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LGBT march on Washington planned for D.C. Pride weekend

Organizers collaborating with Capital Pride officials



National Equality March, gay news, Washington Blade
National Equality March, gay news, Washington Blade, LGBT march

The last LGBT march on Washington was the National Equality March on Oct. 11, 2009. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

A gay activist in New York City has set in motion plans for a “mass” LGBT march on Washington on June 11, which he hopes will be similar to last week’s Women’s March on Washington that drew hundreds of thousands of people.

David Bruinooge, 42, a Brooklyn, N.Y., resident who has friends and relatives in the D.C. area, said he was inspired to create a Facebook page announcing the march on Jan. 21 while he was watching the Women’s March on Washington at home on television.

“I was watching the events unfold on TV and I was very proud and inspired by all the women, the strong women in our country who were kind of taking this to the street and getting their voices heard,” he told the Washington Blade. “And in the back of my mind as an openly gay man I thought the gay community should be doing something like this to follow up on the momentum,” he said.

He said he intentionally chose June 11 for the march because it’s the same day that D.C.’s Capital Pride Festival is scheduled to be held on Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. near the U.S. Capitol. Bruinooge said his thought was the march would start in the morning and end at the site of the Pride festival.

Ryan Bos, executive director of the Capital Pride Alliance, which organizes the D.C. Pride events, including the Pride Parade set to take place on June 10, said he has spoken with Bruinooge and expects that Capital Pride officials will collaborate with the march organizers so the march and the D.C. Pride events will complement each other.

Bruinooge said that at Bos’s suggestion, he has changed the name of the march from Gays on the Mall, which he initially announced on Facebook, to the National Pride March.

He acknowledges he and others working on the march will have a significant amount of work to do logistically, including obtaining permits for street closings. He said he’s hopeful that Capital Pride officials will provide support and consider the march to be a joint Capital Pride project.

“My intention was never to undermine what was going on with D.C. Pride,” Bruinooge said. “They obviously have the infrastructure and the mass support to help this become a reality.”

More information on the proposed march can be obtained here.

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  1. Jake GG

    January 25, 2017 at 10:40 pm

    I know of the 1993 LGBT march that had like a million people at it. I also recall 2009 National Equality March, less than a year after Prop 8, which had about 200,000 people at it. Wikipedia says:

    “Many groups joined by also organizing other events for the weekend, which coincided with National Coming Out Day on October 11 and marked eleven years since the beating and murder of gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard, which prompted national attention and action to expand hate crime laws.”

    “Outcome Matthew Shepard Act signed into law (October 22);
    US President Barack Obama committed to end “Don’t ask, don’t tell”, the US military policy forbidding gays, bisexuals, and lesbians to serve openly”

    I wonder what the explicit goals of this LGBT march would be? Would it be support for the Equality Act, ending the gay/bi blood ban, more protections & support for the most vulnerable parts of the LGBT community, getting more LGBT folks to run for office, preventing the Trump administration from rolling back protections or passing new anti-LGBT laws? I’m all for a march if we have some clear goals in mind.

    • Tina L. Long

      June 4, 2017 at 3:58 pm

      from what Ive been reading its mostly for the healthcare act

  2. Kurt 20008

    January 26, 2017 at 10:52 am

    It might be nice if he had a discussion with others before unilaterally announcing a national march.

    • Robin518

      January 26, 2017 at 12:35 pm

      Oh, you didn’t get his call yet asking for your personal opinion?

      • Kurt 20008

        January 26, 2017 at 3:01 pm

        Seemingly, no one nor any organization did.

        • Will Kohler

          January 26, 2017 at 3:52 pm

          And who exactly are you Kurt? And why should anyone have to ask anyones permission to get the ball rolling. This isn’t about catty gay inter-community politics. Its about fighting for our rights.

          • Kurt 20008

            January 26, 2017 at 3:57 pm

            No one said ask permission. The issue is working collegially.

          • Will Kohler

            January 26, 2017 at 4:38 pm

            There would be too many groups to go through. Better way is to just start it and have everyone join in.

          • Kurt 20008

            January 26, 2017 at 4:44 pm

            Then approach one group that has the resources to contact the others. This is my point. A single individual doesn’t have the means to make this happen. Some consultant with others before a public announcement would have been wise.

          • Scott Raskin

            January 27, 2017 at 7:18 am

            Completely agree Kurt. While this is an important march to have to bring everyone together, doing it during Pride Month where over 20 other cities and towns will have their own Pride celebrations that weekend is divisive and a duplication. Pride marches and events are planned long in advance and much time and resources have been put into those already and they cannot be changed. To plan a competing event that will potentially take away from people showing strong numbers in their local communities, where the change needs to happen, is misguided. I would be very surprised if Capital Pride does collaborate and would expect a strong statement coming from Prides in all 50 states not supporting this march during Pride Month. There are many other weekends between now and the end of May and then over the summer to do this march. Let’s not step on each other!

          • Katie Bartlett

            February 20, 2017 at 5:47 pm

            Kurt, I will remind you that the women’s march was organized in a matter of months from a Facebook post of ONE lady. ONE person CAN get the ball rolling. For the record, being critical of someone else trying to promote change does nothing for anyone. You can sit on the internet and complain or you can stand up and do something. Your choice. Don’t downplay the choice of another.

  3. alwaysright21

    January 26, 2017 at 11:35 am

    They’re just a bunch of petal pushers
    and carpet cleaners. Powerless and
    flimsy with a dash of stinky armhair.

    • Robin518

      January 26, 2017 at 12:37 pm

      As a feminine, old, straight woman, I will be there with them. You sound like someone that can’t get attention from a woman or a man.

      • alwaysright21

        January 26, 2017 at 12:49 pm

        Wrong, married happily
        for ten years with two
        beautiful white children.
        You’re a liar, no mature
        straight woman would
        have a cigar smoking
        wh0re as an avatar.

        • Steve Kay

          May 15, 2017 at 1:17 am



    • Steve Kay

      May 15, 2017 at 1:16 am



  4. Alyce Miller

    January 26, 2017 at 2:18 pm

    Very interested, and will make no suggestions or criticisms until I see what the planning committee sets forth. There was so much in-fighting for the Women’s March that seemed counter-productive. I think we give people a break and some credit for doing this.

    • cebutu .

      January 28, 2017 at 8:13 pm

      What infighting? Really, explain yourself.

  5. Clear Raines

    January 26, 2017 at 11:40 pm

    White children? is there a difference ? are white kids better than others ?

    • 0JosephHill0

      January 27, 2017 at 4:52 pm

      Whoa…what are you doing on a gay website,alwaysright21? You sound like a VERY sad and angry person. Hope you find help…

  6. Scott Raskin

    January 27, 2017 at 7:16 am

    While this is an important march to have to bring everyone together, doing it during Pride Month where over 20 other cities and towns will have their own Pride celebrations that weekend is divisive and a duplication. Pride marches and events are planned long in advance and much time and resources have been put into those already and they cannot be changed. To plan a competing event that will potentially take away from people showing strong numbers in their local communities, where the change needs to happen, is misguided. I would be very surprised if Capital Pride does collaborate and would expect a strong statement coming from Prides in all 50 states not supporting this march during Pride Month. There are many other weekends between now and the end of May and then over the summer to do this march. Let’s not step on each other!

    • cebutu .

      January 28, 2017 at 8:11 pm

      You must not have read the article. Much as the Women’s March was country, even worldwide, this needs to be throughout the country.

      • Scott Raskin

        January 28, 2017 at 11:27 pm

        Agreed, but the women’s march and the already planned Prides during the entire mont of June are two different issues. Only similarity is the “marching”. No need to take away from all the local events when the national march can take place before the month of June or after it. The sooner the better really; June is too long away!

  7. Will Kohler

    January 28, 2017 at 10:20 am

    Here is one of the best reasons to support this March – GOP To Re-Introduce National Right To Discriminate First Amendment Defense Act

  8. Ted Sevel

    January 28, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    This will occur during the “holy month” of Ramadamn and will likely cause offense to the Muslim community. Therefore I urge the organizers to postpone until a later date.

    • Steve Kay

      May 15, 2017 at 1:23 am


  9. Katie Bartlett

    February 20, 2017 at 5:56 pm

    As a straight, white women and mother of “white children”, I will say….you are a disgrace and should be ashamed of yourself. Teaching your children such hate should be considered child abuse. You give your children a hard life of outdated views in a progressive world. I feel bad for them. For the record, my white, lesbian friend has a white daughter….. Oh and my white dad is gay, too. You are nothing but a miserable troll.

    • alwaysright21

      February 21, 2017 at 5:49 am

      You are a Liar and a dirty jew. Children should not have homosexual freaks around them.

      • Katie Bartlett

        February 21, 2017 at 1:45 pm

        Not Jewish, idiot. Not a liar either. My brother and I and thousands of other children have grown up just fine. You know what kids don’t, the ones that become disadvantaged because of their parents hateful views. You teach your kids hate in a world full of acceptance. In this day and age, bigots are the minority and you guys are the freaks. You should really change your name to always wrong.

  10. Steve Kay

    May 15, 2017 at 1:19 am


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Biden endorses Roem for re-election

Former journalist is first out trans person in any state legislature



Virginia state Del. Danica Roem (D-Manassas) speaks to supporters following her re-election on Nov. 5, 2019. President Biden has endorsed her for re-election. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

President Biden on Tuesday endorsed Virginia state Del. Danica Roem (D-Manassas) for re-election.

Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Fairfax County) is among the other Democratic members of the Virginia House of Delegates who Biden backed. Biden in his tweet also stressed his support of Terry McAuliffe, who is running against Republican Glenn Youngkin to succeed Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam.

“Building back better starts in the states,” tweeted Biden. “Since flipping the legislature in 2019, Virginia Democrats have been a model of progress—including helping us vaccinate folks to beat the pandemic. To keep our progress, we must elect Terry McAuliffe and Democrats up and down the ballot.”

Roem, a former journalist, in 2018 became the first openly transgender person seated in any state legislature in the U.S.

Biden called Roem on the night she defeated then-state Del. Bob Marshall and congratulated her. A Washington Post picture that showed Roem crying moments later went viral.

The Manassas Democrat who represents the 13th District in 2019 easily won re-election. Christopher Stone, the Republican who is running against Roem in this cycle, opposes marriage and adoption rights for same-sex couples.

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Conservatives blame pro-trans policy after assaults in Loudoun schools

‘Gender fluid’ 15-year-old accused of attacking female students



The Loudoun County, Va., public school system’s recently adopted policy of allowing students to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity has come under fire over the past two weeks by outraged parents and conservative political activists following reports that a 15-year-old “gender fluid” boy allegedly sexually assaulted two girls in different high schools.

The parents of one of the girls released a statement through the Virginia-based Stanley Law Group blaming school officials for failing to put in place safeguards to prevent the boy, who they say was dressed in a skirt, from entering the girl’s bathroom to assault their daughter at Stone Bridge High School in Ashburn, Va., on May 28.

The statement accuses Loudoun County Schools officials and the Loudoun County Board of Education of failing to take steps to prevent the same 15-year-old boy from allegedly sexually assaulting another female student at Broad Run High School, also located in Ashburn, on Oct. 6 in a vacant classroom.

School officials acknowledge that the boy was transferred to the second school after law enforcement authorities released him from a juvenile detention facility following his arrest for the first case, in which the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office said he was charged with two counts of forceable sodomy against his female victim. 

“The sexual assault on our daughter and the subsequent sexual assault by the same individual were both predictable and preventable,” the parents’ statement says. “Subsequent to the sexual assault on our daughter, Loudoun County Public Schools formalized the policy regarding restroom use that was easily exploitable by a potential sexual assailant,” the statement continues. 

“Because of poor planning and misguided policies, Loudoun Schools failed to institute even minimal safeguards to protect students from sexual assaults,” says the statement.

Loudoun County Schools Superintendent Scott A. Ziegler apologized at an Oct. 15 news conference for what he acknowledged was the school systems’ mishandling of the two sexual assault cases. He noted that school officials should have publicly disclosed the two cases or at least alerted parents at the time they occurred. But he said a federal civil rights law known as Title IX that mandates how schools must respond to cases of sexual harassment appeared to prevent Loudoun school officials from initially disclosing the two cases of sexual assault until they were investigated by law enforcement authorities.

Ziegler said the school system was revamping its disciplinary procedures and its interaction with the Loudoun Sheriff’s Office to ensure that parents and students are alerted to potential danger similar to the cases where the 15-year-old boy allegedly assaulted the two female students.

Meanwhile, school officials and the LGBTQ advocacy group Equality Loudoun have pointed out that law enforcement officials have yet to confirm whether the 15-year-old boy charged in the two cases was actually dressed in women’s clothes during the first incident or whether he is trans or gender fluid.

Equality Loudoun’s president, Cris Candice Tuck, released a statement to the Washington Blade on Oct. 18 that she said was the first official known statement responding to the Loudoun school controversy from an LGBTQ organization.

“In light of the reporting of recent sexual assault allegations, the Board of Directors of Equality Loudoun wishes to extend our deepest sympathies to the victims of these heinous attacks and their families,” the statement says. “Equality Loudoun advocates for due process and justice for the victims regardless of whether the alleged perpetrator was a member of the LGBTQ+ community,” the statement continues. “Such actions have no place in our community, and Equality Loudoun does not condone any form of sexual violence, assault, or harassment,” it says.

“However, the accusations that the alleged perpetrator of these assaults is transgender or genderfluid have so far been unverified,” the Equality Loudoun statement asserts. “Attempts to shift blame of this incident to any individual, group, or policy – other than the alleged perpetrator – does a grave disservice to the victims of these crimes and already marginalized youth in our community.”

The statement adds, “We remind those advocating for change to the laws and policies that the initial assault predated any enactment of Policy 8040 by almost 4 months.”

The Equality Loudoun statement was referring to the fact that the Loudoun County School Board did not vote to approve the school system’s trans nondiscrimination policy until August of this year, more than three months after the first of the two sexual assault incidents occurred. 

The policy, among other things, allows transgender and genderfluid students to use the school bathrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity. The policy also requires that teachers, school administrators and fellow students address a trans or genderfluid student by their chosen name and pronouns.

“Inadvertent slips in the use of names and pronouns may occur,” the policy states. “However, staff or students who intentionally and persistently refuse to respect a student’s gender identity by using the wrong name and gender pronoun are in violation of this policy,” it states.

The statement says that rumors of a bathroom “pilot” program that predated the official approval of Policy 8040 that would have allowed female trans or genderfluid students to use the girls’ bathrooms “are simply untrue” and were never put in place.

In a separate statement to the Blade, Equality Loudoun’s Cris Candice Tuck challenged claims by some parents and conservative political activists, some of whom are supporting Virginia’s GOP gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin over Democrat Terry McAulliffe, that the trans nondiscrimination policy is placing students at risk for sexual assault.

“The adoption of nondiscrimination policies are in no way endangering students,” Candice Tuck said. “Across the country, sexual assaults have occurred in schools for decades before any transgender inclusive policies were passed,” she said. “And in those counties and states where such protections have passed in recent years, there has been no verified incidence of anyone abusing such policies to commit such attacks in schools.”

Candice Tuck added, “The focus should be on improving systems of reporting, coordination, and investigation, protecting the victims of these attacks, and creating safer school environments by creating modernized areas and bathrooms that increase protection for all students, including LGBTQ+ students who are statistically more likely to be the victim of such a crime.”  

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D.C. rejects request by gyms to lift mask mandate

LGBTQ-owned venues sign letter calling requirement ‘devastating’ for business



Owners of two LGBTQ-owned D.C. fitness studios and one gym signed on to a joint letter with the owners of six other similar businesses urging D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and D.C. Department of Health Director Dr. Laquandra Nesbitt to lift a city mandate requiring patrons of gyms and fitness studios to wear masks. 

The Oct. 4 letter, written by gay businessman Bryan Myers, the CEO and president of a chain of local fitness studios using the trademark name of [solidcore], states that the mask mandate, which applies to people who are fully vaccinated for the coronavirus, is based largely on outdated data pertaining to gyms and fitness studios collected prior to the widespread availability of the COVID vaccine.

“More relevant data to inform decision-making would be to study the data from two, large Northeastern cities that have opted to allow fitness classes to continue with the requirement of vaccination in lieu of a mask requirement,” the letter states. “In both New York City and Philadelphia, which have opted for this approach, we have not seen an increase in the trajectory of the Delta variant,” Myers says in the letter.

In the last week of July, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a recommendation that cities and local jurisdictions with 50 new COVID cases per 100,000 residents per week, which at that time included D.C., should ask residents to voluntarily resume wearing masks indoors. That same week, Bowser announced she would go one step further by mandating the indoor use of masks in most public places, including gyms and fitness spas or studios. 

Bowser and Nesbitt said their intention was to take immediate steps to curtail the spread of the coronavirus so that the city would not be forced to return to the full shutdown mode, including the closing of businesses, that the mayor lifted earlier this year.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced they would ask residents of their states to consider using masks in crowded indoor spaces as recommended by the CDC, but said they would not require mask use. 

In their letter to Bowser and Nesbitt, the gym and fitness studio owners called on the mayor to provide the same exemption to their businesses as the city has provided for restaurants, bars, and nightclubs, which requires masks except when patrons are eating and drinking. 

“While it is true that bars, restaurants, and clubs technically have to follow the same guidelines, we know that in practice, these venues have been granted exceptions by D.C. Health,” the letter says. “On any given night, you can find hundreds of individuals crowded into a U Street bar, at a Capitol Hill restaurant, or thousands at a performance or party at The Anthem enjoying themselves – singing, dancing and physically exerting themselves, shouting – maskless – so long as they have a drink somewhere nearby,” says the letter.

“And to be unequivocally clear, we are not advocating that there is anything wrong with what is happening in other industries or that there be a change to the management of those industries/venues,” the letter continues. “We are simply advocating that we be treated the same as they are.”

The letter adds, “Finally, but perhaps most importantly, the mask mandate for fitness studios and gyms has resulted in devastating financial impact to these businesses – many of which are small locally owned.”

It says patronage has dropped 50 percent for some of the fitness centers and gyms since the mayor’s mask mandate took effect July 29. It points out that the drop in customers comes at a time when many of these businesses have spent thousands of dollars and in some cases hundreds of thousands to upgrade their ventilation and filtration systems and other structural steps to curtail the spread of the coronavirus.

Myers told the Washington Blade in a statement that neither the Department of Health nor the mayor’s office replied directly to the gym and fitness studios’ letter.

Channel 7 News reported that in response to its request for the city’s reaction to the gym and fitness studios’ concerns, the Department of Health released a statement saying, “D.C. Health’s stance is that persons should wear masks in gyms and during this time [we] do not have plans to change our stance on this guidance.”

In his statement to the Blade, Myers said the D.C. gym and fitness studios were frustrated and disappointed that the city at this time is not open to reconsidering the mask mandate for gyms and fitness studios, many of which he said are barely surviving.

“This mandate is directly affecting the livelihoods of residents of the District, many of whom are women, people of color, and/or LGBTQ+ in a policy that is simply not equitable, and is steering residents away from services that can help improve the overall health of our community,” Myers said.

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