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How D.C. is celebrating Pride this month

Mix of in-person and virtual events to replace traditional parade and festival

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Activists listen to Carol Lee at a rally in front of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Oct. 10, 1988. The photo is part of a drag exhibition at Dupont Underground organized by the Blade. (Washington Blade archive photo by Doug Hinckle)

One of the main events set for D.C.’s 2021 LGBTQ Pride month will be a caravan of cars decorated with colorful Pride signs and displays to be led by an official Pridemobile trolley that will travel throughout the city on June 12, according to D.C.’s Capital Pride Alliance.

In a statement on its website, Capital Pride Alliance says the parade of vehicles, called the Colorful Pridemobile Parade, will drive past houses and businesses in different parts of the city that will also be decorated with Pride-themed displays as part of the group’s month-long Paint the Town Colorful With Pride project.

The parade and the decorated buildings, the locations of which are displayed on a map on the Capital Pride website, are among at least 14 or more Pride events scheduled for June in D.C., some of which are in-person while others are virtual. Six of the events, including the parade and Paint the Town Colorful With Pride, are official Capital Pride Alliance events.

The Washington Blade, which, in partnership with Dupont Underground, is hosting an exhibition celebrating the tradition of drag performances in D.C. and other places highlighting the history and influence of drag. The exhibition, which includes photos and video footage and a drag brunch as well as drag performances, will take place June 4 through June 27 each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

The official opening of the drag exhibition will take place Friday, June 4 at 4 p.m.
Capital Price Alliance Executive Director Ryan Bos said D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s May 10 announcement that the city will be lifting all restrictions on large events such as parades and street festivals came too late for Capital Pride to put together a large Pride parade and street festival for June. He said Capital Pride is considering whether a parade and festival could be held in October.

This year marks the second year in a row in which the D.C. Pride Parade and festival had to be cancelled due to the COVID epidemic. The two events in past years have attracted more than 250,000 participants.

Bos and other Pride organizers say they were hopeful that the spirit and enthusiasm of Pride will be captured and carried out through this month’s events, especially the Pridemobile Parade and Paint the Town Colorful building displays.

“This unique mobile parade will feature the official Pridemobile trolly, followed by a colorful array of automobiles decorated by registered organizations and businesses, all on display for enthusiastic onlookers to enjoy,” a statement on the Capital Pride website says.

“The Pridemobile Parade route will be shared with the general public prior to the event and will pass through some of the city’s most lively areas for optimum visibility, including Dupont and Logan Circles, and iconic landmarks such as the Capitol Building,” the statement says.

The statement adds that Capital Pride Alliance has been urging members of the local LGBTQ community and its allies to be creative in displaying Pride decorations on their homes and businesses.

“Whether you’re a resident, business, or organization, we invite you to decorate your most public-facing spaces, such as building fronts, patios, balconies, and yards, to show your Pride!” the statement says. “Make it as colorful as you can!”

Capital Pride has called on community members and businesses to try to have their homes or other buildings decorated by June 1, but the decorations need to be completed by June 12, the day of the Pridemobile Parade, the Capital Pride website says. Capital Pride is inviting the public to visit the decorated homes and businesses any time during the month of June.

Capital Pride is charging a fee of $100 to enter a vehicle in the parade. The group says the proceeds from the fee will be used to support local LGBTQ organizations.

Bos said D.C. police will not be escorting the parade and organizers expect it will end up becoming “several mini caravans” when participating vehicles have to stop at traffic lights and become separated from the participating vehicles ahead of them.

Following is a list of the June Pride events announced by the Capital Pride Alliance and other organizations. Further details of official Capital Pride events can be found at capitalpride.org/celebration.
 
June 1

Paint the Town Colorful. The official start of the month-long display of Pride themed decorations on houses, yards, and businesses throughout the city. The location of the displays submitted to Capital Pride so far is on the Capital Pride website.
 
Pride Talks: We are Colorful. A YouTube live discussion among LGBTQ leaders reflecting their “personal LGBTQ+ journey of Pride” and what makes the LGBTQ community colorful. Speakers will include Alexis Blackmon, director of public affairs for Casa Ruby; Reggie Greer, White House senior adviser on LGBTQ+ Affairs; Tiffany Royster, Capital Pride Alliance Parade chair and performing artist; and Mary Paradise, past board member of Capital Pride Alliance.
 
June 4 – June 27

Washington Blade Pride Month Celebration of Drag. A month-long exhibition at the Dupont Underground, the former trolley car station located under Dupont Circle, that showcases a mix of photographs and video footage honoring the roots of drag in America and D.C.’s drag scene. The exhibition as well as drag performances  and a Sunday brunch will take place each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday during the month of June. Details available at washingtonblade.com/royals.

June 6

Queen City Kings Drag presents Flame: Rising from the Ashes of COVID

A virtual event featuring 16 drag performers, including drag kings, scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. It’s organized by Queen City Kings Drag, an LGBTQ drag performance group and can be accessed via the group’s website.
 
June 11

The Capital Pride Honors. An in-person event to be held at the Compass Coffee Factory in D.C.’s Ivy City neighborhood at 1401 Okie St., N.E., in which the Capital Pride Alliance will present its annual honors recognizing “outstanding individuals, leaders, and activists” in the D.C. area who have furthered the causes of the LGBTQ+ community.
 
June 12

Drag Family Story Time. A virtual Pride event organized by the D.C. Public Library featuring local drag performers Domingo, Arma Dura, and Katie Magician who will read children’s stories to “celebrate Pride as a family,” a statement on the library’s website says. It is scheduled to be broadcast on the public library system’s YouTube channel at 11 a.m.
 
Washington Blade Describe-a-thon. A virtual D.C. Public Library Pride event from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. to discuss the library’s ongoing project of digitizing all past issues of the Washington Blade to its digital collections.
 
Colorful Pridemobile Parade. The Capital Pride Alliance’s caravan of Pride decorated cars led by its Pridemobile trolley will travel across D.C. to pass by homes and businesses also decorated with Pride displays. The starting time and route of the parade were to be posted the week of June 6 on the Capital Pride website.
 
June 13

Taste of Pride Brunch. Capital Pride Alliance has organized “an exclusive group of beloved local restaurants that have made a commitment to support Pride and local LGBTQ+ charities” to host special Pride month brunches. Special food items, Pride drink specials, and entertainment will be offered at some of the venues, the locations and names of which Capital Pride will publish on its website.
 
June 14

Rainbow Warriors: A Century of LGBTQ+ Womxn Activists. A virtual event the details of which were expected to be posted on the Capital Pride website.

June 15

Still We Gather! Center Faith embraces this year’s Capital Pride Theme, “Still We!” A Zoom interfaith service set to begin at 7 p.m. organized by local LGBTQ and LGBTQ supportive faith groups, including Metropolitan Community Church of D.C., Faith Temple, Bet Mishpachah, Unity Fellowship D.C., Westminster Presbyterian Church, and All Souls Unitarian Church.

June 17

Chamber Connect – MOXY DC-Play on Pride. A professional networking meeting with a focus on LGBTQ Pride themes to be held 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Moxy Washington, D.C. Hotel at 1011 K St., N.W.
 
June 24

Teen Pride Lounge. A virtual gathering of LGBTQ teens, including some from Prince George’s County, Md., on YouTube and Discord will feature a discussion with LGBTQ+ authors Leah Johnson and Tom Ryan as well as special community guests. Johnson and Ryan have published works of interest to young people.
 
June 30

Still We Lead – A Community and Professional Development Experience. A virtual seminar organized by Capital Pride Alliance on the topic, “A Forgotten Generation.” The session will discuss ways in which LGBTQ people and their allies can “support and foster an intersectional and social justice movement.”

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Sheila Alexander-Reid to step down as director of D.C. LGBTQ Affairs Office

Veteran community activist to take new job workplace bias consultant

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Mayor's Office of GLBT Affairs, Sheila Alexander-Reid, gay news, Washington Blade

Longtime LGBTQ community advocate Sheila Alexander-Reid, who has served since 2015 as director of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Affairs, is stepping down from her city job in mid-July.

Alexander-Reid told the Washington Blade she will take a few weeks of accumulated leave beginning June 15 to recuperate from follow-up knee surgery before officially leaving her current job to take on a new role as a private sector consultant in the area of workplace bias and diversity training.

She said will announce the name of the private sector company she will be joining as a senior vice president when she begins her new job in mid-July.

Among her duties at the Mayor’s LGBTQ Affairs Office has been to lead the office’s staff in providing LGBTQ related diversity or competency training for D.C. government employees at all city agencies.

According to the office’s website, other activities it carries out include connecting LGBTQ residents with city services they may need, advocating on behalf of programs and policies that benefit the lives of LGBTQ residents, providing grants to community-based organizations that serve the LGBTQ community and LGBTQ homeless youth; and host events that “enrich, promote, and bring together” the LGBTQ community in D.C.

“That work is always going to be part of who I am,” Alexander-Reid said. “But now I will be expanding on that work to look at racial equity and gender bias as well as LGBTQ bias,” she said. “I feel like I will be doing the same work but in a different format.”

Prior to starting her job at the mayor’s office, Alexander Reid served as Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at the Washington Blade, Director of Strategic Engagement at the Washington City Paper, and Founder and Executive Director of the D.C. based Women in the Life Association. She has also served as host of Inside Out, a local FM LGBTQ radio show.

Alexander-Reid noted that when she began work at the LGBTQ Affairs Office in late January 2015, less than a month after Bowser took office as mayor, the office consisted of two full-time employees, including her, with a budget of $209,000. In the current fiscal year 2021, the office now has four full-time employees and two additional detailed employees, from the Department of Health and Department of Human Services. The mayor is proposing a budget of $561,000 for the office for fiscal year 2022.

“I would be remiss if I didn’t say what a pleasure it has been to work for Mayor Bowser,” said Alexander-Reid. “I was excited to work for her and I don’t regret it for one second. “It’s been an amazing journey and I appreciate her having faith in me.”

She said she expects an interim director to be named to run the office in mid-July while a search is conducted for a permanent director.

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Attack on trans woman in D.C. laundromat captured in video

Police seek help from community in identifying suspects.

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(Screen capture via the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department's YouTube channel)

D.C. police on Thursday night released a dramatic video taken from a surveillance camera showing two women and a man repeatedly punching and shoving a transgender woman at a laundromat on Benning Road in Northeast Washington in an incident in which the victim was stabbed in the head.

Police, who have listed the Sunday, June 6, incident as a suspected anti-LGBTQ hate crime, are appealing to the community for help in identifying the three suspects, who are shown in the video attacking the trans woman before escaping in a black SUV while carrying laundry bags.

Detectives from the Metropolitan Police Department’s Sixth District obtained the video from a surveillance camera at the Capital Laundry Mat at 1653 Benning Road, N.E., according to a police report and a police statement released Thursday night.

The video shows that the suspects were accompanied by two young children. It shows one of the adult female suspects appearing to be dancing by herself in front of a row of washing machines seconds before the three suspects lunged at the victim and began punching her.

“One of the suspects brandished a knife and stabbed the victim,” the police statement says. “The suspects fled the scene in a vehicle. The victim was transported to a local hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries,” the statement says.

“Anyone who can identify these individuals, or vehicle, or has knowledge of this incident should take no action but call police at 202-727-9099 or text your tip to the Department’s TEXT TIP LINE at 50411,” the statement adds. It says the department’s Crime Solvers program offers a reward of up to $1,000 to anyone who provides information leading to the arrest and indictment of a person or persons responsible for a crime committed in D.C.

Police spokesperson Alaina Gertz told the Washington Blade that because the investigation is ongoing, police could not immediately disclose whether they know if the victim knew one or more of the attackers before the incident took place or what, if anything, prompted the suspects to attack the victim other than due to her status as a transgender person.

The video released by D.C. police can be accessed here:  https://youtu.be/7v8lthvUPcg

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Trans woman attacked, stabbed at D.C. laundromat

Police seeking three suspects

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shooting, DC Eagle, assault, hate crime, anti-gay attack, police discrimination, sex police, Sisson, gay news, Washington Blade

D.C. police are investigating a June 6 assault and stabbing of a transgender woman at a laundromat on Benning Road in Northeast Washington that a police incident report lists as a suspected anti-LGBT hate crime.

“On Sunday, June 6, 2021, MPD officers responded to a radio assignment for a stabbing at 1653 Benning Road, N.E.,” the report says. “Officers arrived on the scene with Victim 1 bleeding,” the report continues. “Victim 1 stated that they were stabbed in the head and assaulted by Suspect 1, Suspect 2, and Suspect 3,” according to the report.

The report, which lists the incident as an assault with a dangerous weapon, says officers provided first aid to the victim until an ambulance arrived and took the victim to a local hospital for medical treatment. The report does not disclose the victim’s gender identity or sexual orientation.

But D.C. transgender activists Earline Budd, an official with the LGBTQ supportive group HIPS, and Ruby Corado, founder and CEO of the LGBTQ community services center Casa Ruby, each said they learned that the victim is a transgender woman.

Corado said she has heard that the victim was recovering from her injuries and may have been released from the hospital where she was treated.

D.C.’s Fox 5 News reported details of the incident that were not in the police report obtained by the Washington Blade. According to Fox 5, the victim told D.C. police the assailants used anti-LGBTQ slurs during the attack and the assailants consisted of a man and two women who “beat her and stabbed her in the head.”

The police report obtained by the Blade from the police public information office does provide a description of the three suspects and does not state whether or not the victim knew them prior to the attack.

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