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‘All About Trans’ month returns with bustling schedule of activities

Awards, talent night, socializing, name-change seminars and more slated for busy May



All About Trans, gay news, Washington Blade
SaVanna Wanzer, the visionary behind May Is? All About Trans. (Photo courtesy Wanzer)

We the People, a local transgender activist group, is bringing back May Is? All About Trans, a series of transgender-centric events in May, for a second consecutive year. 

SaVanna Wanzer, founder of D.C. Trans Pride and We the People, explains that the title May Is? All About Trans is meant to be a call-and-response cheer.

“I’m asking someone else a question ‘May is?’ and then the other person says ‘All about trans.’ It’s to motivate you like ‘Christmas is?’ Tomorrow,’” Wanzer says. 

There will be plenty to cheer about with the events list this year which includes a community mixer at the Library of Congress hosted by KeeKee Ke’niya Funches and NBC4’s Leon Harris, a Trans Summit featuring trans-focused workshops, an open mic and an art show featuring transgender artists.

The transgender community is also celebrated during Trans Pride but Wanzer says Capital Pride only allots 45-60 minutes to discuss transgender issues. We the People has organized events that allow up to three hours of conversation focused on the transgender community’s “mind, body and spirit,” according to Wanzer. 

See the complete list of events below. For more information on May Is? All About Trans, visit

Wednesday, May 1 

Trans Summit is at the Metropolitan Community Church of Washington (474 Ridge St., N.W.) from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. From 9-10 a.m. there will be registration and breakfast followed by a greeting at 10 a.m. The morning session will include discussions entitled Navigating Medical and Legal Spaces from 10:45 a.m.-noon and then lunch from 12:15-1:15 p.m. The afternoon session will include Connecting Voices from the Community (1:15-2:15 p.m.), Growing an Activist/Growing the Entrepreneur (2:15-3:15 p.m.), Showing Up Spiritual/Showing Up Professional (3:15-4:15 p.m.) and closing remarks from 4:15-4:45 p.m. There will be dinner after the summit at Busboys and Poets (625 Monroe St., N.E.) from 6-9 p.m. The first 40 people to register for the summit will be invited to the dinner. 

Thursday, May 2

Name & Gender Change Clinic, a free legal clinic for D.C. and Virginia residents, is at 11:30 a.m. in Tysons Corner, Va. Meet with an attorney to complete name and gender change documents. Email [email protected] to register and to receive the exact address. 

Saturday, May 4

A Conversation About Addictions is at the Reeves Center (2000 14th St., N.W.) from 1-3 p.m.

Monday, May 6 

The Awards Dinner featuring keynote speaker Diana Feliz Oliva is at Studio Theatre (1501 14th St., N.W.) from 6-9 p.m. Two people from the transgender community, one youth activist and one organization that represents the transgender community will be honored. Admission is free.

Tuesday, May 7

Trans Conversations is at Us Helping Us (3636 Georgia Ave., N.W.) from 6-8 p.m. There will be a conversation on transmasculine health in room one and a conversation on transfemme health in room two. The conversations will followed by dinner and a cocktail reception at 9 p.m. Admission is free.

Friday, May 10

Silver Pride, a celebration of the older LGBTQ community, is at Human Rights Campaign (1640 Rhode Island Ave., N.W.) from 3-7 p.m. There will be tabling and a dance. Free.

Saturday, May 11

Trans Art Showing is at Westminster Presbyterian Church (400 I St., S.W.) from 3-5 p.m. Art from local artists in the transgender community will be on display. Free admission. 

Open Mic is at Westminster Presbyterian Church from 5-7 p.m. All are welcome to showcase their talent. Free.

“Transmilitary,” a documentary about life as a transgender person in the military, will be screened at Westminster Presbyterian Church from 7-9 p.m. A Q&A will follow the screening. Admission is free. 

Sunday, May 12

Happy hour is at Denizens Brewing Co. (1115 East West Highway, Silver Spring, Md.) from 2-4 p.m. 

Tuesday, May 14

Do Tell, a conversation about the pros and cons of sex-reassignment surgeries, is at Us Helping Us (3636 Georgia Ave., N.W.) from 6-8 p.m. 

Wednesday, May 15

A conversation on HIV vs. PrEP is at Whitman-Walker Health (1525 14th St., N.W.) from 6-8 p.m. 

Friday, May 17

Community Mixer is at Library of Congress (10 First St., S.E.) from 6-9 p.m. Keynote speaker will be Queen Victoria Ortega and NBC4’s Leon Harris hosts the event. This event is invite-only.

Saturday, May 18 

Whitman Walker’s Trans Mixer is at Studio Theatre (1501 14th St., N.W.) from 6-8 p.m. 

Sunday, May 19

TWEET Church Service, a church service for the transgender community, is at Westminster Presbyterian Church (400 I St., S.W.) from 11 a.m.-noon. 

Wednesday, May 22

Bridging the Gap: Conversation Between Gay Men and the Transgender Community is at Whitman-Walker Health (1525 14th St., N.W.) from 6-8 p.m. Light dinner will be served. 

Saturday, May 25

Black Pride Our Truths in Harmony, a transgender town hall, will be a part of Black Pride at the Renaissance Downtown Hotel (999 9th St., N.W.) from 1-2:30 p.m. 

Youth: Building New Activist, a conversation with LGBTQ youth on how they can become activists, is at the Renaissance Downtown Hotel (999 9th St., N.W.) from 3-4:30 p.m. This event is closed to anyone over the age of 25. 

Monday, May 27

Beauty Make Over is at 1 p.m. at a to-be-announced location. Celebrity hair stylist Kiyah Wright will teach a workshop on hair, makeup and style. 

Thursday, May 30 

The Finale: Giving Back is at a to-be-announced location from 5-8 p.m. The We the People board will prepare a dinner for LGBTQ youth at Wanda Alston House.

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Real Estate

Renovations in the time of COVID

Clean and de-clutter your home before listing



cleaning house, gay news, Washington Blade

What do I need to do to make my house pretty and ready to sell in the time of COVID?  Some people are telling me that I don’t have to do anything, that it is a sellers’ market. Well, maybe. Do you know your market? Do you know the idiosyncrasies of your market? In many places, homes are flying off the market “as-is.” But in many places a much more nuanced home is getting the attention.

I am seeing more movement in the single-family home market. So, a seller might get by with doing basic repairs and some sprucing up/de-cluttering to get their house ready for the market. Then again, you never get a second chance to make a first impression, so when in doubt, clean it out. (Paint it out, stage it out, etc.)

If you want to do renovations, you might want to get estimates from multiple sources, and see who gets you the best deal. I am hearing some stories that there is a backlog in the supply chain for hardwood and some other materials. Also, many contractors are booked up right now, or have been scheduled to get work done for months now. If timing is going to be an important part of the puzzle, you might want to double check that the work can get done when you need it to be done, especially if you live in a building where you have to get permission to use elevators, do work between certain hours of the day, etc.

At the very least, find a good house cleaner to get in and do a good job on the type of cleaning that is not done on a normal basis. For many reasons. In the time of a pandemic, cleanliness is almost the number one thing people are looking at. Also, we all know that the carpets get vacuumed, the windows get cleaned, and the shelves get dusted. But what about deep in the corners and under the counters and in the air vents and filters?

That being said, there seems to be a shortage of homes on the market right now for the amount of buyers that are looking. A lucky seller right now might not have to do a total renovation and might want to leave some decisions to the next buyer, but I would still advise that they err on the side of cleaning, de-cluttering, and getting it photo ready to maximize their return on their investment.


Joseph Hudson is a Realtor with The Rutstein Group at Compass. Reach him at 703-587-0597 or [email protected].

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Real Estate

Real estate opportunity still knocking

Short- and long-term benefits for both sellers and buyers



COVID-19 real estate market, gay news, Washington Blade

The last year has been challenging across the board, but one area that has continued to thrive is the real estate market.

Low interest rates and a year filled with unique changes have prompted people to think differently about where they live – and they’re taking action. As of late, the housing market is chock full of opportunities for both sellers and buyers. Regardless of whether one is taking the leap into homeownership for the first time or prepping to downsize for retirement, this is a market anyone and everyone should consider tapping into.

There has never been a better time to sell your home than right now. Thanks largely to low interest rates, buyer demand continues to soar. At the same time, inventory is historically low as many would-be sellers have opted to stay put in the last year. According to the latest Realtors Confidence Index Survey by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the average house is now receiving 4.1 offers after just 20 days on the market. Buyers are clearly eager to purchase, and because of the shortage of inventory available, they’re often entering bidding wars. This is one of the factors keeping home prices strong and giving sellers leverage in the negotiation process.

Homeowners who are in a position to sell shouldn’t wait to make their move. As our world inches closer to normal, more inventory will be hitting the market soon. By listing this spring, you will get your house on the market when conditions are still most favorable. With low inventory and high buyer demand, homeowners can potentially earn a greater profit on their houses and sell them quickly in the fast-paced spring market. Not to mention the opportunity to get by with that older water heater and home systems at large. Many buyers in this area tend to waive contingencies on their offer, clearing the path to a smoother and quicker closing.

While the challenges for buyers are very real, there is one massive factor to keep buyers motivated: interest rates. We’re continuing to see historically low averages in interest rates, and those rates are only projected to tick back upwards in the coming years. Last year saw interest rates come significantly down, and we’re still seeing an average of 3% on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages. Compare that to just three years ago when we were a whole 1.5% higher with averages of 4.5%.

With low interest rates nationally and the D.C. area’s strong home value appreciation rates, the investment of homeownership is a real possibility for more people. Over the span of the next five years, homeowners in the District are presented with a great opportunity to grow their net worth by more than $100,000 based on the current average sales price of $699,732 and projected rates of appreciation over the next five years. These conditions won’t last forever though, so take advantage of the opportunity when you can.

After a year of shifting sands, the housing market has emerged stronger than ever – with some unusual quirks. Opportunity is lending itself to short- and long-term benefits for both sellers and buyers. If your situation allows, this market may provide uniquely profitable opportunities for your real estate transaction. For more information or to talk about buying or selling real estate, give me a call at 571-439-2515.


Zach Twigg is a licensed Realtor in D.C. and Virginia with Bediz Group, LLC at Keller Williams Capital Properties. Call or text him at 571-439-2515, email him at [email protected], or follow him on Instagram and Facebook

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Real Estate

How and why to build a raised garden bed

Accessibility, ideal soil conditions guarantee success



Fairly easy to construct and even easier to maintain, raised garden beds are a great way to raise plants and vegetables in the comfort and convenience of your backyard.

In a recent episode of the Exmark Original Series, “Done-in-A-Weekend-Extreme,” landscape designer and show host, Doug Scott, spoke to organic gardener Joe Lamp’l of “Growing a Greener World” about the ins and outs of raised garden beds.

Here are some of the top insights and tips Lamp’l shared.

• Why use raised garden beds? A raised garden bed can help facilitate the ideal growing environment, as most people don’t have that perfect soil naturally in their yard. Their accessibility makes them easier to work in and maintain. Plus, they’re a nice architectural design element in any landscape.

• What’s the ideal size? The main rule of the thumb applies to width. The bed should be no wider than 4 feet, as you never want to compact the soil when working. Length however, is based on personal preference and needs. As far as height is concerned, you want the roots to be able to grow out and down as much as possible — 6-inches at minimum. While 12-inches is common, anything higher is a bonus.

• What materials work best? Treated lumber is the most readily available and economical material and will likely last the longest, however, being an organic gardener Lamp’l prefers untreated hardwood, as it lasts almost as long and doesn’t contain chemicals. Other materials you have around the home and yard, such as rocks, old tubs, etc., can work too.

• Where’s the best location? Build your raised garden bed on level ground, in full sun exposure near a water supply.
DIY Instructions:
To build a 10-foot x 4-foot x 18-inch raised bed, you’ll need:

• Nine 6-inch x 6-inch x 12-foot cedar timbers
• Tape measure, t-square and marking pencil
• A saw and extension cord
• One box of 10-inch heavy-duty exterior wood screws
• Ten 24-inch x 1/2-inch rebar stakes
• Twenty 10-inch galvanized timber spikes
• Sledgehammer
• Impact drill and long drill bit
• Level
• Hammer
• Shovels
• Hardware cloth, wire cutters and fence staples
• Work gloves, safety glasses and ear plugs
• Wheelbarrow (to transport soil)

1. Begin by cutting six, 6 x 6 timbers, each measuring 10-feet 6-inches in length. And six, 6 x 6 timbers, each measuring 4-feet 6-inches in length. Drill rebar holes in each timber.

2. Once the first layer of bed has been placed, leveled and squared in your desired location, fasten the corners using 10-inch wood screws. Secure the entire layer to the ground with 10 pieces of rebar.

3. Place the second layer of timbers, staggering the corners and fastening them with wood screws. Secure this layer to the first with ten 10-inch galvanized spikes.

4. Install galvanized cloth to prevent burrowing pests from eating earthworms and destroying plants.

5. Place the third layer of timbers (following above directions.)

6. Fill with soil and plants.

For more tips and complete build instructions, check out “How to Build Raised Garden Beds” by visiting Exmark’s Backyard Life is part of a unique multimedia destination with a focus on helping homeowners make the most of their backyard. There you can also access other series, including “Prime Cuts” and “Dream Yards.”

For an amazing crop this season, take a cue from the professionals and build a raised garden bed for best results.

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