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Remingtons to close on Monday

Popular bar to end 34-year run next week

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D.C. Cowboys, Remingtons, Brodeo, gay news, Washington Blade
D.C. Cowboys, Remingtons, Brodeo, gay news, Washington Blade

The D.C. Cowboys performing for the ‘Brodeo’ at Remingtons in 2010. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The D.C. gay bar Remingtons will close its doors for good on Monday, April 14, ending a run of 34 years in which Remingtons and its predecessor gay bar Equus operated in the same building on Capitol Hill at 639 Pennsylvania Ave., S.E.

Remingtons owner Douglas Bogaev said the bar’s customers are invited to join the staff on Monday night for a closing party.

Bogaev said a company that bought the building last year informed him of its plans to gut the inside structure to make way for a redesigned interior.

He said the new owner, which city property records identify as Mountain View Burleson, LLC, did not tell him what it plans to do with the building when the renovation is completed.

According to Bogaev, the previous owner offered to sell him the building but he declined, saying he wasn’t in a position financially to make the purchase. He said the company didn’t offer to rent him space in the building following the renovation. City records show Mountain View Burleson paid just over $3 million for the two-story structure that consists of two adjacent buildings.

“The rent was high and our country-western crowd died out,” Bogaev said. “I have a day job, and it was getting to be too much for me.”

He was referring to the reputation of Remingtons and its earlier incarnation of Equus as the city’s preeminent country-western gay bar. At its peak in the 1990s and early 2000s Remingtons often was packed to capacity on weekends and some weekday evenings with country-western dance enthusiasts filling the bar’s large dance floor.

Bartender Mike Swain said Remingtons turned to other forms of entertainment and music around 2007 when the country-western crowd stopped coming. Drag shows, hip-hop music nights, a popular Latino night on Saturdays, and Karaoke in the bar’s upstairs room were among the offerings in recent years, Swain said.

“Business has been good,” he said. “It’s really a shame this is happening. I’m very sad to see it go.”

Since it opened in 1980 as Equus, the bar catered to a mostly gay male clientele with a country-western theme. The late Steven Smith, Bogaev’s domestic partner, bought the bar with business partner Dick Brandrupt in 1985, Bogaev said. He said Smith and Brandrupt changed the name to Remingtons around 1986 or 1987.

Smith became the sole owner around 1997, according to records from the city’s liquor board. Bogaev assumed ownership following Smith’s death in 2011 of liver cancer.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Kyle Jones-Northam

    April 9, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    Does anyone else think all the gay bars are dying because of social media?

  2. Todd Ruhter

    April 9, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    That may be part of it. I've contended for a while that the gay "bar" culture was a moment that has seen its peak in that we are no longer exiled to clubs that cater exclusively to us. They are, I've begun to believe, a relic of a past when it was absolutely forbidden to be out in a public space especially a straight bar where heterosexuals ruled. The younger generation, by and large, thanks in no small part to the works of GLBT people and our allies to move us into the daylight and the larger world, find no issue most times with taking their gay lives to which ever bar or club is the best, flashiest, most popular venue. They aren't required to choose from the five or six "secret hang outs".

  3. Scott Moon

    April 10, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    I agree with Todd, but I would also say that gay marriage has something to do with it as well.

  4. Kyle Jones-Northam

    April 10, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    With the decline of the bar scene and the dispersal of the "gayborhood", I think it's getting more difficult to meet men if a person isn't very adept at social media (at least as a means for hooking up, making dates, etc.). I think our greater acceptance in general society is overall a good thing, but that isn't to say there won't be a downside or two.

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Anti-LGBTQ group claims Va. marriage amendment repeal will legalize polygamy

State Sen. Adam Ebbin rejected claim during committee hearing

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(Bigstock photo)

A representative of an anti-LGBTQ group on Tuesday said the repeal of Virginia’s constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between a man and a woman would pave the way for the legalization of polygamy in the state.

“There are some, at least, very legitimate concerns about whether this would actually legalize polygamy, among other forms of marriage,” said Family Foundation of Virginia Legal Counsel Josh Hetzler.

Hetzler made the comment during a Virginia Senate Privileges and Elections Committee hearing on state Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria)’s resolution to repeal the Marshall-Newman Amendment. Ebbin, who is the only openly gay member of the Virginia Senate, in response to the claim noted polygamy is a crime under Virginia and federal law.

“I take offense to the Family Foundation’s characterization that this would allow polygamy,” said Ebbin. “This has nothing to do with polygamy, what this has to do with is equality.”

Carol Schall, who, along with her wife, Mary Townley, joined a federal lawsuit that paved the way for marriage equality in Virginia, and outgoing Equality Virginia Executive Director Vee Lamneck are among those who testified in support of the resolution. The committee approved it by a 10-5 vote margin.

Virginia voters approved the Marshall-Newman Amendment in 2006.

Same-sex couples have been able to legally marry in Virginia since 2014.

The General Assembly last year approved a resolution that seeks to repeal the Marshall-Newman Amendment. It must pass in two successive legislatures before it can go to the ballot.

Ebbin earlier this month told the Washington Blade he remains “hopeful” the resolution will pass in the Democratic-controlled state Senate. Prospects that the resolution will pass in the Republican-controlled state House of Delegates are far less certain.

Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin before his election reiterated his opposition to marriage equality. Youngkin, however, stressed it is “legally acceptable” in Virginia and he would “support that” as governor.

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Loudoun County removes LGBTQ book from school libraries

Superintendent overrules committee that called for retaining ‘Gender Queer: A Memoir’

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A Loudoun County, Va., School Board committee on Jan. 13 voted to uphold a decision by Loudoun County Public Schools Superintendent Scott A. Ziegler to remove from the school system’s high school libraries a controversial LGBTQ-themed book called “Gender Queer: A Memoir.”

The book is an illustrated autobiography by non-binary author Maia Kobabe that contains descriptions and comic book style drawings of sexual acts that e uses to tell the story of eir journey and struggle in discovering eir gender identity.

Although the book has received an American Library Association award for its relevance to young adults, critics in school systems throughout the country have said its sexually explicit content is not suitable for school libraries.  

The action by the School Board committee came after Ziegler asked a separate school system committee to review the book to determine if its content was appropriate for school libraries. Loudoun Public Schools spokesperson Wayde Byard told the Washington Post the committee, in a split vote, recommended that the book be retained in high school libraries.

According to Byard, Ziegler overruled the committee’s recommendation and ordered that the book be removed from the libraries. Byard said that decision was then appealed to a School Board appeals committee, which voted 3-0 to uphold Ziegler’s decision.

The decision by Ziegler to remove the book from school libraries took place about two months after Fairfax County, Va., Public Schools officials decided to return “Gender Queer” and another LGBTQ-themed book called “Lawn Boy” to their high school libraries after temporarily pulling the two books in response to complaints by some parents and conservative activists.

Two committees appointed by Fairfax school officials to review the two books that consisted of educators, school officials, parents, and students concluded that, while the books contained sexually explicit content, it did not cross the line as pornography or depictions of pedophilia as some opponents claimed.

“The decision reaffirms Fairfax County Public Schools’ ongoing commitment to provide diverse reading materials that reflect our student population, allowing every child an opportunity to see themselves reflected in literary characters,” a statement released by Fairfax school officials explaining their decision to retain the two books in their libraries said.

“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.

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Va. bill would restrict transgender students access to school bathrooms

State Del. John Avioli (R-Stanton) introduced House Bill 1126

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The Virginia Capitol (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

A Virginia lawmaker has introduced a bill that would restrict the ability of transgender students and school board employees to use bathrooms and other facilities in public schools that are consistent with their gender identity.

House Bill 1126, which state Del. John Avoli (R-Stanton) introduced, would require “each school board to adopt policies to require each student and school board employee to have access to restrooms, locker rooms and other changing facilities in public school buildings that are shared only by members of the same biological sex; lodging accommodations during school-sponsored trips that are shared only by members of the same biological sex; and a single-user restroom, locker room, or other changing facility in a public school building, upon request, if the school can reasonably accommodate such a request.”

Avoli introduced HB 1126 on Jan. 12 on the same day the Virginia General Assembly’s 2022 legislative session began with Republicans in control of the House of Delegates. Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin took office on Jan. 15.

State Sen. Travis Hackworth (R-Tazewell County) last month introduced Senate Bill 20, which would eliminate the requirement that school districts must implement the Department of Education’s trans and non-binary student guidelines. State Del. Danica Roem (D-Manassas), who in 2018 became the first openly trans person seated in any state legislature in the U.S., told the Washington Blade last week that she expects SB 20 “would be dead on arrival” in committee.

Equality Virginia, a statewide LGBTQ rights group, on its website notes HB 1126 is among the bills that it opposes.

Democrats still have a 21-19 majority in the state Senate, and they have signaled they will oppose any effort to curtail LGBTQ rights in Virginia. Outgoing Equality Virginia Executive Director Vee Lamneck last week said their organization “will work with the Senate’s pro-equality majority to act as a crucial back stop against harmful legislation and efforts to roll back our hard-earned wins passed during the last two years.”

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