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Attacker says drag performer threatened to give her AIDS

D.C. police take conflicting reports over attack captured on video

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Miles DeNiro, Manny & Olga's, hate crime, gay news, Washington Blade
Miles DeNiro, Manny & Olga's, hate crime, gay news, Washington Blade

Miles Denaro, 24, says he was attacked by two women who called him a ‘tranny’ and ‘faggot.’ (Screen capture)

One of two women shown in a video posted online punching and kicking a gay male drag performer while pulling him by his hair inside a D.C. carryout restaurant has filed a police report accusing the man of biting her leg and telling her “now you have AIDS.”

The report given by the woman, which D.C. police made public Tuesday afternoon, was the latest development stemming from an incident early Sunday morning, June 23, at Manny & Olga’s pizzeria on 14th Street, N.W., in which Miles Denaro, 24, says he was attacked by two women who called him a “tranny” and “faggot.”

Denaro said he bit the women in self-defense but denies he ever told her she had or would get AIDS.

He said he came to the restaurant to take out food shortly after he performed under his drag name Heidi Glum at the Black Cat nightclub located on the same block as Manny & Olga’s. He was in drag when he entered the restaurant.

The video shows the two women hitting Denaro with their fists while dragging him by his hair across the floor of the restaurant as bystanders, including a man taking the video, laughed and cheered.

According to Denaro, no one, including about six Manny & Olga employees, came to his aid during the assault.

Denaro said he chose not to call police at the time of the assault. He filed a separate police report on Monday, June 24, accusing the two women of assaulting him. He told the Blade the assault began after one of the women made fun of his makeup and words were exchanged between them, prompting one of the women to slap him in the face twice.

“Then I flipped out,” he said. “I spit in her face and her friend jumped in and they started dragging me around by my hair while punching me in the face repeatedly and kicking me,” he said.

He initially identified himself to the media as Miles DeNiro. When asked by the Blade why the police report spelled his last name as Denaro, he said he has used “DeNiro” as a stage name and that his legal birth name is Denaro.

The police report taken from the woman, who is identified as Rachel Manna Sahle, 22, of Gaithersburg, Md., classifies her biting allegation against Denaro as a felony aggravated assault that carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail.

The police report taken from Denaro classifies the assault by the two women against him as a misdemeanor simple assault, which has a maximum sentence of six months in jail and/or a fine of $1,000.

Police spokesperson Gwendolyn Crump said police would have no comment on any details of the case because it remains under investigation. No arrests had been made in the case as of Wednesday.

It couldn’t immediately be determined why the police reports classified the woman’s allegation as a more serious offense than Denaro’s complaint – which is backed up by the video – that the two women injured him in a violent attack.

Denaro told the Blade he did, in fact, bite Sahle on her leg but said he did so in self-defense in a desperate attempt to get her to stop pulling out his hair. He denies telling her she had or would get AIDS.

“She was ripping my hair out,” he said. “I have a bag full of my own hair that I picked up off the floor. She ripped my hair out repeatedly. There was nothing I could do to get her off of me because the other girl was on top of me and she was really huge.”

Added Denaro, “At that time, with my face on the ground in her legs, the only thing to help get out of it was to bite her. It didn’t draw any blood. I don’t think I broke the skin. I just bit her hard enough so that she would let go of me. And it worked. She did.”

The police report of Sahle’s allegation against Denaro says Sahle gave a different version of what happened from that of Denaro.

The report says Sahle told police Denaro “became verbally combative” with her at the restaurant. It says Sahle claims that after she and Denaro exchanged words “several people began to fight inside the establishment.” During that altercation, Denaro “bent down and bit Complainant 1 [Sahle] on the right thigh.”

It says that shortly after biting her Denaro stated, “That’s why I bit you, now you have AIDS, bitch.”

Based on the conflicting statements made by Denaro and Sahle, police investigators and prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s office will have to decide who to believe and who to charge with a possible crime such as assault.

Denaro told the Blade that he is HIV positive. The video shows him shouting at the other woman who assaulted him that she would get AIDS as he wiped blood dripping over his face. He said the blood came from two head wounds he sustained when the women knocked him down and his head hit the floor.

“I was doing what I thought was the responsible thing to do – to tell the girl I’m positive,” he said.

The police report taken from Denaro says Denaro told police that the two women started the altercation when one of them criticized his makeup and started touching his face. The report taken from Denaro contradicts the report taken from Sahle by saying the altercation was limited to Denaro and the two women.

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Andrew

    June 27, 2013 at 10:44 pm

    This is disgusting. The two girls and anyone egging them on should be charged with a hate crime. Instead, they criminalize a person for defending himself because he is HIV+ If no one from Manny & Olga’s called the police immediately, they should lose their business license.

  2. Andrew Hartman

    June 28, 2013 at 2:46 am

    Looks like a hate crime to me. Looks like an entire restaurant full of people participating in the beating of a drag queen. Does anyone else see anything different?

    • Tracy W. Tabin

      June 28, 2013 at 9:27 am

      To stand by and do "Nothing" is a crime in itself..

  3. Jose carrabbas Tu Quiero Taco Bell Feliciano

    June 28, 2013 at 2:51 am

    Well actually watch again the Drag Queen threw the first punch so actually it could be self defense!

  4. Miss Lu Lu Hogg

    July 2, 2013 at 3:09 am

    I was disgusted after viewing the video. However, I was more disgusted by the racist whites and latinos referring to blacks as the N word. Racism exist big time in the mostley white community and black gays are treated like second class citizens by white priviledge gay men. Being born white or Caucasian in the United States affords one white privilege.

    • Miss Lu Lu Hogg

      July 2, 2013 at 3:11 am

      Correction: Racism exist in the mostly white gay community and black gays are treated like second class citizen in the gay community.

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Glenn Youngkin sworn in as Va. governor

Republican backed teacher who opposed trans student guidelines

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Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin at his swearing in in Richmond, Va., on Jan. 15, 2022 (YouTube screenshot)

Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin took office on Saturday amid concerns that he will seek to curtail LGBTQ rights in the state.

“Today we gather not as individuals, not as Republicans and Democrats,” said Youngkin after his swearing in. “Today we gather as Virginians.”

Former Gov. Ralph Northam and U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) are among those who attended the ceremony that took place at the State Capitol. Terry McAuliffe, who Youngkin defeated in the general election, did not attend because of a COVID-19 scare.

Youngkin during his campaign against McAuliffe expressed support for Tanner Cross, a gym teacher at a Leesburg elementary school who was suspended from his job after he spoke out against Virginia Department of Education guidelines that are designed to protect transgender and non-binary students. Youngkin has also said he does not support allowing trans children to play on sports teams that are consistent with their gender identity.

Youngkin on Thursday named Elizabeth Schultz, an anti-LGBTQ former member of the Fairfax County School Board, to his administration.

“We will remove politics from the classroom and focus on the essentials,” said Youngkin in his inaugural speech, without specifically mentioning LGBTQ students.

He added “parents should have a say in what is taught in schools.”

Youngkin has also expressed his opposition to marriage equality, but stressed it is “legally acceptable” in Virginia and would “support that” as governor.

Lieutenant Gov. Winsome Sears and Attorney General Jason Miyares also took office on Saturday.

Winsome, a former member of the Virginia House of Delegates, is the first woman and first female of color elected lieutenant governor. Miyares, a former House member whose mother was born in Cuba, is Virginia’s first Latino attorney general.

Youngkin in his inaugural speech noted “the people of Virginia just elected the most diverse leadership” in the state’s history. Youngkin’s first executive order ends “the use of” so-called “critical race theory” (which is not taught in Virginia schools) and other “divisive concepts” in Virginia’s public schools.

The General Assembly’s 2022 legislative session began on Wednesday.

Republicans control the House by a 52-48 margin. Democrats have a 21-19 edge in the Virginia Senate.

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Va. school board names new chair who called for burning books

Kirk Twigg backed torching of materials with “sexually explicit” content

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(Screenshot via WUSA)

The Spotsylvania County School Board voted Monday to name Kirk Twigg, who advocated for burning books he deemed “sexually explicit” in November, as its new chair. 

His win gives conservatives the majority on the board as Republicans across the country continue an effort to ban books dealing with LGBTQ issues and racism from schools. 

Spotsylvania County has been involved in the controversy from the beginning, voting last year to remove books containing “sexually explicit” materials — only to rescind the order a week later.  

Monday’s board meeting, Twigg’s first as chair, would prove to be disorganized and, at times, unruly. 

Twigg’s first order of business was to call an unscheduled, closed-door session, which may have violated Virginia’s open meeting requirements. According to Virginia Code, a closed meeting cannot be called without a public body approving a motion that states the subject matter and the purpose of the meeting, as well as an applicable exemption from open meeting requirements.    

After the board returned from the closed-door session, Twigg said well-regarded Superintendent Dr. Scott Baker would be fired without cause. Baker had already announced he would be resigning at the end of the school year in December. 

After Baker decided to resign, a longtime Spotsylvania resident penned a letter in the Free Lance-Star, calling him “the finest superintendent, by far.”

“Dr. Baker is trusted and respected by parents, students and employees of Spotsylvania Schools; and he never lost sight of his mission for good reason,” it read. “He did so despite the noise and disruption from those few board members dedicated to bringing political disruption and dissidence into our public educational system. Shame on the few.”

As Twigg made the announcement, another member of the board interrupted him, saying: “Um, Mr. Twigg, no he is not. You need to make a motion — there needs to be a motion and a vote.”

Board members continued to speak over each other as conservative members attempted a vote. But Board Member Nicole Cole told the chairman she had comments. 

“I believe that the board members who have lodged this termination owe our citizens and our students of Spotsylvania County a justification for firing Dr. Baker,” said Cole. “You have not stated any justification or ability to fill the position. How is this good for the students, the children of Spotsylvania? How does this make sense?”

In a rebuke of the chaotic meeting, she added that Twigg “couldn’t even properly chair a meeting.”

After approximately 7 minutes of heated discussion where members from both sides got noticeably frustrated, the board voted 4-3 to fire Baker. 

Twigg, Lisa Phelps, April Gillespie and Rabih Abuismail, who also advocated for burning books, voted in favor. 

The Free Lance-Star reported that Baker was escorted from the building before the board returned from the second closed-door meeting. 

An emergency meeting has been scheduled for Friday to name an interim superintendent.

“It’s just very sad to hear that a superintendent who has been fully engaged in this community for 10 years is just let go with no rhyme or reason,” said Board Member Dawn Shelley, while noting Baker’s accomplishments. 

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Melissa Etheridge to host Heather Mizeur fundraiser

Virtual event to take place on Tuesday

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Heather Mizeur, left, with Melissa Etheridge. (Photo courtesy of Heather Mizeur)

Singer Melissa Etheridge next week will hold a virtual fundraiser for Heather Mizeur’s congressional campaign.

The fundraiser will take place on Tuesday at 8 p.m. with tickets starting at $50. Supporters who donate at least $250 will be able to speak with Etheridge and Mizeur in a private Zoom room.

Mizeur, a former member of the Maryland House of Delegates who lives on the Eastern Shore with her wife, is running against anti-LGBTQ Republican Congressman Andy Harris in Maryland’s 1st Congressional District. Mizeur ran for Maryland governor in 2014.

Mizeur on Thursday noted to the Washington Blade that her congressional campaign has raised more than $1 million.

“It’s going really, really great,” said Mizeur.

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