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Pannell loses bid for D.C. school board seat

Grosso beats Brown in at-large Council race



Phil Pannell, gay news, Washington Blade
Phillip Pannell, gay news, Washington Blade

Longtime LGBT activist Phil Pannell again fell short in his bid for a seat on the school board. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Veteran gay and Ward 8 community activist Phil Pannell lost his bid for a Ward 8 seat on the D.C. State Board of Education for the second year in a row on Tuesday, finishing far behind incumbent school board member Trayon “Tray” White.

Final but unofficial returns from the D.C. Board of Elections show White captured 72.5 percent of the vote, with Pannell receiving 27.1 percent.

Pannell lost to White in a special election last year by fewer than 200 votes. Ward 8 gay Democratic activist Bradley Lewis, a Pannell supporter, said Pannell faced a greater challenge this year because White had the benefit of incumbency.

Lewis said White also benefited from the support of Ward 8 Council member and former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, who is highly popular in the ward. Barry breezed to re-election on Tuesday, trouncing challenger Jauhar Abraham by an 87 percent to 12 percent margin.

In a separate school board race, gay Dupont Circle ANC Commissioner Jack Jacobson won election to the board’s Ward 2 seat. Jacobson ran unopposed.

In a development expected by most political observers, acting Council member Phil Mendelson (D-At-Large) won his race to become Council Chair in a special election. Mendelson, who had been serving as acting chair, beat Democratic challenger Calvin Gurley by a 75.5 percent to 27.3 percent margin.

Mendelson is a longtime supporter of LGBT rights and played a key role in helping to pass the city’s same-sex marriage law as chair of the committee with jurisdiction over the law.

In the hotly contested race for the at-large D.C. Council seat reserved for a non-Democratic candidate, challenger David Grosso beat incumbent Michael A. Brown. Both are independents. With 100 percent of the city’s 142 precincts counted, Grosso received 20.8 percent of the vote; Brown received 15 percent of the vote.

Both candidates are strong supporters of LGBT rights and campaigned aggressively for the LGBT vote. Most political observers say Brown lost due to voter concern about a series of personal and campaign financial problems that surfaced over the past several years

The two were competing in a seven-candidate race for two at-large seats up for grabs this year. Under the city’s election law, the candidates finishing in first and second place win the seats. Incumbent Council member Vincent Orange, a Democrat, won re-election to the other seat, capturing 37.4 percent of the vote.

Republican Mary Brooks Beatty received 7 percent of the vote, independent candidates A.J. Cooper and Leon Swain each received 6.6 percent, and Statehood Green Party candidate Ann Wilcox received 5.8 percent.

Council members Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) and Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4), who are also strong supporters of LGBT rights, won re-election unopposed.

Council member Yvette Alexander (D-Ward) beat Republican challenger Ron Moten by a margin of 86.7 percent to 12.3 percent.

In other D.C. races, Democratic Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton won re-election with 88.7 percent of the vote, defeating gay Libertarian Party candidate Bruce Majors, who received 5.8 percent of the vote, and Statehood Green Party candidate Natale Stracuzzi, who received 4.7 percent.

Norton, a longtime strong supporter on LGBT issues, received the endorsement of the Stein Club. Major, who has also been a longtime gay activist, was endorsed by the gay conservative group GOProud.

D.C. shadow Senator Michael D. Brown and shadow House candidate Nate Bennett-Fleming, who also received the Stein Club’s endorsement, won their races by lopsided margins.

LGBT supportive at-large school board candidate Mary Lord and Ward 7 school board candidate 
Karen Williams, who also expressed support on LGBT rights, won their respective races by comfortable margins.

Sixteen of 21 openly gay candidates known to the Blade who ran for seats on the city’s Advisory Neighborhood Commissions on Tuesday either won their races or were ahead of their opponents, according to final but unofficial returns reported by the city’s election board. Ten of them ran unopposed.

Gay Democratic activist John Fanning was leading opponent Joel Heisey by 299 votes to 285 votes in ANC District 2F03 in the Logan Circle area.

In the hotly contested race for ANC 6E02, located in the Shaw-Mt. Vernon Square area, gay incumbent Kevin Chapple was leading rival Leroy Thorpe, a longtime opponent of LGBT rights, by just one vote with 274 votes to Thorpe’s 273 votes. Gay candidate Martin Moulton had 124 votes and a fourth candidate for the district, Eugene Simms, received 118 votes.

The final outcome of the two races is expected to become known later this month when the election board counts absentee and provisional ballots.

Gay Georgetown University student Craig Cassey ran unopposed as a write-in candidate for ANC 2E04, a district located entirely on the Georgetown campus. Although he’s expected to emerge as the winner, the Board of Elections won’t be able to determine whether another write-in candidate received more votes than Cassey until all write-in votes are identified later this month. Election returns show that only 9 write-in votes were cast for the 2E04 seat.

The gay candidates who won their races are Marc Morgan, 1B01 (unopposed); Jimmy Rock, 1C08 (unopposed); Mike Feldstein, 2B01 (unopposed); Victor Wexler, 2B05 (unopposed); Mike Silverstein, 2B06 (unopposed); Walt Cain, 2F02; Chris Linn, 2F03 (unopposed); Matt Raymond, 2F07 (unopposed); Lee Brian Reba, 3C01 (unopposed); Bob Summersgill, 3F07 (unopposed); Andy Litsky, 6D04 (unopposed); Roger Moffatt, 6D05; Alex Padro, 6E01; Anthony Lorenzo, 8B04.

The gay candidates who lost their races were Erling ‘Erl’ Bailey, 1B12; Martin Espinoza, 2B04; and Chad Hrdina, 5E06.



Delmarva Pride to feature drag, dancing, and more this weekend

Easton and Cambridge to host events



A scene from Delmarva Pride. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The Delmarva Peninsula will hold its annual Pride celebration this weekend, including drag shows, a festival, and much more. 

The Delmarva Pride Center will put on the annual Pride celebration starting on Friday, June 14, and it will go until Sunday to celebrate queer love and acceptance in Delmarva.  

The weekend kicks off on Friday with a free legal clinic in partnership with FreeState Justice at the Academy Art Museum, 106 South St., Easton, Md. Free legal services including name and gender marker changes, criminal record expungements, and peace and protection orders are just some of the services being offered. For more information visit

Then on Friday night, the third annual Pride Drag Show will be at the Avalon Theatre, 40 E Dover St., in Easton. Bring your cash as four drag queens and host Miranda Bryant put on the fundraising show, where 100% of ticket sales go to the Delmarva Pride Center. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and performance begins at 7 p.m. For tickets visit

On Saturday there will be the Pride festival from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at  S. Harrison and E. Dover Street, in Easton. This free community festival will include vendors, live performances, and more. 

Saturday night the party gets going as Delmarva Pride will host its 2024 Pride Dance. There will be a DJ and drinks available for purchase. This event is for 18 and up and will include a cash bar for anyone 21 and up. No tickets are required. 

To round out your Pride weekend, on Sunday the Delmarva Pride Brunch will be held at ArtBar 2.0, 420b Race St. in Cambridge, Md. Tickets include food, access to the mimosa bar, and a drag performance. Tickets are available here

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People of Pride: Five Marylanders making a difference in the LGBTQ+ community

Baltimore Pride is this weekend



Jabari Lyles poses for a portrait in East Mount Vernon Place in Baltimore on June 10, 2024. (Photo by Jessica Gallagher/The Baltimore Banner)

By JOHN-JOHN WILLIAMS IV | One hosts movie nights, karaoke and other events that provide a safe space for LGBTQ people. Another has become a sounding board for customers at his gay bar dealing with pressures of the outside world. And a third beats the pavement to promote political awareness about LGBTQ issues.

These are just some of the things five Baltimoreans the Baltimore Banner is profiling in honor of Baltimore Pride Month are doing in the fight for visibility, support and acceptance of their peers.

The rest of this article can be found on the Baltimore Banner’s website.

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Delaware’s Sussex Pride launches free statewide HIV, STI testing

Special program honors National HIV Testing Day on June 27



Each year on June 27, people across the United States are encouraged to get tested for HIV. This year for Delawareans, it’s easier than ever.

Sussex Pride has partnered with STDCheck to offer free HIV and syphilis testing everywhere in Delaware. There are more than 20 locations across the state, making it simple to find a testing center.  

David Mariner, executive director of Sussex Pride, told the Blade, “We are thrilled with this new partnership with STDcheck. The ultimate goal is to empower individuals with knowledge about their HIV status, provide necessary support, and facilitate early intervention to improve health outcomes in our state.”

Finding a testing center, getting tested, and getting results is simple. Start by finding a lab near you using this link ( Then call STDcheck at 800-456-2323 and request a free Sussex Pride HIV and/or syphilis test. Make sure to mention Sussex Pride in the call to get the test for free. Then schedule a time and get tested. 

“If you are HIV positive, the sooner you know, the better,” Mariner added. “Early and sustained treatment can help you live a long and healthy life. It can also help protect others.”

This special program is in honor of National HIV Testing Day, created in 1995 to highlight the lifesaving impact of HIV testing. HIV has historically had a disproportionate effect on the LGBTQ community. According to the CDC, 70% of all new cases of HIV in 2021 were among gay and bisexual men and other men who have sex with men.

The CDC’s theme for this year’s HIV testing day is “Level up your self-love: check your status.” The theme emphasizes, “valuing yourself, showing yourself compassion and respect, and honoring your health needs with self-love,” and the best way to do that is to test.

For more information on Sussex Pride’s testing program visit and for more information on HIV visit

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