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Nightlife advocate Skip Coburn dies at 70

Veteran was executive director of D.C. Nightlife Association

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Skip Coburn, gay news, Washington Blade
Skip Coburn, gay news, Washington Blade

Skip Coburn (Photo courtesy of Facebook)

Dick Edward “Skip” Coburn, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who worked for the past 12 years as executive director of the D.C. Nightlife Association where he’s credited with improving relations between bar and nightclub owners and regulators who oversee the city’s booming nightlife businesses, died March 18 at Howard University Hospital. He was 70.

His close friend Marge Francese said the cause of death was complications associated with double pneumonia.

“It is a loss for the city,” said Francese. “He would help anyone in the world. There was nobody I knew who would help so many people.”

Frederick Harwood, founder and president of the D.C. Nightlife Association, said Coburn’s desire to help people and the city he loved prompted him to bring about dramatic change for the better in the way bars and nightclubs interact with the city’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration, D.C. police, and citizens who live near nightlife businesses.

“It’s a devastating loss for nightlife in Washington,” Harwood said. “He was such an advocate, and an advocate in the best sense that he developed relationships on both sides. He was a neighborhood activist.”

“He went out of his way to develop a relationship with the chief of police, with many of the police commanders, with the Fire Department, and with the building inspectors,” Harwood said. “He was so dedicated to his job. People understood how committed he was to nightlife.”

Added Harwood: “The whole atmosphere has changed because of the work that Skip did to bring the regulatory authorities and the police and the owners together to understand each other’s needs.”

Coburn, who identified as bisexual, was born in Richmond, Va., but grew up on military bases in the U.S. and Europe as the child of a military family, Francese said.

A resume Coburn prepared shortly before his death says he graduated from the Paris-American High School in Paris in 1964 and received a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Colorado in 1967.

The resume says he entered the U.S. Air Force in 1967 as a commissioned second lieutenant and was stationed in multiple locations in the U.S., Europe, and Asia until the time of his retirement in 1990 as a lieutenant colonel.

A biographical write-up of his military career says he flew airborne reconnaissance missions during the Vietnam War, served as an instructor and manager at the Defense Intelligence College at Bolling Air Force Base in D.C., and later was assigned to the Pentagon.

After retiring from active duty service Coburn served as a civilian operations officer for the Morale, Welfare, and Recreation Squadron at Bolling Air Force Base from 1990 to 1998, his career write-up says.

Francese said Coburn joined the staff of then-D.C. Councilmember Sharon Ambrose (D-Ward 8) in 1998, where he served as a researcher until the time of Ambrose’s retirement in 2002.

Harwood said Coburn’s impact on the city’s nightlife scene began shortly after he started in his job as executive director of the D.C. Nightlife Association in 2002. Others who knew Coburn said he provided important advice and assistance to the city’s gay bars and nightclubs on regulatory matters.

“The Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration was deeply saddened to learn of the loss of Skip Coburn,” said ABRA Director Fred Moosally in a statement to the Washington Blade. “Skip was passionate about nightlife issues in the District. He played a significant role in representing the nightlife community before the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board and was dedicated to helping promote public safety in the District.”

Local nightlife advocate and business columnist Mark Lee called Coburn a “tireless and dedicated advocate” for D.C. nightlife as well as for community businesses.

“As the hospitality industry became even more important to the economic and development success of D.C. and enjoyed growing support from both longtime residents and new arrivals, he helped city officials understand how critical it is to create a better business environment,” Lee said.

Francese said Coburn’s brother, Dale Coburn, arranged for Skip Coburn’s remains to be cremated, with his ashes to be interred at his parents’ gravesite in Orcus Island off the coast of Washington State.

A Requiem Mass for Coburn has been scheduled to be held 11:00 a.m. Saturday, May 2, at St. Mary Mother of God Roman Catholic Church, 727 5th St., N.W., Washington, D.C.

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Delaware

Delmarva Pride to feature drag, dancing, and more this weekend

Easton and Cambridge to host events

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A scene from Delmarva Pride. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The Delmarva Peninsula will hold its annual Pride celebration this weekend, including drag shows, a festival, and much more. 

The Delmarva Pride Center will put on the annual Pride celebration starting on Friday, June 14, and it will go until Sunday to celebrate queer love and acceptance in Delmarva.  

The weekend kicks off on Friday with a free legal clinic in partnership with FreeState Justice at the Academy Art Museum, 106 South St., Easton, Md. Free legal services including name and gender marker changes, criminal record expungements, and peace and protection orders are just some of the services being offered. For more information visit freestate-justice.org.

Then on Friday night, the third annual Pride Drag Show will be at the Avalon Theatre, 40 E Dover St., in Easton. Bring your cash as four drag queens and host Miranda Bryant put on the fundraising show, where 100% of ticket sales go to the Delmarva Pride Center. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and performance begins at 7 p.m. For tickets visit avalonfoundation.org.

On Saturday there will be the Pride festival from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at  S. Harrison and E. Dover Street, in Easton. This free community festival will include vendors, live performances, and more. 

Saturday night the party gets going as Delmarva Pride will host its 2024 Pride Dance. There will be a DJ and drinks available for purchase. This event is for 18 and up and will include a cash bar for anyone 21 and up. No tickets are required. 

To round out your Pride weekend, on Sunday the Delmarva Pride Brunch will be held at ArtBar 2.0, 420b Race St. in Cambridge, Md. Tickets include food, access to the mimosa bar, and a drag performance. Tickets are available here

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Baltimore

People of Pride: Five Marylanders making a difference in the LGBTQ+ community

Baltimore Pride is this weekend

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Jabari Lyles poses for a portrait in East Mount Vernon Place in Baltimore on June 10, 2024. (Photo by Jessica Gallagher/The Baltimore Banner)

By JOHN-JOHN WILLIAMS IV | One hosts movie nights, karaoke and other events that provide a safe space for LGBTQ people. Another has become a sounding board for customers at his gay bar dealing with pressures of the outside world. And a third beats the pavement to promote political awareness about LGBTQ issues.

These are just some of the things five Baltimoreans the Baltimore Banner is profiling in honor of Baltimore Pride Month are doing in the fight for visibility, support and acceptance of their peers.

The rest of this article can be found on the Baltimore Banner’s website.

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Delaware

Delaware’s Sussex Pride launches free statewide HIV, STI testing

Special program honors National HIV Testing Day on June 27

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Each year on June 27, people across the United States are encouraged to get tested for HIV. This year for Delawareans, it’s easier than ever.

Sussex Pride has partnered with STDCheck to offer free HIV and syphilis testing everywhere in Delaware. There are more than 20 locations across the state, making it simple to find a testing center.  

David Mariner, executive director of Sussex Pride, told the Blade, “We are thrilled with this new partnership with STDcheck. The ultimate goal is to empower individuals with knowledge about their HIV status, provide necessary support, and facilitate early intervention to improve health outcomes in our state.”

Finding a testing center, getting tested, and getting results is simple. Start by finding a lab near you using this link (https://www.stdcheck.com/std-test-center.php). Then call STDcheck at 800-456-2323 and request a free Sussex Pride HIV and/or syphilis test. Make sure to mention Sussex Pride in the call to get the test for free. Then schedule a time and get tested. 

“If you are HIV positive, the sooner you know, the better,” Mariner added. “Early and sustained treatment can help you live a long and healthy life. It can also help protect others.”

This special program is in honor of National HIV Testing Day, created in 1995 to highlight the lifesaving impact of HIV testing. HIV has historically had a disproportionate effect on the LGBTQ community. According to the CDC, 70% of all new cases of HIV in 2021 were among gay and bisexual men and other men who have sex with men.

The CDC’s theme for this year’s HIV testing day is “Level up your self-love: check your status.” The theme emphasizes, “valuing yourself, showing yourself compassion and respect, and honoring your health needs with self-love,” and the best way to do that is to test.

For more information on Sussex Pride’s testing program visit sussexpride.org/posts/testing/ and for more information on HIV visit CDC.gov/hiv.

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