Connect with us

Photos

PHOTOS: The Blade returns to the Deep South

Reporters spent two weeks in the region

Published

on

Deep South, gay news, Washington Blade
From left: Yariel Valdés González and Michael K. Lavers outside of Café Lafitte in Exile in New Orleans on July 26, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Yariel Valdés González)

A lack of regular sleep, unhealthy food, a roach-infested hotel room, endless hours of driving and cringe-worthy radio stations are among the myriad challenges reporters may face while on assignment for two weeks. An out-of-control pandemic and an approaching hurricane can also make such a trip even more challenging.

Yariel Valdés González and I faced these challenges while on assignment in South Florida and the Deep South from July 21-Aug. 5.

The trip’s stated goals were to report on the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on people with HIV/AIDS in the region and to continue the Washington Blade’s coverage of the plight of LGBTQ people who remain in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody in the Deep South. Yariel and I also planned to interview activists in Tallahassee, Fla., who continue to grapple with the case of Tony McDade, a Black transgender man who was shot to death by a white police officer in May.

Reminders of the pandemic’s grim human and economic toll were clearly evident when I drove to South Florida in late May and spent a week on assignment there with Yariel. Signs of the national reckoning over racism in response to George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis were also palpable on this trip.

Signs of the dire situation in which we as a country find ourselves were just as visible to Yariel and me while we were in the Deep South. We also saw glimmers of hope, resilience and defiance that left us inspired.

Yariel and I on July 27 interviewed Milan Nicole Sherry and her husband, Za’hair Martinez, who are part of a group of transgender activists who have raised more than $300,000 for a shelter for homeless trans women in New Orleans they are planning to open in 2021. Yariel and I two days earlier were in Jacksonville, Fla., to interview Dayana Mena López, a trans Cuban woman who won asylum in the U.S. last summer.

The U.S. granted Yariel asylum last September because of persecution he suffered in his native Cuba because he was an independent journalist. Yariel, as readers of the Blade know, endured nearly a year of inhumane treatment in ICE custody before his release from a privately-run detention center in Louisiana on March 4, 2020.

Yariel and I on July 29 reunited with his lawyer, Lara Nochomovitz, in Louisiana after driving past the detention center in which Yariel was in ICE custody. We also spent time with the two Natchez Network Immigrant Support volunteers who were godsends in the chaotic days before Yariel’s release.

Here are some photos and videos from our trip.

A sign inside the men’s restroom at the Georgia Welcome Center on Interstate 95 in Port Wentworth, Ga., on July 21, 2020, details ways to protect oneself from the coronavirus. Georgia is among the states without a statewide mask mandate. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
Jaime Harrison is running against U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). This Harrison ad aired on a Savannah, Ga., television station on July 22, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
The Republican National Convention had been scheduled to take place this month at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla., but President Trump on July 23, 2020, announced it would not happen there because of the state’s high coronavirus rates. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
The parking lot of a gas station in St. Augustine, Fla., became a virtual Blade office on July 22, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
A hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., advises it will not allow anyone without a mask into its lobby. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
Side Lines, a gay sports bar in Wilton Manors, Fla., on July 23, 2020 (Washington Blade photo by Yariel Valdés González)
David, one of the owners of Side Lines, a gay bar in Wilton Manors, Fla, explains on July 23, 2020, that the bar remains open following the safety guidelines to avoid the spread of the Coronavirus. (Washington Blade photo by Yariel Valdés González)
The front page of a newspaper in Melbourne, Fla., on July 24, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
Two cruise ships anchored off shore of Cocoa Beach, Fla., on July 24, 2020 (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
A poster outside a restaurant in the Springfield neighborhood of Jacksonville, Fla., on July 25, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
Dayana Mena López, a transgender woman from Cuba who won asylum in the U.S., in Jacksonville, Fla., on July 25, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Yariel Valdés González)
A sign on the entrance to a truck stop in Robertsdale, Ala., notes Alabama’s statewide mask order. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
A decal with the Confederate flag for sale at a truck stop in Robertsdale, Ala., on July 25, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
Social distancing markers on the sidewalk in front of Café du Monde in New Orleans on July 26, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Yariel Valdés González)
A sign inside the elevator of a New Orleans hotel that notes the city’s mask order (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
A sign on New Orleans’ Bourbon Street that highlights the city’s mask order (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
A boarded-up Oz Nightclub in New Orleans’ French Quarter on July 26, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Yariel Valdés González)
Milan Nicole Sherry, co-founder of House of Tulip, a shelter for homeless transgender women, in her home in Uptown New Orleans on July 27, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Yariel Valdés González)
Tyler, a cross-dressing tarot card reader, works in New Orleans’ Jackson Square on July 27, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Yariel Valdéz González)
A flyer taped onto the entrance to the ICE New Orleans Field Office in downtown New Orleans on July 28, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
Yariel Valdés González brings luggage to the car in New Orleans on July 28, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
Yariel Valdés González photographs Sashika Baunchand, founder of OMG (Outstanding Mature Girls), an organization that educates girls and teenagers about HIV, inside her office in Central, La., on July 28, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
A billboard in front of a home in Natchez, Miss., on July 29, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
Michael K. Lavers appears on the Miami-based Unity Coalition’s Facebook Live program from Natchez, Miss., on July 29, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Yariel Valdés González)
The front page of the Democrat newspaper in Natchez, Miss., on July 29, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
A drawing from an ICE detainee at the wall of the house in Louisiana. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
From left: Yariel Valdés González, Michael K. Lavers and Lara Nochomovitz in Louisiana on July 29, 2020. Nochomovitz represened Valdés in his asylum case. (Washington Blade photo by Yariel Valdés González)
A Black Lives Matter poster in Natchez, Miss., on July 30, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Yariel Valdés González)
A Confederate flag license plate on a car in a parking lot in Natchez, Miss., on July 30, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves on June 30, 2020, signed a bill that retired the state flag with a Confederate emblem. The flag was flying alongside U.S. Highway 84 near Brookhaven, Miss., a month after Reeves signed the measure. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
From left: Yariel Valdés González and Michael K. Lavers eat lunch at a Mexican restaurant in Collins, Miss., on July 30, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Yariel Valdés González)
Working in the car while driving east on Interstate 10 near Loxley, Ala., on July 30, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
The front page of the Tallahassee Democrat newspaper in Tallahassee, Fla., on July 31, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
A sign at a Publix supermarket in Tallahassee, Fla., on July 31, 2020, notes customers are required to wear facial coverings. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
Equality Florida Public Policy Director Jon Harris Maurer speaks in the conference room of his law firm’s office in Tallahassee, Fla., on July 31, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Yariel Valdés González)
The Florida Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla., on July 31, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Yariel Valdés González)
A white police officer on May 27, 2020, killed Tony McDade, a Black transgender man, at the Leon Arms Apartment complex in Tallahassee, Fla. (Washington Blade photo by Yariel Valdés González)
Janel Diaz, a Black trans woman who is a member of the Tallahassee Mayor’s LGBTQ+ Advisory Council, speaks at her office in Tallahassee, Fla., on July 31, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Yariel Valdés González)
The sun sets over Ochlockonee Bay in Panacea, Fla., on July 31, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
A convoy of utility vehicles drives east on Interstate 10 near Tallahassee, Fla., on Aug. 1, 2020, in anticipation of Hurricane Isaias’ approach to Florida’s East Coast. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
Hurricane Isaias’ outer bands reach West Palm Beach, Fla., on Aug. 1, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
The front page of el Nuevo Herald newspaper’s Aug. 1, 2020, edition notes Hurricane Isaias has forced Florida health officials to close coronavirus testing cites. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
The South Florida Sun Sentinel’s Aug. 3, 2020, edition notes Hurricane Isaias, which had been downgraded to a tropical storm as it brushed South Florida, had minimal impacts in the area. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
The main pool at the Pineapple Point Guesthouse and Resort in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
Daniela, a transgender woman from Honduras was in ICE custody for several months until her release under humanitarian parole in March, visits Arianna’s Center in Wilton Manors, Fla., on Aug. 3, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Yariel Valdés González)
A coronavirus advisory along Interstate 95 near Melbourne, Fla., on Aug. 4, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
A banner on the façade of Savannah City Hall in Georgia on Aug. 5, 2020, notes the city’s mandatory mask order. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
A Pride flag flies alongside an American flag in downtown Savannah, Ga., on Aug. 5, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
The South Carolina Welcome Center along Interstate 95 in Hardeeville, S.C., on Aug. 5, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
The North Carolina Welcome Center and Rest Area along Interstate 95 in Rowland, N.C., became an office and restaurant on Aug. 5, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
Continue Reading
Advertisement

Photos

PHOTOS: Dupont Circle fountain turns 100

Iconic landmark site of protests, vigils and meetings for decades

Published

on

Two young men read a copy of the Washington Blade at the Dupont Circle fountain on May 31, 1991. (Washington Blade archive photo by Doug Hinckle)

The 100th anniversary celebration of the installation of the iconic Dupont Circle fountain is to be held from noon until sundown today. The fountain has long been considered a center for the LGBTQ community in Washington, D.C. The park in the circle has been the site of many protests, vigils and a place to meet people. Here are some photos from the Washington Blade archive documenting Dupont Circle through the years.

A group of Russian and Ukrainian activists hold a rally on Feb. 22, 2014 at Dupont Circle to bring light to the abuses of the Putin regime against the LGBTQ community before the Sochi Olympics. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The fountain has long been a gay cruising spot and a place to meet up with friends. Here is a scene from Nov. 3, 1990. (Washington Blade archive photo by Doug Hinckle)

Members of the community gather at the fountain on June 15, 2016 to mourn the deaths of dozens of people at the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

A view of Dupont Circle taken from above on July 22, 1985. (Washington Blade archive photo by Doug Hinckle)

Revelers cool off in the fountain following the 2012 Capital Pride Parade. (Washington Blade file photo by Pete Exis)

Ruby Corado, executive director of the LGBTQ services organization Casa Ruby, stands with fellow trans activists at the fountain on June 21, 2019 to mourn the violent deaths of transgender women over the past few years. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Whitman-Walker holds an observance for World AIDS Day on Dec. 1, 2009 at the Dupont Circle fountain. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The LGBTQ+ marching band D.C. Different Drummers perform in a surprise flash mob at the fountain on Aug. 15, 2011. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Jane Gamble and Priscilla Hayner enjoy a meal at the fountain on Feb. 1, 1989. (Washington Blade archive photo by Doug Hinckle)

Religious and civic leaders attend a 20 year memorial for Matthew Shepard on Oct. 25, 2018. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Distenfano Kitchens dips his toes in the water at the Dupont Circle fountain. (Washington Blade archive photo by Doug Hinckle)

Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin speaks at an anti-violence rally at Dupont Circle on June 19, 2012. (Washington Blade file photo by Blake Bergen)

Local media covers a snowball fight at the fountain on Jan. 24, 2016. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael K. Lavers)

A march for transgender rights kicks off from a rally at Dupont Circle on May 17, 2015. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The DC Dyke March begins with a rally at Dupont Circle on June 7, 2019. (Washington Blade file photo by Molly Byrom)

Members of the community hold vigils for the slain of the Orlando massacre for several days at the Dupont Circle fountain. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The Youth Pride Festival is held at Dupont Circle on May 2, 2015. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Continue Reading

Photos

PHOTOS: ‘Pose’ Season 3 Red Carpet

Cast and crew attend premiere in New York City

Published

on

TEST ALT
'Pose' star Dominique Jackson attends the red carpet premiere of season 3 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin; courtesy FX/Picture Group)

The red carpet premiere for the third and final season of FX’s “Pose” was held on Thursday at JAZZ at Lincoln Center in New York City.

Cast in attendance included Mj Rodriguez, Billy Porter, Dominique Jackson, Indya Moore, Hailie Sahar, Dyllón Burnside, Angel Bismark Curiel, Sandra Bernhard, Jason Rodriguez and guest stars Angelica Ross, Jeremy Pope, and Jeremy McClain.

The event was produced by FX Networks and the red carpet was designed by Nicholas Calhoun of Look Design Studios, LLC.

(Photos by Anthony Behar and Stephen Lovekin; courtesy of FX/PictureGroup)

‘Pray Tell’ Billy Porter. (Photo by Anthony Behar; courtesy FX/PictureGroup)

‘Candy Ferocity’ Angelica Ross. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin; courtesy FX/Picture Group)

‘Lil Papi Evangelista’ Angel Bismark Curiel. (Photo by Anthony Behar; courtesy FX/PictureGroup)

‘Ricky’ Dyllón Burnside. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin; courtesy of FX/PictureGroup)

‘Lulu’ Hailie Sahar. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin; courtesy FX/PictureGroup)

‘Cubby Wintour’ Jeremy McClain. (Photo by Anthony Behar; courtesy FX/PhotoGroup)

‘Lemar Wintour’ Jason Rodriguez. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin; courtesy FX/PictureGroup)

‘Judy Kubrak’ Sandra Bernhard. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin; courtesy FX/PictureGroup)

‘Archie’ Jeremy Pope (Photo by Anthony Behar; courtesy FX/PictureGroup)

‘Angel Evangelista’ Indya Moore. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin; courtesy FX/PictureGroup)

Alexis Martin Woodall, executive producer of ‘POSE.’ (Photo by Stephen Lovekin; courtesy FX/PictureGroup)

‘Pose’ Executive Producer Sherry Marsh. (Photo by Anthony Behar; courtesy FX/PictureGroup)

‘Pose’ Executive Producers Brad Simpson and Nina Jacobson of Color Force. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin; courtesy of FX/PictureGroup)

‘Pose’ Co-Creator/Executive Producer/Writer/Director Steven Canals. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin; courtesy FX/PictureGroup)

(Photo courtesy of FX/PictureGroup)

‘Elektra Abundance’ Dominique Jackson. (Photo by Anthony Behar; courtesy FX/PictureGroup)

Continue Reading

Photos

PHOTOS: Our lost year

As D.C. inches toward normalcy, a look back at the year of COVID in photos

Published

on

As COVID-19 became a new reality, someone erected a “HOPE” sign in a neighborhood in Virginia. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

In March of 2020, the nation went into lockdown with the COVID-19 pandemic. (Washington Blade photos by Michael K. Lavers and Michael Key)

Riots erupt near the White House following the death of George Floyd. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Peaceful protesters gather in Black Lives Matter Plaza to call for police reform. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Peaceful protests against police brutality are held throughout the nation following the murder of George Floyd. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Whitman-Walker Health erects a mural on 14th Street, N.W. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The lion statue at the National Zoo sports a rainbow tie-dye mask. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

No Justice No Pride holds a rally on June 13. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The No Justice No Pride-run ‘Pride2020 March’ is more of a protest than Pride events of the past few years. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

No Justice No Pride holds a protest in front of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s House calling for the ‘defunding’ of the Metropolitan Police Department. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Local restaurants convert to outdoor dining to comply with restrictions during the pandemic. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The far-right Proud Boys march in a ‘Stop the Steal’ rally after Donald Trump loses the presidential election. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Drag Queen Goldie Grigio serves to-go food at Duplex Diner. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Grocery stores across the country experience shortages on basic items early in the pandemic. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

The streets of D.C. are empty and quiet during lockdown. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

The Blade holds it’s singles issue again this year, though COVID restrictions make dating a challenge. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Ruby Corado has her temperature taken at the entrance to Casa Ruby LGBTQ Community Center. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi continues to give press briefings, though new restrictions involve social distancing and the use of masks. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Downtown D.C. goes on lockdown following the attack on the U.S. Capitol in January. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Restaurants and small businesses struggle with new restrictions during the pandemic. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Mikko, gay news, Washington Blade

Mikko Kosonen opened Mikko almost two years ago and has been getting creative while coping with COVID restrictions. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Supporters of Donald Trump march on the U.S. Capitol in a ‘Stop the Steal’ rally. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Thanksgiving in 2020 looks different for many families compared to family celebrations pre-COVID. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us @washblade

Sign Up for Blade eBlasts

Popular