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Levine loses Lt. guv and delegate races in Va. primary

Three other Va. LGBTQ delegates secure nomination for re-election



Mark Levine, Democratic Party, Virginia, gay news, Washington Blade
Mark Levine lost his two races on Tuesday.

Virginia House of Delegates member Mark Levine (D-Alexandria) lost his bid to become the state’s first gay lieutenant governor on Tuesday by finishing in third place in the Democratic primary with 11.2 percent of the vote in a seven-candidate race.

In a development that surprised some political observers, Levine also lost his primary race for the Democratic nomination to keep his House of Delegates seat to Alexandria Vice Mayor Elizabeth Bennett-Parker by a margin of 59.3 percent to 40.6 percent of the vote.

Under Virginia’s election law, Levine was allowed to run for the two offices at the same time, enabling him to secure renomination for his delegate seat if he won the primary for that seat while losing his race for lieutenant governor.

Virginia Del. Hala Ayala (D-Prince William County) won the primary for the lieutenant governor’s race with 37.3 percent of the vote. She had been endorsed by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D), a strong LGBTQ rights supporter.

Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, another longtime supporter of LGBTQ rights, was the decisive winner in the Democratic primary for governor, finishing with 62.1 percent of the vote in a five-candidate race. Under Virginia’s constitution, governors cannot run for a second consecutive term but can run again after leaving office for four years. Northam also endorsed McAuliffe.

Levine, an attorney, has been an outspoken supporter of LGBTQ rights issues in the House of Delegates, where he has served since 2016. He currently holds the seat for the 45th District, which includes most of the City of Alexandria and parts of Arlington and Fairfax Counties.

Although he lost his bid for renomination for his delegate seat, Levine came in first place in Alexandria in his race for lieutenant governor, capturing 30 percent of the vote in that seven-candidate race.
Meanwhile, three other LGBTQ members of the House of Delegates, all Democrats, easily secured renomination for their seats and will be running in the November general election against Republican nominees.

However, in what may have been yet another surprise to some LGBTQ activists, gay Virginia State Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) endorsed Bennett-Parker over Levine in that House of Delegates race. Ebbin, who is not up for re-election this year, told the Washington Blade he considered Bennett-Parker an excellent candidate who is highly qualified to serve in the Virginia General Assembly.

Levine couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

The other LGBTQ candidates who won renomination include Danica Roem (D-Prince William County), who four years ago became the nation’s first transgender person to win election and to be seated in a U.S. state legislature. Roem was not challenged in the Democratic primary this year.

Similarly, gay House of Delegates member Mark Sickles (D-Fairfax County) was unchallenged in Tuesday’s primary, securing his nomination to run against a Republican in the November general election.

Lesbian Del. Dawn Adams (D-Richmond) did face an opponent in the Tuesday primary, which she won decisively by a margin of 61.1 percent to 38.8 percent against challenger Kyle Elliott.

In the hotly contested race for six at-large seats on the Alexandria City Council, 13 candidates, including two gay men, competed for the seats. One of the two gay candidates, Kirk McPike, who currently serves as chief of staff for gay U.S. Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.), won the nomination for one of the seats by finishing in 6th place with 7.2 percent of the vote.

Gay civic activist James Lewis, who serves as vice chair of the Alexandria Traffic and Parking Board, finished in 8th place with 5.9 percent of the vote, disqualifying him from being nominated for one of the six seats up for election.

Under election rules for the primary in the Alexandria City Council race, the highest six vote getters are declared the winners. The candidate who finished in first place, John Taylor Chapman, received just 12 percent of the vote.

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Comings & Goings

Umana named associate with Gustafson Guthrie Nichol



Wolfgang Umana (Photo courtesy of Umana)

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]

Congratulations to Wolfgang Umana on being named an associate with Gustafson Guthrie Nichol (GGN). He has been with them for more than five years and is currently its D.C. studio’s office manager. 

“I am honored to become GGN’s newest Associate,” Umana said.I have the glorious privilege of supporting GGN’s continuing dedication to progress, inclusion, social justice, sustainability, and beautification of the world we live in.”

Umana also works with NBR Computer Consulting as an LLC Computer Technician consultant. He has experience in social media, communications, outreach, and technical services, and provides a dynamic approach to the fast-changing world of technology. NBR Computer Consulting, LLC is a gay-owned business. 

Umana has also served as D.C. Army National Guard Director of Environmental Affairs and with EMS Consultation Services. 

He has his bachelor’s in Environmental Science & Public Policy, Human and Ecosystem Response to Climate Change, from George Mason University. 

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Capital Pride bids for D.C. to host World Pride 2025

International event draws thousands of visitors



Confetti rained down in New York’s Times Square at Stonewall 50 WorldPride New York’s closing ceremony two years ago. D.C. organizers hope to host the event in 2025. (Blade photo by Lou Chibbaro, Jr.)

The Capital Pride Alliance, the group that organizes D.C.’s annual LGBTQ Pride events, announced on Sept. 21 that it has submitted a bid to host 2025 World Pride, the international Pride event that draws thousands of participants from throughout the world to the host city.

The announcement by Capital Pride says its bid to host the event in D.C. notes that the event, among other things, would commemorate the 50th anniversary of D.C.’s first LGBTQ Pride event in 1975, which began as a block party near Dupont Circle.

World Pride is licensed and administered by the international LGBTQ organization InterPride. The World Pride events themselves, which usually take place every other year, are organized by InterPride’s member organizations such as Capital Pride Alliance.

The Capital Pride announcement notes that World Pride “promotes visibility and awareness of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+) issues on a global level.” The announcement adds, “World Pride events include parades, marches, festivals and other cultural activities often enjoyed at Pride celebrations, along with other components such as a human rights conference and large-scale opening and closing ceremonies.”

The InterPride website says the deadline for submitting a bid for the 2025 World Pride has passed. It says D.C.’s Capital Pride and Kaohsiung Pride, located in the large Taiwan port city of Kaohsiung, are the only two remaining cities in competition for hosting the 2025 World Pride.

Ryan Bos, Capital Pride’s executive director, said InterPride was expected to make its decision on which of the two cities to select sometime in November of this year.

“A recent study conducted by Booz Allen Hamilton revealed that the annual Capital Pride Celebrations, during normal years, result in approximately $371 million in positive economic impacts to the region, a number that may be doubled if the organization is awarded the prestigious event,” the Capital Pride statement says.

The 2021 World Pride took place earlier this year in Copenhagen, Denmark. The 2019 World Pride was held in New York City to commemorate the 50th anniversary of New York’s Stonewall riots, which many activists consider the start of the modern LGBTQ rights movement.

InterPride says the 2023 World Pride will take place in Sydney, Australia.

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Va. county supervisors back resolution against ‘required’ pronoun questions

Unanimous vote in Stafford County allows school defunding



What's Your Pronoun? review, gay news, Washington Blade
(Image courtesy of Liveright Publishing)

The Stafford County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution that gives it the authority to deny funds to schools that require students to give their pronouns and teach the 1619 Project and critical race theory.

The resolution denounces “the teaching of the 1619 Project and critical race theory (CRT) and related principles in Stafford County Public Schools,” and states the board does not support Stafford County Public School students “being required to identify their chosen pronouns.”

The approved document had been updated to change “requested” to give pronouns to “required.”

Republican Supervisor Gary Snellings told the board he brought the resolution forward, which passed by a 6-0 vote margin, in response to communication from parents. One supervisor was not present.

Snellings called critical race theory “racism.” He also called the New York Times’ 1619 Project published on the 400th anniversary of the arrival of enslaved Africans to the Virginia colony a “theory.”

Critical race theory is not taught in Virginia public schools, but a state law passed in 2020 requires local school boards to adopt policies that are more inclusive for transgender and non-binary students that follow, or exceed, guidelines from the state’s Department of Education.

Snellings said the problem with preferred pronouns was in requiring students to give them. He said that was not in the governing Virginia law.

“This (resolution) does not eliminate anything. It just follows state law,” Snellings said.

A Virginia court in July dismissed a lawsuit that challenged the Department of Education’s guidelines for trans and non-binary students. Equality Virginia and the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia were parties to the amicus brief in support of the protections.

“We are deeply disappointed that these adults made such a hateful decision for kids in the community,” tweeted the ACLU of Virginia in response to the board’s vote.

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