Saturday, October 31, 2015

Beggar's Night at Cobalt DC

They say you need to have trick-or-treats ready by Oct. 30, Beggar's Night.

With Halloween on a Saturday night thus year, an extra hour for standard time, and then All Saint's Day on a Sunday..  A lot for a weekend at 72.

Cobalt got going early, and nobody seemed to know that the Mets had beaten up on the Royals.  

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Tattoo business -- another example of local government over-regulation that can target LGBT especially

I’m not particularly fond of tattoos on people – I tend to perceive them as disfiguring, and they’re a most only moderately popular in the gay male community around DC.  However, the Washington Blade has a story by Mark Lee, “Will the DC Health Department stop the flow of ink for tattoos?”  Once again, over-regulation in DC (and Baltimore) is becoming a problem for small businesses, including LGBT ones. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

High-heel race in Washington tonight; more concern about regulation of clubs

OK, the rain held-off for the High Heels Race (18th Annual) at 9 PM on 17th St NW (now named after Frank Kameny) in Washington DC, run right one time by the clock countdown.  Contestants had to have registered by 8:30.  The sprinkles, in advance of an inch of rain, started right after the race ended.

But ABC affiliate WJLA had its own little high heels race at noon, as shown on Facebook by Eileen Whelan.

Aaron Gregg has a sobering story in the Washington Post, p. A14, about the DC bar owners forming a new trade association, to deal with proposals to force them to measure and reduce noise, and to pay minimum wage as well as tips.  Mark Lee has a story about liquor licensing in the Washington Blade in September here.

Regulation may be affecting the gay bar business more now than in the past.  Ironically, with mainstreaming of gay culture and gay marriage, some see bars and taverns as less essential to the community in the past.  In Baltimore, the regulation of licenses may be one reason that the Hippo couldn’t simply be sold to another owner. Recently, the New York Times has written about the real estate boom in Chelsea (north of the West Village) and its driving out a lot of gay life.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Walk to End HIV in Washington DC was well attended Saturday morning

The AIDSWalk for Washington DC was held this morning, Oct. 24, 2017, on Pennsylvania Ave, with the booths near 12 St and the Federal Triangle Metro stop (and Metro Center).  It was officially named the “Walk to Ebd HIV” with a tagline “Superheroes don’t fly, they walk”, link here.  There was a 5K timed race and costumes (superheroes) were welcome. Superman (Smallville’s Clark Kent) was common.  Weather was cool, calm, cloudy, temperature in upper 50s, not too cold for shorts.

I am personally not one to make heroes out of people just because of overcoming adversity (but I recall the title of a PBS film about 10 years ago about kids with cancer, “Lion in the House”.

Yet, when I was living in Dallas, I felt that way about a particular PWA who recovered initially from Kaposi’s Sarcoma and was a local hero, to start relapsing in mid 1986 and pass way in early 1987. He would appear on the AIDS Quilt in Washington DC in October 1989.

The people were pretty much returned from the races and walk (in the area toward the Capitol) by 11AM.

Flags from Botswana and Cameroon appeared in the parade.

The Walk to END HIV competed with a Crop Hunger Walk to Ending Hunger One Step at a Time in Arlington VA.  And there was also a walk to end Alzheimer’s. Someone handed out flyers for this event at the Federal Triangle Metro.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Town hosts benefit party by Washington Blade honoring best gay businesses

Tonight, Town DC hosted a benefit party, “Best of Gay DC”, sponsored by the Washington Blade, to recognize the best gay businesses in the Washington area (going as far as Rehoboth).

Plenty of little sandwiches, kabobs and cakes were served in the downstairs stage and dancefloor area.  The Patio was open. Some people may have seen “Steve Jobs” at the nearby Landmark Atlantic Plumbing theaters next to the 930.

In the show, someone pretended to be an Elder and sung “I Believe” from “Book of Mormon”.
I see that Jose Andres, who stood up to Donald Trump, won best chef. “Number 9” won several awards as a bar.  The best neighborhood was Logan Circle.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

IRS accepts gay marriage from every state

I was surprised that it took this long, for the IRS to announce it will recognize same-sex marriages for tax purposes regardless of state (until today, it had not for taxpayers living non-compliant states – still 13 of them – despite Obergefell).
NBC News has the story here.
I suppose the marriage penalty can apply in those states, too.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Zakaria talks to president of Kenya about treatment of gays in that country

Today, Fareed Zakaria interviewed Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta, on his Global Public Square program.  Zakaria pressed Kenyatta on apparent opposition to “gay rights”.  Interestingly, Zakaria put the argument in simple terms, stressing immutability and lack of choice.

Kenyatta said that the majority of the people in Kenya were not prepared to deal with this issue right now, when they have “more pressing problems”.  He insisted that LGBTQ people (the name often used in the West as a classifier) would be protected from harassment by the law.  That doesn’t seem to have happened.

Back in 2004, a male couple from Arlington clandestinely worked in Kenya on a mission in a remote area for about a year. But anti-gay attitudes in much of Africa can make it even more difficult to send humanitarian aid there.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A blog from another writer and editor for GLIL back in the 1990s

On Twitter today, I discovered a blog by Dave Edmondson, “The Heterodox Homosexual: Queerness for the rest of us”, and I’ll note a posting on Aug. 30, “The Last Thing to Blame on Gay Men”, link here.

This piece dealt with an earlier Washington Post column on the ratio of straight women to straight men in gay-friendly big cities.  There is an idea that gay men displace straight men in the dating pool for women, as if lesbians didn’t exist and it were a zero-sum game.  But when I was growing up, in the 50s, there was probably a fear that if a man was gay, there was one more woman who would become an old maid (like in “Gone with the Wind”) without a man to support her. And a gay man wouldn’t give the bloodline descendants (not always true).

Edmonson edited “The Quill”, the newsletter for Gays and Lesbians for Individual Liberty back in the 1990s.  He published my first piece in it, which I sent by mail on diskette in July 1994 (I had originally just sent it printed).  That’s how far I have come technically.  The article was called “A Conservative’s Approach to Individual Rights and Responsibilities” here. (Oops, “suspet class” is “suspect class”) Note the way I saw the conventional view of “person-hood” in the third paragraph. In the last paragraph, I noted “the growing conflict between those responsible for raising children and those not”. That feeds the debate on paid parental leave today.
In September 1994, Edmondson would publish my review of Joe Steffan’s book “Honor Bound”, just as I prepared for a workplace merger at least tangentially connected to the military (my long “conflict of interest” history).  I would take over editing the rag (which was mailed to a list and given away at Lambda Rising) in 1995.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Another little refresher course on "clobber passages"

I did revisit Clarendon Presbyterian Church in Arlington VA this morning, much remodeled (the organ is gone, an odd priority, and the pews are cushioned).  Pastor David Ensign had spoken at a NOVA service Thursday night, and the church had attracted a few years ago by refusing to perform any marriages at all until there was marriage equality.

The sermon today, called a “Reflections”, was titled “Thy Word, Thy Queer Word, based on some text from Psalm 119 (“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth”) and the most notorious “clobber passage” Leviticus 18:21-13, 20:13.

The sermon did not add anything to what has often been said about these passages:  it’s all about the context of the circumstances of the people when the words were written.  It did mention a same-sex marriage case in Virginia ten years ago in Haymarket (during the time of Marshall-Newman, “outside the law”) and a recent male same-sex marriage performed in the church. 

The most strict anti-homosexual values often develop in smaller, tribal communities with lower standards of living and with many surrounding enemies.  Many of the peoples for whom the Bible and later the Koran was developed lived this way.  Such tribes may reasonably fear they will not survive, so procreation and having more people may seem like a high priority.  In societies with less opportunity in terms of individual expression and achievement, participation in familial ties becomes more important, but those ties may seem predicated on the idea that everyone else will do their part and go along.  Collective security may seem to depend also on men being able to protect women and children physically.  Although I grew up, in the 1950s, in a relatively well-off society (the US then as a while person), collective security, in Cold War times, did affect the expectations of gender conformity.


Saturday, October 10, 2015

A bizarre night on The Town, and a little incident

I guess my own news supersedes everything else, because no one else has it.

Last night, on the way to Town, I encountered a sidewalk fundamentalist preacher with a bullhorn aimed at gays, across 9th Street from Nellie’s. 

I rarely encounter this anymore the way I used to.  “We’ve come a long way” in the past decade. The video speech is hard to hear, but just before he was bellowing that life is not about your choices, but about obedience to God.  Not sure if this was Christian or Muslim, in fact.  I can remember that “Christians” would come into the old Village Station on Cedar Springs in Dallas in the early 1980s and proselytize.  Little Ronnie would have something to say about this.

Later in the disco, after the floor was packed, something a little disturbing happened.  No real big deal.  Someone yanked my cap off.  It was a worn gray cap with a Washington Nationals logo (not the more popular red cap).  I know the Nats stumbled, and at about the same time the Mets were beating Kershaw and the Dodgers in the playoffs in LA. The cap even has some faint blood stains left over from a head cut after a fall on wet pavement in the rain a week ago going to an HRC reception. (I should have washed it.) Usually when someone yanks off a cap in a bar they put it back on and then return it.  But this cap was never to be seen again.  No one was wearing it (nor would they really want to), and it wasn’t on the floor, or on the nearby stand with the dancers.  What was the point? I can only imagine.  There were some young women around who tried to “engage me”, and I did get into a group cell phone shot with my bald head, OK, but maybe the cut will show.

This has never happened.  Everything else was fine, including phone. 

I still have the cap from my visit to the (submarine) Sunfish in Norfolk in 1993 during the debate on gays in the military.


Friday, October 09, 2015

NOVA Pride follows festival with interfaith worship service near Fairfax, VA

I missed the NOVA Pride festival Saturday in the muck of an extra-tropical low, but Thursday night (“hier soir”) I did attend an interfaith service in Oakton, VA at the Unity of Fairfax church, sponsored by POF, “People of Faith and Equality in Virginia”, called “The Faithful Road: A Shared Journey of Gratitude and Commitment.” It was also known as “the Second Annual Multifaith NOVA Pride Worship Service.”

It was moderately well attended, a large sanctuary about half-full.
Many pastors (and many female) from progressive congregations around northern Virginia spoke.  This included David Ensign, from Clarendon Presbyterian Church.  It also included Billy Kluttz from McLean Immanuel Presbyterian Church (assistant, pastored by Aaron Fulp-Eickstaedt, whose wife pastors Trinity in Arlington – the couple walked “The Way” in Spain this summer).

The service offered a chorus (in rainbow colors) and rock group and contemporary style. The highlight of the service was passing out paper, pen, and envelopes, asking worshippers to identify one event for which they were grateful, and making one commitment (to others, not just one’s own personal goals) in the next six months.  The envelopes would be mailed in early 2016.

Afterward there were sandwiches and refreshments, and some informal discussion of the growing refugee crisis, which will be much more complicated, in a policy sense, to meet (including for LGBT in Russia and Africa) than a lot of progressive opinion writers realize.  A big player in administering any large program is likely to be Catholic Charities.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Biden, at HRC dinner: "Love is not a political matter"

“Love is not a political matter”, Vice President Joe Biden said in his keynote speech to HRC Saturday night, with the speech now available on YouTube here.  The introduction mentioned Wilmington, Delaware, an Amtrak stop half way to New York, in the Blue Hen State.

Biden said that the willingness of people, especially of earlier generations, to remain outspoken on equality (and previously privacy) issues has been critical to the stunning progress that sexual orientation equality has made in the past decade. “Information” is important to change.  “You can be married at 9 AM and fired at noon.”

Biden also said that it was important to pass the equality act, and that it would happen, even with a GOP Congress.  It was important for people to remain vocal also about laws already on the books.
Biden mentioned the past repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell” and spoke with pride about willingness to risk lives to serve their country.  He moved to transgender equality and said it would soon be accepted even in the military.

Biden, echoing what Hillary Clinton had already said earlier that day to HRC volunteers, said that less-than-honorable discharges from past generations for being gay should be upgraded to honorable.
The Vice President moved on to the topic of violence, and spoke up for background checks for gun ownership.

He ended the speech with a homily on “What do you think of me?”


Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Hillary Clinton proposes upgrading old gay discharges from the military

I went to a little AGLA Happy Hour and supper at Freddie’s Beach Bar in Arlington VA tonight, and learned that Hillary Clinton had brought up the subject of discharges of gay servicemembers at HRC Saturday.
Clinton mentioned the fact that many servicemembers discharged for being gay, especially before “don’t ask don’t tell” in 1993 (repealed in 2011) had less than honorable discharges.  These discharges should be upgraded, she said.  Presumably unfavorable SPN codes on even honorable discharges would be removed, too. Anne Gearan has the Washington Post story Oct. 3 here


Sunday, October 04, 2015

HRC National Dinner 2015: key speeches are online, and there was an after-party at Town

As I noted, I did not get a ticket to the HRC National Dinner last night this year.

But a lot of material form the event is already online, even Sunday morning. Hillary Clinton spoke for about 20 minutes to HRC volunteers on Saturday, Oct. 3, as captured here.

Clinton mentioned the serious problems for LGBT overseas and specifically mentioned Zimbabwe.
Vice President Joe Biden gave the keynote address at the dinner, and spoke about Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Later many people from the HRC Dinner went to the Town DC for an unofficial “afterparty” (open to all, not related to having a ticket to the dinner).  There were many people on the dance floor in tuxedos and “good clothes”.   Others (with hotel rooms) probably had time to change. The crowd got quite large about 12:30 AM, and was a bit overdressed, not ready for late fall and winter (and this is early fall, when it is usually still warm).  The weather had been cool and rainy with an extra-tropical storm in DC all day, but it was actually warming up outside as the storm slowly left. 

The Town now accepts Master Card and Visa for tickets (I hope with the new EMV standard), and has a smartphone charging station near the Patio (which stays open as long as weather is warm enough, generally 50 degrees or more; it was open last night as the storm left). 
Note that the new apartments, the Shay, across Florida Ave. from the Town, are absolutely spectacular with high ceilings, right now visible from the street;  it appears that the building is now opening.

I have to say we were lucky not to have the catastrophic floods like in South Carolina, where I was last week.  And yes, Charleston is fun. 


Friday, October 02, 2015

HRC has Friday Night Federal Club reception in DC; my misadventure getting there

So, I was bad if I didn’t reserve a seat for the HRC National Dinner tomorrow night, since I wasn’t sure several months ago if I would be in town.  And there seems to be no waiting list.
But I did get invited to a Federal Club Friday Night Reception at the Hotel Monaco Paris Ballroom on F St, near the Verizon Center. In the main room, the food was all Vegan. 

I had my misadventures getting here.  First Metro had its usual delays getting in to town.  Then when I got out of the Verizon Center I went the wrong way on F St first, looking at street addresses.  As I walked back, in dress shoes I skidded on wet pavement and landed on back, cutting my head.  A good Samaritan put some gauze on it and insisted on my waiting for an ambulance that never came.  I insisted on leaving.  I put my Nationals cap on over the gauze, which stopped the bleeding and hid the injury, and I went into the reception.  I hardly notice it now, but it looks ugly.  No concussion.
If I get into an Emergency Room, I’ll never get out.

As far as I know, I am still HIV-, but I can see the theoretical point in the public health debate of the 1980s raise by the right wing, of the remote theoretical possibility of incidental transmission to the general population in a bizarre accident.  This was a “what it”.

Thanks to the Good Samaritan, if he finds this posting.