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McAuliffe, Warner attend Equality Virginia dinner

Nearly 1,000 people attended annual gathering in Richmond

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Gay News, Washington Blade, Gay Virginia, Terry McAuliffe

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Terry McAuliffe (center) at an Equality Virginia fundraiser in Arlington, Va. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

RICHMOND, Va.—Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe on Saturday reaffirmed his support of marriage rights for same-sex couples during Equality Virginia’s annual dinner that took place at the Greater Richmond Convention Center.

“It was two months ago that I came out for marriage equality,” he said, referring to the February Google chat during which he publicly announced his position. “I came out early because I thought it was the right thing to do.”

McAuliffe, who is the former chair of the Democratic National Committee, said the first thing he would do as governor is sign an executive order that would ban discrimination “based on any issue.” He also sought to differentiate himself from Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli who last week asked the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond to review a three-judge panel’s decision in March that struck down Virginia’s sodomy law.

“I will make sure that every single individual in the commonwealth of Virginia is treated fair and equal,” McAuliffe said.

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.,) who publicly backed marriage rights for same-sex couples last month before the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in cases that challenge the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act, said he was “proud to lend my voice on that important issue.” He credited his three daughters with helping him come to support nuptials for gays and lesbians.

“Any committed couple ought to have protection under the law,” Warner, who in 2005 became the first Virginia governor to sign an executive order that banned anti-gay discrimination against state employees, said. “No one ought to have their relationship viewed as second class.”

Equality Virginia honored U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va;) Girl Scouts of the Commonwealth of Virginia Interim CEO Viola Baskerville; LGBT advocates Ted Heck, Guy Kinman and Gregg Smith; publishers of the Our Own newspaper that published in Norfolk from 1976-1998 and University of Virginia psychology professor Charlotte J. Patterson. The group also acknowledged Roanoke auto body shop owner Richard Henegar, Jr., who last summer coordinated efforts to repair Radford University student Jordan Addison’s vandalized car that had “die fag” scratched into the door.

Virginia Congressman Bobby Scott; state Sens. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) and A. Donald McEachin (D-Henrico;) state Dels. Jim Scott (D-Merrifield,) Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond,) David Toscano (D-Charlottesville) and Charniele Herring (D-Alexandria;) attorney general candidates Mark Herring and Justin Fairfax; lieutenant gubernatorial hopeful Aneesh Chopra; Richmond City Councilmembers Cynthia Newbille and Jonathan Baliles and Alexandria City Councilman Paul Smedberg are among the nearly 1,000 people who attended the dinner.

Richmond Circuit Court Judge Tracy Thorne-Begland, who in January became the commonwealth’s first openly gay jurist after the Republican-controlled House of Delegates initially rejected his nomination last May, also attended.

Parrish: We have reason to celebrate

The dinner took place less than two months after a House of Delegates subcommittee tabled a bill that would have banned discrimination against LGBT state employees.

“Sometimes Virginia is not always known for its steps forward,” Warner said. “We’ve seen actions in the General Assembly over the last couple of years that at times have not made Virginia the kind of leading light, but instead the butt of Jon Stewart jokes.”

A Virginia House of Delegates subcommittee in January killed a measure introduced by state Del. Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax) that would have repealed the 2006 Marshall-Newman Amendment that defined marriage as between a man and a woman in the commonwealth’s constitution.

Equality Virginia Executive Director James Parrish and others noted throughout the dinner, however, a majority of Americans now support nuptials for gays and lesbians.

“Tonight we have reason to celebrate,” he said. “LGBT Americans are more visible than ever before. Virginia is ripe for change.”

Newark (N.J.) Mayor Cory Booker also referenced his own evolution on same-sex marriage during his keynote address.

“This is the United States of America,” he said. “It’s not United Airlines where some of you can sit in first class and some people are back in coach. You can’t have two types of citizenship in this country.”

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District of Columbia

Inaugural Uptown Pride to take place June 10

Festival to feature drag storytime, makers’ market, DJs

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Logo created by Anthony Dihle (Courtesy of Justin Noble)

A new Pride festival is coming to D.C. 

The inaugural Uptown Pride will be hosted in Sixteenth Street Heights on June 10 with Pride celebrations for Washingtonians of all ages.

The festival, hosted at the intersection of 14th Street, Colorado Avenue and Kennedy Street, NW, will feature a drag storytime, a makers’ market, DJs and more. There will also be a raffle for various prizes, with all proceeds going to the Trevor Project, which provides suicide prevention services for LGBTQ teens.

The festival will be from 2-7 p.m. and is partnering with local businesses like Moreland’s Tavern, Captain Cookie and Lighthouse Yoga Center for activities and refreshments.

Justin Noble, one of the organizers of the festival, said that the inspiration for the event came out of wanting a Pride experience tailored to the residents of the Sixteenth Street Heights, Petworth and Brightwood neighborhoods.

“It can be a hassle to get to downtown,” Noble said. “There needs to be something in our community that supports LGBTQ+ people and the culture and all of that because we’re everywhere, right? We are everywhere.”

Organizer Max Davis said that the inclusion of children’s events like a drag storytime was purposeful, and helps make the event more accessible to LGBTQ families and youth. 

“Kids I feel are the most important in as far as just showing them, just visibly showing them that you can live out and you can be queer,” Davis said. “There is no more dangerous time than now to be queer, questioning youth … So who better to welcome into the fold than kids who might be questioning their sexuality.”

Davis said that a big part of wanting to bring Pride celebrations uptown was to have a physical representation of support for the LGBTQ community.

“I felt like because there wasn’t anything going on in Sixteenth Street Heights — the clientele that we were serving up at Moreland’s absolutely is supportive, and I never felt that it wasn’t a supportive environment — but if you don’t have something to actively support that I feel that your support is just words,” Davis said. “If our community had someplace to attend even for one day to just be like, ‘Hey, I stand with you,’ … that is something that every community should have available to them to actively support the LGBTQ community.”

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District of Columbia

Capital Pride announces 2023 honorees, grand marshals

Assistant Secretary of Health Levine among picks

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Assistant U.S. Secretary of Health Admiral Dr. Rachel Levine. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Assistant U.S. Secretary of Health Admiral Dr. Rachel Levine and acclaimed longtime D.C. LGBTQ and transgender rights advocate Earline Budd are among nine prominent LGBTQ community leaders named on Wednesday by the Capital Pride Alliance as its 2023 Capital Pride honorees.

Capital Pride Alliance, which organizes D.C.’s annual Capital Pride parade, festival, and related events, announced in a May 24 statement that it will present the honoree awards to each of the recipients at a ceremony scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday, June 2, at the Penn Social event and catering hall at 801 E St., N.W.

“The recipients are nominated each year by members of the community,” the Capital Pride statement says. “They represent individuals who and organizations that have advanced the causes of LGBTQ+ rights,” it says.

The statement says Levine was selected for the Capital Pride Paving the Way Award, which “acknowledges an individual or organization that has provided exemplary contributions, support, and/or advocacy that has positively impacted the LGBTQ+ community, and whose leadership has inspired continued progress.”

Levine, who was appointed by President Biden in 2021 as Assistant Secretary of Health, is a longtime pediatrician who also serves as an admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. She became the first openly transgender person to hold the admiralty position.

Capital Pride named Earline Budd as recipient of the Capital Pride Super Hero Award, which “recognizes additional significant and important contributions to the LGBTQ+ community in the national capital region.”

The statement announcing the honorees says Levine and Budd will also serve as grand marshals for the June 10 Capital Pride Parade. It says each of the other honorees will serve as parade marshals.

The announcement says the following four people have been named as recipients of the Capital Pride Hero Award:

• Shi-Queeta Lee, the D.C.-based nationally acclaimed drag performer
• Benjamin Rosenbaum, longtime congressional staffer, LGBTQ rights advocate, and LGBTQ Jewish community advocate
• Nancy Canas, president of D.C. Latinx History Project and advocate for the LGBTQ Latinx community
• Abdur-Rahim Briggs, longtime leader of the D.C.-based Project Briggs, which provides philanthropic support for LGBTQ causes.

The following two organizations were named as recipients of the Capital Pride Breaking Barriers Community Impact Award, which recognizes individuals or organizations that have “demonstrated a significant impact to the LGBTQ+ community at either the local or national level and who helped eliminate barriers for social, personal, or professional growth of the LGBTQ+ community:

• Drag Story Hour DMV
• National LGBTQ Task Force

The Bill Miles Award for Outstanding Volunteer Services, which acknowledges “exemplary contributions to the Capital Pride Alliance, its programs, initiatives, or other Pride sponsored activities,” is being given to Brandon Bayton, Jr., a longtime Capital Pride volunteer, consultant, and organ transplant advocate, and LGBTQ rights advocate.

“We are fortunate to have such a vibrant honoree selection process, with so many outstanding individuals who were nominated,” said Ashley Smith, president of the Capital Pride Alliance Board of Directors. “We are very pleased to celebrate these individuals at the 2023 Capital Pride Honors,” Smith said in the CPA statement.

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District of Columbia

Blade names recipients of two summer fellowships

Kravis, Lev-Tov join LGBTQ news team

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Isabelle Kravis and Joel Lev-Tov are the Blade Foundation’s 2023 summer fellows.

The Blade Foundation this week announced the recipients of its 2023 summer fellowship program. 

Isabelle Kravis (she/they) is a senior at American University studying journalism and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. She will focus on covering LGBTQ issues in the local D.C. area for 12 weeks starting this week. The fellowship is made possible by a generous donation from the DC Front Runners Pride Run 5K event.

“I’ve been reading the Blade since I first moved to D.C. for my freshman year and I’m so excited to be able to contribute to such a historic paper,” Kravis said. “I love covering the LGBTQ community because of the diversity of experiences that each queer person has and the joy that queer people bring to everything they do. I’m incredibly lucky to have this opportunity to be able to cover both the city and community that I love.”

Joel Lev-Tov (they/them) is a senior at the University of Maryland College Park studying journalism. Lev-Tov also serves as president of the Association of LGBTQ Journalists at College Park. Lev-Tov is the sixth recipient of the Steve Elkins Memorial Journalism Fellowship, which honors the co-founder of CAMP Rehoboth. The fellow covers issues of interest to the LGBTQ community in Delaware, also for 12 weeks. The fellowship is funded by donations from the Rehoboth Beach community.

“I’m extremely excited to start reporting about my community for my community,” Lev-Tov said. “The Blade is offering me a special opportunity that I’m very grateful for. I can’t wait to start reporting!”

Kevin Naff, editor of the Blade, welcomed Kravis and Lev-Tov to work this week.

“We’re all excited to work with Isabelle and Joel this summer,” Naff said. “There’s never been more news to cover and they will add an important, fresh perspective to our work. Thank you to our donors and to the Front Runners for making this program possible.”

For more information on the fellowship program or to donate, visit bladefoundation.org.

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