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Northam, Herring speak at Equality Virginia Lobby Day

Posted: 07 Feb 2018 08:20 AM PST

Ralph Northam, gay news, Washington Blade

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam spoke at an Equality Virginia Lobby Day reception in Richmond, Va., on Feb. 5, 2018. (Photo courtesy of Ralph Northam for Governor of Virginia)

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam on Monday spoke to LGBT rights activists who were attending Equality Virginia’s annual Lobby Day.

“It is the diversity of our commonwealth that makes us who we are,” said Northam during a reception that took place at the Library of Virginia in Richmond.

First lady Pam Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring also attended the reception.

More than 200 people from across Virginia attended Equality Virginia’s Lobby Day, which took place less than a month after Northam took office.

State Dels. Danica Roem (D-Manassas), who is the first openly transgender person ever seated in a state legislature in the U.S., and Dawn Adams (D-Richmond), the first out lesbian elected to the Virginia General Assembly, also attended the reception. Gay state Dels. Mark Levine (D-Alexandria) and Mark Sickles (D-Fairfax County) are among the dozens of other lawmakers who were also in attendance.

"Our Annual Day of Action is a testament to the strength and dedication of Virgina's LGBT community and its allies,” said Equality Virginia Executive Director James Parrish. “The event drew nearly 200 people from all over the state who gathered in Richmond to encourage their senator and delegate to support LGBT rights and thank those who already do.”

“These advocates sent a message that discrimination has no place in the Commonwealth and they stand with Equality Virginia in our work make Virginia a more fair place,” he added. “We're grateful to everyone who attended and to the legislators and their staffs who took time to meet with constituents."

‘In the Heights,’ ‘Fun Home’ among top nominees for Helen Hayes Awards

Posted: 06 Feb 2018 04:03 PM PST

Little Night Music, gay news, Washington Blade

Holly Twyford has been nominated for a Helen Hayes Award for her work in 'A Little Night Music.' (Photo by Christopher Mueller; courtesy Signature)

In keeping with the awards season, nominations for the 2018 Helen Hayes Awards were announced Monday night at the National Theatre. The nominations are drawn from more than 200 eligible plays and musicals and are divided into two categories: the "Hayes" for shows with mostly equity actors in the cast, and the "Helens" that go to shows with mostly non-equity actors in the cast.

The recipient of the most nominations is "In the Heights," Lin-Manual Miranda's 2008 Tony Award winning musical about life among Latino immigrants in New York City's Washington Heights neighborhood,  with 10 Hayes nods going to the Olney Theatre/Round House Theatre co-production and another staggering 18 Helen nominations going to GALA Hispanic Theatre's version.

Also receiving multiple nominations are Alison Bechdel's "Fun Home," an autobiographical musical about growing up gay in a funeral home that played at National Theatre, and Signature's take on out composer Stephen Sondheim's musical "A Little Night Music."

This year's especially deserving long list of nominees includes many LGBT theater professionals.

Eric Schaeffer is nominated for outstanding direction in a musical for Signature's "A Little Night Music" (Hayes), and Will Gartshore is nominated for outstanding supporting actor in a musical for the same production.      

Holly Twyford is nominated for her professional singing debut in "A Little Night Music," (Hayes) and for outstanding actress in a play for Round House Theatre's "Or" (Hayes). 

Jon Kalbfleisch, a musical director whose name is often linked to Helen Hayes Awards, is nominated for his work on both Signature's "A Little Night Music" (Hayes) and Round House's "Caroline, Or Change" (Hayes).

Rick Hammerly is nominated for outstanding direction in a play for Factory 449's Lela & Co., (Helen), and Tony Cisek received a nod for outstanding set design for Constellation's "The Wild Party" (Helen).   

And Frank Britton received a nomination for the Prosky Award for outstanding lead actor in a play for  "Jesus Hopped The 'A' Train"(Helen) at 1st Stage.

The awards will be presented May 14. The location for the event has not yet been announced. A complete list of nominees is here

Anti-trans health insurance discrimination bill defeated in Va.

Posted: 06 Feb 2018 01:17 PM PST

transgender, Gender Conference East, trans, transgender flag, gay news, Washington Blade

A bill would ban health insurance companies from discriminating against policyholders in Virginia because of their gender identity was tabled on Feb. 6, 2018. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

A Virginia House of Delegates subcommittee on Tuesday tabled a bill that would have banned health insurance providers from discriminating against transgender policyholders in the state.

State Del. Debra Rodman (D-Henrico County) introduced House Bill 1466 last month. State Del. Danica Roem (D-Manassas), who is the first openly trans person seated in a state legislature in the U.S., was the measure’s chief co-sponsor.

“Everyone deserves access to medically necessary care no matter their gender presentation,” wrote Rodman on her Twitter page after the committee tabled her bill. “We won’t stop until we get it.”

Equality Virginia Executive Director James Parrish in a statement to the Washington Blade said trans people, “like everyone else, deserve to live their lives without healthcare providers denying or limiting coverage because of gender identity.”

“We are disappointed that the Commerce and Labor subcommittee defeated Del. Rodman's bill despite the recommendation of every major medical association who stand in agreement that transition-related care is medically necessary and should not be excluded from health insurance,” he added. “18 states plus D.C. have already adopted laws or regulations that protect transgender people from insurance discrimination, and we hope that soon Virginia will join them.”

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia CEO Jennifer Allen also criticized the vote.


”No person should be denied health insurance coverage because of who they are. However, transgender patients often face barrier after barrier when seeking health care,” she said. “We are disappointed that conservative delegates defeated HB 1466 that would have eliminated health insurance discrimination against transgender individuals.”

Most Eligible Singles 2018

Posted: 06 Feb 2018 01:08 PM PST

This is the fourth annual Washington Blade Most Eligible LGBT Singles issue. It began with reader nominations — and there were hundreds. From there, our staff chose the 20 Most Eligible, with an eye for locals with interesting stories, those doing compelling work and, yes, those who look good.

These 20 D.C.-area singles identify as LGBT. They were chosen from a pool of more than 250 nominees.

Check out the profiles (by clicking on the photos below) and then come to Town Danceboutique on Saturday, Feb. 10 at 10 p.m. to meet our winners in person.

Sponsored by: Town, Bite the Fruit, and Three Day Rule

VOTE FOR WHICH SINGLE SHOULD WIN A FREE DATE NIGHT HERE!

Click on each photo to find out more about each single.

Jenny Gowen, gay news, Washington Blade

Jenny Gowen (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Carlos Becerra, gay news, Washington Blade

Carlos Becerra (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Tania Cruz Morales, gay news, Washington Blade

Tania Cruz Morales (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Sula Malina, gay news, Washington Blade

Sula Malina (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Sean Meloy, gay news, Washington Blade

Sean Meloy (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Sarah Massey, gay news, Washington Blade

Sarah Massey (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Ryan Thrasher, gay news, Washington Blade

Ryan Thrasher (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Rayceen Pendarvis, gay news, Washington Blade

Rayceen Pendarvis (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Rachel Gutter, gay news, Washington Blade

Rachel Gutter (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Lee Levingston Perine, gay news, Washington Blade

Lee Levingston Perine (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Kellyn Goler, gay news, Washington Blade

Kellyn Goler (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Katy Waters, gay news, Washington Blade

Katy Waters (Washington Blade by Michael Key)

Justin Fyala, gay news, Washington Blade

Justin Fyala (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Jason Lindsey, gay news, Washington Blade

Jason Lindsey (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Cody Willming, gay news, Washington Blade

Cody Willming (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Chakriya Srey, gay news, Washington Blade

Chakriya Srey (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Soph Bonde, gay news, Washington Blade

Soph Bonde (Photo courtesy of Bonde)

Scott Key, gay news, Washington Blade

Scott Key (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Blake Dremann, gay news, Washington Blade

Blake Dremann (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Avery Wimpelberg, gay news, Washington Blade

Avery Wimpelberg (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

MOST ELIGIBLE SINGLES: Katy Waters

Posted: 06 Feb 2018 01:06 PM PST

Katy Waters, gay news, Washington Blade

Katy Waters (Washington Blade by Michael Key)

Name: Katy Waters

Age: 28

Occupation: Manager, organizing and electoral campaigns, Planned Parenthood Action Fund

Identify as: queer

What are you looking for in a mate? Someone who is down to explore the city (the world), wants to go to a show and makeout about it

Biggest turn-off: Lack of empathy, lack of curiosity

Biggest turn-on: A contagious smile, a brilliant laugh, emotional intelligence, someone who wants to talk about social justice over a glass of whiskey.

Hobbies: Anything that makes me feel more full: spending time with my queer community, reading, going to yoga, going to shows, cooking with my roomies

Describe your ideal first date: I love getting vulnerable on the first date. Some of my favorite firsts have been at bookstores, whiskey bars or when someone sends me a list of yummy restaurants I haven't been to and lets me pick.

Pets, kids or neither? Pets. My dream is to own a dalmatian again one day. Maybe kids, who knows?

Would you date someone whose political views differ from yours? Absolutely not. My passion and life's work is realizing justice in our world, which is so deeply entrenched and affected by policies and politics. It comes back to that empathy thing, you know?

Celebrity crush: Kathleen Hanna, Staceyann Chin, Janet Mock, Travis Barker

One obscure fact about yourself:  I want to tell you about how my tonsillectomy changed my life.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE TOP 20 LGBT SINGLES

MOST ELIGIBLE SINGLES: Cody Willming

Posted: 06 Feb 2018 01:02 PM PST

Cody Willming, gay news, Washington Blade

Cody Willming (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Name: Cody Willming

Age: 25

Occupation: Legislative assistant, Capitol Hill

Identify as: gay

What are you looking for in a mate? A good sense of humor won’t make a relationship, but it is the first indicator of compatibility that I look for. Equally as important are respect, kindness, and honesty. More specifically, I’m looking for someone confident and engaging who loves animals (dogs and cats) as much as I do, but doesn’t take himself too seriously. Someone who stays in good shape but also won’t judge me for indulging in fast food or an absurd tiki drink.

Biggest turn-off: Arrogance, prejudice, opportunism and negativity.

Biggest turn-on: Confidence, humility, a handsome smile and wit. Scruff is always a nice plus.

Hobbies: Traveling, working at the bar to pay for my travel bug, reading and working out.

Describe your ideal first date: Ideally just drinks or coffee to keep the pressure off. Anywhere we can have a chance to chat and get to know each other without expectations.

Pets, kids or neither? This is a trick question because pets are kids. For the foreseeable future, though, just animals to keep the heart full. With the right guy and life circumstances, kids could be a possibility.

Would you date someone whose political views differ from yours? Only if he could be respectful and walk in another’s shoes. The willingness to think critically, no matter his politics, is a must.

Celebrity crush: Scott Eastwood, Chris Evans, Matt Bomer, Chris Hemsworth

One obscure fact about yourself: I went to Space Camp as a kid at NASA’s Johnson Space Center and I’m a total “Trekkie.”

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE TOP 20 LGBT SINGLES

MOST ELIGIBLE SINGLES: Sula Malina

Posted: 06 Feb 2018 01:00 PM PST

Sula Malina, gay news, Washington Blade

Sula Malina (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Name: Sula Malina

Age: 22

Occupation: Children, youth and families program coordinator at an LGBTQ civil rights organization.

Identify as: Queer, non-binary, transmasculine femme

What are you looking for in a mate? Self-awareness, kindness, a commitment to a partnership (monogamous or otherwise), and a nuanced sense of humor (someone who laughs at my wit and my dad jokes). Bonus points if we can harmonize and have good blend, especially if you’re up for dreaming about a family band.

Biggest turn-off: Meanness, bad communicators, gasping at minor inconveniences/surprises, people who think mental health is about your mindset.

Biggest turn-on: Getting my pronouns right (they/them), good taste in music, distinct-smelling shampoo that lingers on my pillow, radical vulnerability, eye contact. Leos.

Hobbies: Singing, beatboxing, playing guitar and piano, whittling, writing creative nonfiction, biking, cooking. And tracking packages.

Describe your ideal first date: We make a reservation for dinner and tell them it’s our 10th wedding anniversary. We really commit and cry when they bring out the complimentary slice of cake. Everyone in the restaurant stands up and chants “Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!” And that’s our first kiss.

Pets, kids or neither? Both, born on the same day and growing up side by side.

Would you date someone whose political views differ from yours? Nope. “Political views” is a term people use to neutralize and justify their “opinion” on whose lives have value. Always down to talk, though.

Celebrity crush: Kehlani

One obscure fact about yourself: I wore a huge handlebar mustache to school on the first day of eighth grade and didn’t know I was gay until three years later.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE TOP 20 LGBT SINGLES

MOST ELIGIBLE SINGLES: Rayceen Pendarvis

Posted: 06 Feb 2018 12:59 PM PST

Rayceen Pendarvis, gay news, Washington Blade

Rayceen Pendarvis (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Name: Rayceen Pendarvis

Age: Old enough for an AARP card

Occupation: Host, emcee, columnist, writer, wedding officiant and nail technician

Identify as: gender-blender

What are you looking for in a mate? I am looking for someone who wants a serious relationship and has good communication skills. My mate should also be honest, hard working, romantic, and after things get serious, be flexible in bed.

Biggest turn-off: People who, regardless of their age, act like they're ready for Shady Pines.

Biggest turn-on: People who are not afraid to approach me and be clear about what they want.

Hobbies: Reading, listening to music, watching old movies, going to museums, walking in the park, traveling and tweeting

Describe your ideal first date: We would go to the park on a spring afternoon where my date would surprise me with a picnic of homemade southern delicacies.

Pets, kids or neither? I already have both and I say the more, the merrier.

Would you date someone whose political views differ from yours? I would date a liberal, a conservative, a libertarian and even an anarchist, but I will not date anyone who voted for the current president.

Celebrity crush: Laith Ashley, Hugh Jackman and Maxwell.

One obscure fact about yourself: My appreciation of music includes classic country music — Tammy Wynette, Dolly Parton, Barbara Mandrell.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE TOP 20 LGBT SINGLES

MOST ELIGIBLE SINGLES: Rachel Gutter

Posted: 06 Feb 2018 12:58 PM PST

Rachel Gutter, gay news, Washington Blade

Rachel Gutter (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Name: Rachel Gutter

Age: 36

Occupation: Chief product officer, International WELL Building Institute

Identify as: Seeking women, but keeping my heart open.

What are you looking for in a mate? Kindness, authenticity, warmth, humor and a perpetual commitment to becoming a better person.

Biggest turn-off: Leaving me waiting.

Biggest turn-on: Self-assurance coupled with humility and accompanied by a radiant smile.

Hobbies: Yoga every day. Also beachcombing, succulent farming, audiobooking, cocktail crafting, D-I-Y projects of all varieties, and lately, so much solidcore.

Describe your ideal first date: The lights come on, the music dies and we suddenly realize we are the last remaining people in the restaurant.

Pets, kids or neither? Yes to kids. Yes to puppies.

Would you date someone whose political views differ from yours? Like I said, I’m keeping my heart open.

Celebrity crush: What if I answer and jeopardize my chances?

One obscure fact about yourself: I was an extra aboard the muggle train in the second Harry Potter movie.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE TOP 20 LGBT SINGLES

MOST ELIGIBLE SINGLES: Jenny Gowen

Posted: 06 Feb 2018 12:24 PM PST

Jenny Gowen, gay news, Washington Blade

Jenny Gowen (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Name: Jenny Gowen

Age: 47

Occupation: Surgical devices sales rep, undercover activist.

Identify as: I fall somewhere between L and Q.

What are you looking for in a mate? Similarities, differences. Push and pull. A straight shooter.

I’m available for the kind of connection that creates fireworks and deep calm for both of us on multiple levels: intellectual, emotional, spiritual and physical. A perfectly imperfect partnership.

Biggest turn-off: Substance abuse. Disingenuousness. I work hard to keep becoming and I don’t want to be with people who are invested in staying stuck.

Biggest turn-on: Authenticity. Humility. Courage. A “still-waters-run-deep” type with a kinky private side or a bad ass with a tender underbelly. An invitation to that private side or underbelly.

Hobbies: Running, races, day trips, adventuring, lallygagging, exploring, meditation, giving back, being near water, baking, social justice, chasing fire flies, orchids, picnicking and sharing my life with people I love. I will gladly try almost anything once.

Describe your ideal first date: We find a local place to share a meal. This gives us a chance to talk and get to know more about each other. There's an easy comfort, lots of laughter and undeniable sparks of chemistry.

Pets, kids or neither? I have a fabulous adult daughter who swings by from time to time on her way to or from her next adventure. I don't have pets, but I love pets.

Would you date someone whose political views differ from yours? Sure, as long as their views and actions don't involve marginalizing or oppressing other people and groups.

Celebrity crush: Nadia Bolz-Weber, Chris Mosier

One obscure fact about yourself: I grew up on a small farm on the rural Eastern Shore. I know what a chicken running around with it’s head cut off really looks like. (Bonus, though, I can chop wood, tend livestock, brew kombucha and I’m great at canning just about anything!)

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE TOP 20 LGBT SINGLES