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Nancy Pelosi, from the White House to Floriana

Schooling the president and prepping for speakership

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Nancy Pelosi, gay news, Washington Blade

Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) at the ‘Pelostree.’ (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Whether schooling our embarrassment of a president in the White House or visiting a Christmas tree dedicated to her and the new women members of the House of Representatives in front of Floriana restaurant on 17th Street in D.C., Nancy Pelosi is a class act.

Dito E. Sevilla, the master of ceremonies of all that goes on at Floriana and Dito’s Bar below the restaurant, outdid himself with this year’s Christmas tree. Those who know Dito understand his fascination with politics and his great sense of humor. This year he figured he would do his best to support the election of Pelosi as the next Speaker of the House by putting a huge picture of her atop the tree and calling it Pelostree. It seems a few of her staff who live in Dupont saw the tree and told the leader about it and she agreed to stop by and see it.

On her visit she was wearing the same coat and sunglasses she had on in the picture, which has now become iconic, of her and Sen. Chuck Schumer walking out of the White House after besting the president and forcing him to take responsibility for any government shut-down that may happen. She did joke saying the press had it wrong when they reported it as a red coat as it is actually orange. Orange or red with those sunglasses on she looked fierce.

She took the time to talk to the small crowd that had gathered speaking about how she has supported the LGBTQ+ community from the days she first came to Congress. She believes the fight to get government funding to combat HIV/AIDS galvanized the community and eventually led to the public being supportive of getting rid of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage.

She spoke of what her hopes are when she takes back the Speaker’s gavel on Jan. 3. How many of the issues regarding voting rights, women’s rights and equal rights including issues of equality for the LGBTQ+ community will be worked on in the Judiciary Committee and how she believes they will have the support of the general population. She said she hopes to see the House as a Town Hall working on issues with input from communities across the nation and continuously gathering support. She believes working in an open and transparent way will allow the public to see what Democrats can do if they take back the White House and the Senate in 2020.

Pelosi is quite an amazing woman. She understands how to get things done. She grew up in a political family. Her father Thomas D’Alesandro, Jr. was a Democratic Congressman from Maryland and then mayor of Baltimore and her brother Thomas D’Alesandro III was also mayor of Baltimore from 1967 to 1971. After moving to California she immersed herself in the Democratic Party becoming chair of the California Democratic Party from 1981-1983. Pelosi won her seat in Congress in a special election after Congresswoman Sala Burton became ill and she took office in June 1987.

From day one in Congress Pelosi has been a fighter for progressive causes. Her abilities were quickly recognized and she served on the Appropriations and Intelligence committees. In 2001 she was elected by her fellow Democrats as House Minority Whip, the second in leadership to Dick Gephardt who was Minority Leader. When he resigned that post to run his losing fight for the Democratic nomination in 2002 she was elected Minority Leader, the first woman to lead a major party in the House. When Democrats took over the House in 2007 she was elected Speaker, again a first for a woman.

Pelosi is credited by many, including President Obama, for being the person most responsible for passing the Affordable Care Act in the House. She understood how to count votes and what was needed to keep Democrats together, which has only become more difficult over the years.

Her ability has never been on display more than it has since the recent elections as she fought and apparently guaranteed she will be the next Speaker of the House. If anyone was still questioning how effective she will be her recent visit to the White House laid any last minute reservations to rest. She clearly got the better of the president and did it in her inimitable way, never raising her voice but schooling him in reality and calling him out for his lack of facts and his inability to accept the power she will have as the next Speaker. He clearly didn’t know what hit him. While speaking at Floriana she said she especially enjoyed the cartoon that had Trump running into a wall and the wall was labeled Pelosi.

We can be assured the next Speaker of the House is a woman of the people who will make sure the people’s business actually gets done in the House.

 

Peter Rosenstein is a longtime LGBT rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.

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Fathers should speak to kids about drugs, alcohol

Highlight dangers of illicit substances, how to manage peer pressure

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What does it take to be a good father? While there are many answers, it generally involves showing up daily, playing an essential role in their life, being there for them, and loving them unconditionally. 

Fathers are there to provide abundant love and support. Most fathers know the sacrifice it takes to ensure their children are loved and cared for. A father is always there for their kids, offering guidance, support, and education. The greatest joy for any father is seeing their children thrive, do well in life, and be healthy. 

However, things can get derailed in life, and teens and young adults take risks, such as experimenting with drugs or alcohol. Fathers have a responsibility to speak to their kids about drugs and alcohol and help them understand the risks and consequences. 

Data has shown that more than half of LGBTQ youth used alcohol in the last year, and more than one in three LGBTQ youth used marijuana in the previous year. Approximately 11% of LGBTQ youth reported regular use (defined as daily or weekly use) of both alcohol and marijuana.

Illegal drugs today are more readily available than ever before. According to the DEA, drug traffickers have turned smartphones into a one-stop shop to market, sell, buy, and deliver deadly fake prescription pills and other drugs. Amid this ever-changing age of social media influence, kids, teens, and young adults are easily influenced.  

Drug traffickers advertise on social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook. The posts are promptly posted and removed with code words and emojis used to market and sell illicit drugs. Unfortunately, digital media provides an increased opportunity for both marketing and social transmission of risk products and behaviors. 

Fathers are responsible for protecting and preparing our children for the world. Drug education is essential. Take the time to speak to your kids about the dangers of illicit substances, how to avoid and manage peer pressure, and what to look for. Be prepared to share personal experiences and help them understand that some choices have consequences. 

However, it can be challenging to see our kids struggle with things in life, and as fathers, we can also face our own difficulties, making it more difficult to help our children. The responsibility of raising children can be a lot; there are many challenges along the way, and the pressure of being a good influence can get the best of us. 

All of this makes it vital not to ignore our mental health; children, especially younger kids, mimic what they see. How we cope with frustration, anger, sadness, or isolation impacts our children in several ways. 

Our actions have consequences. Children see how we handle every situation, and while no father is perfect, we must be conscious of the fact they are impressionable when they are young. They look up to us, mimic our actions, and see when we are doing well in life mentally.   

The key for fathers caring for children is to take the time to care for themselves. However, if you are struggling, contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. Taking care of your mental health is the same as taking care of your physical health; it is an integral part of your well-being and contributes to you being the best father you can be.

Nickolaus Hayes is a healthcare professional in the field of substance use and addiction recovery and is part of the editorial team at DRS. His primary focus is spreading awareness by educating individuals on the topics surrounding substance use.

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In debate, Biden must stay on offense

President needs more lines like ‘I am running against a 6-year-old’

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President Joe Biden (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

On June 27, President Joe Biden will debate the man he has called a six-year-old. A great line, and he needs a few more like that. Unless there is a clear stumble by either candidate, we know what they will say. Trump will call Biden ‘sleepy Joe,’ among other names. But the reality is, people are used to it. They are not as used to Biden returning the favor. And Biden, aside from referring to Trump as a convicted felon, needs some lines that will make headlines the next day. Something with a little humor in it, but still making a strong point. 

Trump is scary. The recent column in the Washington Post on how Russ Vought, the former president’s budget director, is laying the groundwork for a broad expansion of presidential powers, is truly frightening. Now if it were me, I would be able to use my usual litany of words when referring to Trump: racist, sexist, misogynist, homophobic pig, found liable for sexual assault, and convicted felon. I may even go as far as suggesting society replace the word felon with “Trump.” People at trials could be convicted of 34 “Trumps.” But Biden can’t really use that. Maybe Biden can do something like look him in the eye and say, “You can’t really believe all the BS you keep spouting!” Then add, “The world is a complicated place, and even most six-year-olds seem to have a better understanding and grasp of it than you do.” 

Then there is the focus on the very serious part of the debate. The discussion of issues including the economy, abortion, contraception, and foreign policy. Reminding people, it was Trump who killed the immigration bill in Congress, telling energy billionaires if they raise him a billion dollars, in essence bribe him, they can “drill baby drill.” The president needs to speak to African Americans, Latinos, women, and the young. He needs to tell each of those groups what will happen if the six-year-old he is running against, were to become president again. 

Then he needs to look directly into the camera and say to the audience at home, “It isn’t only Trump you need to fear, it is the people he will surround himself with. His sycophants and cult, who will let him get revenge on anyone who says a word against him.” You can count on the fact it will be much worse than the last time around when he tried to stage a coup, because no decent person will work for him.

The first debate will take place 18 weeks before the Nov. 5 election. So much can change between then and the election. Remember when we talked about an October surprise? In today’s world there could be July, August, and September surprises as well. Between now and election day we will be treated to an overload of polling, most of it wrong. We will read hundreds of headlines, many of them clickbait. If you watch TV you will get to listen to hundreds of talking heads, many knowing no more than you. The difference being, they are being paid to spout off on the election, giving not facts, but their opinions. 

It seems every four years we hear this could be the most important, the most crucial, election of our lifetime. Well, this time those who say it just may be telling the truth. One candidate, convicted of 34 “Trumps,” is telling you he will be a dictator, and using Hitler’s words. He has the likes of Russ Voight advising him, and openly says he will seek revenge. Nothing could be more frightening. He is telling the young he doesn’t care about climate change, and telling the poor their programs will be cut because he will cut taxes for the rich.  

He calls our soldiers, those who sacrificed their lives and died in wars, “suckers and losers.” He called John McCain “a war hero because he was captured,” saying, “I like people who weren’t captured.” This frightening, sick man, with the world view of a warped six-year-old, will lead the United States if we aren’t willing to stand up to him, and his MAGA cult. Yes, I am afraid! And you should be too! If you are a woman, a minority, a member of the LGBTQ community, or just poor, be scared, be very afraid! If Trump and his cult win, you will lose what little you think you now have.

Peter Rosenstein is a longtime LGBTQ rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.

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Why you should celebrate pride with a musical about GenderCannibalism?

Rose: You Are What You Eat, through June 23 at Woolly Mammoth.

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Photo courtesy of Woolly Mammoth.

Because when I came out as trans my aunt told me it was because I ate my twin in the womb…and that’s what the show is about

Because…remember that time when you decided to dress like exactly like your older sister; or you stole your mothers’ makeup or your brother’s tie; or you decided to dress up like Katherine Hepburn for halloween when you were (i dunno) 10; or you started to look eerily like your lover…..that’s all gender cannibalism

Because because because because because….” because if you know that song this was made for you…and if you don’t…it’s okay, we’ll work on it

Because you can probably find a cute date at the show irl instead of just swiping in your phone…think of theater as an in person dating app without as much drunkenness as the bar

Because maybe that cute date is me

Because you can sing along to music written by a bunch of queers from Philly and D.C. 

Because we are all so hungry and so so thirsty 

Because I guarantee you will leave feeling fed

Because cannibalism puns are tasty

Because it’s a comedy

Because there are pay-what-you-can tickets

Because it plays all of June

Because we are consuming gender all the time but rarely watching what and how we eat it 

Because it’s an anti-assimilationist endeavor: the corporations can’t co-opt “gender cannibalism” for pride month (but there is merchandise available at the show…)

Because it’s only 75 minutes

Because I dance around in tighty whities with socks on my hands

Because there is a free clothing swap and treats in the gallery next to the show

Because why not?

Because you will be cast as my Mother, and that’s the role of a lifetime (or at least my lifetime)

Because you won’t know what will happen; you can’t pause or rewind the show; you will be taking a risk; you will find it’s more than just entertainment; you will feel me talking right to you

Because I’ve been writing this show for 34 years and am finally ready to share it with you

Because I’ll be in the lobby afterwards to say hi, and receive hugs, stories, and phone numbers 

Because I made this piece for you, my dear deviants, trans folx, genderful ones and for the people that care for us. It is a good laugh and a good cry and meant as a gift, a way to end your day feeling loved, nourished and worthy

Because don’t you want to be nourished and reminded that you are loved and worthy? 

And frankly because art needs you to survive and you need art to thrive

Because I took the time to write this letter to you and you took the time to read it, and neither you nor I want to waste that investment

Because you won’t want to miss it

Get tickets to Rose: You Are What You Eat, playing through June 23rd.

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