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Bonds wins D.C. Council race

Silverman takes ‘gay’ precincts in special election

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Anita Bonds, D.C. Council, gay news, Washington Blade
Anita Bonds, Lateefah Williams, Bill O'Field, Democratic Party, Washington D.C., Council, gay news, Washington Blade

‘I know I have many friends in the LGBT community for which I am blessed,’ Anita Bonds (center) told the Blade after her win on Tuesday. Bonds pictured here with Lateefah Williams (left) and Bill O’Field. (Washington Blade photo by Lou Chibbaro)

Incumbent Democrat Anita Bonds won the race for an at-large seat on the D.C. Council in the city’s special election on Tuesday, beating five rivals, including pro-gay Republican Patrick Mara, who drew support from LGBT activists.

But Democratic candidate Elissa Silverman, who came in second place citywide, won in 12 of the city’s 14 precincts identified as having high concentrations of LGBT residents. Mara came in second in the same 12 precincts, with Bonds coming in third.

Bonds won by a wide margin in the two remaining “gay” precincts, one in Anacostia and the other along the Southwest waterfront area, where large numbers of black LGBT residents live.

“I know I have many friends in the LGBT community for which I am blessed,” Bonds told the Blade after delivering her victory speech at the Channel Inn Hotel located on the Southwest waterfront.

“I don’t know how they all voted, but when we look at the data we’ll probably discover that persons who have been members of the community 15 to 20 years, they knew Anita,” she said. “Those who are relatively new to D.C., many didn’t know me or know my record.”

David Meadows, former president of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, the city’s largest LGBT political group, serves as press secretary for Bonds’ Council office. He noted that Bonds became a member of the Stein Club as a straight ally in 1978, two years after the club was founded, and has been a strong LGBT rights supporter ever since.

“I wouldn’t say it was overwhelming,” Meadows said in describing Bonds’ support among LGBT voters in Tuesday’s election. “But I think that there were many long-term LGBT residents that understood the support that Anita Bonds brought to our community.”

In the citywide race, Bonds received 32 percent of the vote, with Silverman receiving 28 percent. Mara received 23 percent. Democratic candidates Matthew Frumin and Paul Zuckerberg received 11 percent 2 percent respectively. Statehood Green Party candidate Perry Redd also received 2 percent.

As predicted by many political observers, only about 10 percent of the city’s registered voters turned out to vote in the special election, appearing to be one of the lowest turnout elections ever in D.C.

Each of the candidates expressed strong support for LGBT rights, including backing for the city’s same-sex marriage law. Bonds and Silverman drew support from many of the city’s prominent LGBT activists.

Mara also drew support from some of the city’s prominent gay Democratic activists, raising speculation that he could win the race as a reform candidate appealing to Democratic voters, both gay and straight, who yearn for a fresh face on the Council.

But Silverman appears to have won over a majority of the voters that political pundits say Mara attracted in his two previous races for a City Council seat.

Silverman came in first in Wards 1 and 6, where large numbers of LGBT voters live. Mara won in Ward 2, which also has large numbers of LGBT residents, and in Ward 3, where the majority of the city’s registered Republicans reside. Silverman’s win over Mara in Ward 1 came as a surprise to some because Mara, a Ward 1 resident, won election last year to the Ward 1 seat on the city’s Board of Education.

Bonds won by wide margins in the majority black Wards 4, 5, 7 and 8.

Silverman received the most votes among members of the Gertrude Stein Club at an endorsement meeting in March. But she fell five points short of the 60 percent majority vote required for a Stein Club endorsement. Bonds came in second place in the endorsement vote.

Individual Stein Club members appeared to be evenly divided in their backing between Silverman and Bonds.

LGBT activists familiar with city voting trends caution that the so-called “LGBT” precincts may not be representative of all LGBT voters because most of them are in majority white sections of the city. Gay Democratic activist Phil Pannell, a longtime resident of Ward 8, has said black LGBT residents tend to be dispersed in many different precincts and tend not to be concentrated in a few specific precincts such as those in Dupont Circle, Logan Circle and Adams Morgan.

Following is the breakdown of the vote between the leading three candidates in voter precincts identified as having high concentrations of LGBT residents. Percentages are rounded:

  • Precinct 14 (Dupont Circle): Silverman, 44 percent; Mara, 37 percent; Bonds, 6 percent
  • Precinct 15 (Dupont Circle): Silverman, 43 percent; Mara, 39 percent; Bonds, 11 percent
  • Precinct 16 (Logan Circle): Silverman, 46 percent; Mara, 32 percent; Bonds, 11 percent
  • Precinct 17 (Logan Circle): Silverman, 36 percent; Mara, 34 percent; Bonds, 15 percent
  • Precinct 18 (Shaw): Silverman, 40 percent; Mara, 18 percent; Bonds 24 percent
  • Precinct 22 (14th & U Street, N.W. corridor): Silverman, 45 percent; Mara 31 percent; Bonds, 13 percent
  • Precinct 23 (U Street & Columbia Heights): Silverman, 48 percent; Mara, 21 percent; Bonds, 17 percent
  • Precinct 24 (Adams Morgan): Silverman 51 percent; Mara 20 percent; Bonds, 13 percent
  • Precinct 25 (Adams Morgan): Silverman, 41 percent; Mara, 34 percent; Bonds, 8 percent
  • Precinct 36 (Columbia Heights): Silverman, 45 percent; Mara, 36 percent; Bonds 20 percent
  • Precinct 89 (Capitol Hill): Silverman 50 percent; Mara, 36 percent; Bonds, 4 percent
  • Precinct 90 (Capitol Hill): Silverman, 47 percent; Mara, 36 percent; Bonds, 6 percent
  • Precinct 112 (Anacostia): Silverman, 5 percent; Mara, 4 percent; Bonds, 78 percent
  • Precinct 127 (Southwest Waterfront): Silverman, 29 percent; Mara 20 percent; Bonds, 39 percent
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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. brian

    April 24, 2013 at 9:19 am

    Whether newcomers or old homesteaders, no LGBT in the city need worry about Anita Bonds’ strong (and very long-standing) support of LGBT residents and their families.

    Congratulations, CM Bonds!

  2. Stephen Clark

    April 24, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    As some of us warned weeks ago, reformists should not have tried to bully gay voters into supporting a Republican activist who casually tossed aside the gay community when he thought putting an anti-gay bigot in the White House might advance his career.

  3. John Fanning

    April 24, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    I believe Patrick Mara won Ward 2.

  4. Chris

    April 25, 2013 at 1:58 am

    WOW…..Reading this piece Washington Blade ya’ll sure got code words in full Mostly LGBT mean WHITE GAYS and when you said wide margin in the two remaining “gay” precincts Meaning BLACK! one in Anacostia and the other along the Southwest waterfront area a shame you do not help to blend this city.Still trying to grab power and force African Americans out! It will never happen.

    But the bottom line is it was mostly along RACIAL lines very sad! But Congrats Anita!

  5. John Fanning

    April 25, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    In fairness to Anita Bonds all what she was saying as it relates to the the race issue is that there should be a balance of representation on the City Council and I totally agree with her.

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Comings & Goings

Nathanson takes role at Outright Action

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Rikki Nathanson

The Comings & Goings column is about sharing the professional successes of our community. We want to recognize those landing new jobs, new clients for their business, joining boards of organizations and other achievements. Please share your successes with us at: [email protected] 

The Comings & Goings column also invites LGBTQ+ college students to share their successes with us. If you have been elected to a student government position, gotten an exciting internship, or are graduating and beginning your career with a great job, let us know so we can share your success. 

Congratulations to Rikki Nathanson on her new position as Senior Advisor – Global Trans Program with OutRight Action International in New York. Nathanson will be based in D.C.  

 “I am absolutely thrilled to be taking on this new role as Senior Advisor in OutRight’s Global Trans Program,” said Nathanson. “I have finally found the perfect fit for me: as a trans woman who has been fighting for equality not only for myself, but for others globally, this position is not only a job, it’s intrinsically part of who I am. So, what better way to live, nurture and grow myself.” 

Nathanson will be working closely with all program staff to ensure a cohesive and intentional approach to gender issues throughout OutRight’s programs, including its approach to gender ideology movements. She will lead new initiatives on gender advocacy and policy change, focused but not limited to legal gender recognition and anti-discrimination legislation and policies.

Prior to this Nathanson was director of housing programs at Casa Ruby in D.C. She has also held a number of other positions including: founder/executive director of Trans Research, Education, Advocacy & Training (TREAT), Zimbabwe; chairperson Southern Africa Trans Forum, SATF, Cape Town, South Africa; executive director, Ricochet Modeling Agency, Zimbabwe; and company secretary for Dunlop Zimbabwe Limited, Zimbabwe. 

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SMYAL Director Shakir to step down Dec. 31

Board to launch Executive Search beginning in January

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SMYAL Executive Director Sultan Shakir addresses the crowd at the 2021 Fall Brunch. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Sultan Shakir, who has served as executive director of D.C.’s LGBTQ youth advocacy organization SMYAL since August 2014, announced on Friday that he will be stepping down from his position effective Dec. 31.

In a Dec. 3 announcement, SMYAL said details of Shakir’s future career plans would be announced in the coming weeks.

“While we are sad to see Sultan leave, we wish him nothing but the same success in his new endeavor as he had at SMYAL,” said Rob Cogorno, SMYAL’s board chair. “His leadership and vision enabled SMYAL to expand greatly needed services to LGBTQ youth in the DC metro area throughout his tenure,” Cogorno said.

“I am immensely proud of the work we have been able to accomplish together in my time at SMYAL,” Shakir said in a statement released by SMYAL. “SMYAL has been an integral and vital resource in the DMV community for over 37 years, and while we have come a long way in combating homophobia, transphobia, racism, sexual health stigma, homelessness, violence against the LGBTQ community, and oppression, we have a long way to go,” he said.

“This work has never been about one person,” said Shakir. “SMYAL was founded by our community and we’re still around because of our community,” he said. “I leave knowing that the commitment and passion of the SMYAL Board, staff, volunteers, and youth leaders have created a solid foundation from which our work will continue to grow until LGBTQ youth no longer need us.”

The SMYAL statement says that under Shakir’s tenure, SMYAL, which stands for Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders, expanded its programs and services for LGBTQ youth. Among other things, in 2017 SMYAL opened its first of several housing facilities for homeless LGBTQ youth that include culturally competent case management, education and employment assistance.

“The Youth Housing Program now comprises five programmatic models that serve a combined 61 youth residents,” the statement says.

It points out that also under Shakir’s leadership, SMYAL expanded the age range of the youth its programs serve under a new Little SMYALs program, which welcomes LGBTQ youth ages 6-12. And earlier in 2021 under Shakir’s guidance, SMYAL began a new Clinical Services Department “which provides affirming and accessible mental health counseling,” the statement says.

“The SMYAL Board of Directors will officially launch an Executive Search beginning in January 2022 and expects to have named a new Executive Director by summer 2022,” the statement says. It says the board will soon name an interim executive director to work with SMYAL’s Deputy Executive Director, Jorge Membreno, and the organization’s leadership team to oversee the day-to-day activities until a new executive director is named.

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Rainbow History Project to honor LGBTQ ‘Pioneers’

Virtual celebration to take place on Dec. 9

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David Mariner, gay news, Washington Blade
David Mariner (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

D.C.’s Rainbow History Project says it will honor and recognize 12 individuals and one organization by designating them as Community Pioneers “for their diverse contributions to the Washington-area LGBTQ community” at a Dec. 9 virtual celebration.

“Rainbow History Project is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to collecting, preserving and sharing the LGBT history of metropolitan Washington, D.C.,” the group says in a statement announcing the event. “The Pioneers awards recognize diverse community leaders for their roles as organizational founders, innovators, advocates and volunteers,” the statement says.

“The Pioneers celebration will be held virtually and is designed with special features that reproduce the feeling of attending in-person, such as live streaming and video chatting with other attendees and Pioneers before and after the core awards programing,” according to the statement.

“Celebrating our Community Pioneers has been a cherished tradition since Rainbow History Project’s founding 21 years ago,” said Rob Berger, the organization’s chairperson. “It’s always an inspiring event, and we are happy that our virtual platform will still allow participants to meet and talk with the Pioneers,” Berger said in the statement.

The virtual event is free and open to the public, the statement says. Organizers released this link for those interested in attending, saying a short registration process may require registering in advance. 

Remo Conference

Following is the list of Community Pioneers scheduled to be honored at the Dec. 9 event as released by Rainbow History Project along with the project’s description of their backgrounds.

Arlington Gay and Lesbian Alliance, a local group that since its founding has addressed equal rights issues for LGBTQ Virginians from a state and local perspective.

– Eboné F. Bell, founder and editor-in-chief of Tagg Magazine and Tagg Communication LLC.

Bart Forbes, founding member of “Gay Fairfax,” a pioneering television newsmagazine program in Northern Virginia.

– Ellen Kahan, youth and family advocate, president of Rainbow Families, former director of the Lesbian Services Program at Whitman-Walker Health, and currently senior director of programs and partnerships at the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.

– Theodore Kirkland (deceased), a co-founder of D.C. Black Pride in 1991, member of the Gay Liberation Front and Skyline Faggots, active community health volunteer and advocate.

– Paul Marengo, community leader through LGBTQ organizations including Reel Affirmations, Cherry Fund, and Pride celebrations for youth, Latino, Black and Transgender communities.

– David Mariner, executive director of CAMP Rehoboth, and former executive director of the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community.

– Mark Meinke founder longtime chair, Rainbow History Project, and co-founder of Rainbow Heritage Network, a national organization for the recognition and preservation of sites, history and heritage associated with sexual and gender minorities.

– Michael “Micci” Sainte Andress, artist, health educator and advocate and an early leader in bringing African Americans into HIV/AIDS clinical trials.

– Boden Sandstrom, founder and owner of Woman Sound (later City Sound), the first all-woman sound company, which makes LGBTQ rights rallies and the women’s music scene possible.

Casse Culver (deceased), nationally acclaimed D.C. lesbian feminist singer-songwriter, and partner of Boden Sandstrom, whose followers said her love songs and feminist lyrics moved audiences from foot stomping to silent reflection.  

Alan Sharpe, playwright, director and co-founder of the African American Collective Theater in Washington, D.C., in 1976, which now focuses on LGBTQ life and culture in the Black community.

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