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Gay man who threatened U.S. senators pleads guilty

Schmitz gets probation for sending Twitter messages



Kyler George Schmitz, Capitol Police, gay news, Washington Blade

Kyler George Schmitz was accused of threatening to shoot two senators. (Photo courtesy Facebook)

In a little-noticed development, a 28-year-old gay man arrested last June at his home in Alexandria, Va., for allegedly making threats to shoot at least two U.S. senators in the face in a series of Twitter messages pleaded guilty in December to making interstate threatening communications.

Judge Gerald Bruce Lee of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia sentenced Kyler George Schmitz to two years of supervised probation and 90 days of home detention.

The Dec. 21 sentence came after Schmitz accepted a plea bargain offer by prosecutors that included pleading guilty to one of five counts in an indictment that charged him with making an interstate threatening communication.

Prosecutors had asked the judge to sentence Schmitz to six months in prison and a three-year term of supervised release on probation.

They pointed to one Twitter message that Schmitz sent to a senator, whose identity has been withheld, saying, “I’m going to shoot you in the head for allowing someone to murder my loved ones.” In a message to another senator, Schmitz stated, according to U.S. Capitol Police, “I am literally going to buy a gun [and] shoot you in the face [and] watch your brains splat #BangBangByeBitch.”

“The government submits that its proposed sentence is appropriate and reasonable in light of the seriousness of the defendant’s conduct, the history and characteristics of the defendant, and the need for a just punishment,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander P. Berrang said in sentencing memorandum to the judge.

In a sentencing memo on Schmitz’s behalf, defense attorney Geremy Kamens said Schmitz sent his threatening messages days after he was traumatized over the mass shooting in Orlando by a gunman who took the lives of 49 mostly LGBT patrons in the Pulse nightclub. Added Kamens, “All of the evidence makes clear that Mr. Schmitz had no intention of carrying out his threats.”

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  1. Glenn Priceless

    March 2, 2017 at 10:45 am

    “The need for a just punishment” ??? What did he do wrong? They can’t even explain their point of view in light of the legislature they passed, and the Orlando mass shootings. It wasn’t a priority to put their legislature into context?

    This is what happened to me. Further traumatizing the victim.

  2. Glenn Priceless

    March 8, 2017 at 4:36 pm

    Us who? You clearly aren’t gay. And threatened how? What with his outspoken gayness you dumb kook? It’s Freedom of Speech lady.

    He tweeted a reaction to insane senators in light of the Pulse nightclub shootings. Got it? But to hear you tell it he’s all the way a “dumbass” who has “threatened” them. The threat is in their legislature straight woman so maybe you need to educate yourself, and stop pushing the panic button everytime a gay person “colors outside the lines” of your straight-norma society.

    What are you pro-gun advocates afraid of your own shadow now? What a laugh. Or are you just mad that your easy access to guns legislature might come to bite you on your own rear-ends? Insane senators who you gave a free pass to. As if the fact that they’re senators was supposed to carry so much weight in your argument anyway. You’re just another closed minded Republican sympathizer. End of discussion.

    You straight people are not the only ones here, and your laws are only designed to make certain we all fall into marginalized areas of governance. So you clearly aren’t part of any movement I value lady, and you and that child in your picture can both f-ck off!

  3. Glenn Priceless

    March 10, 2017 at 3:09 pm

    Hey stupid. Take your pills and get off the internet.

    Hey stupid. Take an Anger Management class, and stop thinking you’re a sane voice to follow.

    Hey stupid. You’re just projecting over and over again. You’re the one that’s really stupid.

    Hey stupid. Being a lesbian doesn’t make you an expert on anything.

    Hey stupid. You’re no lesbian. You just hate all men straight and gay alike. Get the difference?

    Hey stupid. The community isn’t behind your man hating so stop pretending you anything about the community at large. You just hate gay men and are trying to social engineer more compliance and homophobia.

    Hey stupid. No one was threatened, and you still haven’t proved it.

    Hey stupid. It’s actually not “illegal to threaten another’s life”. It’s called Freedom of Speech. And you must know nothing about law so stop pretending you do. Maybe if you weren’t so stupid already (and distracted by your blind man hate and homophobia) you’d understand the concept. And I suggest you go back and pass your high school English class too. I’m sure that kid you kidnapped will appreciate better diction out of you someday.

    Hey stupid. Don’t ignore Anger Management. It can help you.

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Comings & Goings

Nathanson takes role at Outright Action



Rikki Nathanson

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 & Goings column also invites LGBTQ+ college students to share their successes with us. If you have been elected to a student government position, gotten 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 Rikki Nathanson on her new position as Senior Advisor – Global Trans Program with OutRight Action International in New York. Nathanson will be based in D.C.  

 “I am absolutely thrilled to be taking on this new role as Senior Advisor in OutRight’s Global Trans Program,” said Nathanson. “I have finally found the perfect fit for me: as a trans woman who has been fighting for equality not only for myself, but for others globally, this position is not only a job, it’s intrinsically part of who I am. So, what better way to live, nurture and grow myself.” 

Nathanson will be working closely with all program staff to ensure a cohesive and intentional approach to gender issues throughout OutRight’s programs, including its approach to gender ideology movements. She will lead new initiatives on gender advocacy and policy change, focused but not limited to legal gender recognition and anti-discrimination legislation and policies.

Prior to this Nathanson was director of housing programs at Casa Ruby in D.C. She has also held a number of other positions including: founder/executive director of Trans Research, Education, Advocacy & Training (TREAT), Zimbabwe; chairperson Southern Africa Trans Forum, SATF, Cape Town, South Africa; executive director, Ricochet Modeling Agency, Zimbabwe; and company secretary for Dunlop Zimbabwe Limited, Zimbabwe. 

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SMYAL Director Shakir to step down Dec. 31

Board to launch Executive Search beginning in January



SMYAL Executive Director Sultan Shakir addresses the crowd at the 2021 Fall Brunch. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Sultan Shakir, who has served as executive director of D.C.’s LGBTQ youth advocacy organization SMYAL since August 2014, announced on Friday that he will be stepping down from his position effective Dec. 31.

In a Dec. 3 announcement, SMYAL said details of Shakir’s future career plans would be announced in the coming weeks.

“While we are sad to see Sultan leave, we wish him nothing but the same success in his new endeavor as he had at SMYAL,” said Rob Cogorno, SMYAL’s board chair. “His leadership and vision enabled SMYAL to expand greatly needed services to LGBTQ youth in the DC metro area throughout his tenure,” Cogorno said.

“I am immensely proud of the work we have been able to accomplish together in my time at SMYAL,” Shakir said in a statement released by SMYAL. “SMYAL has been an integral and vital resource in the DMV community for over 37 years, and while we have come a long way in combating homophobia, transphobia, racism, sexual health stigma, homelessness, violence against the LGBTQ community, and oppression, we have a long way to go,” he said.

“This work has never been about one person,” said Shakir. “SMYAL was founded by our community and we’re still around because of our community,” he said. “I leave knowing that the commitment and passion of the SMYAL Board, staff, volunteers, and youth leaders have created a solid foundation from which our work will continue to grow until LGBTQ youth no longer need us.”

The SMYAL statement says that under Shakir’s tenure, SMYAL, which stands for Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders, expanded its programs and services for LGBTQ youth. Among other things, in 2017 SMYAL opened its first of several housing facilities for homeless LGBTQ youth that include culturally competent case management, education and employment assistance.

“The Youth Housing Program now comprises five programmatic models that serve a combined 61 youth residents,” the statement says.

It points out that also under Shakir’s leadership, SMYAL expanded the age range of the youth its programs serve under a new Little SMYALs program, which welcomes LGBTQ youth ages 6-12. And earlier in 2021 under Shakir’s guidance, SMYAL began a new Clinical Services Department “which provides affirming and accessible mental health counseling,” the statement says.

“The SMYAL Board of Directors will officially launch an Executive Search beginning in January 2022 and expects to have named a new Executive Director by summer 2022,” the statement says. It says the board will soon name an interim executive director to work with SMYAL’s Deputy Executive Director, Jorge Membreno, and the organization’s leadership team to oversee the day-to-day activities until a new executive director is named.

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Rainbow History Project to honor LGBTQ ‘Pioneers’

Virtual celebration to take place on Dec. 9



David Mariner, gay news, Washington Blade
David Mariner (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

D.C.’s Rainbow History Project says it will honor and recognize 12 individuals and one organization by designating them as Community Pioneers “for their diverse contributions to the Washington-area LGBTQ community” at a Dec. 9 virtual celebration.

“Rainbow History Project is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to collecting, preserving and sharing the LGBT history of metropolitan Washington, D.C.,” the group says in a statement announcing the event. “The Pioneers awards recognize diverse community leaders for their roles as organizational founders, innovators, advocates and volunteers,” the statement says.

“The Pioneers celebration will be held virtually and is designed with special features that reproduce the feeling of attending in-person, such as live streaming and video chatting with other attendees and Pioneers before and after the core awards programing,” according to the statement.

“Celebrating our Community Pioneers has been a cherished tradition since Rainbow History Project’s founding 21 years ago,” said Rob Berger, the organization’s chairperson. “It’s always an inspiring event, and we are happy that our virtual platform will still allow participants to meet and talk with the Pioneers,” Berger said in the statement.

The virtual event is free and open to the public, the statement says. Organizers released this link for those interested in attending, saying a short registration process may require registering in advance. 

Remo Conference

Following is the list of Community Pioneers scheduled to be honored at the Dec. 9 event as released by Rainbow History Project along with the project’s description of their backgrounds.

Arlington Gay and Lesbian Alliance, a local group that since its founding has addressed equal rights issues for LGBTQ Virginians from a state and local perspective.

– Eboné F. Bell, founder and editor-in-chief of Tagg Magazine and Tagg Communication LLC.

Bart Forbes, founding member of “Gay Fairfax,” a pioneering television newsmagazine program in Northern Virginia.

– Ellen Kahan, youth and family advocate, president of Rainbow Families, former director of the Lesbian Services Program at Whitman-Walker Health, and currently senior director of programs and partnerships at the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.

– Theodore Kirkland (deceased), a co-founder of D.C. Black Pride in 1991, member of the Gay Liberation Front and Skyline Faggots, active community health volunteer and advocate.

– Paul Marengo, community leader through LGBTQ organizations including Reel Affirmations, Cherry Fund, and Pride celebrations for youth, Latino, Black and Transgender communities.

– David Mariner, executive director of CAMP Rehoboth, and former executive director of the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community.

– Mark Meinke founder longtime chair, Rainbow History Project, and co-founder of Rainbow Heritage Network, a national organization for the recognition and preservation of sites, history and heritage associated with sexual and gender minorities.

– Michael “Micci” Sainte Andress, artist, health educator and advocate and an early leader in bringing African Americans into HIV/AIDS clinical trials.

– Boden Sandstrom, founder and owner of Woman Sound (later City Sound), the first all-woman sound company, which makes LGBTQ rights rallies and the women’s music scene possible.

Casse Culver (deceased), nationally acclaimed D.C. lesbian feminist singer-songwriter, and partner of Boden Sandstrom, whose followers said her love songs and feminist lyrics moved audiences from foot stomping to silent reflection.  

Alan Sharpe, playwright, director and co-founder of the African American Collective Theater in Washington, D.C., in 1976, which now focuses on LGBTQ life and culture in the Black community.

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