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Jackson says he placed ‘curse’ on Blade

Anti-gay minister suggests he triggered former parent company’s 2009 shutdown

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gay news, Washington Blade, Harry Jackson,

‘I laid hands on that newsstand and I said, ‘In the name of Jesus, I curse this paper!’ Harry Jackson said in a sermon, referring to the Blade. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Bishop Harry Jackson Jr., the Maryland minister who led an unsuccessful campaign to overturn D.C.’s same-sex marriage law, told an audience last Sunday that he placed a curse on the Washington Blade in 2009.

In what appears to be a sermon that someone recorded and posted online, Jackson said he placed his curse on the Blade two months before the Blade’s November 2009 shutdown following a bankruptcy filing by its former parent company, Window Media.

“I remember one night I walked past one of those newsstands,” Jackson said, referring to one of the Blade’s sidewalk boxes used to distribute the paper.

“As I was walking past it I looked at that newsstand and it had some article about same-sex marriage — all of that stuff on it,” he said. “And I laid hands on that newsstand and I said, ‘In the name of Jesus, I curse this paper!”

Speaking in a loud voice, Jackson added, “In less than two months, the paper went bankrupt. It was part of a six-state, six newspaper chain. It went bankrupt! It went out of business! It went under!”

The sermon was first reported by Jeremy Hooper at GoodAsYou, the audio below was clipped from the original sermon posted to Jackson’s Hope Christian Church’s website.

Jackson didn’t mention in his sermon that the Blade’s staff continued to publish even after Window Media’s bankruptcy.

Within the next several months, three staff members formed a new company that later purchased the rights to the Washington 
Blade’s name from the bankruptcy court. The staff never missed a week of publishing during the upheaval.

Jackson didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Blade editor Kevin Naff said he found it interesting that Jackson is not aware of the Blade’s comeback.

“Harry Jackson has never let the facts get in the way of his misguided opinions,” Naff said. “He is comically misinformed about the Blade’s track record.”

In his sermon last Sunday, Jackson told of how he moved to D.C. from Maryland in 2009 to become “involved and ultimately become the leader” of the effort to kill D.C.’s same-sex marriage law through a voter referendum.

“So I get into the District and I started having all these stories written by this gay newspaper called the Blade,” Jackson said. “And they were writing these things – had me on the front page day after day,” he said.

Although he didn’t go into specifics, Jackson was referring to a series of stories the Blade published in early 2009 questioning whether Jackson was a legal D.C. resident at the time he registered to vote in the city and took out petitions to place a same-sex marriage referendum on the ballot.

The Blade reported that Jackson listed as his D.C. address an efficiency apartment in a condominium building near the Washington Convention Center that was ineligible for being rented to a tenant under the condominium’s rules.

The owner of the apartment told the condo board that Jackson was his roommate, according to sources at the upscale high-rise building. But LGBT activists raised questions about whether Jackson actually lived in the building. Other sources told the Blade Jackson and his wife were seen arriving and leaving the couple’s house in Silver Spring, Md., during the time Jackson claimed to be living in D.C.

The Blade stories prompted a Mt. Vernon Square neighborhood activist to file a complaint with the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics challenging Jackson’s D.C. residency status. The board said it responded by investigating Jackson’s residency. It announced a short time later that it found Jackson’s living arrangement met the legal requirements of D.C. residency.

Jackson and his supporters lost their campaign to overturn the city’s same-sex marriage law when the D.C. Court of Appeals issued a ruling upholding a city law that prohibits ballot referendums on issues that could lead to discrimination. The appeals court held that the city has legal authority to ban referenda on certain issues.

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25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. Myke Syn

    October 3, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    oh no a curse… wonder where you find that in the bible.

    • Brian Balenson

      October 3, 2012 at 6:18 pm

      God bless Rev. Jackson and all he does. Placing a curse against a written publication and taking credit for it is doing God's work in a great way that advances mankind.

    • Kevin Flanagan

      October 4, 2012 at 2:08 pm

      Advancing mankind through curses from his imaginary friend? No, sir, Science advances mankind

    • Honut Sinti

      October 7, 2012 at 9:04 pm

      If that Jackson fella has such powers by proxy, why doesn’t he place “blessings” on the poor and the sick so they get money and become well?

  2. Kevin Flanagan

    October 3, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    What a boatload of crazy! How very christian of him to curse others….voo doo, perhaps?

  3. Johnday Johnson

    October 3, 2012 at 4:23 pm

  4. Peter Rosenstein

    October 3, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    One must laugh at Harry Jackson- other reactions aren’t as nice or printable.

  5. Sean Sydnor

    October 3, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    I wonder how he got his hands on a copy. Leather Rack? Cobalt?

  6. Bob Summersgill

    October 3, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    Nice of him to remember the curse (a very demonic thing to do by the way) after the fact. If he had announced it before hand, that might have been more convincing. Unless of course he goes around cursing everything.

  7. brian

    October 4, 2012 at 8:58 am

    *****
    Nice of him to remember the curse (a very demonic thing to do by the way) after the fact.
    *****
    Yep. That is rather demonic. Likewise, for example, vandalizing LGBT newspaper dispenser boxes is not very virtuous either. I’m sure that had nothing to do with good bishop’s curse, tho.

    BTW, isn’t this the same nice bishop who once shared a cab ride with Rick Rosendall? Maybe we should all just offer him a ‘neighborly’ cab share, too?
    :)

  8. Jim Wasser

    October 4, 2012 at 9:53 am

    What a moron!

  9. Chuck Riley

    October 4, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    Interesting a man of god, small "g" intended, is placing a curse on the Blade. Jackson, WWJD?

  10. David Phillips

    October 4, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    I don't recall Jesus every commanding his followers to place curses on people, places, or things. The act seems totally non-scriptural and more an artifact of voudou.

    • Loraine Hutchins

      October 5, 2012 at 2:35 pm

      don't insult voudou either. the man is responsible for his own negative energy

  11. Calvin Gerald-Kornmann

    October 4, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    the fireplace….

  12. Robert

    October 4, 2012 at 10:47 am

    Jesus would not curse anyone. This guy doesn’t even know his own religion. What a schmuck (a new word I learned from a Jewish Friend that so fits this guy)

  13. Sterling Washington

    October 4, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    The Blade should deliver some copies to Rev. Jackson's church this week. Just so the parishioners see how effective his "curse" was.

  14. James Hawk Crutchfield

    October 5, 2012 at 4:04 am

    Jackson's statement is akin to the question "If a bear shits int he forest and no sees it did it really happen". How doe she explain the excellent job did getting a simple newsletter out the same week and then a full size within only a few weeks. Apparently God was on the side of The Blade.

  15. Karen Gautney

    October 5, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    Just like Jesus came back from the dead, so did the Blade. We aren't looking to found a religion on it or anything, but a little respect would be appreciated.

  16. Anonymous

    October 5, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    What a LUNATIC! Curses? So this moron preaches voodoo? He'a actually quite the comedian. Where's a well-trained assassin when you need them?

  17. Lanorexic

    October 5, 2012 at 11:36 am

    What a fuckin’ joke. Does he really think he’s worth so much as a ‘ticket-to-heaven’ tithing much less taking credit for the long process of the financially irresponsible institution? VOODOO is alive and wishing it were somewhere else besides in Harry “I don’t really live in D.C” Jackson!

  18. Vin

    October 5, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    Does anybody not think VooDoo before finishing the first paragraph?

    Haiti had its earthquake because their ancestors made a deal with the devil to drive out the French.

    God told Oral Roberts to raise $8 M in 3 months or he would be called home.

    Harold Camping forgot to carry the 3 when he was ciphering the end of the world.

    Adam & Eve rode around on the brontosaurus with Fred & Wilma.

    Ronald Reagan was a compassionate conservative.

  19. BJ Foster

    October 6, 2012 at 8:55 am

    Oh Hairy Jackson, come out of the closet already you darn fool…

  20. Skeeter Sanders

    October 12, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    For a man who claims to be a "man of God" to put a curse on anyone or anything — as "Bishop" Harry Jackson claims to have put on The Washington Blade in 2009 — Jackson, of all people, should know that what goes around, comes around and that whatever you set forth comes back to you threefold, whether good or ill.

    I would not be surprised if Bishop Jackson ends up getting defrocked for this. No religious leader — certainly not one who claims to be a Christian – has any authority to put a curse on anyone. That is clearly conduct unbecoming a minister.

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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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