Sunday, December 31, 2017

Anderson provides my gay New Years Eve.

Well, it’s so cold in DC this New Year’s Eve that for the first time since 2003-2004 I didn’t go to a bar celebration.

So I’ll miss Town’s last New Years.

For a gay New Years I’m watching Andy Cohen and Anderson Cooper from New York City Times Square. Anderson refuses to wear a fur headmuff despite being outside in 10 degrees. Yup, they had to do it outside.

I had a quiet dinner at Freddie’s late this afternoon.  

Later, CNN broadcast part of a drag show from Key West, FL.

And a friend did a Facebook Live from Hunter's Disco in Fort Lauderdale. FL. Right now it's at the top of my FB feed here. 

Sunday, December 24, 2017

New "pop up" club apparently is set to open in NE Washington DC in January 2018

I missed the main Christmas Party at Tow Danceboutique in Washington DC on Dec. 16, but I got there last night.

The crowd was smaller than usual as Christmas Day approaches.  In fact, as of 1 AM, when I left, the upstairs disco had not yet been opened. But the drag show was quite creative, including a “top-bottom” contest among four couples.

One of the performers announced a new club to open Jan. 14, 2018.  She described it as a “popup” and gave an address in NE Washington DC which I did not get.  It sounded like Brookland.  But in the Union Market in NE (near Gallaudet and the NOMA station) the Angelika theater chain has a “pop up” theater (which it plans to replace across the street) for small indie films.  NE is now undergoing rapid redevelopment with many new condos (as near the Eagle).She also mentioned the idea of it as a safe space for trans or gender fluidity.


The lower floor got quite busy after midnight. It was mild enough last night (despite an earlier December thunderstorm and wind) that the patio could have been opened. 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Q Virginia Magazine publisher gets Equality Award and summarizes how PrEP and PEP should work succinctly om Facebook

I wanted to pass along a post by Justin Ayars (Q Virginia Media) on Dec. 1 on World AIDS Day, refreshing memories about undectectable viral load, as well as the effectiveness of PRP (post exposure prophylaxis).
The individual post is on his timeline and is embeddable  but the individual post doesn’t have its own URL.

The future of health insurance support for PrEP and PEP would seem questionable, given GOP attempts to “repeal and replace” Obamacare.
Justin received the 2017 AGLA Equality Award at the Christmas party at Freddie’s in Arlington VA on Tuesday Dec. 12 (FB video)  I had a conflict that day and did not get to the event.  But my Facebook feed should have reminded me of it.  I don’t think the Russians have manipulated my Facebook feed!

Update:  Here is the direct link to Justin's post above. Here is the link to all the videos for the AGLA 2017 event. 

Monday, December 18, 2017

DC club owners face economic issues over land values, parking, and transit

On December 8, the Washington Blade ran an article by Mark Lee: “DC deserves a city ‘Office of Nightlife’ – done right”   
I can only recall the cutback on Metro hours.  And the same time Town DC is closing because the land owner wants to build condos or apartments, but the sort of people who would buy or rent them want clubs in the area.

I have written that the area needs a parking garage, especially as Metro cut back.

But I see in a local paper in Greensboro NC that “Parkingdecks are the new dinosaurs” because of ride hailing services and the advent of driverless cars. 

Friday, December 15, 2017

Employment discrimination still happening, in Georgia (Evans case)

Lambda Legal has reported that the US Supreme Court has denied an appeal in the case of Jameka Evans, a security guard fired from a hospital in Georgia because she is a lesbian. Here is their link


Yes, this still happens.  The legal paperwork is here.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Indonesia contemplates sodomy law to protect parents from "intimidation"

A bill to ban gay sex, even in private, and adultery has failed in a high court in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim majority country, according to this Wall Street Journal story

But the dissenting voices stressed religion as a source of morality and made the comment that gays were “intimidating parents”   Think about what that would mean – making procreation seem less important and less rewarding?
Wikipedia attribution link for Toraja House Ave by 22Kartika CCSA 3.0 . 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

UCLA law school study notes large percentage of gender-nonconformity in California youth

The Williams Institute of the UCLA School of Law, at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, offers a paper “Characteristics and Mental Health of Gender-NonConforming Teenager in California”, by D.M. Scott Wilson, Soon Kyu Choi, Jody L. Herman, Tara L. Becker and KeritJ. Conron, report that 27% of California’s teenagers are gender nonconforming. 
But gender non-conformity can occur among cis-gender people and among heterosexuals.  The paper is not really clear on how this is defined, but it seems to include various behaviors such as cross-dressing (which might be done for acting purposes) or depilation. California is one of the few states that prohibits discrimination on the basis of what we sometimes now call gender fluidity.
This does not seem to be the same concept as Paul Rosenfels’s polarities (from the Paul Rosenfels Community or the earlier Ninth Street Center). Generally, on a dance floor or disco, most gay men are surprisingly cis-conformist.  

Monday, December 11, 2017

DOJ appeals court ruling ordering military to accept transgender recruits Jan. 1

The Department of Justice will appeal a ruling from Judge Collar Koteen-Kelly that the military must allow otherwise qualified transgender people to enlist by January 1, CNN story with video by Smerconish.

The appeal is to the federal circuit.

There are about 50,000 transgender soldiers in the US military, including a Navy flight surgeon who speaks in Smerconish’s video.

But at least one Navy Seal later became transgender. 

It may not take too much imagination to wonder if transgenderism or fluidity could be an asset in some intelligence operations. 

Roy Moore has made offensive remarks about transgender (and perhaps gay) servicemembers, who have replied (AOL story).

Update: Dec. 21

The federal circuit has refused to intervene, and the military must start being able to accept transgender recruits on Jan. 1.  German Lopez explains on Vox here

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Tech giants, after Cloudflare and Stormer, warn of a slippery slope that can affect LGBTQ online speech and sites

Justine Quart writes a provocative post on tech that is very much of concern to the LGBTQ community, “Where the battle for free speech is being battled online.” 

Matthew Prince of Cloudflare and Ed Williams of Medium discuss the problem in the video on this article (on October).

Prince says that after be booted Cloudflare, he got over 3500 requests to boot other customers.  He says he is particularly concerned over the idea of getting demands from authoritarian countries to block LGBTQ content (and this probably could include Russia, although he didn’t name Putin). It sounds like this has been happening but not reported. 

It isn’t hard to see how this problem could mix in with the newest controversy over ending net neutrality, which would involve another set of companies.  There is definitely a lot of public confusion in distinguishing among publishers, distributors, social networks, and utilities. 
There are consequences to what we don’t see online as to what we do see. That's how I would warn people as a "gay conservative".

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Supreme Court hears Masterpiece Cakeshop oral arguments

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Human Rights Commission this morning, Tuesday, December 5, 2017 at 10 AM.
First, I note that at 3:45 PM Tuesday afternoon, the Supreme Court website is down with Internal Server Errors, which could be a symptom of hacking rather than simply overloading. I’ll post their link for oral arguments as soon as it is available.

NBCNews has a detailed report and video..    CBS News covers the hearing here
The general consensus among most moderate observers is that the cakeshop cannot exclude gay customers, but it can refuse specific artwork common on wedding cakes for same-sex weddings on religious freedom grounds as a private entity.

But the cakeshop seems to have made the case more muddy by saying we don’t make products for gay weddings.  A wedding is not the same object as a person.  The shop apparently never got far enough to talk about artistic cake design. 

Media reports suggest a divided court.

The incident generating the case occurred in 2012, before Obergefell. 
I attended the demonstrations this morning and my report is here. At that link I also refer to the Cato Institute forum, which brings up the idea of “compelled speech”, and about the “regulation of speech” as opposed to “conduct”.   Cato also referred to cake-making as “sculpture” that can be copyrighted.    There is also mention of the 2000 Boy Scouts case. Should fashion designers be forced to make dresses for Melania Trump? 

George Will had taken up the "participation" issue, which National Review criticized. The New York Times has op-eds by Ria Tabacco Mar and David Brooks

Later today:

The SCOTUS website is back up, and the arguments are available now, as a PDF

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Sean Spicer, Sarah Palin get impersonated SNL style at a Freddie's drag show

I “checked in” at a bar for the first time ever on Facebook tonight after a movie, the impersonation contest at Freddie’s Beach Bar in Arlington, after a movie (“Marshall”) at nearby Potomac Yards.

The drag queens seem to be imitation political figures, especially Sarah Palin and her negative contribution to “Make America Great Again”, and then Sean Spicer, in falsetto, about to attack everyone from the podium.  Nobody imitated Trump with his $60,000 hair weave permanent while I was there.  (My mother used to get a permanent once every three months, took four hours.)  

The cover was $5 and I’m not sure what the prize was.

Freddie's is less than two miles from the Pentagon (an easy walk from Pentagon City or Crystal City) and you wonder if DOD planners knowledgeable about likely covert strikes against North Korea will come in for breaks from the gloom.  The country is, frankly, in serious trouble over this. That makes the reversal of Trump's trans ban (and the repeal of DADT in 2011) even more ironic. We probably need Kristin Beck in the Pentagon right now stopping Trump from being reckless.  It's also ironic that Kim Jong Un's intentional physical ugliness ("fat little rocket man") could become an emotional flash point as Trump imitates Milo Yiannopoulos's fat-shaming of Kim.  (CNN's Will Ripley had noted North Korean men's aversion to white men's hairy chests and big noses in his broadcast -- and then recently warned Trump about referring to Kim as a "puppy" on Twitter or in speeches -- the biggest insult yes.)

No one want to imitate Milo in a drag show yet. It's hard to be cis in a drag show.
We’re all waiting for the Masterpiece cake Supreme Court hearings Tuesday.  People (hardcore activists) are already camping out starting Sunday night. 

Friday night, HRC and Reel Affirmations screened “After Louie”.  Zachary Booth looks like the next hot star, in the fashion of Timo Descamps.  RA is quite unwilling to discuss its not screening “Lavender Scare” as covered in the Blade. 

Saturday, November 25, 2017

DC Center holds "Small Business Saturday"; can estates help asylum seekers?

The DC Center for the LGBT Community held a “Small Business Saturday” this afternoon, Nov. 25.

I’ve posted some video from it on a Wordpress site, here

I was particularly intrigued by the booth for the book publisher Redbone Press, whch I will discuss soon on my books blog.
I did have some informal conversation about the asylum seeker problem now.  Since I have sold my estate house and moved into a smaller condo, I am not presently in a circumstance to host.  I’ll say in very general terms, my mother’s estate increased in liquidity as a result of the event.  It’s possible to conceive of purchasing an interest in a shelter or home for asylum seekers.  But the terms of the trust would require that it actually hold a title (not give it away), and that such a purchase would be a responsible thing to do from a fiduciary viewpoint. That would tend to mean that residents would have to be able to pay rent or find some subsidy for it.  This is a general observation on how inherited estates are likely to address a need like this. 

Friday, November 24, 2017

Trump administration digs in, appeals DC court opinion on transgender ban

The DOJ has appealed an order from a DC court reversing Trump’s transgender ban, although it was a Maryland court that also turned it down this week.  Chris Johnson has the story in the Washington Blade here

Trump seems have dug himself into a hole with that tweetstorm this summer, over an issue that plays to his “base” but has very little effect on military readiness. 

The Blade carried the defendant’s notice of appeal here
Capitol Hill observed a Transgender Day of Remembrance on Nov. 20.  A single protester disrupted the event in DC,  

Thursday, November 23, 2017

DC Center Thanksgiving Dinner

As with last year, I had Thanksgiving Dinner today at the DC Center.  There were about 30 people, including a few asylum seekers.

Before the food, there was a little 4-player Blokus game, as a kind of stadium gladiator event.  Remember, you have to put your pieces down adjacent to the color-coded pieces of opponents, but you can only attach diagonally to your own. It’s similar to the idea that pawns capture on adjacent files in chess but can move forward on the same file if the square is unoccupied. David Mariner won by two tokens (when no more pieces can be put down, the player with the fewest remaining pieces wins – but it is mathematically possible for that number to be zero).

In the meantime, I was passing around a smartphone with a beefcake picture of world chess champion Magnus Carlsen as a male model on the beach from Google images.  Here’s the notorious game that he lost with White in 22 moves (to a neo-Grunfeld). 

At the dinner, there was less talk of politics than last year, even if there was deference to resistance to Trump. 

Maybe I should buy the DC Center a chess set for the game room.

But there are also Go and Backgammon to consider.  Nobody plays Poker there;  there is no sense of Vegas. 

Note the blue lounge chair -- "The Puffy Chair" as in the Duplass movie. 

Also note the Blade article on the Colorado male couple and the Masterpiece Cakeshop case.  Libertarianism is taking a back seat to the abstractions of discrimination.

While we're on the subject of "game night", the Redskins won their first Thanksgiving home game at FedEx Field tonight against the Giants, 20-10.  Don't know if anyone from the dinner went.  I went to the movies at Landmark downtown after dinner. I could even have tried Atlantic Plumbing. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Liberal publications want to exile gay conservatives

Breitbart, and a Facebook post by Milo Yiannopoulos, have called out an article in the Guardian, “The Troubling Ascent of the LGBT right wing” by Arwa Mahdawi, link here
There is talk of “pink washing” of “white nationalism”, and that the idea that the gay right, believing it hs moved away from the group loyalty of modern identity politics, has succumbed to the “oldest form of identity politics”.
But Michael Musto in Out gets much more explicit when he admonishes, “What to do when your friend is a gay Republican”, link.   Short answer: unfriend or block him.

But is “inaction” an offense?  What about refusal to use gender-neutral pronouns? 

Monday, November 20, 2017

South Florida, post Irma

Hunters Lounge in Fort Lauderdale does remind me of the old Velvet Nation in Washington, and even Tracks, with
the upstairs viewing balcony.

There was a bit of a private party in the back, and an announcement of a Key West bike ride through the hurricane affected areas.

Sunday I did make it down to Key West and had a soup lunch at Mangoes on Duval Street.  

For parking, I had to walk three blocks west and pay cash $10 in a municipal lot;  credit cards and smartphone weren’t working.

I also had Saturday brunch at Rosies. 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Copycat gay purges reported in former Soviet republics, and in African countries

DC Center Global has shared a report on 76Crimes about systematic LGBTQ purges in a number of African and central Asian countries.  It claims that the purges are copycat tactics by strongman politicians (more on the right than the left, although I wouldn’t want to be gay in Venezuela right now).  It also seems to represent a retreat to tribalist moral values.  Some countries have maintained “lists” of suspected homosexuals.  The problem seems particular bad in some former Soviet republics as well as some regions of Russia (Chechnya), where ironically there is a preoccupation by Putin with radical Islam.

The article demands collective action.

Monday, November 13, 2017

More people question the future of gay bars

Esther Webber, of BBC News, reports on the gradual or maybe more rapid disappearance of gay bars in London, here.

The theory is that LGBTQ people don’t need separate bars anymore, which in some venues in large cities is probably true.

I remember visiting a gay bar near Trafalgar Square in 2001, and being asked by a doorman if I knew what it was.

Back in 1982, I witnessed a brawl in a pub near Piccadilly. 

In Washington DC, the Town DC closes for real estate development on July 1, 2018, even though it would seem that new condo owners in the area would want night life.  (The Uproar and Nellies are nearby.) There’s some talk of progress in a replacement.

There is an important story about Nigeria on the International Issues blog today.

Wikipedia attribution link, London Gay Men’s Chorus at Pride 2011, by Tom Morris, CCSA 3.0 .

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Transgender woman defeats anti-gay marriage Marshall-Newman amendment author for Virginia delegates seat; 7 transgender candidates win in US

In northern Virginia (13th district), male-female transgender candidate Danica Roem has defeated the social conservative Robert Marshall (from Marhsall-Newman amendment notoriety) to become Virginia’s first openly transgender elected official.  The Hill has the story here

Roem is a journalist, for the Gainesville Times and Prince William Times. It’s a little unusual for journalists to run for office and win!

Mother Jones has a similar story here

The Richmond Times Dispatch ran a detailed story which Richard Sincere shared today.

Update: Nov. 8

HRC reports on seven transgender candidates who won Tuesday, including Andrea Jenkins in Minneapolis to city council. 

Sunday, November 05, 2017

A "White Party" as an ethnic-specific event

The first Saturday night of November in most years is an extra hour night for bars and discos – a chance to stay out late and actually get to church the next morning.

After going to a fund raiser regarding refugees in Arlington and then getting caught in a sudden thunderstorm when I went look for my car, I made it to the Cobalt White Party on 17th St. in DC.  This was also their Latino night and was based on all Latino music from the DJ.

The LGBTQ population in DC is large enough for some bars to try to attract specific subpopulations. As the evening wears on and the dance floor gets more crowded, there is a tendency for the population to become more generalized toward the actual mix in the area.  (At an event like this, “cis white males” tend to show up later, but do show up.)

One guy, doing a Nev Shulman lookalike (“Catflish”) took his sweater and turned it into a protective “tie”.  Never saw that before. 
Suddenly, around midnight,, there was a sudden minor brawl in front of the main bar. There were calls for security but it settled down on its own.  I backed up onto the stage to get out of the way.

That’s about only the third time in my life I’ve seen a brawl in a gay bar.  There was one in Wailuku. Hawaii in Aug. 1980, and London (SoHo theater district) in November 1982.
There was a little incident Friday night at a different venue, described here on another blog. 

Friday, November 03, 2017

James Damore tweets about "sexual capital", without realizing how gay men feel about it

James Damore (the Google Memo Guy) wrote a tweet recently about “sexual capital”, and whether society should accept the idea that generally women have more sexual capital, or at least use it more, than men.

There is indeed a Wikipedia page on the concept.

What I resented as a boy was that women got to be valued for their appearance(s), but men seemingly did not.  Men were supposed to be fungible, expendable in war to disfigurement and mutilation as sacrifices for the common good if necessary.  People weren’t supposed to “notice” “men’s bods”.

Gay men came along, mostly after Stonewall, and changed all that.  A man could fail physically, too (as Randy Shilts pointed out in "Conduct Unbecoming"). 
 It was no longer OK to put on the pounds after you got married because somebody cooked for you (so the thinking went around 1970).  Maybe it was not OK to gradually go bald on the legs.

Recently, with all the talk of gender fluidity and controversy over how transgender people assimilate with the rest of the LGBTQ community, “cis gay men” have retreated.
Guys, you have an extra hour in the dance bars Saturday night to notice other men’s bods, as the clocks move back. It happens once a year. And on the East Coast, it’s going to be warm. 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

No, Milo, you've got the transgender issue wrong

Some activists say that Milo Yiannopoulos is getting more extreme these days just to make money because outrage sells, but here is a UK Mail story on his latest “outrage”. 

No, transgender kids are of a very different mind that cis male college age and 20-somethings who populate dance floors.  Truth be told, a lot of us would like to have someone like Smallville’s Clark Kent as a dream partner.  Milo should know better.

And, I agree, Kevin Spacey shouldn’t “hide” behind “coming out” in his apology for a 3-decade-old discretion. 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Partial victories against Trump's transgender ban in the military, Mississippi pseudo religious freedom law

According to the Washington Post as of 1 PM EDT Monday October 30, 2017, a federal judge has enjoined Donald Trump’s ban on service by transgender soldiers, but has upheld the portion relieving the Armed Forces from paying for sexual reassignment surgery.  The link is here

The story is developing.  Later Monday the AP offered this story

The Washington Blade is reporting that a federal judge in Mississippi has specified a detailed syllabus by which clerks in the state of Mississippi can detail their religious objections to same-sex marriage licenses, link here.
The judge had overturned a state pseudo-religious freedom law which seemed quite sweeping on the surface, but the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans had overturned his ruling for lack of standing.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Town DC has its last Halloween Party, but hints at a future

Saturday night, Oct. 28, 2017, Town Danceboutique held its final Halloween Party and Costume Contest, since it will close July 1, 2018.

Lena warned the upstairs audience that there should be no “boos” in the voting.

She also hinted once that there is some plan in the works for what will follow Town. But you wonder if closing bars for condo development really makes economic sense.  Condo owners who buy in the neighborhood will want the night life to stay.  And unlike in the suburbs, they will demand that Airbnb be OK. 

I got there at 10:45 PM, having had dinner in the new District Wharf, also on the Green Line. It took about half an hour to get through the line.  During that time, the Los Angeles Dodgers scored 5 runs in the top of the ninth “on my smart phone” to even the World Series.

The costume contest had the longest line of contestants ever. 

For some video, visit this Wordpress location.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Egypt increases crackdown on gay speech

DC Center Global has shared a story on Gayety about Egypt’s increase “crackdown” on gay speech recently. 

As in Russia, private adult homosexual acts are not against the law, but apparently “promoting homosexuality” is, including the carrying of rainbow flags and posters.

Like in Russia, Muslim societies fear that “propaganda” could lead to women becoming less willing to give men children.

A substantial portion of LGBT asylum seekers have come from Egypt.

Wikipedia attribution link for Cairo picture by Wing, CCSA 2.0. 

Update: Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017

The Washington Blade reports on a draconian anti-gay bill in Egypt which could be imitated in Jordan and Iraq, story by Michael K. Lavers.  The bill would specifically criminalize same-sex sexual contact as well as speech (right now Egypt does not). 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

One year ago, hosting asylum seekers sounded realistic for me, but then ...

A year ago tomorrow (Oct. 26), I sent an email to a local organization (DC Center Global) expressing an interest in the possibility of hosting an asylum seeker. I got one quick response, and I was hoping for a meeting in detail to see if this could work.  In a second email, I noted that I presumed Hillary Clinton would win the election.  We all know what happened Oct. 28.

Actually, there was a meeting of sorts in January at a Starbucks, but the necessary communications never quite happened.  I do think it is likely I would have hosted had Hillary won, but there would have been big questions on just what financial responsibility and liability exposure I might face.  A lot of hosting probably goes on informally, through social capital in the LGBT community in the City, but in my circumstances, I would have to be much more careful about exactly what was being asked for.

It’s no longer possible, because I have sold the house and downsized, and moved into a condo, not on public transportation and not with a separate bedroom.  Elections have consequences, as do external policy controversies, and they can become personal.
For my coverage of the Washington DC High Heels Race 2017, please see this link

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Sessions seems to support the idea that federal employees can deny same sex survivors social security benefits

“Law Newz” reports that Jeff Sessions suggested that government employees could decide to deny LGBT people social security benefits out of religious conviction 

When viewed more closely it looks like this refers only to partner benefits (especially surviving partner), and it appears to be similar to the idea that Kim Davis could refuse to grant same sex marriage licenses.
It seems to me that when you have a job you have to do the job.  If it’s against your religious belief to do it, then resign.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Trump'a joke about Mile Pence's "American Lynching"

Donald Trump attracted a lot of “attention” recently by “kidding” about Mike Pence’s attitude toward gays – “Mike would like to hang them all”.  HRC has released a very strong statement in response here

The remark is a particularly offensive allusion to the past practices in the South of lynching African Americans – as in Gode Davis’s incomplete 2003-2010 film “American Lynching”.