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Adam Lambert headlines Marylanders for Marriage Equality fundraiser

Concert comes day after governor admitted campaign needs additional $2 million

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Gay News, Washington Blade, Gay Maryland, Adam Lambert

Adam Lambert at the 9:30 Club (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Gay former “American Idol” contestant Adam Lambert on Tuesday headlined a D.C. fundraiser for the campaign to defend Maryland’s same-sex marriage law.

“Marriage equality is about treating everyone as equals, regardless of who they fall in love with, said the Grammy-nominated singer in a statement released before the concert at the 9:30 Club in Northwest Washington. “I’m honored to appear at this event to help do whatever I can to bring notice to a cause that is close to my heart.”

The fundraiser took place a day after Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who asked the 9:30 Club to host the event, conceded that Marylanders for Marriage Equality needs to raise an additional $2 million ahead of the Nov. 6 referendum on the law he signed earlier this year. Josh Levin, campaign director of Marylanders for Marriage Equality, said in June that he could run a “winning campaign” with between $5 and $7 million, but he once again declined to tell the Washington Blade how much money his group has raised during a conference call with reporters earlier this week.

Both O’Malley and D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray are scheduled to attend a separate Marylanders for Marriage Equality fundraiser at gay Democratic lobbyist Steve Elmendorf’s Logan Circle home on Oct. 2.

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20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. frederick

    September 26, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    Wish more people went. Strange combo of ladies and gays. Horrible turn out. He was loose and great. Effortless vocals. Great photo looks like Jagger and Richards. That little guy can play and is as good looking as Lambert.

    • Why Why Why

      September 27, 2012 at 6:30 am

      I could of brought me and 3 other peeps. Less than a week’s notice – ugh! I see lots of tweets where people were upset because they didn’t even know he was in town and they wanted to go. Very POOR planning – don’t blame it on Adam.

    • PurpleGrass

      September 27, 2012 at 6:41 am

      Yes, it was poor piss-ass planning; putting tickets on sell the exact same day as Lady Gaga’s $200-$350 tickets. Not too many people can afford $1,000+ for concert tickets. Hope he still comes to this area when he gets ready to tour for his Trespassing album.

    • karen

      September 27, 2012 at 12:44 pm

      I do know more would have attended if it were not on night of Jewish Holiday. It prevented many from going who were observing Yom Kippur. Surprised they did not pick a better date.

  2. Justin

    September 26, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    Adam Lambert is a great voice for our community and such a great talent! His guitarist is such a attenion seeking phony tho, come on dude, we all know your straight, quit playing us!

    • karen

      September 27, 2012 at 2:46 am

      You completely misread Tommy Joe Ratliff, Adam’s gitarist. He is very down to earth, genuine and honest and that’s why he has become close friends with Adam. I think you’re letting stereotypes influence you and thus becoming judgmental – judging by appearances only is something everyone dislikes – especially when you are the one being judged. You might try doing less of it if you don’t like it yourself. Tommy was in an all straight rock band before he even knew Adam and always was coloring his hair and wearing heavy eyeliner etc. He has never at any time tried to be like “us” or “played us”. He simply is who he is and there is nothing phony about him or about Adam.

    • Kim

      September 27, 2012 at 5:01 am

      I agree. His guitarist is an attention seeker, and isn’t very good at playing guitar at all. Adam Lambert is a phenomenal singer, and deserves to have a better team of musicians (with the exception of his current musical director) playing for him.

    • Dawn

      September 27, 2012 at 7:48 am

      Excuse me!? When has he ever been an attention seeker or a phony? Exactly, never. And you know what? You do not need to be gay to support LGBT rights and/or marriage equality.

    • Maryplease

      September 27, 2012 at 7:53 am

      Come on, Justin- if that is your real name. Delores, more likely. Why would the sexual orientation of Adam’s guitarist upset you? The little guy is affectionate. Why, he has even been seen kissing and hugging his gay friend offstage! Shocking, I know!! I doubt your dislike has anything to do with your
      being a gay man, Ms. Glambert. If Adam doesn’t mind his “act,” why should you?

    • AdamFan

      September 27, 2012 at 9:40 am

      wow, there’s not really a need for that. Tommy’s an amazing guitarist, and everyone knows he’s straight, but he and Adam have a great friendship and have fun onstage, and he’s a great supporter of the NOH8 Campaign and the cause they were there for that night, how does that make him “an attention seeking phony” when all of that is public knowledge?

  3. Suzie

    September 26, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    nothing strange about supporting a good cause and enjoying a fabulous show and singer. people were respectful of each other, what more could one want. except more advance notice so more people would have been able to plan ahead and attend.

  4. D whitmire

    September 27, 2012 at 7:07 am

    No one knew about it. This iSync first learning of it. Would have loved to been there

  5. Jo

    September 27, 2012 at 7:30 am

    Awesome concert for a great cause, I just feel sorry that thus comments section had to be cheapened by unnecessary hateful comments regarding Adam’s guitarist. Sexuality has nothing to do with marriage equality, or his ability to be a musician. Boxes are for possessions, not people; maybe when society learns that then people won’t have to fight so hard for equal rights.

  6. Terry

    September 27, 2012 at 8:07 am

    As a “lady” who knows a lot of gay men I’m not sure why anyone would think that “combo” is ‘strange’. Adam is all about seeing past the surface and embracing everyone for who they are not “what”. It’s a shame others don’t understand that and keep insisting on segregating people into “groups” that “should or shouldn’t” be together. There were a lot of people there, straight men and women, gay men and women, kids, older people, teenagers. You name it. It was a fund-raiser with a fairly high price tag. I think they did really well out of it. And what a show Lambert put on for everyone!! His talent and showmanship deserves stadiums.

  7. Kate

    September 27, 2012 at 8:32 am

    While I was not there, I have seen video… Adam was flawless as always… All his performances are so natural & effortless… I am honoured to be called a Glambert… Such a great cause… And as for that idiot, Justin… Dude… First, TommyJoe ain’t seeking any attention… He stays to the back 90% of the time… And know your facts, cause second, both Adam & TommyJoe have said tommyJoe is straight just open & bendy, so to speak… It’s awesome that a straight guy would do the things he does to show support for the LGBT & raise awareness on the hardships they face in their struggle for equal rights…

  8. stefanilambert

    September 27, 2012 at 11:13 am

    I love Adam lambert & Tommyjoe….

  9. Isis

    September 27, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    Yes, it’s too bad this wasn’t marketed enough. I’ve heard a lot of “wish I had known” comments. Videos show a really fun show. Tommy is a good guitarist – not yet great, though, IMO. He’s getting there. Not an attention hog at all. You need only watch him to know that. If his purple hair gets him characterized as an attention hog – what will you say about Ashley D (his bass player)? ;-)

  10. Angela

    September 28, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Wish I had known far sooner than I did….I’d have totally called into work sick to make it.

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Virginia

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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Fairfax schools returns LGBTQ-themed books in high school libraries

Review found ‘no pedophilia’ in texts as critics claimed

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(Book cover insert courtesy of Amazon)

The Fairfax County Public Schools announced on Tuesday that following a detailed review by two committees appointed by school officials it has returned two LGBTQ themed books to its high school libraries that had been temporarily withdrawn after being challenged by critics who claimed they included sexually explicit content inappropriate for students.

The two books, “Lawn Boy,” a novel by author Jonathan Evison, and “Gender Queer: A Memoir,” which is described as an illustrated autobiography by non-binary author Maia Kobabe, each contain descriptions of sexual acts.

But supporters of the books have argued that they have won praise by literary critics and, while describing intimate relationships, they tell stories that do not fall into the category of pornography.  

Fairfax County Public Schools, the name used for the county’s public school system, on Tuesday said in a statement that a thorough review of the books by two committees consisting of educators, school officials, parents and some students found that neither book contained content that could be considered to depict pedophilia as claimed by some parents and others opposing the two books.

School officials announced they had temporarily withdrawn the two books from school libraries following a Sept. 23 meeting of the Fairfax County School Board where strong objections to the two books were raised by parents.

“Two books that were subject to formal challenge have been deemed appropriate for high school readers following a two-month review process and will be reinstated to Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) libraries,” Tuesday’s statement by the school system says.

“The decision reaffirms FCPS’s ongoing commitment to provide diverse reading materials that reflect our student population, allowing every child an opportunity to see themselves reflected in literary characters,” the statement continues. “Both reviews concluded that the books were valuable in their potential to reach marginalized youth who may struggle to find relatable literary characters that reflect their personal journey,” the statement says.

The statement says the final decision to reinstate the books was made by Noel Klimenko, the Fairfax County Public Schools’ assistant superintendent for its Instructional Services Department.

The two books have received favorable reviews in various literary publications. Both have received the American Library Association’s Alex Award, an annual award that recognizes the year’s 10 books written for adults that the association says have a special appeal to young adults ages 12 through 18.

“The robust committee process took place over several weeks and considered whether the books flouted regulations by being obscene or harmful to juveniles as defined by the Code of Virginia,” the school system statement says. “The members also considered the work in line with an excerpt from the FCPS Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook pertaining to possessing obscene visual imagery as defined in the Code of Virginia,” the statement says.

“After careful consideration, neither books were deemed to have fallen foul of these regulations,” it concludes.

The decision by Fairfax school officials to reinstate the two books came about six weeks after more than 425 LGBTQ students and allies from over 30 Fairfax County public high schools sent a letter to the school board and the school system’s superintendent urging them to reinstate the two books.

The Pride Liberation Project, a coalition of LGBTQ and allied students in Fairfax County, organized the joint letter.

“Student representatives from over 30 schools, including nearly every high school in Fairfax County Public Schools, have signed this letter, and many of us are students of color, low-income, gender expansive and not out to our families and communities,” the letter states.

“We are writing to ask you to reject calls to remove Maia Kobabe’s ‘Gender Queer’ and Jonathan Evison’s ‘Lawn Boy’ from Fairfax County Public Schools libraries,” the letter says.

It points out that “hundreds of books in our schools already depict heterosexual relationships and physical intimacy,” and says singling out LGBTQ themed books with similar stories of intimacy for rejection is unfair.

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Transgender Zimbabwean woman in Md. wins asylum case

Mattie Tux Horton lives in Rockville

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Mattie Tux Horton, right, with her lawyer Ankush Dhupar in Los Angeles. (Photo courtesy of Mattie Tux Horton/Facebook)

A transgender woman from Zimbabwe who lives in Rockville won her asylum case in late October after living in the U.S. for the past five years. 

Mattie Tux Horton was represented by Ankush Dhupar from the Los Angeles law firm Paul Hastings LLP.

“I feel at ease,” said Horton. “Although a lot is going on in the [United States], it’s [significantly] different compared to where I’m coming from.”

Horton said that she now considers the U.S. to be her home. 

Although she has been living in Maryland for a while now, receiving asylum stripped away the anxiety associated with returning to Zimbabwe had the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency denied her request. 

With protection from the U.S. government, Horton gets to live in a safe environment and without the vile treatment she encountered in Zimbabwe because of her transness.

In her hometown of Bulawayo, Horton faced constant public humiliation and was once fired from her job as a graphic artist because of her dress presentation, according to an interview she did with Medium. 

She was attacked by a violent group of men in 2014, and was outed later that year following a holiday trip to South Africa, according to the interview. 

This incident garnered media attention and The Sunday News, a Zimbabwean newspaper, published an article in which it misgendered Horton throughout the entire piece. 

This prompted Horton to apply for a U.S. visa so she could attend an LGBTQ leadership conference in D.C. and remove herself from the cacophony in her town.

The Sunday News later ran a story about Horton’s departure in which they misgendered her again and referred to her as a “transgender man” and “alleged gay.”

Horton arrived in D.C. in December 2016 and began her asylum process there. 

While visiting a friend in Los Angeles, she connected with the city’s Human Rights First chapter that referred her to Dhupar, who represented her pro bono. 

Dhupar is a labor and employment law attorney at Paul Hastings LLC and he volunteered to work on Horton’s case as part of his firm’s partnership with Human Rights First to do pro bono LGBTQ advocacy work.

Horton’s asylum was his first ever immigration case.

While the legal underpinnings of immigration were new to him, Dhupar did not struggle to situate his modus operandi because of how compelling Horton’s case was.

“I always referred to the facts of the case because the law is geared towards helping situations like [Horton’s] where someone fears for their life in their home country,” said Dhupar. 

Dhupar also added that Horton’s case was a prime example of why the asylum process exists.

Horton submitted a psychological evaluation in February 2021 that would expedite her asylum case and grant her an interview notice sooner than usual. 

At that point she had lived in the U.S. for more than four years, but she still had to wait a couple more months before she was called for an interview. This caused Horton to feel trepid about whether her case was strong enough. 

“I went through depression and had psychological breakdowns,” said Horton. “I have friends who were called in for an interview months after moving here and didn’t have to wait five years [like I did].”

This hurdle, however, gave Horton and Dhupar adequate time to build an indisputable case. The two built a personal relationship that kept them vigilant despite the abounding uncertainty. 

“She was a perfect advocate for herself and took the initiative to make sure the case did not fall on the backburner,” said Dhupar. 

Now that she has won her case, Horton is taking time to relish on her recent success. 

“I’m going to take a breather,” she said.

She also plans to secure full-time employment in 2022 and build a makeup brand. Horton currently works part time as a steering committee member — a role she says is fulfilling — at the Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project- Transgender Law Center.

There, she links Black trans and gender nonconforming individuals to education, employment, legal and healthcare resources.

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