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Most LGBTQ ANC candidates win races in D.C. election

Official outcome of four write-ins delayed until Nov. 15

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Winning Advisory Neighborhood Commission candidates include Anthony Lorenzo Green, Nandini Sen and Jeremy Sherman. (Photos of Green and Sen via Twitter; photo of Sherman courtesy campaign)

At least 35 of the known roughly 44 LGBTQ Advisory Neighborhood Commission candidates running in the Nov. 8 D.C. election have won their races, according to voter returns released by the D.C. Board of Elections.

Another four LGBTQ ANC contenders who ran unopposed as write-in candidates were expected to emerge as winners when the election board discloses on Nov. 15 the names of winning write-in candidates, whose names did not appear on the ballot.

Whether the total number of LGBTQ ANC candidates who win remains at 35 or reaches 39 should the write-in candidates win, the number will surpass the 33 LGBTQ candidates who won election to ANC seats in 2020.

Twenty-two of the winning candidates this year ran unopposed.

Just five of the LGBTQ candidates appear to have lost their races. One of them, James Tandaris, an incumbent commissioner in ANC district 3F05, was trailing his opponent by just eight votes with a vote count of 210 to 202. With an undetermined number of mail-in ballots still to be counted it was possible that Tandaris could surpass his opponent, Andrew Koval, and win the election.

Among the LGBTQ write-in candidates believed to have won their races are Christopher Dyer in Logan Circle ANC 2F05 and Matt Fouracre in neighboring Logan Circle ANC 2F06. Board of Elections vote count returns show that an unnamed write-in candidate in Dyer’s district received 53 votes making up 100 percent of the write-in votes cast. In Fouracre’s district an unnamed write-in candidate received 39 votes comprising 100 percent of the write-in votes cast.

The unnamed candidates are believed to be Dyer and Fouracre, although voters could have cast their vote for other write-in candidates.

Another LGBTQ write-in candidate whose outcome was uncertain is Bradley Gallagher, who ran in ANC 1E01, which is the Park View neighborhood seat held by gay longtime ANC member Kent Boese. Boese withdrew his candidacy for re-election in October after he was nominated by the D.C. Council and later confirmed to be appointed as executive director of the D.C. Office of ANCs.

Board of Elections spokesperson Nicholas Jacobs said it was too late to remove Boese’s name from the ballot, but he said the board posted notices informing voters that Boese had withdrawn his candidacy. However, the election returns show that Boese received 412 votes and 87 write-in votes were cast. It wasn’t expected to be confirmed whether Gallagher will be declared the winner until Nov. 15, when the election board discloses the names of write-in candidates.

Elections board spokesperson Jacobs told the Washington Blade the board requires all write-in candidates to submit an Affirmation of Write-In Candidacy form by Nov. 15 to be certified as the winner of their respective race. Jacobs said the board will disclose the names of winning write-in candidates at that time.

Following is a list of the confirmed LGBTQ ANC candidates who won their election on Nov. 8:

1A04 Jeremy Sherman* (unopposed) – Columbia Heights

1A05 Stephen Coleman Kenny* (unopposed) – Columbia Heights

1A09 James Turner (unopposed) – Columbia Heights

1B01 Larry Handerhan (incumbent/unopposed) – LeDroit Park

1B02 Sean Holihan (Unopposed) – U Street/Shaw

1B03 Jamie S. Sycamore* (unopposed) – Columbia Heights/U Street

1C01 Howard Bauleke* (incumbent/unopposed) — Adams Morgan

1/e03 Michael Wray (incumbent/unopposed) – Park View/Pleasant Plains

1E07 Brian Footer * — Howard University/Pleasant Plains

2A04 Ed Comer * — Foggy Bottom

2B02 Jeffrey Rueckgauer (incumbent/unopposed) – Dupont Circle

2B03 Vincent E. Slatt* (unopposed) – Dupont Circle

2B06 Matt Johnson (unopposed) – Dupont Circle

2B09 Christopher Davis (unopposed) – Dupont Circle/U Street

2C01 Michael D. Shankle (incumbent/unopposed) – Penn Quarter

2C02 Rebecca Strauss* — Downtown

2F04 Brian McCabe* (unopposed) – Logan Circle

2F07 Brant J. Miller (unopposed) – Logan Circle

2G02 Alexander M. ‘Alex’ Padro (unopposed) — Shaw

2G04 Steven McCarty * — Shaw

3C01 Hayden Gise* (she/her) (unopposed) — Woodley Park

3F01 Ryan Cudemus-Brunoli* (unopposed) — Cleveland Park

4B04 Evan Yeats (incumbent/unopposed) — Takoma

5A01 Duvalier Malone* (he/him) — Lamond Riggs

5A09 Zachary Ammerman* (unopposed) — Lamond Riggs

5B02 Nandini Sen* (unopposed) — Brookland

5B04 Ra Amin* (incumbent) — Brookland

5D05 Salvador Sauceda-Guzman (incumbent/unopposed) — Trinidad

5F06 Joe Bishop-Henchman* (unopposed) — Eckington

6A06 Robb Dooling (incumbent/unopposed) – H Street/Capitol Hill

6B03 David Sobelsohn* (unopposed) — Capitol Hill

6D02 Ronald Collins (incumbent) –Southwest

7B02 Jamaal Maurice McCants-Pearsall* (he/him) (unopposed) — Good Hope

7B03 Travis Swanson* (incumbent/unopposed) — Randle Highlands

7C04 Anthony Lorenzo Green (incumbent/unopposed) — Deanwood

These LGBTQ write-in ANC candidates were expected to be certified as winners when they submit a required Affirmation of Write-In Candidacy to the D.C. Board of Elections by Nov. 15 if they have not already done so:

1E01 Bradley Gallagher (write-in/unopposed) – Park View

2F05 Christopher Dyer (write-in/unopposed) –Logan Circle

2F06 Matt Fouracre* (write-in/unopposed) – Logan Circle

6E02 Charles Panfil* (write-in/unopposed) — Mt. Vernon Square

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District of Columbia

‘Talking Trans History’ explores lives of D.C. advocates

Rainbow History Project holds first panel for city-funded Trans History Initiative

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Seated from left panelists Earline Budd, Rayceen Pendarvis, and Gabrielle ‘Gibby’ Thomas are joined by Rainbow History Project officials and supporters. (Washington Blade photo by Lou Chibbaro, Jr.)

Longtime D.C. transgender rights advocates Earline Budd and Gabrielle ‘Gibby’ Thomas gave personal accounts of their transition as transgender women and their work as trans rights advocates Tuesday night, Jan. 24, at a “Talking Trans History” panel discussion organized by D.C.’s Rainbow History Project.

Joining them as a panelist was Rayceen Pendarvis, the acclaimed local event host, public speaker, and LGBTQ community advocate. Pendarvis, among other things, told of being nurtured and taught by dynamic transgender women who proudly affirmed their identity not only as trans people but productive citizens in the community at large.

Vincent Slatt, Rainbow History Project’s director of archiving, served as moderator of the panel discussion. He told the audience of about 25 people who gathered at the Southwest Branch of the D.C. Public Library that the event was the first of many such panels planned by the project’s recently launched Trans History Initiative.

Slatt noted that Rainbow History Project received a $15,000 grant for fiscal year 2023 from the Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs to conduct the Trans History Initiative. The initiative plans to “better integrate the often-under-represented histories of trans people into our programming,” according to a RHP statement.

Budd, 64, who has been a trans-identified activist since the 1970s, became involved in the 1980s with supporting people with HIV/AIDS before founding the D.C. organizations Trans Health Empowerment and Empowering the Transgender Community (ETC), for which she currently serves as executive director. She has received numerous awards for her work in support of the trans community and her self-proclaimed role as “the advocate” for the trans and LGBTQ community.

In her remarks at the panel discussion, Budd told of her childhood upbringing in a religious family where, like many trans people, her parents didn’t approve of her early identity as a girl.

“I want to say that around eight or nine my mother found me to be different,” Budd said. “The difference was she would lay my clothes out, my sister’s clothes and my clothes for us to go to school. And when I would come downstairs, I would always have on my sister’s clothes,” Budd told the gathering.

“And she would say why do you have on your sister’s clothes?” Budd continued. “I said mommy, it fits. No, it does not, you’re a boy,” Budd quoted her mother as responding. “And let me tell you, that went on and on and on,” said Budd, who told how she eventually parted ways with her parents and left the house to embark on her role as one of D.C.’s leading trans advocates.

Among her many endeavors was successful discrimination complaints, including one against a D.C. skating rink and another against the D.C. Jail for discrimination based on gender identity. Budd told how she won in both cases, with strong backing from the D.C. Office of Human Rights. 

Pendarvis, among other things, spoke about how an association with trans women as a young adult helped to shape Pendarvis’s longstanding and award-winning role as co-founder of Team Rayceen Productions, including 10 years as leading host of “The Ask Rayceen Show,” which highlighted topics promoting the LGBTQ and trans community in D.C.

Similar to Budd, Pendarvis has received numerous awards and honors, including recognition from the D.C. City Council, for work as a host and speaker at LGBTQ-related festivals, fundraisers and other events.

“As an activist and host, I have been blessed to do many things,” Pendarvis told the panel discussion gathering. “For many who do not quite know how to identify or ask me to identify, first of all, I’m a human being,” Pendarvis said. “I am a father of five and a mother of many.”

Pendarvis added, “I’m a human being first and foremost, a child of God. And my trans sisters uplifted me first, embraced me first. I came out in a community where our transgender sisters were always on the front line.”

Thomas, 65, told the panel session she is a native of North Brentwood, Md., located just outside D.C., but D.C. became her home since shortly after finishing high school. She began her work in the LGBTQ community in 1989 as a caregiver for people with HIV. She has since worked for the local organizations Us Helping Us, Transgender Health Empowerment, and Terrific, Inc. She currently works for Damien Ministries and its “Trans Specific” programming called Shugg’s Place that, among other things, focuses on providing services for transgender older adults.

She told of her growing up as one of seven children in a family whose mother and father, she said ‘were very loving.” But like other trans kids, Thomas said her parents were uncomfortable over her desire to identify as a girl. A more understanding next door neighbor allowed Thomas to spend time in her house as Thomas helped with household errands.

 “I would go to the store and things like that for her,” Thomas said. “But what’s most important, I could dress as I wanted to in her house. She would give me dresses that I could wear. And I could go up there and put on my dresses and watch TV,” Thomas continued. “And then I would get to take my dress off and go home because mom and daddy wasn’t standing for that.”

At around the age of 10, Thomas said, she was aware of current events and observed that her father was a strong supporter and admirer of Martin Luther King Jr. and his civil rights leadership. “I said you can march with Martin Luther King for everybody else’s rights but you are going to deny me mine,” she recalled telling her father.

Thomas said she initially began patronizing D.C. gay bars after befriending gay men from her high school. A short time later, after realizing that the gay scene was not who she was, she discovered the then D.C. gay drag bars Louis’ and The Rogue and had a chance to meet “people like me.” But she said someone she met at one of those two bars introduced her to the then D.C. Black gay bar called the Brass Rail, where transgender women hung out.

“And I said, oh my God, I am home. This is heaven,” Thomas told the panel gathering. “When I came to the Brass Rail I felt like I was home” as a trans person, Thomas said. “I met so many terrific people.”

She went on to tell about the trials and tribulations of fully transitioning as a trans woman and her growth as a transgender activist with a career dedicated to supporting the trans and LGBTQ community.

Japer Bowles, director of the Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs, spoke briefly at the start of the Talking Trans History panel discussion. He said the mayor’s office was excited to be supporting the Rainbow History Project’s newly launched Trans History Initiative.

“I’m really, really excited to work for a mayor who not only is fighting for things for our community, but truly funding these opportunities,” Bowles said. “This is about you and our trans communities. So, I’m here to listen.”

Slatt also announced at the panel session that Rainbow History Project has a paid job opening for one or more positions to help run the city funded Trans History Initiative. He said information about the job opening for people interested in applying can be obtained through RHP’s website. He said a video recording of the panel session would be posted on the website in a week or two.

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District of Columbia

SMYAL for the New Year fundraiser set for Thursday

Annual event benefits housing, mental health programs

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A previous SMYAL fundraising event was held at Red Bear Brewing. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

SMYAL (Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders) is hosting its annual SMYAL for the New Year fundraising event on Thursday at Red Bear Brewing Co. The event will kick off a series of fundraisers supporting the non-profit’s new street outreach and mental health programs.

“SMYAL for the New Year serves a dual purpose,” said Hancie Stokes, director of communications for SMYAL. “One is to fundraise for the organization and the programs and services that we provide for LGBTQ youth, but the other is also to be an introductory event for folks in the community.” 

For more than five years, the Young Donors Committee and SMYAL Champions have held SMYAL for the New Year to engage young professionals in philanthropy. The Young Donors Committee is comprised of new philanthropists between 20 and 30 years old and operates under the larger SMYAL Champions network of donors who give roughly $10 to $35 a month. 

This year, SMYAL is directing those funds to a new bilingual street outreach program aimed at connecting LGBTQ youth to services such as legal aid, healthcare, hormone replacement therapy, and housing. The non-profit is also fundraising for its free mental health counseling program, which opened last year.

SMYAL’s commitment to assisting and empowering LGBTQ+ youth in Washington D.C. dates back to 1984, but the non-profit recently underwent programming changes. In March 2020 when COVID-19 hit, most of SMYAL’s programming went online, connecting members on Discord and Zoom. 

While SMYAL aims to engage those in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, the virtual platform allowed the organization to reach youth in Texas, California, and Florida who are unable to access local centers like SMYAL.

“We did about two years of virtual events and we had folks still showing up and listening to what our programmatic updates were,” Stokes said. “But it is really nice to be able to share physical space with folks again.”

SMYAL continues to offer two virtual events a week alongside two in-person events, however, many of the larger fundraising events are back to fully in-person.

Last year, SMYAL’s new year event centered around two housing programs, which opened in spring 2022 and has since made the non-profit the largest LGBTQ youth housing provider in the region. But since Casa Ruby – an LGBTQ community center and housing provider – closed last September, more youth are in need of housing.

“One of our main goals as we head into 2023 is to really grow that program,” Stokes added.

SMYAL receives funding from the Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ+ affairs and Capital One, but Stokes says more support is crucial to continue investing in services that are accessible to non-English speaking youth.

Meanwhile, as anti-LGBTQ rhetoric gains traction in legislation across the country, Stokes emphasizes the importance of maintaining a safe space for LGBTQ youth.

“Our role as a service provider is to make sure that young people have places that they can turn to people that they can talk with, where they can just be a young person, understand their LGBTQ identity and find community and support,” Stokes said. “That’s what our programs really strive to do, everything from our housing programs to our mental health services, even just our weekly drop-in programs.”

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District of Columbia

Blade welcomes new journalism fellow, intern

Winter Hawk to cover issues of interest to local queer youth

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Winter Hawk and Andrés Jové Rodríguez.

The Blade Foundation this week announced the recipient of a new 12-week fellowship focused on covering issues of interest to queer youth in D.C.

Winter Hawk, a senior majoring in multiplatform journalism at the University of Maryland College Park was named recipient of the fellowship, which is funded by a grant from the D.C. Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs.

“The Washington Blade and Blade Foundation have been a crucial voice for the LGBTQIA+ community and movement since 1969,” said Japer Bowles, director of the Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs. “Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs believe it is essential to support the next generation of LGBTQIA+ journalism.” 

Hawk started her new position on Monday. Her work will be featured in the Washington Blade and she will be mentored by Blade editors and reporters.

“Despite covering LGBTQ+ news in art and culture for the past year, I feel like I’ve only skimmed the surface on true and just LGBTQ+ news coverage,” Hawk said. “As a queer woman, I cover LGBTQ+ stories because I want to highlight the LGBTQ+ community in ways its community thrives, not only to cover the community when it faces heterosexism. I’m incredibly grateful and excited to delve deeper into the stories that represent and impact the LGBTQ+ community in D.C. through this fellowship, especially as I seek ways to incorporate and elevate disenfranchised voices.”

Meanwhile, the Washington Blade this week welcomed a new winter intern. Andrés Jové Rodríguez is a third-year student at the University of Puerto Rico, Arecibo.

He is majoring in Tele-Radio Communications with an emphasis on News, Production and Direction. Andrés is interning with the Washington Blade this semester as part of a continued partnership with the Washington Center.

“My goal is to one day be able to report on international and national political news on broadcast media so as to keep the general public informed of the to’s and fro’s of not only our political system, but also the ones abroad,” he said. “Likewise, I believe it’s imperative that as a reporter I properly educate myself on evolving trends that are taking the world by storm in order to have a conscious mode of communicating.”

Blade Editor Kevin Naff welcomed the two new contributors. 

“The best part of my job is working with the next generation of LGBTQ journalists and we’re all thrilled to welcome Winter and Andrés to the team,” Naff said. “They will help the Blade continue our mission of telling the stories of our local queer community and elevating underrepresented voices.”

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