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Beloved D.C. bartender Howard Bivins dies at 77

‘He knew everyone’s name’



C. Howard Bivins Jr., gay news, Washington Blade

C. Howard Bivins Jr., a bartender who worked for six D.C. gay bars over a period of 35 years and became known as a congenial conversationist with many of his customers, died on April 12 at his home in Burke, Va., from complications associated with the lung illness known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to his partner of 39 years Perry Morehouse. He was 77.

Morehouse and others who knew Bivins said his regular customers at some of D.C.’s most popular gay bars often sought his advice and viewed him as an avid listener to whatever was on their minds.

“He loved to talk over the bar,” said Morehouse. “And he knew everyone’s name. He knew where everybody came from. He was very congenial,” Morehouse said. “He was always leaning over the bar talking to people. He was not the type of bartender that would make a drink and walk away.”

Morehouse said Bivins was born and raised in Richmond, Va., and was a 1963 graduate of Richmond’s Manchester High School, where he became known as a good dancer at the school’s student dances.

He worked in various positions in Richmond, including at Reynolds Metals, according to Morehouse, before moving to D.C. in the early 1980s. Morehouse noted that a number of the bars where Bivins started out as a bartender are no longer in business.

Among them were the Dupont Circle gay bar Fraternity House, where Bivins worked from 1982 to 1986. From 1986 to 2000, Bivins tended bar at the Capital Hill gay country western bar called Remington’s. And from 2000 to 2002 Bevins moved to another gay country western bar a few blocks away near the U.S. Marine barracks called Sheridan’s.

During part of the time he worked at Sheridan’s, Bivins also worked on different nights at the gay nightclub Ziegfeld’s-Secrets at its original location on the unit bock of O Street, S.E. up until 2006, when the club was displaced by construction of the Washington Nationals stadium.

Morehouse said Bivins then began bartending at the nearby gay nightclub Wet before that club was also displaced a year or two later by development related to the new baseball stadium. From there, according to Morehouse, Bivins returned to the former Fraternity House which had been renamed Omega. He tended bar there until Omega closed its doors in 2012.

“When Omega closed in 2012, he retired at the age of 68,” said Morehouse.

“Howard was always a spitfire and kept things lively and real,” said gay activist Robert York in a posting on Morehouse’s Facebook page. “Treasure the memories and know he will be missed by our community,” York wrote. “No doubt he’s keeping heaven on their toes and pouring shots for break times. Rest in power Howard.”

Morehouse said Bivins had a special place in his heart for Morehouse’s grandson Henning. “Trying to figure out how he was to be referred, he came up with the name 3-Pa, the third grandpa,” Morehouse recalls.

“He loved eating out and traveling, always surrounded by his close friends Craig, Mike, Ed, Carl, Greg, Chas, and Harry,” said Morehouse.

Bivins was predeceased by his parents. He is survived by Morehouse, his partner of 39 years, and his siblings Dorothy, David, and Beverly, and numerous nieces and nephews.

Contributions may be made in Bivins’ name to the D.C.-area hospice service Capital Caring Health at



Suhas Subramanyam wins Democratic primary in Va. 10th Congressional District

Former Obama advisor vows to champion LGBTQ rights in Congress



Virginia state Sen. Suhas Subramanyam (D-Fairfax County) (Photo courtesy of Subramanyam's campaign)

Virginia state Sen. Suhas Subramanyam (D-Loudoun County) on Tuesday won the Democratic primary in the race to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.) in Congress.

Subramanyam won the Democratic primary in Virginia’s 10th Congressional District with 30.4 percent of the votes. The Loudoun County Democrat who was an advisor to former President Barack Obama will face Republican Mike Clancy in November’s general election.

“I’m thrilled to be the Democratic nominee in Virginia’s 10th, and to have won this election during Pride Month,” Subramanyam told the Washington Blade on Wednesday in an emailed statement. “As I have done in the state legislature and as an Obama White House policy advisor, I will always stand as an ally with the LGBTQ+ community.”

Wexton, who is a vocal LGBTQ rights champion, last September announced she will not seek re-election after doctors diagnosed her with progressive supranuclear palsy, a neurological disorder she has described as “Parkinson’s on steroids.” Wexton is a vice chair of the Congressional Equality Caucus and a previous co-chair of its Transgender Equality Task Force.

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Police say they didn’t spray a chemical agent at Baltimore Pride. Why don’t those who attended believe it?

Attendees allege city failed to adequately respond to emergency



A parade participant is photographed clutching on to a rainbow flag at Baltimore’s Pride Parade held on June 15, 2024. (Photo by Ronica Edwards/Baltimore Banner)

BY BRENNA SMITH and JOHN-JOHN WILLIAMS IV | A chemical agent that disrupted Pride Parade festivities last weekend continues to cause confusion and raise suspicion among many in the Baltimore LGBTQIA+ community, who question the police account of what happened.

The Baltimore Police Department said Tuesday that they had determined the released substance was Mace, but did not say how they came to that conclusion. A BPD spokesperson said that the chemical was released after two groups of people got into an altercation. Three people were treated and released from a nearby hospital because of injuries from the spray.

The rest of this article can be read on the Baltimore Banner’s website.

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Carlton R. Smith: LGBTQ advocate, ‘mayor’ of Mount Vernon, passes away

‘The Duchess’ died on May 29 in his sleep



Carlton R. Smith, an LGBTQ advocate, died May 29. He was 61. (Photo courtesy of Carlton R. Smith)

BY JOHN-JOHN WILLIAMS IV | Carlton R. Smith was affectionately called “The Duchess” in a nod to royalty, because of his unofficial role of mayor of Baltimore’s Mount Vernon neighborhood. He was a “walking billboard” for Calvin Klein, with a love for purple, Batman, cooking, house music, Prince, and Diana Ross.

“If you said Duchess, you knew who that was,” said his close friend of 25-years, Carrietta Hiers.

The rest of this article can be found on the Baltimore Banner’s website.

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