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Brian Petro dies at 46

20-year retrospective of his work held at the Paper Gallery in Philadelphia



Brian Petro, gay news, Washington Blade

Brian Petro

Brian Petro, a long-time D.C.-based artist, died Dec. 2 due to liver and kidney failure related to alcoholism, according to his friend, Mark Guenther. He was 46.

Petro was a native of central Pennsylvania and was born Oct. 1, 1970. He worked in sports medicine for six years before pursuing art full-time, which he did for the last 20-plus years creating multi-media works using ink, paint, old newspapers and more. He credited his style as inspired by the dichotomy of having grown up in a supportive yet rural area and the independence required for urban life, according to a bio he used professionally. He cited global travel and urban exploration as inspirations for his artistic aesthetic.

His work was shown in galleries in New York, Hawaii, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Washington, Rehoboth Beach, Del., and more. His clients included Absolut Vodka, which commissioned an ad used in Dupont Circle; the Ritz Carlton Hotels; Saks Fifth Avenue; IBM, which commissioned a 20-foot mural; the Library of Congress and others.

Petro was gay and had been in a long-term relationship with Ricardo Zapata that ended around 2011, though they remained friends. He is survived by long-time friends David Keuler, Mark Guenther and others. Petro moved to Washington in 2000. He lived in New York from 2008-2011 after which he returned to Washington.

A 20-year retrospective of his work was held at the Paper Gallery in Philadelphia, the first professional gallery to exhibit his work.

“Brian set the example of what it means to be a good human,” Guenther said. “He loved unconditionally and accepted people for who they were, no matter what. For me, he defined what it means to be a friend simply by being the example. He was one of the most creative, kind and generous people that I have ever met and I consider it one of the greatest gifts of my life to have had the privilege to call him my best friend.”

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Jan. 7 at 4:30 p.m. at First Congregational United Church of Christ (945 G St., N.W.). After the service, Petro’s art will be for sale at a reception. Festive attire as one would wear to an art opening is requested.



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

Easton and Cambridge to host events



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

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

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

Baltimore Pride is this weekend



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’s Sussex Pride launches free statewide HIV, STI testing

Special program honors National HIV Testing Day on June 27



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 ( 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 and for more information on HIV visit

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