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D.C. 2024 Olympics bid lacks LGBT board member

Local gay sports activists back bid despite omission

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2024 Olympics, gay news, Washington Blade

2012 Summer Olympics Parade of Nations. (Photo by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

A campaign launched by a newly formed organization of prominent business and civic leaders to advocate for holding the 2024 Olympics in the Washington, D.C. metro area enjoys the support of the local LGBT sports community, according to longtime LGBT sports activists Brent Minor and Vince Micone.

“We are all for the Olympics in D.C.,” said Minor, executive director of Team D.C., an umbrella coalition of LGBT sports groups and teams in the D.C. area.

But gay activist and blogger Michael Rogers has expressed concern that no out LGBT person was selected to serve on the 19-member board of Washington2024, the group that’s preparing an Olympic bid for the D.C. area before the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Rogers said he opposes having the Olympics here on grounds that it would be a “financial disaster.” However, he said having an LGBT member on the Washington2024 board would better showcase the group’s claim on its newly launched website that it represents the full diversity of the people of the D.C. area.

Penny Lee, Washington2024’s communications director, told the Washington Blade on Tuesday that the composition of the group’s board is still evolving and more people would be named to the board in the coming weeks and months.

“We’re continuing to find ways in which to engage all communities and be as diverse as absolutely possible,” she said.

Minor and Micone, who played a lead role in D.C.’s unsuccessful bid for the 2014 Gay Games, said they know some of the Washington2024 board members and supporters and believe the organization will be fully supportive of the LGBT community.

Among the board members are former D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams, a longtime LGBT rights supporter; and Paul Tagliabue, former commissioner of the National Football League and chair of the Georgetown University board. Tagliabue contributed $1 million in 2011 for an LGBT student life program at Georgetown and contributed $100,000 for the referendum campaign supporting Maryland’s same-sex marriage law in 2012.

Minor noted that Bob Sweeny, the former director of the Greater Washington Sports Authority and a lead adviser for Washington2024, was a strong supporter of the effort to bring the Gay Games to D.C. Minor and Micone called Sweeny a strong LGBT community ally who would push for LGBT inclusion in an Olympics bid.

“I don’t interpret the board’s makeup as a slight,” Minor said. “I’m certain that if the time comes that D.C. wins the Olympic bid they will be fully inclusive of the LGBT community.”

Micone echoed Minor’s sentiment, saying he too is certain that the Washington2024 organization will work closely with LGBT sports activists in its effort to secure D.C.’s selection by the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Under longstanding procedures for selecting an Olympic Games host in the U.S., the U.S. Olympic Committee solicits bids from interested U.S. cities. In the current process, the committee has narrowed its selection to four cities or regions – the D.C. metro region, Boston, Los Angeles and San Francisco. A selection of one of those cities is expected to be made sometime next year.

Whichever city is selected by the U.S. Olympic Committee would then compete with cities in other countries, with the International Olympic Committee making a final selection at a later date.

Jay Fissette, chair of the Arlington County Board who’s gay, has also spoken out in favor of bringing the 2024 Olympics to the D.C. metro area.

“We agree with Washington2024 that this is an historic opportunity for our region to be part of the Olympic movement,” Fissette told Channel 4 News.

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Virginia

Va. House committee advances two anti-transgender bills

Democrats in state Senate will likely kill measures

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(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The Virginia House Education Committee on Friday approved two anti-transgender bills.

Committee members advanced state Del. Karen Greenhalgh (R-Virginia Beach)’s House Bill 1387, which would ban transgender athletes from school sports teams that correspond with their gender identity, and state Del. Dave LaRock (R-Loudoun County)’s House Bill 2432, which would require school personnel to out trans students to their parents.

A House subcommittee earlier this week approved the two bills.

Republicans control the House of Delegates by a 51-47 margin. Democrats have a 22-18 majority in the Virginia Senate.

The Senate Education Committee on Thursday killed six anti-trans bills. It is likely HB 1387 and HB 2432 will meet the same fate once they reach the state Senate.

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Local

Comings & Goings

Swaruup takes role as executive director of DC Legal Aid

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Vikram Swaruup

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 and Goings column also invites LGBTQ college students to share their successes with us. If you have been elected to a student government position, landed 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 Vikram Swaruup on his new position as executive director of DC Legal Aid. Upon accepting the position Swaruup said,“Legal Aid is one of the most important institutions working to make sure all District residents are treated fairly in our legal system, and I could not be more grateful to the board for this tremendous honor. I’m excited to be joining a top-notch team that is on the front lines of fighting for District residents.” 

Swaruup has been working in the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia, as Chief Deputy Attorney General. He served as second-highest ranking officer and thought partner to the attorney general in management of all legal work of the office, including the District’s affirmative, defensive, and appellate litigation, as well as legal advice provided to District agencies and the legislature. He began working there in the Civil Rights Section, as Assistant Attorney General. He litigated civil rights cases, including investigating pre-suit, drafting complaints, engaging in discovery and motions practice, and developing recommendations for amicus participation. 

Prior to that he served in the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Appellate Section, Washington, D.C., as a senior attorney. Before going to the DOJ, he served as a law clerk for Judge Lucy H. Koh, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose, Calif. He was a summer associate with Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP, Oakland, Calif. He was a Holley Law Fellow with the the National LGBTQ Task Force in D.C., and a Pride Law Fund Fellow with the Transgender Law Center, San Francisco. 

Vikram earned a bachelor’s of journalism, with high honors, University of Texas, Austin; and a Juris Doctor, University of California, School of Law, Berkeley, Calif. During his college years he participated in many activities including: California Law Review (Senior Articles Editor); Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice (Executive Editor); Faculty Appointments Committee (student co-chair); Queer Caucus (outreach chair); and South Asian Law Student Association. 

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District of Columbia

D.C. Council to honor drag performer Ba’Naka

Memorial resolution expected to pass unanimously on Feb. 7

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Drag performer Dustin Michael Schaad (Ba’Naka) died Jan. 11. (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

All 13 members of the D.C. City Council have signed on as co-introducers of a ceremonial resolution honoring the life of the late D.C. drag performer Dustin Michael Schaad, who performed at many of the city’s gay bars and LGBTQ events under the name Ba’Naka.

The resolution, introduced by D.C. Council member Anita Bonds (D-At-Large), was expected to be approved unanimously at the Council’s Feb. 7 legislative session.

“The Council of the District of Columbia honors Dustin Schaad’s memory, recognizes and celebrates their legacy of love, unity, and compassion for all those who knew him, and expresses sincere condolences to Dustin’s family and loved ones,” the resolution states.

The resolution notes that Schaad, 36, moved to D.C. shortly after graduating high school in his hometown of Bradenton, Fla., and not too long after that “began performing as Ba’Naka at drag shows around the city, eventually becoming one of the most recognizable people in the District’s drag community.”

Schaad died Jan. 11 at George Washington University Hospital from complications associated with a longstanding illness, according to friends.

David Perruzza, owner of the D.C. gay bars Pitchers and A League of Her Own, said Schaad had been performing most recently at Pitchers while overseeing a popular drag bingo event at the Adams Morgan bar. Perruzza said Schaad talked about having performed in drag since the age of 18.

“[T]hrough their vibrant personality and outgoing nature, Ba’Naka raised awareness around issues impacting the LGBTQ+ community,” the Council resolution says, adding, “Ba’Naka became a beloved regular at gay bars and clubs around the District, lifting the spirit of the LGBTQ+ community.”

“RESOLVED, BY THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, that this resolution may be cited as the ‘Dustin Michael Schaad Memorial Recognition Resolution of 2023,’” the resolution states.

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