …I think you are STRETCHING the purpose of DC’s hate crimes law. I thought I was the victim of a hate crime, until representatives of DC’s Gay/Lesbian police unit informed me that what I experienced was a “hate bias incident.”
    *****
    I’m not stretching the purpose of DC’s hate crimes law at all, Jack. These CRIMINAL acts of property destruction and defacement appear to target LGBT-owned (or perceived as such) businesses and their largely LGBT (or perceived LGBT) customers. Hate crimes like these have an impact on entire communities by exercising intimidation upon, and engendering fear within members of such targeted communities. That’s very much what DC’s hate crimes law is intended to address.

    The key difference between these acts against the Blade and MW, and your case may be that of an actual *criminal* act(s) being perpetrated. You did not provide the specifics of your case, so I have no basis for comparison, nor for opining on MPD’s response to your complaint. However, “hate bias incidents” are often so designated by MPD/GLLU because a violation of an actual crime or crimes did NOT actually occur.

    For example, it’s not a crime to call someone a “faggot” or any other anti-LGBT slur, if that is all that occurs. Only when such name-calling is coupled with at least one actual crime, actually in DC’s Code books– i.e., a “designated act” specified in DC’s hate crimes law (homicide, assault, injury to property, etc.)– does DC’s hate crimes law apply as a criminal matter.

  6. Jayson

    September 24, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    The problem is people are equating any incident they experience as a hate crime showing their ignorance of the basis for the law. When one starts to use their sexuality as an excuse of why things happen to them, we all lose.

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Local

Long-time LGBTQ activist running for Md. House of Delegates

Patrick Paschall is former FreeState Justice executive director

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Patrick Paschall (Photo courtesy of Eli Sauerwalt of Patrick Paschall for Delegate)

Former FreeState Justice Executive Director Patrick Paschall last week announced via social media that he is running for the Maryland House of Delegates.

“As a proud parent of two kids in Prince George’s County public schools, former Hyattsville City Council member, and lifelong civil rights advocate and policy analyst, I’ve spent my life and career working for equity, community and sustainability for my family,” Paschall said in a statement posted to Facebook on Nov. 23. 

Paschall, who currently is the American Rescue Plan Program Manager for the city of Hyattsville, previously served as executive director for FreeState Justice from 2015 to 2017. 

His LGBTQ advocacy work also includes serving as senior policy counsel for the National LGBTQ Task Force, as an organizer for Pride at Work and as a policy fellow for the National Center for Transgender Equality.  

He also worked for Family Equality Council, an organization advocating for the rights of same-sex couples and their children. 

“One of the things I’m running on is being a parent,” Paschall told the Washington Blade. “We can provide more opportunities for families to succeed in our communities.”

Paschall is running to represent District 22, which includes Hyattsville, where he has lived for over 10 years with his two children, who currently attend Hyattsville Elementary School, and his wife, who identifies as pansexual. 

He told the Blade he views his family as a “rainbow family,” but pointed out since he and his wife did not have to endure the same difficulties as his friends who are married same-sex couples when they wanted to adopt children.

“When I became a parent, no one stopped by my house to make sure it was an adequate living situation for my child, no one checked to make sure I had a room dedicated to the child and for no other purpose,” he said. “But my friends Jamie and Sean went through all of that when they tried to adopt a kid.”

Paschall explained that even though he and his wife didn’t go through these experiences, there was still room for Maryland to improve in the areas of adoptions and civil rights. 

“It strikes me how much privilege I have because the state doesn’t design to make it hard for me like it does for so many same-sex couples,” he explained. 

Patrick Paschall with his family. (Photo courtesy of Eli Sauerwalt of Patrick Paschall for Delegate)

Much like with the recent elections in neighboring Virginia, Paschall said helping parents is an important issue for him — one he wants to carry to Annapolis — if elected “because my district deserves better schools for our kids, more child care options and family support like paid family leave.”

“I think that District 22 needs a voice in Annapolis to represent progressive parents and to exercise policy expertise in achieving the values of our community,” he added. “And I have the experience to get it done.”

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D.C. area LGBTQ bars, eateries receive $100K COVID-19 relief grant

Pitchers, League of Her Own received NGLCC, Grubhub funds

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indoor dining, gay news, Washington Blade
(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The D.C. LGBTQ sports bar Pitchers and League of Her Own, its adjoining lesbian bar, are among the nation’s first LGBTQ bars that serve food as well as alcoholic beverages to receive a $100,000 COVID-19 relief grant under a $2 million Community Impact Grant Program.

The program, aimed at supporting LGBTQ-owned and LGBTQ-allied small businesses struggling from the pandemic, was launched in September as a joint project of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, which goes by the initials NGLCC, and the global online food delivery company Grubhub.

In a Tuesday announcement, NGLCC and Grubhub said Pitchers and League of Her Own, which operate as one business in adjoining buildings in D.C.’s Adams Morgan neighborhood, are among the first three recipients of $100,000 grants under the Community Impact Grant Program. The other two recipients are FOODE + Mercantile of Fredericksburg, Va., and Café Gabriela of Oakland, Calif.

“Following this initial round of recipients, more grants will be issued in late 2021 and early 2022,” the announcement by the two groups says. In an earlier announcement, the groups said the application period for the grants program took place from September through Oct. 12, and the grants would range in amounts from $5,000 to $100,000.

“The impact of COVID-19 has been debilitating for countless restaurant and bar owners, including the many LGBTQ+-owned restaurants across the country who have persisted through lockdowns, operational changes and labor supply shortages,” said NGLCC Co-Founder and President Justin Nelson. “We’re grateful to have partnered with Grubhub to offer real lifelines to support businesses throughout the nation,” Nelson said.

“Building community in a fun and safe place has been our mission since the very beginning,” said David Perruzza, the owner of Pitchers and League of Her Own. “We’re relieved and thankful for these funds, and are looking forward to more stable days ahead,” Perruzza said.

“As a trans masculine and queer immigrant person of color, I’ve worked hard and put all my love and energy into building a beautiful and welcoming space in Café Gabriela,” said owner Penny Baldado. “I’ve remained resilient through COVID, and this grant is the injection of funds that we need to continue along our journey to full recovery,” Baldado said.

The statement announcing the first three grant recipient says funds for the $2 million grant program were generated by Grubhub’s “Donate the Change” program of which NGLCC became a partner in June. Grubhub says the program asks customers receiving food delivered by Grubhub “to round out their order and donate the difference” to the charitable fund.

“COVID has turned the restaurant industry on its head the last 18 months, and at Grubhub, we’ve been working hard every day to support our restaurant partners across the country,” said Amy Healy, Grubhub’s vice president of government relations. “As the world starts to return to a new normal, we’re proud to partner with the NGLCC and provide these grants to LGBTQ+-owned and LGBTQ+ ally-owned restaurants across the country that are pillars of their communities.”

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Va. businessman apologizes for burning of rainbow flag poster

‘Shocked and horrified’: Ashburn incident caught on video

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Organizers of an event where a Pride symbol was burned say the incident was a misunderstanding.

The owner of a Virginia technology company that hosted a private Veterans Day party on the grounds of an Ashburn, Va., brewery in which a company employee used a flame-throwing device to ignite a rainbow flag poster said the selection of the poster was a mistake and he and his company have no ill will toward the LGBTQ community.

The Washington Blade learned about the poster burning from a customer of the Old Ox Brewery in Ashburn, where the incident took place on its outdoor grounds. The customer made a video of the incident with his cell phone and sent a copy of the video to the Blade.

The video, which includes an audio recording, shows a man using a hand-held flame-throwing device to ignite the rainbow poster, which was hanging from a cable and appeared to be mounted on cardboard or a thin sheet of wood. Bystanders can be heard laughing and cheering as the poster is set on fire.

The poster consisted of a variation of the LGBTQ Pride rainbow flag that included the word “love” configured from an upper white stripe on the rainbow symbol.

The customer who took the video, who has asked not to be identified, thought the decision to set the poster on fire was a sign of disrespect if not hatred toward a longstanding symbol of LGBTQ equality and pride.

Chris Burns, Old Ox Brewery’s president, shared that view, telling the Blade he and his staff were “shocked and horrified” when they learned later that a rainbow flag poster had been burned on the brewery’s grounds. Burns said Old Ox supports the LGBTQ community and participated in LGBTQ Pride month earlier this year.

He said the company that held the private party paid a fee to hold the event on the brewery’s grounds, but the brewery did not know a rainbow poster would be burned.

“I’m mortified that our event was interpreted in this way,” said Nate Reynolds, the founder and partner of Hypershift Technologies LLC, the Falls Church, Va.-based technology company that organized the Nov. 11 party at Old Ox Brewery. “I can assure you that ZERO ill-will or offense was meant,” Reynolds told the Blade in a Nov. 24 email.

“We held a small private party for a few clients, which included a demonstration of Elon Musk’s Boring Company ‘Not a Flamethrower,’” he said in his message. He was referring to one of billionaire businessman Elon Musk’s companies that specializes in boring through the ground to create tunnels for cars, trains, and other purposes. 

“After so many being isolated during COVID, we wanted to have an event that was lighthearted and to some small effect, silly,” Reynolds said in his message to the Blade.

According to Reynolds, in thinking about what should be used for “fodder” for the flame-thrower, he went to a Five Below discount store and purchased items such as stuffed animals and posters, including a “Space Jam” movie poster as well as what he thought was a poster of the British rock group The Beatles.

“When I pulled the Beatles poster out of the tube it was instead the ‘Love’ poster,” he said, referring to the rainbow flag poster the Blade asked him about in an earlier email.

“All I focused on was the ‘Love’ wording and not the rainbow and did not draw the conclusion that the poster was an icon that represents the LGBTQ community,” Reynolds said. “It was my own ignorance of not connecting the symbolism of the poster. If I had realized it was a symbol of the LGBTQ community, I would not have used it,” he said.

“I feel terrible, and I want to emphasize that I am solely responsible for this mistake – not the Old Ox Brewery,” he wrote in his message. “Nobody at Old Ox had anything to do with this activity.”

Reynolds added, “Hate has no place in my heart, and I sincerely apologize for any offense that could have been drawn from what I now realize was poor judgement on my part. I simply didn’t correlate this poster with the LGBTQ pride symbol.”  

(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Before Reynolds issued his statement of apology, Burns, the Old Ox Brewery co-owner, told the Blade in an email he was “saddened and upset” over the rainbow poster burning on the grounds of his brewery.

“We do not wish to benefit from this event,” he said in his email message. “Therefore, Old Ox is donating 100% of the revenue generated from the private event to GLSEN.”

GLSEN is a national LGBTQ advocacy group that focuses on education and support for LGBTQ youth. Burns said Old Ox Brewery also donated proceeds from a Pride month event it organized earlier this year to GLSEN.

LGBTQ activists and organizations contacted by the Blade said they were unfamiliar with the variation of the rainbow flag with the word “love” that was the subject of the poster burning incident. The poster is available for sale at Five Below stores in the D.C. metropolitan area for $5.

Small print writings on the poster show it is produced by Trends International LLC, which describes itself on its website as “the leading publisher and manufacturer of licensed posters, calendars, stickers and social stationery products.” The Blade couldn’t immediately determine who designed the poster.

 The video of the poster burning incident can be viewed here:

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