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Capital Trans Pride returns this weekend

Day-long seminar, resource fair, social hour, film screening planned

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Capital Trans Pride, gay news, Washington Blade
Last year’s Trans Pride attracted hundreds despite rain. (Washington Blade file photo by Wyatt Reid Westlund)

Capital Trans Pride

shhhOUT: Past, Present & Proud

Free but registration encouraged 

Look for the event on Facebook to register

Saturday, May 18

Workshops & Resource Fair

8 a.m.-4 p.m.

Eaton Workshop

1201 K St., N.W.

Capital Trans Pride Happy Hour

Saturday, May 18

5-8 p.m.

Studio Theatre

1501 14th St., N.W.

“The Garden Left Behind” movie screening

Sunday, May 19

5-9 p.m.

Studio Theatre

free

If intersectionality is a current buzzword when discussing LGBT and other issues, it’s one that’s explored dramatically in the movie “The Garden Left Behind,” which tells of Tina, a young trans woman, and Eliana, her grandmother, as they navigate Tina’s transition and struggle to build a life for themselves as undocumented immigrants in New York.

It will be screened this weekend as part of Capital Trans Pride on Sunday at 6 p.m. at Studio Theatre (1501 14th St., N.W.) as part of a weekend full of activities. Its theme is one that especially resonates with Trans Pride organizer Bianca Humady Rey, a native Filipino who came to the U.S. in ’98 and came out as trans in 2013.

“It really resonated with me personally,” Humady Rey says. “There’s a scene where she’s talking with her therapist to get those two letters required (for gender affirmation surgery) and it really connected with many of us when we previewed the film because these are also the challenges many of us in our community are facing.”

Humady Rey says the film skillfully captures what it’s like to be trans.

“It shows why it’s important for us to be visible, to fight the fight and make sure that everybody is aware that trans people are human. We’re being killed in high numbers yearly and that needs to stop. But it’s also about what the journey is like and the process. There’s a lot there that will resonate with our diverse community.”

Filmmakers will be on hand after the screening for a Q&A session. 

That’s Sunday, but Saturday is the main day for Trans Pride programming. After battling rain last year, organizers have nixed the outdoor element that was part of the 2018 event when Trans Pride was at Foundry Church and Stead Park. This year, the main day of programming will be held at Eaton Workshop (1201 K St., N.W.) from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. for the workshop and resource fair. This year’s theme is “shhhOUT: Past, Present & Proud.” It’s free but registration is requested.

SaVanna Wanzer started Capital Trans Pride in 2007 and is now active with We the People, another local trans group in the midst of its May Is? All About Trans series of events.

Jamison Crowell, executive director of the D.C. Area Transmasculine Society, a queer trans man, is one of the Trans Pride session presenters along with the society’s program associate Jake Paiva.

Ann Murdoch will present a workshop called “Celebrating Trans and Gender Non-conforming Identities” at 10 a.m. in which “participants will gain an appreciation for how inspiring many people from all walks of life find our stories of overcoming shame, stigma and discrimination to live our authentic lives as well as explore of how our personal stories both shape and are shaped by our identities.”

Murdoch is a blogger, speaker and trainer who helps organizations harness the power of diversity and inclusion, teaches leadership, and “helps people be their best, most authentic selves,” according to Trans Pride promotional material. She is a retired U.S. Army officer who rose through the ranks from private to lieutenant colonel and now works for the federal government. After a long career representing as male, she transitioned in 2016.

Breakfast and lunch will be served at the event. 

Other workshops planned throughout the day include “intro to Government Consulting,” “It’s Your Health: Understanding Insurance Maze & Filing Appeals,” “PrEP and Trans Bodies,” “Adult Allies for Transgender and Non-binary Youth” and many more.

Cecilia Gentili will be the keynote speaker at 1 p.m. in the Beverly Snow Room. 

Attendance estimates are hard to determine, but Trans Pride organizers say between 400-600 attend throughout the weekend. RSVPs on social media are already higher this year than in previous years, organizers said. 

Humady Rey says the resources Trans Pride offers are especially needed now in what some have called a hostile presidential administration in which trans rights — what few there are — are often first on the chopping block.

“I’m always thinking about medical access for myself and my trans brothers and sisters,” Humady Rey says. “I don’t understand how you can deny someone access to what they need to be their fully authentic self. It’s outrageous.”

Ultimately, though, she’s hopeful.

“I live a very optimistic life,” she says. “There’s a light coming at the end of the tunnel. In the meantime, we need to really start educating people in power and our allies and even people who are not our allies, to hear our stories. That’s what really makes an impact.” 

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Photos

PHOTOS: Miss Glamour Girl

Maryland drag pageant held at McAvoy’s

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Miss Shantay is crowned Miss Glamour Girl 2023 at McAvoy's in Parkville, Md. on Sunday. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The Miss Glamour Girl 2023 Pageant was held at McAvoy’s in Parkville, Md. on Sunday, Oct. 1. Miss Shantay was crowned the winner and qualified to compete in the Miss Gay Maryland Pageant in November.

(Washington Blade photos by Michael Key)

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Books

New book explores why we categorize sports according to gender

You can lead a homophobic horse to water but you can’t make it think

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‘Fair Play: How Sports Shape the Gender Debates’
By Katie Barnes
c.2023, St. Martin’s Press
$29/304 pages

The jump shot happened so quickly, so perfectly.

Your favorite player was in the air in a heartbeat, basketball in hand, wrist cocked. One flick and it was all swish, three points, just like that, and your team was ahead. So are you watching men’s basketball or women’s basketball? Or, as in the new book, “Fair Play” by Katie Barnes, should it really matter?

For sports fans, this may come as a surprise: we categorize sports according to gender.

Football, baseball, wresting: male sports. Gymnastics, volleyball: women’s sports. And yet, one weekend spent cruising around television shows you that those sports are enjoyed by both men and women – but we question the sexuality of athletes who dare (gasp!) to cross invisible lines for a sport they love.

How did sports “become a flash point for a broader conversation?”

Barnes takes readers back first to 1967, when Kathrine Switzer and Bobbi Gibb both ran in the Boston Marathon. It was the first time women had audaciously done so and while both finished the race, their efforts didn’t sit well with the men who made the rules.

“Thirty-seven words” changed the country in 1972 when Title IX was signed, which guaranteed there’d be no discrimination in extracurricular events, as long as “federal financial assistance” was taken. It guaranteed availability for sports participation for millions of girls in schools and colleges. It also “enshrine[d] protections for queer and transgender youth to access school sports.”

So why the debate about competition across gender lines?

First, says Barnes, we can’t change biology, or human bodies that contain both testosterone and estrogen, or that some athletes naturally have more of one or the other – all of which factor into the debate. We shouldn’t forget that women can and do compete with men in some sports, and they sometimes win. We shouldn’t ignore the presence of transgender men in sports.

What we should do, Barnes says, is to “write a new story. One that works better.”

Here are two facts: Nobody likes change. And everybody has an opinion.

Keep those two statements in mind when you read “Fair Play.” They’ll keep you calm in this debate, as will author Katie Barnes’ lack of flame fanning.

As a sports fan, an athlete, and someone who’s binary, Barnes makes things relatively even-keel in this book, which is a breath of fresh air in what’s generally ferociously contentious. There’s a good balance of science and social commentary here, and the many, many stories that Barnes shares are entertaining and informative, as well as illustrative. Readers will come away with a good understanding of where the debate lies.

But will this book make a difference?

Maybe. Much will depend on who reads and absorbs it. Barnes offers plenty to ponder but alas, you can lead a homophobic horse to water but you can’t make it think. Still, if you’ve got skin in this particular bunch of games, find “Fair Play” and jump on it.

The Blade may receive commissions from qualifying purchases made via this post.

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Theater

An exciting revival of ‘Evita’ at Shakespeare Theatre

Out actor Caesar Samayoa on portraying iconic role of President Perón

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Caesar Samayoa (center) and the cast of ‘Evita’ at Shakespeare Theatre Company. (Photo by DJ Corey Photography) 

‘Evita’
Through Oct. 15
Shakespeare Theatre Company
Harman Hall
610 F St., N.W.
$35–$134
Shakespearetheatre.org

When Eva Perón died of cancer at 33 in 1952, the people’s reaction was so intense that Argentina literally ran out of cut flowers. Mourners were forced to fly in stems from neighboring countries, explains out actor Caesar Samayoa. 

For Samayoa, playing President Perón to Shireen Pimental’s First Lady Eva in director Sammi Cannold’s exciting revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Evita” at Shakespeare Theatre Company is a dream fulfilled. 

As a Guatemalan-American kid, he had a foot in two worlds. Samayoa lived and went to school in suburban Emerson, N.J. But he spent evenings working at his parents’ botanica in Spanish Harlem. 

During the drives back and forth in the family station wagon, he remembers listening to “Evita” on his cassette player: “It’s the first cast album I remember really hearing and understanding. I longed to be in the show.”

As an undergrad, he transferred from Bucknell University where he studied Japanese international relations to a drama major at Ithica College. His first professional gig was in 1997 playing Juliet in Joe Calarco’s off-Broadway “Shakespeare’s R&J.” Lots of Broadway work followed including “Sister Act,” “The Pee-Wee Herman Show,” and most significantly, Samayoa says, “Come From Away,” a musical telling of the true story of airline passengers stranded in Gander, Newfoundland during 9/11. He played Kevin J. (one half of a gay couple) and Ali, a Muslim chef.  

He adds “Evita” has proved a powerful experience too: “We’re portraying a populist power couple that changed the trajectory of a country in a way most Americans can’t fully understand. And doing it in Washington surrounded by government and politics is extra exciting.” 

WASHINGTON BLADE: How do you tap into a real-life character like Perón?

CAESAR SAMAYOA: Fortunately, Sammi [Connald] and I work similarly. With real persons and situations, I immerse myself into history, almost to a ridiculous extent. 

First day in the rehearsal room, we were inundated with artifacts. Sammi has been to Argentina several times and interviewed heavily with people involved in Eva and Peron’s lives. Throughout the process we’d sit and talk about the real history that happened. We went down the rabbit hole.

Sammi’s interviews included time with Eva’s nurse who was at her bedside when she died. We watched videos of those interviews. They’ve been an integral part of our production. 

BLADE: Were you surprised by anything you learned?

SAMAYOA: Usually, Eva and Perón’s relationship is portrayed as purely transactional.  They wrote love letters and I had access to those. At their country home, they’d be in pajamas and walk on the beach; that part of their life was playful and informal. They were a political couple but they were deeply in love too. I latched on to that. 

BLADE: And anything about the man specifically? 

SAMAYOA:  Perón’s charisma was brought to the forefront. In shows I’ve done, some big names have attended. Obama. Clinton. Justin Trudeau came to “Come From Away.” Within seconds, the charisma makes you give into that person. I’ve tried to use that.  

BLADE: And the part? 

SAMAYOA: Perón is said to be underwritten. But I love his power and the songs he sings [“The Art of the Possible,” “She is a Diamond,” etc.]. I’m fully a baritone and to find that kind of role in a modern musical is nearly impossible. And in this rock opera, I can use it to the full extent and feel great about it.

BLADE: “Evita” is a co-production with A.R.T. Has it changed since premiering in Boston? 

SAMAYOA: Yes, it has. In fact, 48 hours before opening night in Washington, we made some changes and they’ve really landed. Without giving too much away, we gave it more gravity in reality of time as well as Eva’s sickness and the rapid deterioration. It’s given our second act a huge kind of engine that it didn’t have. 

BLADE: You’re married to talent agent Christopher Freer and you’re very open. Was it always that way for you?

SAMAYOA: When I started acting professionally, it was a very different industry. We were encouraged to stay in the closet or it will cast only in a certain part. There was truth in that. There still is some truth in that, but I refuse to go down that road. I can’t reach what I need to reach unless I’m my most honest self. I can’t do it any other way.

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