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Comings & Goings

LGBT Bar Association names best lawyers under 40



National LGBT Bar Association, Comings & Goings, gay news, Washington Blade

The ‘Comings & Goings’ column chronicles important life changes of Blade readers.

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].

Congratulations to all the 2018 recipients of the Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40 Awards recently announced by the National LGBT Bar Association.

Some from the local area include Sarah B. Pitney, an associate with Benach Collopy, LLP.  She said, “I am honored to be recognized as one of the National LGBT Bar Association’s 2018 Class of Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40. Representing LGBT immigrants in obtaining lawful status in the United States is one of my greatest joys and I am humbled every day by the stories my clients have to tell. From trans women fleeing violence in El Salvador to gay couples seeking family-based green cards, I feel the connection every day to our global LGBT community.”

Sarah Pitney

Another is Madeline H. Gitomer an associate with Hogan Lovells LLP. She said, “I am thrilled to receive this recognition. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to work on behalf of the LGBT community through my work at Hogan Lovells and am honored to be included with such a distinguished group of lawyers.”

Gitomer previously served as a professional staff member on the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, Subcommittee on Children and Families from the Office of Sen. Christopher Dodd. She is co-chair, Lambda Legal DC Young Professionals Network and a board member of Custody and Support Assistance Clinic.

Madeline Gitomer

Also honored was Thomas N. Saunders, assistant United States Attorney with the United States Attorney’s Office, District of Columbia. Thomas was an international human rights attorney with Cohen, Milstein, Sellers and Toll PLLC and Law Clerk for the Honorable Laura Swain, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York. He said, “I am honored to receive this recognition, and humbled to be named alongside such an impressive group of attorneys from across the country.”

Thomas Saunders

Congratulations also to Andrew McCarty of Baltimore, elected the new president of Brother Help Thyself. McCarty has deep roots in Maryland in both the local and national LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS communities. McCarty neatly ties his professional day job as a hair stylist with more volunteer work at Helping Up Mission by cutting hair for that organization’s clients: men fighting addiction and homelessness.

Andrew McCarty

Congratulations also to Chef Mikko Kosonen and his business partner and husband Rob Wing who recently opened a Nordic café in Dupont Circle called “Mikko—Nordic Fine Food.” The café is at 1636 R St., N.W., just east of 17th Street. It features Danish-style open-faced sandwiches, homemade Finnish-style soups, house-smoked salmon, and traditional Nordic pastries like cinnamon rolls and cardamom buns. Chef Mikko expects to start offering daily lunch and dinner specials and we should be on the lookout for special events like tasting menus, Nordic-food cooking demonstrations and guest chefs. The townhouse the Café is in is painted the blues and reds of the Nordic country flags.

Chef Mikko has been a fixture of the Washington food scene for more than 21 years. He served 15 years as the chef to the Finnish ambassador. He has been running his own high-end catering firm for the past five years. His current list of clients includes ambassadors and other members of D.C.’s diplomatic corps. He has cooked for presidents and princesses. Now he is excited to introduce Nordic food to all Washington. Chef Mikko started cooking at 13 at his family’s restaurant Cassi in Stockholm, Sweden. He trained at the prestigious Helsinki Culinary School and honed his skills at the Havis Amanda restaurant in Helsinki.

Mikko Kosonen



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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