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Meet D.C.’s Most Eligible LGBT Singles

20 locals on love, life and their biggest turn-ons



LGBT singles, gay news, Washington Blade
(Washington Blade photos by Michael Key)

This is the fifth annual Washington Blade Most Eligible LGBT Singles issue. It began with reader nominations. From that list of about 200, our staff chose the 20 most eligible with an eye for locals with interesting stories, those doing compelling work and yes, those who are easy on the eyes. Meet them in person Saturday, Feb. 9 at Avalon Saturdays (1420 K St., N.W.) at 10 p.m. Singles will be introduced at 11:15 p.m. Cover is $15 (21 and up). The Blade staff thanks its sponsors Avalon Saturdays D.C., Bite the Fruit and Absolut. Click here for more details.


Shane Mayson

(Photo by Ana Isabel; courtesy Mayson)

Age: 52

Occupation: Business development, JL Restaurant Group

Identify as: He/him/his

What are you looking for in a mate? I’m looking for someone who can hold his own in social situations. Someone who has a great sense of humor and an optimistic outlook on life. Being romantic is super important to me. I’d like him to have a passion for what he does for a living. Someone who has compassion and gives back to the community. I want someone that has an active lifestyle and loves to travel.

Biggest turn-off: Someone who doesn’t keep his word. And bad tippers.

Biggest turn-on: Someone who is thoughtful and romantic.

Hobbies: Love to travel. Sing with the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington.

Describe your ideal first date: My ideal date would be to meet at a restaurant where we can talk and get to know each other.

Pets, kids or neither? Pets

Would you date someone whose political views differ from yours? No

Celebrity crush: George Clooney

One obscure fact about yourself: I was a drama major in college. 

Jo McDaniel

(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Age: 37

Occupation: Bartender and manager of A League Of Her Own

Identify as: Queer; she/her

What are you looking for in a mate? At this point in my life, a great deal of flexibility and understanding is what I’m looking for. I have a ridiculous schedule and a lot going on, so if quality time is your love language, I’m likely not to be able to fill your needs. As a human goes, I’m looking for someone who is quick to laugh and slow to anger, someone who wants to seek joy everywhere, similar to me. I need someone who’s a cheerleader and can hang with how much I’m lucky enough to be doing.

Biggest turn-off: Malicious intent. If your intention is to harm, in anything you do, I’m just not interested. Also, an ugly tone will undo any attraction I’m feeling. Words of affirmation is my top love language, so if you’re capable of being ugly with words, particularly toward me, I struggle to come back from that.

Biggest turn-on: Abject kindness. Sweetness in nature goes a long way, with me. A balance of a bold nature and seeking consent is pretty hot — too shy can feel like mixed messages, and I don’t really have time for that. “Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid.” (Basil King)

Hobbies: My entire life, I’ve been addicted to the written word. Any chance I get to settle into a book is one I’m going to take. Other than the one I run, my favorite bar is my backyard, hanging out with friends and my pup. All the better if I’ve got a fire going.

Describe your ideal first date: Because of the schedule I keep, I’m not generally up/available for Friday night dinners. A cup of coffee and a sunrise at Gravelly Point. A good museum in the middle of the week. Hell, be my gym buddy and let’s get lunch, after. I’m super easy, this way. Maybe I don’t know how to date.

Pets, kids or neither? Well, I’ve got both. Ava’s my blonde teenaged mini-me and Bentley’s my brindle pittie rescue. 

Would you date someone whose political views differ from yours? No, that’s a hard stop for me. There are enough people surrounding my life who are out to harm my community. I can’t add that to my romantic life.  

Celebrity crush: I’ve wanted to take Chili from TLC out on a date since probably high school. It’s more cerebral than anything, but I really want to hang out with Michelle Obama and let her talk to me.  

One obscure fact about yourself: I’m obscure on so many levels! I was head cheerleader — that surprises most people. My mom drew my first tattoo as a reward for getting straight As in high school. There are more McDaniel girls; I’m the oldest of four sisters. I started going by Jo professionally because Jordan was too hard to hear over the din of Apex when I first started bartending.

Alex Morash

(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Age: 34

Occupation: Writer

Identify as: Gay

What are you looking for in a mate? A partner in crime. A fun loving trouble maker. I like to press buttons and force people to think and am drawn to guys looking to do the same.

Biggest turn-off: Blandness

Biggest turn-on: A guy who has something to say. 

Hobbies: Does hanging out at gay bars with friends count as a hobby? Well if not, I also enjoy video games, photography and running.

Describe your ideal first date: An ideal first date would start with a cocktail or coffee before a visit to an art gallery or museum or maybe even a live show. Followed by a relaxing dinner where we talk into the night.

Pets, kids or neither? My baby cousins seem to like me, so I guess I could raise a child or two. But, it’s not a must for me.

Would you date someone whose political views differ from yours? I enjoy a good debate, so in theory, yes. But if a guy’s views parrot some of the bigotry I see in our nation’s political discourse, then he wouldn’t be the guy for me.

Celebrity crush: Neil Patrick Harris

One obscure fact about yourself: A lot of guys see me as this unapproachable, loud personality, but I’m actually a lot more low key one on one with close friends.

Kelly Moses

(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Age: 29

Occupation: Sales at a software startup

Identify as: Gay

What are you looking for in a mate? A partner in every sense of the word. Someone who is always open to new things. Family oriented. Understanding and confident is a must. Work has me on the road pretty frequently and it takes a special type of person to deal with my schedule sometimes.

Biggest turn-off: Insecurity, phone/social media addiction 

Biggest turn-on: Confidence, intelligence, genuine, and self-aware with a great smile. A huge plus if they can handle my large, extroverted extended family.   

Hobbies: Working out, traveling, skiing, college football (Go Clemson!), golf, long weekends in the Outer Banks.

Describe your ideal first date: Keep it simple. Grab drinks at a bar where we can actually hear each other talk. 

Pets, kids or neither? I have a dog now and we are a package deal. Definitely want kids with the right person. 

Would you date someone whose political views differ from yours? I think so. I consider myself pretty moderate.

Celebrity crush: Natalie Portman, Anna Kendrick

One obscure fact about yourself: I love all things related to aviation. Chances are I can tell you what type of plane is in the sky. One day when I have the time I’ll get my private pilot license. Oh and I am a Type 1 Diabetic.

Meagan Simonaire

(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Age: 28

Occupation: Cosmetic tattoo artist at DOLLISTIC

Identify as: Queer

What are you looking for in a mate? Someone who awakens my soul and makes my heart smile.

Biggest turn-off: Jealousy, insecurity and possessiveness.

Biggest turn-on: Confidence. Someone who is living their best life independently.

Hobbies: Is wine a hobby? Also, travel, dance, cooking, art and pretending I’m a comedian.

Describe your ideal first date: Surprise me! (But tell me what to wear.) 

Pets, kids or neither? I don’t currently have either, but I’ve always dreamed about being a mommy.

Would you date someone whose political views differ from yours? Absolutely not. My experience as an elected official allowed me to see first hand how impactful political views are.

Celebrity crush: Ruby Rose

One obscure fact about yourself: I was the youngest Maryland State Delegate from 2014-2018 and successfully aided the ending of conversion therapy by publicly sharing my personal story.

Laura Napoliello

(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Age: 28

Occupation: Accidentally killing air-plants.

Identify as: Millennial dumpster fire

What are you looking for in a mate? I’m honestly just out here trying to exist.

Biggest turn-off: Jogs in place at red lights while on a run

Biggest turn-on: Doesn’t believe that drinking more water solves all of your problems

Hobbies: Marie Kondo-ing other people’s tchotchkes.

Describe your ideal first date: We rent a U-Haul. You help me move.

Pets, kids or neither? Committing to working out once a week is all I got right now.

Would you date someone whose political views differ from yours? In this political climate?

Celebrity crush: Fiji water girl (she’s 31 don’t worry).

One obscure fact about yourself: I think I’ve shared enough.

Austin Auger

(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Age: 28

Occupation: Mortgage loan consultant

Identify as: Gay

What are you looking for in a mate? Someone who’s equally happy spending the night on the sofa with the Dominos Pizza Tracker as they are bouncing between Trade and Number 9. They have to be able to make me laugh and know how to make French toast.

Biggest turn-off: Arrogance, smoking

Biggest turn-on: Confidence, goal oriented and a large vocabulary. Also, a beard doesn’t hurt.

Hobbies: SweatBox, 801 Sunday Brunch and buying my nieces the loudest toys I can find.

Describe your ideal first date: I don’t have one ideal first, but rather I think a great first date where the both of us are doing something that we share an interest in.

Pets, kids or neither? Need dogs.

Would you date someone whose political views differ from yours? Everyone is raised from a different background and there are opportunities to learn from those who differ from yours. As long as we can have a conversation and respect each other’s thoughts I’m open to it.

Celebrity crush: Sam Hunt

One obscure fact about yourself: I can turn my feet backwards.

Khorey Baker

(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Age: 34

Occupation: Higher education administrator

Identify as: Black/gay/male

What are you looking for in a mate? Common sense is not as common as it used to be, so some of that would be great. Someone who is naturally joyful and cares deeply for his friends and family. A love of ’90s R&B music is also a huge bonus.

Biggest turn-off Smoking and racism (not in that order)

Biggest turn-on: Authenticity, sense of humor and spirituality

Hobbies: Traveling, concerts, kickball, exploring new places in D.C.

Describe your ideal first date: Something low key and casual with music, free flowing conversation and a meal. 

Pets, kids or neither? Maybe

Would you date someone whose political views differ from yours? In the words of the incomparable Randy Jackson, “It’s a no for me dawg!”

Celebrity crush: Senator Kamala Harris and Nyle DiMarco

One obscure fact about yourself: Take me on a date and find out!

Jocko Fajardo

(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Age: 41

Occupation: Lifestyle and entertaining consultant

Identify as: Male; he, him, his

What are you looking for in a mate? Curiosity, adventure and a sense of self

Biggest turn-off: Bad hygiene

Biggest turn-on: Thoughtfulness

Hobbies: Cooking, singing, calligraphy, paper-crafting, painting

Describe your ideal first date: A picnic indoor or outdoor

Pets, kids or neither? Either, provided mutual support

Would you date someone whose political views differ from yours? Yes

Celebrity crush: Josh Duhamel

One obscure fact about yourself: I am a certified massage therapist

Sarah Biglan

(Washington Blade photo by Wyatt Reid Westlund)

Age: 38

Occupation: Private chef/owner District Elite

Identify as: Lesbian (she/her)

What are you looking for in a mate? A person who is honest, independent, confident and emotionally available. We make each other better and laugh a lot at jokes that only we get. 

Biggest turn-off: Games, attention seeking and flakiness. 

Biggest turn-on: Warm eyes, big smile and lipstick. Enjoys sandwiches as much as I do. Vulnerability. 

Hobbies: Food research, the gym and taking bubble baths. 

Describe your ideal first date: We go somewhere and have a really hard time ending the conversation. The result being a second date.

Pets, kids or neither? Cats: definitely; dogs: they’re cool; kids: maybe 

Would you date someone whose political views differ from yours? They need to align for the most part, but I respect differing views as long as they are reasonable. 

Celebrity crush: Tied: Halsey and DJ Kittens

One obscure fact about yourself: I learned how to juggle from a circus clown. I’m not too bad either.

James Barnett

(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Age: 29

Occupation: [solidcore] coach & VP acquisitions at CB Development

Identify as: Gay

What are you looking for in a mate? A life partner who is an avid traveler, gym junkie, confident, supportive, hilarious, hard worker, go getter, communicative, dancing queen, dabbles in drag, can cook and can equally enjoy a wild night out staying up till the sun rises or staying in and watching a movie.  

Biggest turn-off:  Bad smells (b.o. and cigarettes), ambiguity and, stage-five clingers. 

Biggest turn-on: Ambition, a cute face, competitiveness and when guys take my class at [solidcore] and can keep up with me (or better yet beat me) in a workout.

Hobbies: Going to the beach, throwing dinner parties and cooking, traveling, rosé — have I mentioned fitness and working out yet? 

Describe your ideal first date: Everyone knows you can only agree to casual drinks or coffee for first dates because you may potentially be meeting a psychopath and need to get out. If it’s going well, drinks turn into dinner, which then turns into more drinks to lead to a fun night, which is ideal. My ideal second date is dinner plus an activity (a show, concert, sporting event, workout). Something we can experience together and talk about how we felt about it and get to know each other better.    

Pets, kids or neither? Both — kids and pets but no cats. I’m allergic to cats and also they’re cats. 

Would you date someone whose political views differ from yours? No. I left a date once because this guy was bashing HRC and Venmo’d him money for the bill and only regret giving him any money.

Celebrity crush: Adam Rippon, Darren Criss, Michael B. Jordan, Zac Efron, and of course Ariana Grande.

One obscure fact about yourself: I was a diver in college.

Jared Godes

(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Age: 24

Occupation: Box office manager

Identify as: Gay

What are you looking for in a mate? Looking for someone who can reciprocate energy; professionally, personally, physically. Someone to be my biggest fan! And vice versa — pushing me to jump at opportunity, imagine and execute. 

Biggest turn-off: Dirty dishes.

Biggest turn-on: Someone who can order for me at restaurants.

Hobbies: Anything that involves Chief (dog). Runs, outdoors, long drives, farmers markets.

Describe your ideal first date: Something active or creative (e.g. pottery making, paint night, rock climbing). Finished off with food (your recommendations) and walking Chief. 

Pets, kids or neither? Pet: Chief. Genus: Canis. Species: Dachshund.

Would you date someone whose political views differ from yours? Sure! 

Celebrity crush: Anderson Cooper and Ryan Gosling.

One obscure fact about yourself: I grew up competing in rodeo, roping only.

Tarik S. Pierce

(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Age: 40

Occupation: Training and development director

Identify as: Gay

What are you looking for in a mate? Someone who can make me laugh, is a friend and confidant, is smart and doesn’t take himself too seriously. Oh and he has to be his own person and happy in his own right. A complete person.

Biggest turn-off: Insecurity

Biggest turn-on: Knowing who and what you are.

Hobbies: Traveling, Stonewall (& Rogue) Sports, running, working out, my friends (believe me they are an activity in and of themselves), theater and brunch.

Describe your ideal first date: An activity. Something other than dinner or drinks. Whether we’re bowling, playing darts, walking through the memorials. Something other than sitting across from each other inorganically coming up with things to talk about. An activity makes for a loose environment and, if you want to get closer, there’s not a table between you.

Pets, kids or neither? Ha, this one is on him. I’m not opposed to either, but I am not doing it alone. 

Would you date someone whose political views differ from yours? I have and would, as long as he was able to have an intelligent conversation about his views. Maybe I can learn a different point of view and, in the process, learn more about him.

Celebrity crush: Celine Dion

One obscure fact about yourself: I think most people who know me would be surprised to know that I love my alone time.

Monika M. Pickett

(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Age: 51

Occupation: Author

Identify as: “The Lesbian” 

What are you looking for in a mate? I am looking for a partner who is courageous enough to adore me publicly and privately, someone who is kind and as beautiful on the inside as the outside. I’m attracted to feminine women.

Biggest turn-off: Pretentiousness, lack of compassion, dishonesty

Biggest turn-on: Confidence, self-awareness, laughter, kindness

Hobbies: Working out, Finding quaint consignment shops, watching foreign/indie films, care-free day trips to new places.

Describe your ideal first date: Lunch or dinner at a waterfront restaurant, laughing as we vibe on our mutual attraction. 

Pets, kids or neither? Not much of a pet person. I love kids. I have an adult son, an amazing daughter-in-law and two beautiful grandchildren.

Would you date someone whose political views differ from yours? Definitely, as long as their views aren’t aligned with classism, oppression and inequality. 

Celebrity crush: Ava DuVernay; Cate Blanchett

One obscure fact about yourself: From a very young age, I challenged assumptions on what a lesbian “looks” like.  I look like a girl on the outside but I am one chromosome from being my mother’s second son on the inside. 

Molly Byrom

(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Age: 27

Occupation: Social worker

Identify as: Queer

What are you looking for in a mate? Someone who has a close relationship with Jesus. Someone who is a fiercely loyal friend. Someone who will keep me on my toes while also making me feel one hundred percent safe.

Biggest turn-off: Inauthenticity and flakiness.

Biggest turn-on: When someone is secure in who they are.

Hobbies: Cooking, photography, serving in the church, reading and yard work. I stay busy, I have many more. 

Describe your ideal first date: I enjoy any combination of food or drinks and exploring. I would love a picnic at the Tidal Basin, where I bring homemade food. We can people watch together and walk around. 

Pets, kids or neither? Yes to dogs and kids.

Would you date someone whose political views differ from yours? Yes, if the differences are within reason and the person is understanding and respectful of my views. 

Celebrity crush: None, I’m not actually that interested in celebrities. 

One obscure fact about yourself: This is it. I created a public dating profile.

Emma Chadband

(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Age: 29

Occupation: Graphic designer for the United Nations Foundation

Identify as: Lesbian

What are you looking for in a mate? Hopefully a Hufflepuff. Someone who wants to talk through the intricacies of Ariana Grande vs Carly Rae Jepsen. Someone interested in radical friendships and community building. Someone who’s just as passionate about exploring this world as I am.

Biggest turn-off: Being too quick to judge. A lack of empathy. Too big an ego. I like to laugh at myself so I hope you will, too. 

Biggest turn-on: Kindness. Sounds lame, but I love people who love people.

Hobbies: I’m kind of a hobby queen. I’m currently learning how to play the piano. I also love pole dancing and DIY projects of any kind. If you have a denim jacket, I can embroider a custom patch for you. I also just backpacked through Europe for three months with my best friend, and planning a trip I might never even take might be my favorite way to whittle away a slow afternoon.

Describe your ideal first date: Wine, cheese, lots of laughter. 

Pets, kids or neither? I have one cat, Potato, who is my only roommate but he really runs the house. Yes to puppies and yes to kids!

Would you date someone whose political views differ from yours? Yes. We can argue over whether or not D.C.’s straw ban is really relevant or making a difference. But if our views differ on things beyond straw policy — like Trump, travel bans, the general awfulness of this administration, it probably won’t work out.

Celebrity crush: Miley Cyrus, but I’m sufficiently embarrassed about it.

One obscure fact about yourself: I run the Bud Light Lime instagram, @budlightlimeofficial

Thomas Hudson

(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Age: 24

Occupation: LGBTQ policy associate

Identify as: Queer

What are you looking for in a mate? Someone who’s goal oriented with a nice sense of humor. Someone who enjoys arts, exploring nature, bottomless brunch and social justice. Someone willing to work through our imperfections together. 

Biggest turn-off: Lack of communication and dishonesty

Biggest turn-on: Intelligence, humor and goals

Hobbies: Exploring museums, nature walks, bottomless brunches, social justice lectures, dancing and singing. 

Describe your ideal first date: Perfect first date would be dinner or brunch, a museum tour and walking the monuments at night while having a long meaningful conversation.

Pets, kids or neither? I love cats and dogs. I would love to have children. I definitely plan to foster and adopt in due time.

Would you date someone whose political views differ from yours? Yes and no. I value a difference of opinion and can respect someone with opposing views. However, when those views work to uphold the various forms of systemic oppression, I have to draw the line. I will not compromise my values, beliefs or identity for someone else’s comfort. 

Celebrity crush: Kofi Siriboe

One obscure fact about yourself: I have a really flexible back.

Laurel Powell

Age: 30

Occupation: Digital campaigns manager

Identify as: Queer transgender woman

What are you looking for in a mate? Someone whose life is full with drive and ambition and passion and isn’t afraid of communicating their thoughts and wants and desires in a healthy way. In short, let’s be a power couple.

Biggest turn-off: Indecisiveness, probably followed by treating wait staff poorly or being a bad tipper.

Biggest turn-on: Confidence, intelligence and humor. Bonus points if you can cook a good breakfast (I’ll make dinner). 

Hobbies: I’m a voracious reader and an avid PC gamer.

Describe your ideal first date: Dinner and drinks! Keep it simple and allow plenty of time to talk and get to know each other.

Pets, kids or neither? Same answer to both — I don’t have any currently, but am open to the possibility with the right person in the right situation.

Would you date someone whose political views differ from yours? To a point. I don’t expect someone to feel the exact same way as me, but I won’t compromise on certain issues. Trump voters (and non-voters) need not apply.

Celebrity crush: Hayley Kiyoko

One obscure fact about yourself: I adore trains and my favorite vacation that I’ve ever taken was a solo cross-country train trip from D.C. to Seattle.

Michael Suh

(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Age: 31

Occupation: Project manager

Identify as: Gay

What are you looking for in a mate? Someone who is open, honest, caring and thoughtful. Comfortable in his own skin and isn’t afraid to be himself with his friends, family and others. Has a good, smart sense of humor. I’m looking for a partner in life, so definitely someone who is also looking for commitment. Nerdy helps, too!

Biggest turn-off: Bigotry

Biggest turn-on: Romance, wit and a good cuddler with some scruff.

Hobbies: Musical performance, museums, video games, board games, trying new foods, movies, cosplay

Describe your ideal first date: Sharing stories over dinner at a new place neither of us have tried before (so we can both complain about it if we hate it), followed by a walk to get dessert and talking and laughing. We’d kiss and part ways, but continue via text at home until one of us (probably me) falls asleep.

Pets, kids or neither? Neither, though pets (dog) if I had to pick

Would you date someone whose political views differ from yours? Absolutely not

Celebrity crush: Dan Levy

One obscure fact about yourself: I did Army JROTC in high school. My hair was much shorter then!

Mundy Spears

(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Age: Legal

Occupation: Composer, vocalist, teacher and performance artist

Identify as: Non-binary, queer. they/them

What are you looking for in a mate? An honest, kind, fun-loving partner in crime. Open-minded excitement for life. A patient person who loves art, music and nature. Passionate and considerate with a strong sense of purpose. A switch.

Biggest turn-off: Game playing/dishonesty. Be real.

Biggest turn-on: Kindness

Hobbies: Dancing in the garden, making things grow. Butterflies. Hiking with my dog and cuddling with my cat. Treasure hunting (I have a vintage clothing line). Word nerd.

Describe your ideal first date: Yummy food and a show of any kind. Drinks after to talk through the thoughts the show inspired. Or we just go dance it out.

Pets, kids or neither? Babies with and without fur.

Would you date someone whose political views differ from yours? No

Celebrity crush: Rosario Dawson

One obscure fact about yourself: When I was 13, I lived in an eco-village in Findhorn, Scotland.


a&e features

Another busy summer season arrives in Rehoboth Beach

Fine dining, drag shows, theater, and more on tap for 2023



Joe Ciarlante-Zuber (right) with his husband and business partner Darryl Ciarlante-Zuber have another busy summer of events planned at Diego’s. (Blade photo by Daniel Truitt)

The summer of 2023 will be an exciting time in Rehoboth Beach, with lots to see and do as always. Great people, and of course the sand, sea, and boardwalk. Everyone in town has been working hard over the winter to make this the best season ever at the beach. New businesses, old ones moving to new locations, milestone anniversaries, and just loads of fun all around. 

While I am often just a burger and fries’ guy, Rehoboth has become a real foodie paradise for those who enjoy, and appreciate, really fine dining. (For more on the dining scene, see separate story in the Blade.)

The City of Rehoboth has fewer than 1,500 full-time residents. Many who have a Rehoboth address like me, live outside the city boundary. But at any time during the summer season, the population swells to more than 25,000. Among them are many members of the LGBTQ community. If you are one of them, stop by CAMP Rehoboth, the LGBTQ community center, founded by Murray Archibald and Steve Elkins in 1991. 

Today, many of the businesses in town are owned by members of the community and even those that aren’t are supportive of the community. The most famous residents of the area are President Biden and first lady Jill Biden, who try to spend some weekends at their home there. Not sure how much time they will have this summer between the duties of being president and running for reelection.  I do know when there, they love the famous chicken salad sandwiches, among other great things, from Lori Klein’s Lori’s Oy Veh Café in the CAMP courtyard. Lori’s is celebrating its 27th season. If you stop in the courtyard, you will be pleased to see new tables and chairs where you can sit and enjoy your meal.

My favorite hangout on Baltimore Avenue, the gayest block in Rehoboth, is Aqua Grill. The perfect place to spend happy hour any day of the week. Chris, one of the hot and charming waiters, is back serving drinks on the deck. Then there is The Pines restaurant across the street with a great showroom upstairs and always fun entertainment. The guys who own it have expanded their operations with Drift on Baltimore and now taken over the old Philip Morton Gallery and turned it into their offices. They are also preparing to open Bodhi on 1st street. One of the great old standbys at the beach is The Purple Parrot Grill and Biergarten on Rehoboth Avenue. Owners Hugh Fuller and Troy Roberts make everyone feel welcome. The old girl has a bright new paint job this year and she’s better than ever with some great entertainment. 

Make sure you read the Blade’s column on food at the beach but here are just some of the places I passed on my walk around town on sidewalk sale weekend. There are Eden Restaurant, Azafran, and La Fable on the beach block of Baltimore Avenue. Then the always reliable standby the Blue Moon. In addition to some of the best food in town, the Moon has an extensive calendar of special events planned for summer, including the much anticipated return of talented NYC pianist Nate Buccieri beginning June 25. He plays Sunday-Thursday for most of the summer; check for specifics.

There is also Ava’s and Theo’s and Frank and Louie’s on the second block.The venerable Back Porch on Rehoboth Avenue has been serving some of Rehoboth’s finest food for decades, and, of course, Houston White further up the street if you’re craving a steak.Then there is Goolee’s Grill on 1st street and the new location of JAM on 2nd. Goolee’s is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a cocktail party on June 1, 5-9 p.m.; tickets are $15 and available online.

My favorite morning place, it has become my afternoon place as well, is the totally refurbished Coffee Mill in the mews between Rehoboth Avenue and Baltimore Avenue, just next to the wonderful Browseabout Books on Rehoboth Avenue. Dewey Beach residents will soon have their own Coffee Mill in a beachfront location, 1700 Coastal Highway. It will have a great view of the beach and ocean from its rooftop deck. Mel and Bob are going to be busy this year with all their places including Brashhh on 1st street, now celebrating its 11th year, and The Mill Creamery serving Hopkins ice cream. Longtime Rehoboth business owner Steve Fallon, one of the best promoters of the beach I know, has the fun Gidget’s Gadgets on Rehoboth Avenue and his second place selling vinyl records, Extendedplay. Then there is Coho’s Market and Grill on Rehoboth Avenue. 

Back on the gayest block in Rehoboth, Baltimore Avenue, don’t forget to stop in and purchase some incredible one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces, and now original art, at Elegant Slumming and then get your hair cut in The Grateful Head Salon.  

For more afternoon and evening entertainment there is the popular Diego’s Bar and Nightclub (37298 Rehoboth Avenue Ext.), a perfect spot for outdoor happy hours and late night dancing. Local legend Magnolia Applebottom holds court all summer with performances slated for the Thursday and Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend. Sunday’s show runs 6-9 p.m. followed by DJ Mags “with her boys” from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. In addition to Magnolia, Diego’s brings internationally known DJs to town during the summer. And the free parking is a nice bonus in a town with a chronic shortage of parking spaces. Diego’s has an exciting summer of special events planned, so follow them online for updates. Among the acts coming to Diego’s this summer are “Jaws the Musical” (June 18), Ada Vox (July 5), and Edmund Bagnell (July 17). 

Don’t miss the always fun Freddie’s Beach Bar on 1st street, where the amazing Freddie Lutz has brought his wonderful concept from Virginia to the beach. The beloved Pamala Stanley performs periodically at Freddie’s; follow her on social media for updated dates.

Remember Rehoboth still has some great culture even if the town commissioners have been trying to force it out of town. The amazing Clear Space Theatre is stillon Baltimore Avenue. This season’s productions include Lucy in the Sea with Darvon, Jesus Christ Superstar, Kinky Boots, and The Spongebob Musical

This will be a summer not to miss at the beach. Better make your plans to visit soon, if you haven’t already, because hotels and rentals are booking fast. 

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Pride season arrives!

LGBTQ community events planned across region



A scene from the 2022 Capital Pride Parade. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Pride season has already begun. Last month’s Roanoke Pride filled the Virginia city’s Elmwood Park with rainbow flags. Pride events begin in D.C. this month and continue through June. Regionally, some cities have opted to hold their Pride events as late as the fall. 


Organizers of Trans Pride D.C. ( plan a full day of workshops and events on Saturday, May 20 at Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library (901 G Street, N.W.). These events are currently listed on Facebook and Eventbrite as running from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. 

The HIV/PrEP Programs at the Charles County Department of Health are hosting PrEP for Pride 2023 at 4545 Crain Highway in White Plains, Md. on Saturday May 20 from 12-7 p.m. 

The festival is free, though those who RSVP will be entered into a door prize drawing. PrEP for Pride’s Eventbrite page advertises a pride walk, a PrEP Mini Ball, music, art, health & wellness information, food options and other vendors.

Equality Prince William Pride ( will be held on Sunday, May 21 at the Harris Pavillion (9201 Center Street, Manassas, Va.) from 12-4 p.m., according to its Facebook events page.

The event is billed as a family-friendly event with music, vendors and kids activities. Performers include musician John Levengood, BRUU Band & Choir and the drag artists Coco Bottoms, Muffy Blake Stephyns and Ophelia Bottoms.

D.C. Black Pride ( events are held throughout the city May 26-29 primarily at the Renaissance Washington DC Downtown Hotel (999 9th Street, N.W.). 

Official events include a Unity Ball, a vendor expo, a talent showcase, forums, parties and the annual Pride Festival in the Park at Fort Dupont Park on May 29 from 12-7 p.m.

A scene from the Us Helping Us Black Pride Festival at Fort Dupont Park last May. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The third Caroline County Pride Festival ( “A Carnival Adventure” will be held in downtown Denton, Md. (301 Market Street) on Saturday, May 27 from 3-8 p.m. according to the group’s Facebook event page.


Last year’s Baltimore Trans Pride March was held on June 5, 2022. (Washington Blade file photo by Linus Berggren)

Baltimore Trans Pride ( kicks off the month at 2117 North Charles Street in Baltimore, Md. on Saturday, June 3, according to Baltimore Safe Haven’s Facebook event page.

The Baltimore Trans Pride 2023 Grand March is to be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday along North Charles Street between 22nd and 23rd. The Block Party continues at 3 p.m. with performances beginning at 4 p.m.

Afterparties are scheduled at The Crown (1901 North Charles Street) and Ottobar (2549 North Howard Street). Baltimore Safe Haven also hosts a kickoff ball on Friday, June 2 at 2640 Saint Paul Street at 6 p.m.

Annapolis Pride ( holds its annual parade and festival on Saturday, June 3 from 12-5 p.m. on Inner West Street in Annapolis, Md. according to the Facebook event page

Hundreds lined the streets of downtown Annapolis for the Annapolis Pride Parade. (Photo by Jaime Thompson courtesy Fleur de Lis Photography)

Reston Pride ( holds its annual festival at Lake Anne Plaza (1609 Washington Place) in Reston, Va. on Saturday, June 3 from 12-6 p.m., according to the Facebook event page.

Last year’s Reston Pride festival was held at Lake Anne Plaza. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Ellicott City, Md. holds OEC Pride ( on June 3-4 in Old Ellicott City. Events include a mascara run up and down Main Street and a movie presentation of “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert”. 

Suffolk, Va. holds its third annual Suffolk Pride Festival ( on Saturday, June 3 from 5-8 p.m. at Bennetts Creek Park (3000 Bennetts Creek Park Road, Suffolk, Va.), according to the Facebook event page.

Portsmouth Pride Fest ’23 ( is the second annual LGBTQ community celebration in Portsmouth, Va. The festival is to be held on Saturday, June 3 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Portsmouth Festival Field next to Atlantic Union Pavilion, according to the Facebook event page.

The Alexandria LGBTQ Task Force presents the sixth annual Alexandria Pride ( at Alexandria City Hall in Market Square of Old Town Alexandria, Va. (301 King Street) on Saturday, June 3 from 1-5 p.m.

Newport News, Va. has its first I Am What I Am (IAWIA) Pride Festival on Sunday, June 4 from 12-7 p.m. at Tradition Brewing Company (700 Thimble Shoals Boulevard, Newport News, Va.), according to the Facebook event page.

The 2023 Cumberland Pride Festival ( will be held at Canal Place (13 Canal Street, Columbia, Md.) Sunday, June 4 from 12-4 p.m., according to the Facebook event page.

The 2022 Cumberland Pride Festival was held at Canal Place in Cumberland, Md. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Culpepper County in rural Virginia will be getting its very first pride celebration with Culpepper Pride Festival ( on Sunday, June 4 from 12-5 p.m. at Mountain Run (10753 Mountain Run Lake Road, Culpepper, Va.). An after-hours 21+ drag show will be held.

Equality Loudoun’s “Across the Decades” 2023 Loudoun Pride Festival ( will be held on Sunday, June 4 from 1-7 p.m. at Claude Moore Park (21668 Heritage Farm Ln, Sterling, Va.). This is a ticketed event with a $5 general admission.

Last year’s Loudoun Pride. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Delaware Pride ( is being celebrated as a festival on Saturday, June 10 at Legislative Hall (411 Legislative Avenue, Dover, Del.) from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. according to the Facebook page.

D.C.’s massive Capital Pride ( includes the 2023 Capital Pride Parade on Saturday, June 10 and the 2023 Capital Pride Festival on Pennsylvania Avenue on Sunday, June 11. On top of the many official events, there are a great number of parties in venues throughout the city over the week, including the not-to-be-missed Pride on the Pier and Fireworks Show, held 2-9 p.m. on Saturday, June 10 at the Wharf. There are two timed VIP sessions that include catered food and open bar. The region’s only Pride fireworks display, sponsored by the Leonard-Litz Foundation, takes place at 9 p.m. Visit for tickets and information.

Jerry Houston and Elizabethany of HOT 99.5 served as emcees of the 2022 Capital Pride Festival. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The Third annual Pride in the ViBe, will be held at ViBe Park (1810 Cyprus Avenue, Virginia Beach, Va.) on Sunday, June 11 from 1-6 p.m., according to the Facebook event page.

Scenic Chesapeake, Va. is the backdrop for Pride in the ‘Peake 2023 at City Park Section B next to the basketball courts on Sunday, July 11, according to an posting.

Eastern Panhanlde Pride is to be held on Saturday, June 17 from 12-5 p.m. in downtown Martinsburg, W.Va., according to EPP’s Facebook page.

The Delmarva Pride Center presents DELAMRVA Pride ( with events from June 16-18. The DELMARVA Pride Festival is to be held on Saturday, June 17 along South Harrison Street in downtown Easton, Md. Other events include a drag show and a Sunday brunch, according to the Pride Center’s Facebook page.

The Ghent Business Association presents Ghent Pride “Party at the Palace Shops” on Tuesday, June 20 from 6-10 p.m. at The Palace Shops and Staton (301 West 21st Street, Norfolk, Va.), according to the Facebook event page. This is a ticketed event with general admission $13.

The Human Rights Commission of the City of Rockville holds the seventh annual Rockville Pride ( on Saturday, June 24 from 1-4 p.m. at Rockville Town Square (131 Gibbs Street, Rockville, Md.).

Arlington Pride ( holds events from June 23-25 that include a pageant, a brunch, a festival and an afterparty. The Arlington Pride Festival returns for its second year on June 24 from 12-7 p.m. at the Rosslyn Gateway Park (1300 Lee Highway, Arlington, Va.), according to the Eventbrite listing.

Fredericksburg Pride ( holds events throughout the month, but everything culminates in the Pride March and then Festival on Saturday, June 24. The Pride March is held at Riverfront Park (705 Sophia Street, Fredericksburg, Va.) at 10 followed by the Festival at 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at Old Mill Park (2201 Caroline Street, Fredericksburg, Va.).

The 10th anniversary Frederick Pride ( is to be held at Carroll Creek Linear Park on Saturday, June 24 from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. with food, music, drag, vendors and more, according to the Facebook event page.

Chasity Vain performed at last year’s Frederick Pride. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The Salisbury Pride ( Parade and Festival is on Saturday, June 24. The Parade begins at 2 p.m. at West Main Street and Camden Street. The parade moves along Main with the festival following the parade at 2:30. Magnolia Applebottom is the headliner and grand marshall, according to Salisbury Pride’s Facebook page.

The “Break Free 23” Hampton Roads Pride ( is set for Saturday, June 24 at Town Point Park (113 Waterside Drive, Norfolk, Va.) and includes the famous boat parade.

The Pride Center of Maryland hosts a number of Baltimore Pride ( events June 19-25. The big events include the annual parade and block party on Charles Street on Saturday, June 24 and the festival at Druid Hill Park on Sunday.

The 2022 Baltimore Pride Parade was held on June 25. (Washington Blade photo by Linus Berggren)

July and beyond

You can look forward to LGBTQ pride celebrations in Harrisburg, Pa. and the Maryland towns of Hagerstown and Westminster as well as Black Pride RVA in Richmond, Va. in July. Other municipalities have decided to hold their pride celebrations a little later in the year. These pride events include Winchester Pride in Winchester, Va. (Sept. 9), Shenandoah Valley Pride in Harrisonburg, Va. (Sept. 16), SWVA Pridefest in Vinton, Va. (Sept. 16), Virginia Pridefest in Richmond, Va. (Sept. 23), TriPride in Johnson City, Tenn. (Sept. 23), Staunton Pride in Staunton, Va. (Oct. 7), Upper Chesapeake Bay Pride in Harve de Grace, Md. (Oct. 7), Pride Franklin County in Chambersburg, Pa. (Oct. 8) and Laurel Pride in Laurel, Md. (Oct. 14).

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Self-identification: What the plus in ‘LGBTQ+’ means

Terminology rapidly expanding into mainstream dialogue



(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

For a long time, many Americans refrained from talking about sexual orientation and gender identity because it was taboo. While these conversations are still uncomfortable for some people, others stay quiet simply because they’re afraid of saying the wrong thing. 

Among allies, there is fear that misgendering someone or misspeaking about another person’s sexuality will be viewed as being less inclusive. Meanwhile, older generations, even those within the LGBTQ+ community, also struggle to keep up as terms beyond “LGBTQ” rapidly enter mainstream lingo.

In either scenario, the plus in “LGBTQ+” can be misunderstood. But as awareness of these terms continues to rise, it’s important to know what they mean. 

Below are some of the most popular but misunderstood terms of self-identification, compiling gender identities (one’s concept of self as male, female, a blend of both or neither and what they call themselves) and sexual orientation (how one identifies in terms of whom they are romantically and/or sexually attracted to). 

Asexual refers to someone who lacks a sexual attraction or interest in sexual activities with others. Often called “ace(s)” for short, asexual individuals exist on a spectrum, wherein someone can be completely or partially asexual, meaning they may experience no, little, or conditional sexual attraction to another person. Little interest in sex, however, doesn’t diminish a person’s desire for emotionally intimate relationships. 

Cisgender, or simply “cis,” describes a person whose gender identity aligns with the sex assigned to them at birth. The terms cisgender and transgender originate from Latin-derived prefixes of “cis,” meaning “on this side of,” and “trans,” meaning “across from.” Just as “trans” can be added to terms describing gender to identify someone as a trans-woman or trans-man, the same can be done to say cis-woman or cis-man to identify someone as adhering to the sex associated with their gender at birth.

Meanwhile, gender non-conforming refers to someone who doesn’t behave in line with the traditional expectations of their gender. These individuals may express their gender in ways that aren’t easily categorizable as a specific gender. While many gender non-conforming people also identify as transgender, that isn’t the case for all gender non-conforming people.

Under the larger umbrella of gender non-conforming identity, non-binary describes a person who does not identify exclusively as a man or a woman. Non-binary people may identify as being both a man and a woman, somewhere in between, or completely outside of those labels. 

Some non-binary people identify as transgender, but non-binary also references other identities such as agender (a person who does not identify as any gender), bigender (a person with two gender identities or a combination of two gender identities), genderqueer or gender-fluid.

Genderqueer people commonly reject notions of rigid categories of gender and embrace a fluidity of gender identity and sometimes sexual orientation. People with this identity may see themselves as being both male and female, or neither as they fall outside of binary gender norms. Gender-fluid is also within this range of non-conformity as these individuals don’t identify with a single fixed gender.

In terms of sexuality, pansexual refers to someone with the potential for emotional, romantic, or sexual attraction to people of any gender. These feelings don’t necessarily arise simultaneously or to the same degree, and sometimes the term is used interchangeably with bisexual.

More recently, the two-spirit gender identity has enjoyed more mainstream use. Chosen to describe certain North American Indigenous and Canadian First Nation people who identify with a third gender, the term implies a masculine and feminine spirit in one body. 

Other gender expressions such as masc, referring to representations of masculinity without necessarily claiming a relationship to manhood, and femme, meaning expressions of femininity regardless of gender and relations to womanhood, are also used to describe how people dynamically express gender outside of gender norms.

Yet, just as terminology for self-identification is introduced, so are also new ways to describe how an individual feels about their identity. One term that everyone can relate to or aspire to have is gender euphoria – the joyful experience and sense of self that occurs when a person’s authentic gender is expressed and acknowledged by themselves and/or by others.

Most importantly, though, LGBTQ+ people use a variety of terms to identify themselves, some of which may not be mentioned in this article. Always listen for a person’s self-identification to use the preferred terms for them. 

(The Human Rights Campaign and Johns Hopkins University contributed to this report.)

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