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Financial manager, Blade film critic Brian Carney dies at 58

A passion for both words and numbers



Brian Carney, gay news, Washington Blade
Brian T. Carney worked as the Blade’s TV and film critic for nine years.

Brian T. Carney, a financial manager and fundraiser for nonprofit organizations in the Washington, D.C. area and other states who served for the past nine years as the film and television critic for the Washington Blade, died on Jan. 28 from complications associated with congestive heart failure and advanced kidney disease. He was 58.

Known for his talent and skills in financial management and writing, Carney has told friends and associates that he had a passion for using both words and numbers.

Among the nonprofit organizations he worked with in financial management include the D.C.-based AIDS United and National LGBTQ Task Force, the Pittsburgh-based Kuntu Repertory Theatre, and the Cincinnati-based Educational Theatre Association.

In his role as the Blade’s film and TV critic Carney wrote reviews, previews and interviews about movie releases and regional film festivals. His reviews often focused on films and TV shows with LGBTQ subjects and characters. In one of his last reviews for the Blade in September before he became too ill to continue writing, Carney provided an interesting glimpse of the fall of 2020 film releases, including films with an LGBTQ theme.

“Brian was a beloved member of the Washington Blade family,” said Blade editor Kevin Naff. “He was a total pro, and his insightful columns of film criticism elevated our arts coverage and will live forever in our archive. All of us at the Blade will miss his sense of humor and passion for the arts and for writing.”

Carney’s husband, Brian Long, said Carney was born and raised in Monroe, Conn. A write-up about Carney that Long provided to the Blade and Carney’s LinkedIn page show he earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School in urban studies and management. He received a master’s degree in fine arts with a field of study in theater and playwriting at Southern Illinois University, his LinkedIn page says.

Prior to writing for the Blade, Carney worked for 10 months as senior manager of compliance and grants management at AIDS United, the D.C. group that advocates for people with HIV and AIDS. His LinkedIn page says he worked from 2011 to 2014 as program coordinator at the World Resources Institute, a D.C.-based global research organization that works on environmental, climate, and natural resources issues in the U.S. and 60 countries.

Other nonprofit groups he worked for as a financial manager and fundraiser in other states, his LinkedIn page says, were the International Baccalaureate Organization and the Advocacy Institute. Among the volunteer work he performed in recent and past years included serving on the Steering Committee for the LGBT Alumni Association at the University of Pennsylvania; as the founding artistic director for of the theater group Lavender Productions; and as a member of GALECA, the Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics.

Long said he and Carney, who lived in Wheaton, Md., for the past seven and a half years, had been a couple since 2007 and were married in 2014. He said the two first met when they lived in Pittsburgh and that Carney lived and worked in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and New York City before moving to the D.C. area.

“I am grateful that we got to do so many awesome things together,” said Long. “We got to see a lot of theater and movies,” he said.

“With Brian’s family and friends spread out all over, along with the challenges of COVID-19, there will be no memorial services,” Long told the Blade. “A lifelong mentor and teacher, he had his body donated so that he could help medical students,” Long said. “His cremains will reside with his mother in Alabama.”

Carney is survived by his husband, Brian Long and their three cats, Ava, Zephyr, and Jack. He is also survived by his mother, Barbara Carney; his sister, Susan Baxter; his nephew, Joey Baxter of Leeds, Ala.; his mother-in-law, Carol Long, of Greensburg, Pa..; and by the Madsen-Hoskin family of Harrisburg, Pa.

Long said memorial donations in Carney’s name can be made to the Visiting Nurses Association of Indiana County, Pa.., which provided care for Carney when he first became ill with diabetes while living in Pennsylvania via

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Comings & Goings

Nathanson takes role at Outright Action



Rikki Nathanson

The Comings & Goings column is about sharing the professional successes of our community. We want to recognize those landing new jobs, new clients for their business, joining boards of organizations and other achievements. Please share your successes with us at: [email protected] 

The Comings & Goings column also invites LGBTQ+ college students to share their successes with us. If you have been elected to a student government position, gotten an exciting internship, or are graduating and beginning your career with a great job, let us know so we can share your success. 

Congratulations to Rikki Nathanson on her new position as Senior Advisor – Global Trans Program with OutRight Action International in New York. Nathanson will be based in D.C.  

 “I am absolutely thrilled to be taking on this new role as Senior Advisor in OutRight’s Global Trans Program,” said Nathanson. “I have finally found the perfect fit for me: as a trans woman who has been fighting for equality not only for myself, but for others globally, this position is not only a job, it’s intrinsically part of who I am. So, what better way to live, nurture and grow myself.” 

Nathanson will be working closely with all program staff to ensure a cohesive and intentional approach to gender issues throughout OutRight’s programs, including its approach to gender ideology movements. She will lead new initiatives on gender advocacy and policy change, focused but not limited to legal gender recognition and anti-discrimination legislation and policies.

Prior to this Nathanson was director of housing programs at Casa Ruby in D.C. She has also held a number of other positions including: founder/executive director of Trans Research, Education, Advocacy & Training (TREAT), Zimbabwe; chairperson Southern Africa Trans Forum, SATF, Cape Town, South Africa; executive director, Ricochet Modeling Agency, Zimbabwe; and company secretary for Dunlop Zimbabwe Limited, Zimbabwe. 

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SMYAL Director Shakir to step down Dec. 31

Board to launch Executive Search beginning in January



SMYAL Executive Director Sultan Shakir addresses the crowd at the 2021 Fall Brunch. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Sultan Shakir, who has served as executive director of D.C.’s LGBTQ youth advocacy organization SMYAL since August 2014, announced on Friday that he will be stepping down from his position effective Dec. 31.

In a Dec. 3 announcement, SMYAL said details of Shakir’s future career plans would be announced in the coming weeks.

“While we are sad to see Sultan leave, we wish him nothing but the same success in his new endeavor as he had at SMYAL,” said Rob Cogorno, SMYAL’s board chair. “His leadership and vision enabled SMYAL to expand greatly needed services to LGBTQ youth in the DC metro area throughout his tenure,” Cogorno said.

“I am immensely proud of the work we have been able to accomplish together in my time at SMYAL,” Shakir said in a statement released by SMYAL. “SMYAL has been an integral and vital resource in the DMV community for over 37 years, and while we have come a long way in combating homophobia, transphobia, racism, sexual health stigma, homelessness, violence against the LGBTQ community, and oppression, we have a long way to go,” he said.

“This work has never been about one person,” said Shakir. “SMYAL was founded by our community and we’re still around because of our community,” he said. “I leave knowing that the commitment and passion of the SMYAL Board, staff, volunteers, and youth leaders have created a solid foundation from which our work will continue to grow until LGBTQ youth no longer need us.”

The SMYAL statement says that under Shakir’s tenure, SMYAL, which stands for Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders, expanded its programs and services for LGBTQ youth. Among other things, in 2017 SMYAL opened its first of several housing facilities for homeless LGBTQ youth that include culturally competent case management, education and employment assistance.

“The Youth Housing Program now comprises five programmatic models that serve a combined 61 youth residents,” the statement says.

It points out that also under Shakir’s leadership, SMYAL expanded the age range of the youth its programs serve under a new Little SMYALs program, which welcomes LGBTQ youth ages 6-12. And earlier in 2021 under Shakir’s guidance, SMYAL began a new Clinical Services Department “which provides affirming and accessible mental health counseling,” the statement says.

“The SMYAL Board of Directors will officially launch an Executive Search beginning in January 2022 and expects to have named a new Executive Director by summer 2022,” the statement says. It says the board will soon name an interim executive director to work with SMYAL’s Deputy Executive Director, Jorge Membreno, and the organization’s leadership team to oversee the day-to-day activities until a new executive director is named.

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Rainbow History Project to honor LGBTQ ‘Pioneers’

Virtual celebration to take place on Dec. 9



David Mariner, gay news, Washington Blade
David Mariner (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

D.C.’s Rainbow History Project says it will honor and recognize 12 individuals and one organization by designating them as Community Pioneers “for their diverse contributions to the Washington-area LGBTQ community” at a Dec. 9 virtual celebration.

“Rainbow History Project is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to collecting, preserving and sharing the LGBT history of metropolitan Washington, D.C.,” the group says in a statement announcing the event. “The Pioneers awards recognize diverse community leaders for their roles as organizational founders, innovators, advocates and volunteers,” the statement says.

“The Pioneers celebration will be held virtually and is designed with special features that reproduce the feeling of attending in-person, such as live streaming and video chatting with other attendees and Pioneers before and after the core awards programing,” according to the statement.

“Celebrating our Community Pioneers has been a cherished tradition since Rainbow History Project’s founding 21 years ago,” said Rob Berger, the organization’s chairperson. “It’s always an inspiring event, and we are happy that our virtual platform will still allow participants to meet and talk with the Pioneers,” Berger said in the statement.

The virtual event is free and open to the public, the statement says. Organizers released this link for those interested in attending, saying a short registration process may require registering in advance. 

Remo Conference

Following is the list of Community Pioneers scheduled to be honored at the Dec. 9 event as released by Rainbow History Project along with the project’s description of their backgrounds.

Arlington Gay and Lesbian Alliance, a local group that since its founding has addressed equal rights issues for LGBTQ Virginians from a state and local perspective.

– Eboné F. Bell, founder and editor-in-chief of Tagg Magazine and Tagg Communication LLC.

Bart Forbes, founding member of “Gay Fairfax,” a pioneering television newsmagazine program in Northern Virginia.

– Ellen Kahan, youth and family advocate, president of Rainbow Families, former director of the Lesbian Services Program at Whitman-Walker Health, and currently senior director of programs and partnerships at the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.

– Theodore Kirkland (deceased), a co-founder of D.C. Black Pride in 1991, member of the Gay Liberation Front and Skyline Faggots, active community health volunteer and advocate.

– Paul Marengo, community leader through LGBTQ organizations including Reel Affirmations, Cherry Fund, and Pride celebrations for youth, Latino, Black and Transgender communities.

– David Mariner, executive director of CAMP Rehoboth, and former executive director of the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community.

– Mark Meinke founder longtime chair, Rainbow History Project, and co-founder of Rainbow Heritage Network, a national organization for the recognition and preservation of sites, history and heritage associated with sexual and gender minorities.

– Michael “Micci” Sainte Andress, artist, health educator and advocate and an early leader in bringing African Americans into HIV/AIDS clinical trials.

– Boden Sandstrom, founder and owner of Woman Sound (later City Sound), the first all-woman sound company, which makes LGBTQ rights rallies and the women’s music scene possible.

Casse Culver (deceased), nationally acclaimed D.C. lesbian feminist singer-songwriter, and partner of Boden Sandstrom, whose followers said her love songs and feminist lyrics moved audiences from foot stomping to silent reflection.  

Alan Sharpe, playwright, director and co-founder of the African American Collective Theater in Washington, D.C., in 1976, which now focuses on LGBTQ life and culture in the Black community.

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