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District of Columbia

Team DC recognizes seven LGBTQ student-athletes

Annual scholarship ceremony honors high school seniors in range of sports



Brent Minor, executive director of Team DC, noted the event has grown from ‘chips and dips’ to a formal seated dinner. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Dressed to impress in everything from a black velvet tuxedo with a matching bowtie to a sparkling emerald green gown topped with a voluminous black and gray wig, attendees at Team DC’s Night of Champions award dinner on Saturday, April 15 knew they were celebrating a program and scholarship recipients worth getting classed up for.

“[These students] are not just athletes,” said Brent Minor, executive director of Team DC. “These are [great] students…somebody had a 4.3 [grade point] average.”

Last month, Team DC announced the recipients of its annual Team DC College Scholarship, which awards $2,000 to openly LGBTQ+ student-athletes graduating high school with plans to play a collegiate sport. The seven recipients come from four high schools in D.C., two in Virginia, and one in Maryland.

Since 2008, Team DC has awarded 97 scholarships totaling $142,000. However, the ceremony and its accompanying silent auctions and dual-entree dinners, hosted at the Hilton Washington D.C. National Mall by the Wharf, weren’t always quite so fancy.

“It started off as chips and dips at Nellie’s Sports Bar,” Minor added. “So this has evolved over time and went from a standing cocktail party to finally somebody said, ‘You know what, we need to do this proper and have a sit-down dinner.’”

One of the scholarship’s first recipients, Daniel Martinelli, was amazed at how the scholarship has changed. Martinelli, a gay man, received his award in 2008 for swimming. But the scholarships have expanded in definition of sports to incorporate and recognize students who participate in activities like marching band, hula dancing, and more.

The ways of spreading awareness about the scholarship have also changed. Martinelli didn’t know about the scholarship until he was given the actual application, but students can now hear about the program through their school’s Gender and Sexuality Alliances (GSA).

As the scholarship’s online presence grows too, it has even gathered attention from students across the country hoping to apply.

“We’re in such a unique jurisdiction, where the District right now is very welcoming to different types of students and families,” said Rene Tiongquico, co-chair of the Team DC College Scholarship Committee. “[But] LGBTQ plus youth around the country don’t have the same benefits and the same interest in acknowledgment.”

While Team DC hopes to be a model for the rest of the country so LGBTQ+ student-athletes beyond the DMV can be recognized for their achievements, the scholarship is already making a difference to the seven seniors who received the award this year.

“I didn’t really expect there to be scholarships for this combination of LGBTQ athletes,” said Ariana Inamdar, a recipient from South Lakes High School in Reston, Va. “It’s really nice to be recognized as both parts.”

The scholarship also gives a boost of confidence to recipients who now realize their work was worth a high-end celebration.

For Sarah Middleton, a scholarship recipient from Wakefield High School in Arlington, Va., the support she received at the ceremony built up her excitement about her future as a molecular biology and Spanish major.

“It makes me very excited to see what I can do,” Middleton said with a smile. “I can pretty much do anything.”

Throughout the ceremony, scholarship recipients were recognized alongside the donors and organizations that sponsored their awards. The program also awarded Tia (TC) Clemmons the 2023 Clark Ray Horizon Award to recognize school staff who support LGBTQ student-athletes.
After each award was announced, the large room of supporters was eager to applaud each recipient, donor, and program staff member that made the night possible. Sitting back and taking in the extravagance of the night, Martinelli knew from experience that the scholarship was crafted by agents of change.

“Agents of all walks of life that come together to support one another,” he said. “It’s trailblazing, that’s all I can say.”

CLICK HERE to see more photos from the event.


District of Columbia

Inaugural Uptown Pride to take place June 10

Festival to feature drag storytime, makers’ market, DJs



Logo created by Anthony Dihle (Courtesy of Justin Noble)

A new Pride festival is coming to D.C. 

The inaugural Uptown Pride will be hosted in Sixteenth Street Heights on June 10 with Pride celebrations for Washingtonians of all ages.

The festival, hosted at the intersection of 14th Street, Colorado Avenue and Kennedy Street, NW, will feature a drag storytime, a makers’ market, DJs and more. There will also be a raffle for various prizes, with all proceeds going to the Trevor Project, which provides suicide prevention services for LGBTQ teens.

The festival will be from 2-7 p.m. and is partnering with local businesses like Moreland’s Tavern, Captain Cookie and Lighthouse Yoga Center for activities and refreshments.

Justin Noble, one of the organizers of the festival, said that the inspiration for the event came out of wanting a Pride experience tailored to the residents of the Sixteenth Street Heights, Petworth and Brightwood neighborhoods.

“It can be a hassle to get to downtown,” Noble said. “There needs to be something in our community that supports LGBTQ+ people and the culture and all of that because we’re everywhere, right? We are everywhere.”

Organizer Max Davis said that the inclusion of children’s events like a drag storytime was purposeful, and helps make the event more accessible to LGBTQ families and youth. 

“Kids I feel are the most important in as far as just showing them, just visibly showing them that you can live out and you can be queer,” Davis said. “There is no more dangerous time than now to be queer, questioning youth … So who better to welcome into the fold than kids who might be questioning their sexuality.”

Davis said that a big part of wanting to bring Pride celebrations uptown was to have a physical representation of support for the LGBTQ community.

“I felt like because there wasn’t anything going on in Sixteenth Street Heights — the clientele that we were serving up at Moreland’s absolutely is supportive, and I never felt that it wasn’t a supportive environment — but if you don’t have something to actively support that I feel that your support is just words,” Davis said. “If our community had someplace to attend even for one day to just be like, ‘Hey, I stand with you,’ … that is something that every community should have available to them to actively support the LGBTQ community.”

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District of Columbia

Capital Pride announces 2023 honorees, grand marshals

Assistant Secretary of Health Levine among picks



Assistant U.S. Secretary of Health Admiral Dr. Rachel Levine. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Assistant U.S. Secretary of Health Admiral Dr. Rachel Levine and acclaimed longtime D.C. LGBTQ and transgender rights advocate Earline Budd are among nine prominent LGBTQ community leaders named on Wednesday by the Capital Pride Alliance as its 2023 Capital Pride honorees.

Capital Pride Alliance, which organizes D.C.’s annual Capital Pride parade, festival, and related events, announced in a May 24 statement that it will present the honoree awards to each of the recipients at a ceremony scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday, June 2, at the Penn Social event and catering hall at 801 E St., N.W.

“The recipients are nominated each year by members of the community,” the Capital Pride statement says. “They represent individuals who and organizations that have advanced the causes of LGBTQ+ rights,” it says.

The statement says Levine was selected for the Capital Pride Paving the Way Award, which “acknowledges an individual or organization that has provided exemplary contributions, support, and/or advocacy that has positively impacted the LGBTQ+ community, and whose leadership has inspired continued progress.”

Levine, who was appointed by President Biden in 2021 as Assistant Secretary of Health, is a longtime pediatrician who also serves as an admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. She became the first openly transgender person to hold the admiralty position.

Capital Pride named Earline Budd as recipient of the Capital Pride Super Hero Award, which “recognizes additional significant and important contributions to the LGBTQ+ community in the national capital region.”

The statement announcing the honorees says Levine and Budd will also serve as grand marshals for the June 10 Capital Pride Parade. It says each of the other honorees will serve as parade marshals.

The announcement says the following four people have been named as recipients of the Capital Pride Hero Award:

• Shi-Queeta Lee, the D.C.-based nationally acclaimed drag performer
• Benjamin Rosenbaum, longtime congressional staffer, LGBTQ rights advocate, and LGBTQ Jewish community advocate
• Nancy Canas, president of D.C. Latinx History Project and advocate for the LGBTQ Latinx community
• Abdur-Rahim Briggs, longtime leader of the D.C.-based Project Briggs, which provides philanthropic support for LGBTQ causes.

The following two organizations were named as recipients of the Capital Pride Breaking Barriers Community Impact Award, which recognizes individuals or organizations that have “demonstrated a significant impact to the LGBTQ+ community at either the local or national level and who helped eliminate barriers for social, personal, or professional growth of the LGBTQ+ community:

• Drag Story Hour DMV
• National LGBTQ Task Force

The Bill Miles Award for Outstanding Volunteer Services, which acknowledges “exemplary contributions to the Capital Pride Alliance, its programs, initiatives, or other Pride sponsored activities,” is being given to Brandon Bayton, Jr., a longtime Capital Pride volunteer, consultant, and organ transplant advocate, and LGBTQ rights advocate.

“We are fortunate to have such a vibrant honoree selection process, with so many outstanding individuals who were nominated,” said Ashley Smith, president of the Capital Pride Alliance Board of Directors. “We are very pleased to celebrate these individuals at the 2023 Capital Pride Honors,” Smith said in the CPA statement.

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District of Columbia

Blade names recipients of two summer fellowships

Kravis, Lev-Tov join LGBTQ news team



Isabelle Kravis and Joel Lev-Tov are the Blade Foundation’s 2023 summer fellows.

The Blade Foundation this week announced the recipients of its 2023 summer fellowship program. 

Isabelle Kravis (she/they) is a senior at American University studying journalism and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. She will focus on covering LGBTQ issues in the local D.C. area for 12 weeks starting this week. The fellowship is made possible by a generous donation from the DC Front Runners Pride Run 5K event.

“I’ve been reading the Blade since I first moved to D.C. for my freshman year and I’m so excited to be able to contribute to such a historic paper,” Kravis said. “I love covering the LGBTQ community because of the diversity of experiences that each queer person has and the joy that queer people bring to everything they do. I’m incredibly lucky to have this opportunity to be able to cover both the city and community that I love.”

Joel Lev-Tov (they/them) is a senior at the University of Maryland College Park studying journalism. Lev-Tov also serves as president of the Association of LGBTQ Journalists at College Park. Lev-Tov is the sixth recipient of the Steve Elkins Memorial Journalism Fellowship, which honors the co-founder of CAMP Rehoboth. The fellow covers issues of interest to the LGBTQ community in Delaware, also for 12 weeks. The fellowship is funded by donations from the Rehoboth Beach community.

“I’m extremely excited to start reporting about my community for my community,” Lev-Tov said. “The Blade is offering me a special opportunity that I’m very grateful for. I can’t wait to start reporting!”

Kevin Naff, editor of the Blade, welcomed Kravis and Lev-Tov to work this week.

“We’re all excited to work with Isabelle and Joel this summer,” Naff said. “There’s never been more news to cover and they will add an important, fresh perspective to our work. Thank you to our donors and to the Front Runners for making this program possible.”

For more information on the fellowship program or to donate, visit

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