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Clinical psychologist, former teacher Roger Bartman dies at 77

Met longtime partner via Blade personals ad in 1987



Erwin Roger Bartman, gay news, Washington Blade
Erwin ‘Roger’ Bartman passed away last month.

Erwin “Roger” Bartman, a high school teacher in Baltimore and Silver Spring, Md. before becoming a clinical psychologist in private practice in Reston, Va., for 42 years, died on Jan. 12 at his home outside Leesburg, Va. of complications associated with Leukemia. He was 77.

Peter Kelpinski, Bartman’s life partner since 1987 and husband since 2004, said Bartman was extraordinarily dedicated to his patients and improved the lives of countless people who sought his services as a mental health professional.

Bartman was born in Lawton, Okla., and grew up in Louisville, Ky., where he graduated from St. Xavier High School in 1961 and entered the Xavarian Brothers Roman Catholic order. Kelpinski said that after completing his novitiate and taking his first vows he began his studies at Catholic University in D.C.

He received bachelor’s degrees at Catholic University in 1967 in mathematics and religious education. He received his master’s degree in mathematics education at Johns Hopkins University the following year.

According to Kelpinski, under the name of Brother Raphael, Bartman began his career teaching advanced math courses at Xavarian High Schools in Baltimore and Silver Spring, Md. His resume provided by Kelpinski says he held the positions of assistant dean at Xaverian Junior College in Silver Spring from 1965 to 1967 and served as a summer camp counselor in his role as Xaverian brother in Maryland and Kentucky from 1964 through 1966.

His resume shows that he returned to Catholic University to enter its doctoral program in psychology and received his Ph.D. there in clinical psychology in 1976. Upon completion of his doctorate degree, he began an internship at the Fairfax County Northwest Center for Community Health in Reston, Va. and soon began work there as a clinical psychologist. He served in that position through 1986.

Kelpinski said Bartman and four partners, while still working at the Northwest Center, started their own private practice in 1977 called Reston Psychotherapy. Bartman later withdrew from his position at Northwest Center to devote his full time work to the Reston Psychotherapy practice, where he remained until his retirement in 2019, Kelpinski said.

Kelpinski said he and Bartman first met in January 1987 through a classified personals ad that Kelpinski placed in the Washington Blade seeking to meet someone for a relationship. He said Bartman was one of many people who responded to the ad, but it was Bartman who immediately stood out from the others.

Kelpinski’s ad in the Blade, among other things, mentioned he had a “Catholic background,” which he later learned caught Bartman’s attention. It turns out that both men were involved with a Catholic religious order in their early adult years, with Kelpinski becoming involved with the Marians of the Immaculate Conception after considering becoming a priest.

Similar to Bartman, who chose to leave the Xavarian Order on amicable terms, as Kelpinski recalls Bartman telling him, to enter a secular life as a practicing psychologist, Kelpinski also chose to leave his religious order for a career as a florist.

Upon speaking by phone for the first time in January 1987 after Bartman responded to Kelpinski’s Blade ad, the two men had their first date over brunch at a restaurant in Old Town Alexandria. “And then we walked around Old Town and just gabbed and gabbed,” as Kelpinski tells it.

“And we kind of clicked,” Kelpinski said. “We got along immediately. We were from the same background. It was really amazing.”

Among the many things they did together that year was to participate in the October 1987 March on Washington for Lesbian & Gay Rights, which drew hundreds of thousands of LGBTQ people to the nation’s capital.

Not long after that, the couple bought a house on a large tract of land just outside Leesburg, Va., where they lived until Bartman’s passing on Jan. 12 of this year.

“He was the love of my life,” said Kelpinski. “He’s one of those few people who could say they changed the world because he helped so many people in their own lives so that they actually were able to live better lives,” said Kelpinski in referring to Bartman’s role as a psychotherapist. “And they made the world better.”

Memorial services for Bartman were being planned for this summer in Reston and Louisville. Bartman’s ashes were to be interred in Bay City, Mich., where Kelpinski plans to move to return to his hometown.

In addition to Kelpinski, Bartman is survived by his siblings Kathy Furlong and James Bartman of Louisville, Ky., and Lally House of Woodbury, Ky.; an aunt and uncle, Dolores and Frank Lally of Louisville; sisters and brothers-in-law Nancy and Jack MacKenzie and Sandi and Hank Bridges of Bay City, Mich.; and many nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews, cousins, and numerous friends.

He was predeceased by his parents Erwin R. and Mary Kathryn Bartman and grandparents Erwin R. and Louise Bartman and Frank and Orvilla Lally.

Contributions in Bartman’s name can be made to Holy Cross Abbey in Berryville, Va.

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Va. Senate subcommittee tables anti-transgender student athlete bill

Virginia Beach Republican introduced SB 766



transgender, Gender Conference East, trans, transgender flag, gay news, Washington Blade
(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

A Virginia Senate subcommittee on Thursday tabled a bill that would have banned transgender students from joining school sports teams that are consistent with their gender identity.

Senate Bill 766, which state Sen. Jennifer Kiggans (R-Virginia Beach) introduced on earlier this month, would have required “each elementary or secondary school or a private school that competes in sponsored athletic events against such public schools to designate athletic teams, whether a school athletic team or an intramural team sponsored by such school, based on biological sex as follows: (i) ‘males,’ ‘men,’ or ‘boys’; (ii) ‘females,’ ‘women,’ or ‘girls’; or (iii) ‘coed’ or ‘mixed.’”

“SB 766 (trans sports ban) was passed by indefinitely (it died!) after a long line of speakers testified against it, affirming trans students’ rights to participate in sports just like their cisgender peers,” tweeted the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia after the vote. “Trans students belong in sports. Period.”

Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin during his campaign said he does not support allowing trans children to play on sports teams that are consistent with their gender identity.

The General Assembly’s 2022 legislative session began on Jan. 12 with Republicans in control of the House of Delegates. Democrats still control the Senate by a 21-19 margin.

A bill that would have eliminated the requirement that school districts implement the Virginia Department of Education’s trans and non-binary student guidelines died in a Senate subcommittee on Thursday. The Senate General Laws and Technology on Thursday also tabled a religious freedom measure that would have undermined Virginia’s LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination law.

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Hyattsville mayor dies by suicide

Kevin Ward and husband adopted son in D.C. in 2012



Hyattsville Mayor Kevin Ward (Photo courtesy of the city of Hyattsville)

The city of Hyattsville released a statement on Wednesday afternoon announcing that their city’s openly gay Mayor Kevin Ward had died one day earlier by an apparent suicide.

“The city of Hyattsville reports with great sadness that our beloved Mayor Kevin Ward passed away yesterday, Jan. 25, from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound,” the statement says.

“Mayor Ward was a valued and trusted leader and a fierce advocate for all the people of Hyattsville,” the statement continues. “We are heartbroken at this loss and extend our deepest sympathy to the mayor’s family,” it says.

“No further information is available at this time,” the statement adds. “Details about services and remembrances will be shared when they are available.”

The Washington Post reported that U.S. Park Police disclosed that Ward was found deceased in Fort Marcy Park in McLean, Va., with a “self-inflicted gunshot wound.”

Ward, 44, became acting mayor of Hyattsville on Jan. 1, 2021, following the resignation of former Mayor Candace Hollingsworth. He was next in line to become mayor under the city’s political system in his then-position as president of the Hyattsville City Council.

He won election to complete the remainder of Hollingsworth’s term through 2023 in a May 11, 2021, special election, receiving 57.8 percent of the vote in a three candidate race, according to the Hyattsville election board. His closest opponent, Joseph Solomon, received 31.7 percent of the vote.

Nearby fellow gay mayors — Patrick Wojahn of College Park and Jeffrey Slavin of Somerset — said they got to know Ward through Maryland political circles and thought very highly of him.

“He was insightful, smart and dedicated,” Wojahn said. “He always seemed very confident and together as a person. And he had a great sense of humor.”

Slavin said he shared that remembrance of Ward, adding that he found Ward to be a “very nice person” dedicated to the people he served both as mayor and during his two terms on the Hyattsville City Council.

“There was noting in his public life that would have predicted this,” said Slavin in referring to Ward’s sudden passing.

The Washington Blade first reported on Ward in 2012 in a feature story on Ward and his then-domestic partner Chad Copeland when the two attended a ceremony at the D.C. Superior Court to complete the process of adopting their then-5-year-old son Norman. Ward and Copeland were among several gay couples who had their adoption papers signed by a judge at the ceremony.

On the website for his mayoral election campaign last year Ward said he and his family made Hyattsville their home in 2014 after he and his husband adopted their two sons.

“I am a pretty straightforward person,” he said in message to voters on his campaign website. “I believe in listening more than talking. But when I talk, I am not one to mince words or tell people what they want to hear,” he said. “I believe in doing the work. I believe that if I can help someone, then I can change her or his life,” he continued.

“This is why I dedicated my career to providing the best technology to education and to human services, to help as many people as I can,” he said.  

Ward was referring to his career in the field of educational and human services technology.

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District of Columbia

ANC supports license for Capitol Hill LGBTQ bar

Lesbian owners back ‘settlement agreement’ with restrictions on hours



AYA, gay news, Washington Blade
Rachel Pike and Jo McDaniel are the bar industry veterans behind As You Are Bar. (Photo courtesy Pike and McDaniel)

The Capitol Hill Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6B voted unanimously on Tuesday night to support a liquor license for the LGBTQ-owned As You Are Bar, which plans to open in a two-story building at 500 8th St., S.E. in a commercial section of Capitol Hill known as Barracks Row.

The ANC’s decision to support the license took place at a virtual meeting attended by nearby residents and supporters of the bar after its owners, lesbian activists Jo McDaniel and Rachel Pike, agreed to the terms of an ANC settlement agreement that calls for restrictions in the hours the bar can offer dancing, entertainment, and music from a DJ.

The agreement means the ANC will not file a protest against the license before the city’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, a development that would have delayed a decision on the license by the ABC Board by as much as seven months. A protest by the ANC could have cost the bar thousands of dollars in legal fees to contest the protest by providing legal arguments seeking the approval of the license.

The ABC Board makes the final decision on whether to approve all liquor licenses in the city.

McDaniel and Pike have said they plan to operate an upstairs dance bar during evening hours and a café on the first floor during the day as well as in the evenings that will be an inclusive space that “welcomes anyone of any walk of life that will support, love, and celebrate the mission of queer culture.”

The two, who are business and life partners, say As You Are Bar will welcome people of all ages, genders, sexual orientations and gender identities as well as drinkers and non-drinkers as customers.

They have also told the ANC and nearby residents they have taken steps to soundproof the building, which they are renting, to ensure their plans to operate a dance bar with music from a DJ on the second floor will not disturb nearby residents.

Under terms of the settlement agreement, which was posted on the ANC’s website prior to the start of the meeting, the bar’s operating hours will be from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 12 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Under D.C. law, bars are allowed to remain open for the sale of alcoholic beverages until 2 a.m. during weekdays and 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

The Settlement Agreement further calls for As You Are Bar to restrict the hours of consumption of alcohol from 12 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 12 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. It calls for allowing live entertainment and dancing (indoors only) from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 12 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

However, the agreement says DJ and amplified music will not be permitted after 8 p.m. on weekdays.

 McDaniel told the Blade that at the request of As You Are Bar’s attorney Richard Bianco, the ANC agreed to modify that restriction at the Tuesday night meeting to allow the bar to play “conversational” background music after 8 p.m. until closing time on weekdays.

 Among other things, the agreement requires the bar comply with a noise mitigation provision to “ensure that sound, noise, and vibrations are not audible or felt beyond the curb or any other premises at any time.” It also calls on the bar to provide an “appropriate number of staff” to monitor patrons as they leave the bar through the 8th Street entrance to “prevent loud voices and littering.”

Under rules established by the ABC Board and the city’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration or ABRA, if a settlement agreement is reached between an applicant for a liquor license and the ANC, a protest against the license by groups of five or more citizens is not allowed. Protests could still be filed by community-based civic groups and residents of an “abutting” house or residential facility.

In the case of As You Are Bar, no citizens group has emerged to oppose the license. There is just one abutting townhouse on E Street whose owner has expressed general support for the settlement agreement, according to McDaniel. But the resident has indicated she will not rule out a possible protest until Feb. 7, which is the deadline for filing a protest under ABRA’s rules.

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