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Meet France's New, Openly Gay Ambassador to the U.S. Gérard Araud

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Over the summer, Gerard Araud, 61, became the first openly gay French ambassador to the United States. Now, in Vogue profile, he lets loose with undiplomatic candor about U.S. policies in Iraq, his "fiery Twitter feed", and a personal pass on gay marriage. “I am not interested at this moment in marriage for myself,” Araud says, regarding his relationship of 19 years with photographer Pascal Blondeau. “But I don’t see any reason why anyone should be denied this right.”  In his home country, marriage equality became legal in 2013 after some violent protests.

Araud, a career diplomat who started working in Washington in the early '80s, was previously France's outspoken representative to the United Nations, where he developed a close friendship with the U.S. rep Samantha Power. He even talks about how they still keep in touch via cute text messages (i.e. "On behalf of the French mission, I have to tell you: you are beautiful"). While Power appreciates the compliments, she praises Araud on his mastery of diplomacy and his strength as a savvy international strategist. This being Vogue, there is less discussion of this topic than the fashionable Araud's feelings regarding the boxy, black suits that diplomats are prone to wear, not to mention his role in the gut renovation of the famed French residence in Washington. But his frank nature comes across loud and clear and is remarkable given his post as one of the highest profile diplomats in D.C.

Cehck out the full article here

[photo via Twitter]


Prominent LGBT Attorney From D.C. Killed In Dominican Republic: VIDEO

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The Washington Blade is reporting the shocking story of the Halloween-eve murder of a well-known and highly respected D.C. defense lawyer. Van Teasley, 55, headed to the Dominican Republic last Thursday for a long weekend and was found dead in his own apartment on October 30th, bound and gagged with no sign of forced entry. There have been no arrests or suspects in the case but local police in Santo Domingo are still investigating.

Back at home, Teasley often represented low-income and LGBT clients and was a regular presence at Washigton's Superior Court building. Local affiliate NBC 4 did a piece on Teasley's murder, saying that he visited his second home in Santo Domingo regularly, sometimes as often as once a month. His cousin speculated that Teasley may have grown "too comfortable" in a country known for religious intolerance when it comes to gay issues.

You can watch the full NBC 4 video AFTER THE JUMP...

(photo via Instagram)

Continue reading "Prominent LGBT Attorney From D.C. Killed In Dominican Republic: VIDEO" »


David Catania Loses Washington, D.C. Mayoral Race

CataniaOpenly gay Washington D.C. City Councilman David Catania has conceded the race for mayor of the nation's capital, ending his hopes of becoming the city's first openly gay mayor. The Washington Blade reports:

D.C. Council member Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4) won Tuesday’s mayoral election, turning back a strong challenge from fellow Council member David Catania (I), who fell short in his bid to become the city’s first openly gay mayor.

Bowser expressed strong support for LGBT issues throughout the campaign after defeating incumbent mayor and fellow Democrat Vincent Gray in the April primary. The race divided the local LGBT community, with some longtime LGBT advocates supporting Catania’s bid to make history and others sticking with the Democratic nominee Bowser. Still others backed former Council member Carol Schwartz, a longtime LGBT ally who ran as an independent.

In the end, it wasn’t close. Bowser won about 54 percent of the vote to Catania’s 35 percent and Schwartz’s 7 percent.. Catania gave up his Council seat to run for the job.

(Photo via Twitter)


A Day in the Life of Ben Panico, the Only Openly Transgender Staffer on Capitol Hill: VIDEO

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22-year-old Ben Panico is living his dream working with Rep. Jared Polis and the LGBT Equality Caucus in Washington D.C. But as Fusion points out, Panico also happens to be the only openly trans staffer currently working on Capitol Hill - a reality not lost on him. 

Said Panico:

I think it's very important for trans people to be represented on The Hill so that people can represent their community and can really provide an extra voice, add something to the discussion. I have had unique experiences that no one on The Hill can speak for. 

Check out his incredible story, including how he deals with some of the more vocal anti-LGBT foes on Capitol Hill,  AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "A Day in the Life of Ben Panico, the Only Openly Transgender Staffer on Capitol Hill: VIDEO" »


Gay Men's Chorus Poster Vandalized In Capitol Hill Office Building

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A Gay Men's Chorus of Washington poster was vandalized this week in the Longworth House Office Building Cafeteria on Capitol Hill - the first incident of its kind in recent memory according to Executive Director Chase Maggiano.

The poster, which advertises the group's upcoming Holiday Concert, was vandalized with the word "Fag's" in marker. Someone attempted to cross it out, but the slur is still visible. 

In an email to Towleroad, GMCW Director of Marketing Craig Cipollini wrote:

"We’re not sure, but it looks like it happened Tuesday evening or late Tuesday afternoon. A friend of a chorus member saw it Wednesday morning when he got to work and notified us then. The poster is still up, and we will be getting a replacement poster over there later this week. Police were not contacted, but a Chorus member who works on the Hill notified the CAO [Chief Administrative Office]"

Said Maggiano:

"Sometimes we hear stories of bullying and vandalism at the area high schools we visit, but it's pretty surprising to see this happen on Capitol Hill. This tells us that we still have equality work to do right in our own backyard."

Previously, "HRC Compiles 'Hall of Shame' List, Outs 19 Least LGBT-Friendly Members of Congress" [tlrd]


Prominent Washington-Area Rabbi Comes Out In E-mail to Congregation, 'I Am a Gay Man'

SteinlaufGil Steinlauf, the prominent rabbi at of one of Washington, D.C.’s most distinguished synagogues, has come out as gay in an e-mail widely circulated throughout his congregation and republished in the Washington Post.

Steinlauf came to the Adas Israel Congregation in 2008 and is widely recognized as having been influential in the organization’s efforts to court members of both the progressive and traditional Jewish communities. In 2012 Steinlauf officiated Adas Israel’s first same sex marriage, an experience that he recounted in an article for The Jewish Journal entitled “The Queerness of Love: A Jewish Case for Same-Sex Marriage.”

“Today, I am unfazed by the apparent biblical injunction against homosexuality as an ‘abomination,’”  he wrote. “It is, in fact, the Jews’ queerness in the world that captures our particular Divine message to all humanity. Love is queer, and in recognizing this, we find its holiness, its Godliness.”

In the e-mail Steinlauf described his lifelong struggle with accepting his homosexuality and spoke of the strength he found in his marriage to Batya Steinlauf, his wife and a fellow rabbi herself. The pair met as students at Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City and together they had three daughters. While their intentions to divorce are firm, they’ve decided to continue to live together for the time being.

“What we’ve had for 20 years is very real, and the last thing I’d want is for us to live a lie,” he said of his family.

Reactions to Steinlauf’s coming out have been supportive. Arnie Podgorsky, president of the synagogue, reached out to the congregation encouraging them to understand the couple’s decision.

“I have great respect for their ability to face changing circumstances in their lives with honesty and integrity,” he said in a letter. “We can all learn from their example.”


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