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The year ahead: 2016

Our guide to the big D.C.-area LGBT events coming soon



Capital Pride Parade, gay news, Washington Blade
LGBT events

Capital Pride 2016 culminates with the parade on June 11 and festival June 12. Many events run in the preceding days. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Details are pending for some events, especially those later in the year. Keep reading the Blade throughout 2016 for updates.

Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend is Jan. 15-18 at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill (400 New Jersey Ave., N.W.). Details at

• Pride Reveal is Jan. 20 at 10:30 p.m. Details coming soon. Visit for more.

The Helen Hayes Award nominees will be announced Jan. 25 at the National Theatre. Details pending on the ceremony, usually held the first week in April. Check back later at

Brother Help Thyself grant/awards reception is Jan. 30 at Grand Central (1001 N. Charles St.) in Baltimore. Details at

Reel Affirmations has screenings scheduled throughout the year starting with “Out in the Night” on Jan. 30. Details and 2015 passes available at

Wig Night Out, an annual Point Foundation benefit, is tentatively set for Jan. 30 at JR.’s but check back here soon for updates.

Scarlet’s Bake Sale is Feb. 7 from 1-7 p.m. at the D.C. Eagle (3701 Benning Rd., N.E.). This year’s theme is “show us your true colors.” This year’s charity is PETS-D.C., which provides pet care to animal lovers with HIV/AIDS. A new scholarship program is being started for college juniors and seniors. There’s a Facebook page with more information.

Equality Virginia’s Day of Action is Feb. 9 in Richmond. Details at

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington ensembles Potomac Fever and the Rock Creek Singers play the Barns at Wolf Trap (1635 Trap Rd., Vienna, Va.) on Jan. 30 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $45. The ensembles also perform “The Way We Were” Feb. 12-13 at Atlas Performing Arts Center’s Lang Theatre (1333 H St., N.E.). “Boots, Class & Sass” is March 12 and March 19-20 at Lincoln Theatre (1215 U St., N.W.). “Carmina 35” is May 8 at the Kennedy Center (2700 F St., N.W.). Full details and ticket info at

• The CAMP Rehoboth Chorus kicks off its 2016 season with “Sassy, Brassy and Classy: Songs with Attitude!” Feb. 12-14 at the Epworth United Methodist Church (19285 Rd. 271, Rehoboth Beach, Del.). Details at

• The Blade’s “Most Eligible Singles” party is Feb. 11. The issue comes out Feb. 12.

The Lavender Languages & Linguistics Conference returns to Washington Feb. 12-14. Details at

• “Glamour, Glitter & Gold: the D.C. LGBT Center Oscar Gala” is always held on Oscar night, slated for Feb. 28.Details soon at

• The Blade’s spring arts special issue comes out March 4.

CAMP Rehoboth Women’s FEST is April 7-10. Details at

The Equality Virginia Commonwealth Dinner is April 16 in Richmond. Details at

The Victory Fund National Champagne Brunch is April 17 in Houston. No word yet on a D.C. version. Details at

Dining Out for Life, a Food & Friends benefit, is usually around the third week in April. No details for 2016 yet announced. Look for more information soon at

The Gay & Lesbian Activists Alliance has its 45th anniversary reception and annual Distinguished Service Awards April 21 at the second floor event space at Policy Restaurant and Lounge (1904 14th St., N.W.). Look for an announcement soon at

Cherry is April 21-24 at various locations. Details at

Gay Day at the Zoo is usually in early May. Details soon at

• No information yet, but Youth Pride is usually held the first weekend of May in Dupont Circle. More information soon at

• The Blade’s annual Return to Rehoboth issue comes out May 20.

Trans Pride is tentatively set for May 21. Organizers are considering extending the event to May 22 as well. Details at

D.C. Black Pride weekend is May 27-30. Details at

• The Capital Pride Heroes Gala is June 1. .

• The Capital Pride interfaith service is tentatively set as June 7. Details at

• A Capital Pride opening party is June 10.

• If trends continue, the fourth annual Charm City LGBT Film Festival will be in late May. More information soon at

• The Latino GLBT History Project just elected new officers and no dates have been announced for the 10th annual D.C. Latino Pride events. The organization usually has several things planned the first and second week in June. More info soon at

Team D.C. always has several Night Out events planned throughout the year. No information yet on 2016 games.

Capital Pride culminates with the parade on June 11 and festival June 12. Many events run in the preceding days. Details at

• The date has changed in recent years but in 2015, the Al Sura White Attire Affair was July 18. More information soon at

Baltimore Pride is July 23 (block party) and 24 (festival). More information soon at

• The Blade’s annual Summer in the City issue coms out July 8.

• The OutWrite LGBT Book Festival is Aug. 5-6. Details at

• The Blade’s fourth annual sports edition will be out Aug. 19.

• No information yet, but the Rehoboth Sundance event is usually held Labor Day weekend. More information soon at

• The Blade’s fall arts edition is out Sept. 9.

• The seventh annual 17th Street Festival will likely be Sept. 10 based on scheduling patterns in previous years. Check later at

The D.C. Shorts Film Festival is Sept. 8-18. Details at

The Imperial Court of Washington holds its Coronation V “Gala of the Americas” Sept. 10 at the Marriott Metro Center (775 12th St., N.W.). The Court also holds many other events throughout the year. Details at

• The annual queer music and arts festival PhaseFest is in late September. More information soon at

• The Human Rights Campaign national dinner is in October though the weekend varies from year to year. Details soon at

• Baltimore Black Pride is usually the second week of October. Details later at

• The Walk to End HIV is always in late October. More information soon at

• The Blade’s annual Best of Gay D.C. issue is Oct. 21. The release party will be held Oct. 20.

• The High Heel Race is Oct. 25 on 17th Street.

• The Equality Maryland Signature Brunch is usually in November. More details soon at

• The 19th annual SMYAL fall brunch will be held in mid-November based on previous scheduling patterns. Check back later at

Transgender Day of Remembrance is Nov. 20. Details at

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Rodriquez scores historic win at otherwise irrelevant Golden Globes

Award represents a major milestone for trans visibility



Michaela Jaé Rodriguez, on right, and Billy Porter in 'Pose.' (Photo courtesy of FX)

HOLLYWOOD – Despite its continuing status as something of a pariah organization in Hollywood, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has managed to cling to relevance in the wake of last night’s behind-closed-doors presentation of its 79th Annual Golden Globe Awards by sole virtue of having bestowed the prize for “Best Leading Actress in a Television Series – Drama” on Michaela Jaé Rodriguez for her work in the final season of “Pose” – making her the first transgender performer to win a Golden Globe.

The ceremony took place as a private, no-press-or-audience event in which winners were revealed via a series of tweets from the Golden Globes Twitter account. No celebrities were present (not even the nominees or winners), although actress Jamie Lee Curtis participated by appearing in a video in which she pronounced her continuing loyalty to the HFPA – without mention of the  longstanding issues around diversity and ethical practices, revealed early in 2021 by a bombshell Los Angeles Times report, that have led to an nearly industry-wide boycott of the organization and its awards as well as the cancellation of the annual Golden Globes broadcast by NBC for the foreseeable future.

While the Golden Globes may have lost their luster for the time being, the award for Rodriquez represents a major milestone for trans visibility and inclusion in the traditionally transphobic entertainment industry, and for her part, the actress responded to news of her win with characteristic grace and good will.

Posting on her Instagram account, the 31-year old actress said: 

“OMG OMGGG!!!! @goldenglobes Wow! You talking about sickening birthday present! Thank you!

“This is the door that is going to Open the door for many more young talented individuals. They will see that it is more than possible. They will see that a young Black Latina girl from Newark New Jersey who had a dream, to change the minds others would WITH LOVE. LOVE WINS.

“To my young LGBTQAI babies WE ARE HERE the door is now open now reach the stars!!!!!”

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As You Are Bar and the importance of queer gathering spaces

New bar/restaurant poised to open in 2022



As You Are Bar had a pop-up venue at Capital Pride's "Colorful Fest" block party in October. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

More than just a watering hole: As You Are Bar is set to be the city’s newest queer gathering place where patrons can spill tea over late-morning cappuccinos as easily as they can over late-night vodka-sodas.

Co-owners and founders Jo McDaniel and Rachel Pike built on their extensive experience in the hospitality industry – including stints at several gay bars – to sign a lease for their new concept in Barracks Row, replacing what was previously District Soul Food and Banana Café. In a prime corner spot, they are seeking to bring together the disparate colors of the LGBTQ rainbow – but first must navigate the approval process (more on that later).

The duo decided on this Southeast neighborhood locale to increase accessibility for “the marginalized parts of our community,” they say, “bringing out the intersectionality inherent in the queer space.”

Northwest D.C., they explain, not only already has many gay bar options, but is also more difficult to get to for those who don’t live within walking distance. The Barracks Row location is right by a Metro stop, “reducing pay walls.” Plus, there, “we are able to find a neighborhood to bring in a queer presence that doesn’t exist today.”

McDaniel points out that the area has a deep queer bar history. Western bar Remington’s was once located in the area, and it’s a mere block from the former Phase 1, the longest-running lesbian bar, which was open from 1971-2015.

McDaniel and Pike hope that As You Are Bar will be an inclusive space that “welcomes anyone of any walk of life that will support, love, and celebrate the mission of queer culture. We want people of all ages, gender, sexual identity, as well as drinkers and non-drinkers, to have space.”

McDaniel (she/her) began her career at Apex in 2005 and was most recently the opening manager of ALOHO. Pike (she/they) was behind the bar and worked as security at ALOHO, where the two met.

Since leaving ALOHO earlier this year, they have pursued the As You Are Bar project, first by hosting virtual events during the pandemic, and now in this brick-and-mortar space. They expressed concern that receiving the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) liquor license approval and the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission, or ANC, approval will be a long and expensive process.

They have already received notice that some neighbors intend to protest As You Are Bar’s application for the “tavern” liquor license that ABRA grants to serve alcohol and allow for live entertainment (e.g. drag shows). They applied for the license on Nov. 12, and have no anticipated opening date, estimating at least six months. If ABRA and the city’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Board give final approval, the local ANC 6B and nearby residents can no longer protest the license until the license comes up for renewal.

Until approval is given, they continue physical buildout (including soundproofing) and planning their offerings. If the license is approved, ABRA and the ABC Board can take action against As You Are Bar, like any bar, at any time if they violate the terms of the license or create a neighborhood disturbance that violates city laws such as the local noise ordinance.  In the kitchen, the duo snagged Chef Nina Love to develop the menu. Love will oversee café-style fare; look out for breakfast sandwiches making an appearance all the way until close. They will also have baked goods during the day.

McDaniel and Pike themselves will craft the bar menu. Importantly, they note, the coffee bar will also serve until close. There will be a full bar as well as a list of zero-proof cocktails. As with their sourcing, they hope to work with queer-, minority-, and women-owned businesses for everything not made in-house.

Flexible conceptually, they seek to grow with their customer base, allowing patrons to create the culture that they seek.

Their goal is to move the queer space away from a focus on alcohol consumption. From book clubs, to letter-writing, to shared workspaces, to dance parties, they seek an all-day, morning-to-night rhythm of youth, families, and adults to find a niche. “We want to shift the narrative of a furtive, secretive, dark gay space and hold it up to the light,” they say. “It’s a little like The Planet from the original L Word show,” they joke.

Pike notes that they plan on working closely with SMYAL, for example, to promote programming for youth. Weekend potential activities include lunch-and-learn sessions on Saturdays and festive Sunday brunches.

The café space, to be located on the first floor, will have coffeehouse-style sofas as well as workstations. A slim patio on 8th Street will hold about six tables.

Even as other queer bars have closed, they reinforce that the need is still present. “Yes, we can visit a café or bar, but we always need to have a place where we are 100 percent certain that we are safe, and that our security is paramount. Even as queer acceptance continues to grow, a dedicated queer space will always be necessary,” they say.

To get there, they continue to rally support of friends, neighbors, and leaders in ANC6B district; the ANC6B officials butted heads with District Soul Food, the previous restaurant in the space, over late-night noise and other complaints. McDaniel and Pike hope that once nearby residents and businesses understand the important contribution that As You Are Bar can make to the neighborhood, they will extend their support and allow the bar to open.

AYA, gay news, Washington Blade
Rachel Pike and Jo McDaniel signed a lease for their new concept in Barracks Row. (Photo courtesy Pike and McDaniel)
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Need a list-minute gift idea?

Books, non-profit donations make thoughtful choices



‘Yes, Daddy’ by Jonathan Parks-Ramage is the story of a young man with dying dreams of fame and fortune, who schemes to meet an older man.

You knew this was coming.

You knew that you were going to have to finish your holiday shopping soon but it snuck up on you, didn’t it? And even if you’re close to being done, there are always those three or five people who are impossible to buy for, right? Remember this, though: books are easy to wrap and easy to give, and they last a while, too. So why not head to the bookstore with your Christmas List and look for these gifts.

And if you still have people to shop for, why not make a donation to a local non-profit in their name? A list of D.C.-area suggestions follows.


If there’s about to be a new addition to your family, wrapping up “Queer Stepfamilies: The path to Social and Legal Recognition” by Katie L. Acosta would be a good thing. In this book, the author followed forty LGBTQ families to understand the joys, pitfalls, and legalities of forming a new union together. It can’t replace a lawyer, but it’s a good overview.

For the parent who wants to ensure that their child grows up with a lack of bias, “Raising LGBTQ Allies” by Chris Tompkins is a great book to give. It’s filled with methods to stop bullying in its tracks, to be proactive in having That Conversation, and how to be sure that the next generation you’re responsible for becomes responsible in turn. Wrap it up with “The Healing Otherness Handbook” by Stacee L. Reicherzer, Ph.D., a book that helps readers to deal with bullying by finding confidence and empowerment.

If there’s someone on your gift list who’s determined to get “fit” in the coming year, then give “The Secret to Superhuman Strength” by Alison Bechdel this holiday. Told in graphic-novel format (comics, basically), it’s the story of searching for self-improvement and finding it in a surprising place.

So why not give a little nostalgia this year by wrapping up “A Night at the Sweet Gum Head” by Martin Padgett? It’s the tale of disco, drag, and drugs in the 1970s (of course!) in Atlanta, with appearances by activists, politics, and people who were there at that fabulous time. Wrap it up with “After Francesco” by Brian Malloy, a novel set a little later – in the mid-1980s in New York City and Minneapolis at the beginning of the AIDS crisis.

The LGBTQ activist on your gift list will want to read “The Case for Gay Reparations” by Omar G. Encarnacion. It’s a book about acknowledgment, obligation on the part of cis citizens, and fixing the pain that homophobia and violence has caused. Wrap it up with “Trans Medicine: The Emergence and Practice of Treating Gender” by Stef M. Shuster, a look at trans history that may also make your giftee growl.


Young readers who have recently transitioned will enjoy reading “Both Sides Now” by Peyton Thomas. It’s a novel about a high school boy with gigantic dreams and the means to accomplish them all. Can he overcome the barriers that life gives him? It’s debatable… Pair it with “Can’t Take That Away” by Steven Salvatore, a book about two nonbinary students and the troubles they face as they fall in love.

The thriller fan on your list will be overjoyed to unwrap “Yes, Daddy” by Jonathan Parks-Ramage. It’s the story of a young man with dying dreams of fame and fortune, who schemes to meet an older, more accomplished man with the hopes of sparking his failing career. But the older man isn’t who the younger thinks he is, and that’s not good. Wrap it up with “Lies with Man” by Michael Nava, a book about a lawyer who agrees to be counsel for a group of activists. Good so far, right? Until one of them is accused of being involved in a deadly bombing.

For the fan of Southern fiction, you can’t go wrong when you wrap up “The Tender Grave” by Sheri Reynolds. It’s the tale of two sisters, one homophobic, the other lesbian, and how they learn to forgive and re-connect.


Like nonprofit organizations throughout the country, D.C.-area LGBTQ supportive nonprofit groups have told the Blade they continue to rebuild amid the coronavirus pandemic, which disrupted their fundraising efforts while increasing expenses, at least in part by prompting more people to come to them for help.

This holiday season, if you’re looking for a thoughtful gift, consider making a donation to one of our local LGBTQ non-profit organizations in someone else’s name. This list is by no means exhaustive, but a good place to start your research.

Contributions to the LGBTQ supportive nonprofit organizations can be made via the websites of these local organizations:

• Blade Foundation, which funds local scholarships and fellowships for queer student journalists,

• DC Center, our local community center that operates a wide range of programming,

Food & Friends, which delivers meals to homebound patients,

HIPS, which advances the health rights and dignity of those impacted by sex work and drugs,

• SMYAL, which advocates for queer youth,

Wanda Alston Foundation, which offers shelter and support for LGBTQ youth,

• Whitman-Walker Health, the city’s longtime LGBTQ-inclusive health care provider,

Casa Ruby, which provides shelter and services to youth in need,

• Us Helping Us, which helps improve the health of communities of color and works to reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS on the Black community,

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