Showing posts with label Washington DC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Washington DC. Show all posts

August 4, 2018

District Court in DC Orders Government To Start Taking DACA Applications


 






The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the country’s original civil rights organization, today celebrates a huge victory for DACA participants and DACA-eligible persons around the nation.
Today, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia affirmed its prior ruling that the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) violated the Administrative Procedure Act by rescinding the DACA program without sufficient explanation. Rejecting arguments by the federal government and newly articulated justifications from DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, the court ruled once again that the government failed to explain adequately its assertion that DACA is unlawful and it vacated the “Rescission Memorandum” which purported to terminate the DACA program.

Read the Opinion (PDF)


“This represents a powerful victory against attempts to dehumanize immigrants who are law-abiding and productive residents of the United States and who were long ago brought to this country as children through no fault of their own,” said NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson.
The NAACP filed its case in September 2017 against President Trump, Attorney General Sessions, then-DHS Secretary Duke, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security, in defense of people of color who are participating in or are eligible for the DACA program.  The NAACP was joined in the case by two of the nation’s largest labor unions- the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the United Commercial Food Workers (UCFW). Later Princeton University and Microsoft Corporation filed a similar case that was joined with the NAACP case.
The NAACP and its co-plaintiffs successfully argued that the defendants failed in their efforts to articulate a legally sufficient justification for reneging on the commitments extended through the DACA program to undocumented immigrants who were brought to this country as children and who meet the program’s other eligibility requirements.  Plaintiffs alleged that the rescission of the DACA program violated the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment, the Administrative Procedure Act and the Regulatory Flexibility Act.  The court ruled in April 2018 that the “Rescission Memorandum” issued by DHS in September 2017 violated the Administrative Procedure Act  (“APA”) because it failed to explain adequately why the government concluded that DACA was unlawful.  While vacating the Rescission Memorandum in its original order, the court gave the government 90 days to explain more fully the basis for its decision to terminate DACA. The government’s latest attempt to justify its decision fared no better than its first attempt, as the court once again found the explanation lacking and thus in violation of the APA.  The court maintained its stay of the vacatur order for another 20 days in order to give the government time to decide what to do next.
“This is what happens when the government manufactures a bogus policy rationale for actions that are rooted in discrimination,” said Bradford M. Berry, General Counsel of the NAACP.  “We applaud the court for its careful application of the governing legal principles to this case.”
Joseph M. Sellers, managing partner at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, PLLC, served as lead counsel for the NAACP in the case.
Originally posted by NAACP

May 7, 2018

On His Final Tour of Duty John McCaine Reflects on Sarah Palin and Other Mistakes

Were we ever so young? Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
Introduction:
John McCain still don't see what he unleashed on the GOP which was like a virus that grew slowly but without obstacles. His running mate which look like he could not find anyone else(not true) and picked what people said was the bottom of the barrel. 
Sarah Palin
It was not her inexperience in politics and many other imperfections but what came out of her through her megaphone vocal chords with that scratching noise worse than an SNL comediane impersonating her. Once she decided to be on a topic (without studying first but because it sounded good at the moment) she will defend it with her life. She would cover it up and repeat it like if that would make true. She lied about her personal life and about her personal life again, because she did not know politics but you would expect it to at least the facts she gave about her life since people didnt know her to be true and get it right. It wasn't until someone from the media got to show her otherwise that she opposed for what she was now fighting for, or her daughter was contradicting her. I remember how she defended how informed she was by reading magazines until the question came, which ones? She didn't know but now she defended not reading magazines.
Do you see the connection to today?  Between, Littman who was more interested in his Israel rather than his oath as Senator of the United States to Palin. This brought a bad habit to the party which it got to be heroin ans they could not get rid of it: "Openly lying" and taking the american people like Trump would say according to what his been attributed to his son in law 'I can lie to them because they are dumb.'
Trump said while campigning in NYC that he could shoot someone on fifth Avenue and his poll numbers would not go down.
These type of trash, which cover most of the GOP on both houses even extended to the House of Representatives and its speaker Ryan firing someone who does not do much and has 0 impact on that institution, the man that give his prayer at the beginning of a session of the Hosue of Reps., The Chaplain. Reason?  Ryan didn't like his last prayer in which he sounded too much middle of the road instead of Republican. Crazy? Not for this bunch. There is no price to pay for the spaker for doing this, not because he is retiring but because this is something that wont be followed by the media since Trump is on 24 hr/7 day coverage. It was reported and Ryan got hell for it and the Chaplain reinsteaded, instead he will resign in the future and it will make no noise. Ryan thought to be like Trump, "you are fired" That's how trump does it but Ryan is no Trump. All he had to do was call the bishop and the Chaplain would been out before the morning prayers
The billionaires who own the media are scared Trump will cost them money or ratings so they give you a repeat of what eveyone else is giving you, vanilla. No one comfronts Trump on a lie, no one. So he piles and they all loose track, even on the era of the play back and live video. Thanks McCain. One thing he had which the other Senators in his Party don't have and is that he could be persuaded with the truth (sometimes), the times that he wasn't following that gut feeling and being a good party member took presedence of the truth but at least one could try and so say senators that try to convince him about a particular bill or action to be taken. He would listen and try to do the right thing even if it turned out wrong.  Adam Gonzalez🦊

When historians — or, really any of us — look back at President Trump’s ascent to the presidency, they will identify many moments over the years, big and small, that could be identified as warning signs of the catastrophe to come. There was the Great Recession, the aftereffects of which hollowed out communities that thrilled to Trump’s nativism. On a much more micro scale, there was the White House Correspondents Dinner in 2011, where Trump was ritually humiliated by Seth Meyers and Barack Obama, perhaps fueling the white-hot rage behind his White House bid.
But in purely political terms, one other moment leaps to mind: the day in 2008 when John McCain upended expectations by picking then-Alaska governor Sarah Palin to be his vice-presidential running mate. It’s not as if Republicans hadn’t worn the badge of anti-intellectualism before (see: Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush). But Palin personified a dangerous new strain. She (infamously) didn’t read much; put forth few policy positions beyond “drill, baby drill”; excelled at whipping up crowds into a frothing frenzy; and attacked Barack Obama in brazen, personal terms. Stylistically, she seemed to be almost completely at odds with McCain, a deeply conservative traditionalist who prefers military wars to cultural ones.
But by and large, the GOP base adored Palin. Its loving embrace of such an unhinged figure was an early sign that the Republican Party was far more willing to tolerate qualities once thought to be disqualifying for public life than many people understood.
Throughout the campaign, and since, McCain has steadfastly defended Palin. But in a story reported from his Arizona ranch, where the senator is relaxing between treatment for brain cancer and receiving old friends during what may be his final days, the New York Timesreports that McCain does have regrets about his VP pick. The reason for his discontent — which he has elaborated on in an upcoming book and movie — is that he wishes he had trusted his instincts and picked Joe Lieberman instead. 
While he continues to defend Ms. Palin’s performance, Mr. McCain uses the documentary and the book to unburden himself about not selecting Mr. Lieberman, a Democrat-turned-independent, as his running mate.

He recalls that his advisers warned him that picking a vice-presidential candidate who caucused with Democrats and supported abortion rights would divide Republicans and doom his chances.

“It was sound advice that I could reason for myself,” he writes. “But my gut told me to ignore it and I wish I had.”
Setting aside Joe Lieberman’s many faults, before the 2008 election and since (and the fact that McCain-Lieberman would be unlikely to perform better among voters than McCain-Palin did), it’s striking that, even at this late stage, McCain won’t admit that Palin represents the same variation of grievance politics he now abjures.
McCain, who President Trump has taunted in grossly personal terms (“I prefer war heroes who weren’t captured”) has been one of the few Republicans to consistently take on the president. He has attackedTrump’s “spurious, half-baked nationalism” and furiously criticized his continuous praise of Vladimir Putin. And while he often votes for the president’s priorities, making his everlasting “maverick” label something of a joke, he was the deciding “no” to kill Obamacare repeal in the Senate, an act of apostasy that has earned Trump’s perpetual ire.
But McCain is not just unpopular with the far right because of his #resistance moments. He’s also out of sync with the GOP base in most other ways. He’s a national-security hawk in a time of Republican isolationism, a centrist on immigration in a party full of America Firsters. Beyond his policy positions, McCain is out of step in another important way: he wants Republicans to step back from the toxic, grievance-based ideology that now dominates the party.
Before he helped torpedo the GOP health care vote last summer, McCain gave a stirring speech on the Senate floor, pleading with his fellows lawmakers to return to a politics of decency and consensus.
“I hope we can again rely on humility, on our need to cooperate, on our dependence on each other to learn how to trust each other again and by so doing better serve the people who elected us,” he said. “Stop listening to the bombastic loudmouths on the radio and television and the Internet. To hell with them. They don’t want anything done for the public good.”
McCain framed the problem as a bipartisan one. But it’s the Republican party where “the bombastic loudmouths” have really gained control in recent years, culminating in the party’s surrender to President Trump. John McCain has always called himself a maverick, but he’ll end his life as all but an outcast.
It is facile to draw a straight line from Palin to this sad state of affairs. But it is striking that, even now, McCain cannot, or will not, fully reckon with the forces he helped unleash.

November 16, 2017

Who is Draining The Swamp? Washington with The WH Seems More Dirt-Stuck Than EVER



 Trump Promised to 'Drain the Swamp' but Look at the people he is chosen, then ignored his campaign but you must look at his corrupt actions as president. It's made his money and his family, He still advertised his hotels on his last trip, while the country paid his Asian trip. That is the least of his ignoring the law. The worse Obstruction of justice by firing the person investigating the Russian connection/WH and using his powers to pardon his friend before even He had a chance to appeal and his threats of using Nukes like they were simple bullets from a gun he is holding. These are just a few of the illegal acts. A Jr High School Student that reads the paper or the news on his/her computer can name them all in a couple of pages.
Washington used to operate one scandal at a time.

Not anymore. Here are just some of the scandals currently brewing:

The indictment of President Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business partner, Rick Gates, in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of possible ties between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia.


A guilty plea from George Papadopoulos, a foreign-policy adviser on the campaign. He admitted that he lied to Mueller's investigators about his efforts to connect with Russian government officials.
Fatal damage to the Podesta Group, one of Washington's top lobby firms, which appears, unnamed, in the Manafort-Gates indictment. Democratic lobbyist and fundraiser Tony Podesta — who co-founded the firm 29 years ago with his brother, Democratic strategist John Podesta, who was Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman — announced he was leaving hours after the indictment became public.
The first criminal corruption trial in nearly a decade against a U.S. senator, Robert Menendez, D-N.J., who is now awaiting a jury's verdict. 

Amid Capitol Hill's frenetic pursuit of campaign money, a moment of candor by Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., who said of the tax overhaul bill, "My donors are basically saying, 'Get it done or don't ever call me again.' "

It's worse than any I've experienced in my three, almost four decades working in this field. People who are complying with the rules are competing for results against those that are cutting corners."
Nick Allard, a former Washington lobbyist and current dean of Brooklyn Law School
It's all a far cry from Trump's days on the campaign trail when he regularly vowed to clean things up.

"If I am elected president, we are going to drain the swamp in Washington, D.C.," Trump said at a campaign event in Chesapeake, Va., last October.

Actually, the swamp is still pretty swampy.

And some denizens say it's getting worse.

People seem to think that "anything goes, and that it's dumb to follow the rules," longtime lobbyist Nick Allard told NPR.

Allard, now the dean of Brooklyn Law School, called the D.C. ethical climate "worse than any I've experienced in my three, almost four decades working in this field. People who are complying with the rules are competing for results against those that are cutting corners."

The indictment of Manafort and Gates spotlights one small slice of modern Washington. Among the charges, they are accused of failing to disclose lobbying activities for foreign clients, a violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA.



For Attorney General Sessions, Hill Testimony Presents Risk And Opportunity
LAW

For Attorney General Sessions, Hill Testimony Presents Risk And Opportunity
The indictment says Manafort and Gates did political consulting work, and then Washington lobbying, for Ukrainian politician Viktor Yanukovych, his political party and, ultimately, the Ukrainian government when Yanukovych became president.

The indictment says they expanded the effort by hiring the Podesta Group and another lobbying firm to work for the Ukrainian clients through a nonprofit in Belgium.

It was "a multi-million-dollar lobbying campaign," according to the indictment.

But none of the lobbyists – not Manafort, Gates, Podesta or employees of the other lobby firm – registered under FARA. Instead, there was a spate of retroactive registrations earlier this year. 

Mueller Russia Probe Moves To The White House; GOP's Math Problem On Taxes
The law requires substantial disclosures, even detailed lists of lawmakers and staffers contacted by the lobbyists, and violating FARA is a felony. But enforcement is rare. Before Manafort and Gates were indicted, the Justice Department had brought felony charges just seven times in the past half-century.

"The question that arises out of the Manafort situation is, is the period of complacency coming to an end?" said law professor Steve Vladeck, co-author of the Just Security blog. "Or is this just a special case brought by a special counsel."

The day after Manafort and Gates were indicted, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, introduced a bill to make FARA more stringent, more far-reaching and easier to enforce. 

Hate Crimes Up In 2016, FBI Statistics Show

The Mueller investigation "just kind of puts a gray cloud around the whole lobbying-special interest community in D.C.," said David Rehr, a lobbyist-turned-professor at George Mason University law school. "It doesn't drain the swamp. But I think now people are just more nervous, and they're actually seeing a prosecutor going after someone."

Still, law enforcement would be just one step in a swamp-draining effort. Meredith McGehee, a veteran lobbyist on political reform issues, said Washington isn't working right.

"We have dysfunction in Congress; we have dysfunction, I think, in the presidency; and we have dysfunction in the lobbying community," she told NPR. "But that's because of the system, as we currently have it structured, rewards dysfunction."

She said the way Americans can change that rewards system is to get engaged in politics.



January 22, 2017

Bush Fights at The Inauguration Obama Remains Cool

Only looking at the funny, stupidly dumb and politicly astute as more political as ever can we survive when things happen in the next four years that have never happened before. We will see how good this nation is or what a worldly monster it has been since its inception. Looking at this picture will undoubtedly make some anti war Americans wish for the times of Bush’s wars. However we will see. Hopefully we will be gracious but still not taken as fools when we are told 3 million is less than 0. We wont argue at the impossible but just laugh to shame the offender selling the silly numbers.


Obama plays it cool as Bush struggled with a sheet of plastic (Picture: Reuters)

January 18, 2017

Trump Thinks Rules Don’t Apply but MonicaCrowley, Washington Said Otherwise



With Breanne Deppisch
THE BIG IDEA: Donald Trump and his team believe that the rules and norms of Washington do not apply to them. They are wrong, and yesterday brought a significant proof point.
Washington veterans marvel at how much Trump has been able to get away with because he just doesn’t seem to care what anyone else thinks. The president-elect has disregarded the long-standing tradition that there should only be one president at a time. He talked to the leader of Taiwan in contravention of the one-China policy; his national security adviser has been in contact with a senior Russian government official. He has refused to fully divest his financial holdings, given his son-in-law a government job and ordered his aides to declare war on an independent ethics office that raised questions about these arrangements.
There have also been so many developments related to Trump’s Cabinet appointees that Tom Daschle's use of a businessman's limousine and chauffeur, which created tax issues that prompted Daschle to withdraw his nomination for HHS secretary eight years ago, look small and insignificant by comparison. Several news stories that might have doomed past nominees have drawn less attention than Trump’s early-morning, made-for-cable tweets. 
For the past 10 days, the poster child for this phenomenon has been Monica Crowley, a TV talking head who despite a dearth of serious experience was appointed as the senior director of strategic communications on the National Security Council 
A steady stream of stories since the weekend before last has revealed pretty egregious examples of apparent plagiarism over a period of several years, from a 2012 book to her PhD dissertation and op-eds.
I have little doubt that Barack Obama and George W. Bush would have immediately terminated someone who did what Crowley appears to have done if that person was up for a similar posting (with a role in speechwriting and drafting statements in the name of the president).
There are many precedents: Plagiarism doomed Joe Biden’s 1988 presidential campaign, and just three years ago Montana Sen. John Walsh (D) ended his campaign for a full term after it came out that he’d plagiarized a paper for the Army War College.

Monica Crowley is not the first in politics to face charges of plagiarism

Play Video2:35
President-elect Trump's national security spokeswoman is stepping back amid allegations of plagiarism. Here are four others who faced similar accusations. (Sarah Parnass/The Washington Post)
But Trump learned crisis management from his mentor Roy Cohn, who had been Joe McCarthy’s chief counsel during the witch hunts of the 1950s. Cohn, who represented Trump when the Justice Department sued him for housing discrimination in the 1970s, taught him to never apologize and to always counterpunch.
That’s exactly how his team initially responded to the revelations about Crowley. The transition team put out a statement saying, “Any attempt to discredit Monica is nothing more than a politically motivated attack that seeks to distract from the real issues facing this country.” Trump continued to stand by her even as publisher HarperCollins announced that it would no longer sell Crowley’s book and more stories detailed fresh examples.
Finally, because a handful of reporters doggedly pursued the story, the pressure became too much. Yesterday afternoon, Crowley sent a statement to the Washington Times to say that “after much reflection” she’s decided to stay in New York. She made no mention of plagiarism.
-- The conventional wisdom that all of Trump’s Cabinet picks will be confirmed by the Senate shifted somewhat over the long weekend, and the odds are increasing that at least one will be stopped. Democrats continue to express some hope about blocking Steve Mnuchin for Treasury or Tom Price for HHS, but secretary of labor-designee Andy Puzder seems like the more vulnerable target. His hearing has already been postponed, and CNN reported last night that the restaurant executive is having second thoughts. "He may be bailing," a Republican source plugged into the Trump transition effort told John King. "He is not into the pounding he is taking, and the paperwork."
The most potentially damning revelations, which could get a full airing during a public hearing, are about past allegations by Puzder’s ex-wife that he abused her. She has now recanted, and he has always denied wrongdoing, but Politico reported last week that she appeared in disguise on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” as a victim of domestic violence, after having accused him multiple times of physically assaulting her in the 1980s.
A public debate about domestic violence is not something the transition team wants because it will distract from his agenda while prompting a re-airing of the 2005 “Access Hollywood” video, as well as a round of unflattering stories about the calamitous end of Trump’s own first marriage. (During a divorce deposition, for example, Ivana said that Donald had raped her.)

June 3, 2016

DC No Longer a Gay Ghetto (Is this a good thing?)



                                                                          
Image result for washington dc gay ghetto

In 1968, Deacon Maccubbin quit the U.S. Army.
He’d been stationed in Virginia with the National Guard while the movement against the Vietnam War reached a fever pitch. The Norfolk native started to feel guilty donning his uniform, knowing young men were dying in droves for an absurd cause. So Maccubbin burned his military papers. He spent a little under a year at Fort Belvoir, plotting his return to a civilian life guided by activism.
“I told them I was gay,” says the 73-year-old Dupont Circle resident, whose closet door came “flying off” when he was 28. “You could do that and they would sometimes discharge you.”
It worked. In 1969, Maccubbin came to D.C. on what was supposed to be a two-week vacation. He found an affordable boarding house about a block from the circle and fell in love with the city. Gay political groups and bars had taken root; anti-war and civil-rights demonstrations abounded.
An entrepreneur at heart, Maccubbin bought an ailing crafts store in Dupont two years later and transformed it into Earthworks, a head shop. (“We were all hippies,” he quips.) A trip to New York in 1972 would change his life. In Greenwich Village, Maccubbin stumbled across Oscar Wilde Bookshop, a store devoted to LGBTQ literature, considered the first of its kind.
“It was a very tiny, little space that had maybe a few dozen books on the shelves,” Maccubbin recalls. “But it was a warm and welcoming place where you could read stories about yourself.”
The District lacked such a literary mirror. In an age where coming out was more dangerous than it usually is now, when being openly gay often triggered prejudice and scorn, books and newspapers like the Washington Blade, established in 1969, played a crucial role in creating communities. Print mattered, not only as a means of relaying information on gay happenings but also as one of drawing queer folk together.
Sensing a demand in the District, Maccubbin opened Lambda Rising, D.C.’s first LGBTQ bookstore, at 1724 20th St. NW, in 1974. He’d settled on the name after the International Gay Rights Congress in Edinburgh adopted the Greek letter as a symbol of solidarity. Lambda Rising’s first space was about 300 square feet and stocked with 250 titles. Maccubbin spent $4,000 to launch it.
At the time, “there weren’t many things that were gay” in the neighborhood, he says. “But people were here and they were gay.” Other residents were gay-friendly. After the store’s windows were smashed in the middle of the night, business owners along Connecticut Avenue NW organized a collection for Lambda Rising and donated the proceeds to Maccubbin, he says.
Today, Lambda Rising’s final storefront, at 1625 Connecticut Ave. NW, is a Comfort One Shoes. Other LGBTQ spaces have vanished from Dupont, too, including Mr. P’s, the Fraternity House (later, Omega), Phase 1’s Northwest outpost, and the Last Hurrah (next called Badlands, and most recently, Apex)—watering holes that catered to gay men. D.C.’s queer quarter has diminished with the fading of such institutional anchors, places where LGBTQ individuals could play out their identities and lower their guard among birds of a feather.
In these venues’ absence have sprung new venues and meeting places, many along the 14th and U Street NW corridors, serving D.C.’s next generation of LGBTQ denizens. The concentration of queer culture has scattered, however, and some look back on the “gayborhood’s” heyday with pride and saudade.
Gay Dupont may not be dead, but it’s slowed down considerably—as have those who vivified it.
 
Queer pioneers like Maccubbin paved the way for the District’s current state of LGBTQ affairs, a far less radical one. A year after Lambda opened, he, some friends, and a few nonprofits put together D.C. “Gay Pride Day,” which would eventually become Capital Pride. 
By the end of the 1970s, Lambda Rising had relocated to a 900-square-foot retail space around the corner, on S Street NW. “Some of the customers said they would not be able to go into the new store because it was ‘too public,’” Maccubbin explains. “I’m happy to say we didn’t lose any customers as a result of the move. In fact, we gained a lot of new ones.”
In a sign that Dupont was reifying its reputation as a queer “ghetto” like the Village in New York and Castro in San Francisco, Gay Pride Day 1979 attracted 10,000 people and stretched three blocks. By 1983, attendance had doubled.
Lambda Rising’s business—and intended status as “more than a bookstore”—also flourished. In 1984, Maccubbin again moved the shop, this time to what would be its ultimate location at 1625 Connecticut Ave. NW.
Throughout its history, Lambda Rising served as a community center, rendezvous spot, and gossip mill for the District’s gay population. Visitors read but also cruised: Finding a partner or roommate at the shop was as essential to its social function as discovering an author who spoke to one’s experience. Maccubbin still has letters from patrons, near and far, who took advantage.
“Someone in Alexandria, Va. was letting me know how much he appreciated Lambda Rising because he knew his 15-year-old son was gay, but didn’t know how to handle that,” he says. The man told Maccubbin “how it was so refreshing to bring him in and show him around and let him know he was loved.”
Maccubbin attributes Lambda Rising’s decline to the Internet, in tandem with a globalized economy. Competitors began advertising in the same publications, such as the Advocate, and selling wholesale queer merchandise like rainbow flags and rings.
“Lambda Rising went the way of independent bookstores,” says Jeff Donahoe, secretary of the Rainbow History Project, a D.C.-based group that preserves LGBTQ history. “At one time, it might have been the only place you felt comfortable going into to purchase gay books. There was a certain amount of announcing yourself by going in there: ‘I didn’t know he/she was gay.’”
Donahoe gives queer tours of Dupont upon request, and says fewer people raise their hands when he asks whether they think of the neighborhood as “gay central” than in the past. Logan Circle, Shaw, and even NoMa have become popular answers. The LGBTQ fabric of the city has shifted “east and everywhere,” including to the suburbs, says Donahoe, who came here in 1986.
“At least one woman who I was friends with said that any man who lived in Dupont Circle was to be considered gay until proven straight,” he recalls. “That’s one person’s anecdote, but I think you’d get a lot of nodding heads if you told [it] around your office, if it’s people of a certain age.”
***
Talk to residents who’ve lived in D.C. for at least a couple decades and many will recount Dupont as a refuge from hate and discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Miguel Mejia has worked for Whitman-Walker Health since 1992, when the clinic was located at 14th and S streets NW. Mejia, who emigrated from El Salvador in the 1980s, did HIV/AIDS outreach within the District’s Latino community. He remembers local LGBTQ bars holding themed nights such as drag shows from Thursdays to Sundays.
“Dupont Circle was like a little island where people would come and have a good time,” he says.
Still, at Whitman-Walker, some clients scheduled appointments outside of rush hour so as not to be recognized entering the clinic: “They would have to hide” because of LGBTQ stigma, Mejia says.
His colleague Joe Izzo, who’s served as a psychotherapist since the early 1990s, recalls “people dying left, right, and center” at the height of HIV/AIDS, which hit D.C. around 1983. “It was very much like a war zone.”
“The way of dealing with the shame, fear, horror, and trauma of the AIDS epidemic was that people just drank and drugged,” Izzo adds. “It was very prevalent in the bars and clubs. People were getting wasted and not realizing they were putting themselves at even higher risk [of HIV].”
Politically, the disease helped unify D.C.’s LGBTQ population in a more robust push for equality. As Rick Rosendall, the executive director of the District’s Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, recounts, residents in and around Dupont Circle fought to repeal an anti-sodomy law, a ban on gay domestic partnerships, and the suppression of queer marriages. Progress came piecemeal.
But despite the coalition of LGBTQ people and allies that had coalesced, Dupont remained a zone where privilege and exclusion fractured gay unity. Rosendall remembers “problems with carding” at bars. “There has always been racism and transphobia and discrimination in our community,” he adds. Some even criticized Lambda Rising, Maccubbin explains, for purportedly not having literature or other goods, like greeting cards, that were inclusive. He says the store did as much as it could, constantly attempting to be “multicultural and multiracial.”
Divisions in Dupont also persisted along gender lines. Bonnie Morris, a local professor who sits on the board of the Rainbow History Project, characterizes the neighborhood as something of a “mixed bag” for women during the latter half of the 20th century. Although venues like Club Chaos on 17th Street NW and Food for Thought Café at Black Cat provided queer women a place to partake and perform, some felt unwelcome at bars frequented by white men, she adds. 
“What has remained as the face of gay culture in D.C. is primarily what represents men’s history or men’s interests,” Morris says. “There’s now overwhelming interest in securing attention to trans and lesbian culture… On the other hand, I enjoy the intersection of everyone out for Pride.”
Mejia says there’s “no doubt” Dupont was less diverse 20 years ago, economically and racially. But, he suggests, it was part of a “process” that led to all different types of people arriving there.
“My theory is this: For us to get where we are right now, there has to be a beginning,” he says. “So this community took over and said, ‘Look, we need to take care of ourselves, because if we don’t, nobody’s going to do it for us. We need to create a space where we can feel safe.’ Other people went to that particular area to feel, at least for an hour, [for] an evening, what they were.”
Somewhere between one and two decades ago, the neighborhood started losing its queerness—and some started worrying about the future of the District’s LGBTQ community.
Morris recounts when Dupont was affectionately called the “Fruit Loop”; these days, people give her blank stares when she uses that term. Bookstores and bars have closed. “Young people gained more rights, more people were accepted in their own families, they didn’t have to go to a ‘gayborhood’ to get that feeling,” she explains. “I miss the sense of a subculture.”
Maccubbin says he observed the paradigm shift away from Dupont about 11 years ago: a sign of “progress” for a community that had, on balance, desired to be “treated like everyone else.” 
“I believe part of it was mainstreaming and normalization,” Maccubbin proffers. “In part, it was gentrification; in part it was real estate becoming more expensive. People moved eastward and found places elsewhere. It’s kind of natural. The same happened in [other cities].”
In addition to norms changing, Morris points the finger at technology: Online dating and mobile apps, symptoms of a more “image-driven” culture, have lessened the need for LGBTQ spaces. It’s easier to swipe left on Tinder or find a hook-up on Grindr than to freshen up and hit the town. 
Which, of course, doesn’t mean area queer folk don’t relish a fun night of drinking and dancing. Walk into the Duplex Diner on a Thursday, Cobalt on a Friday, or Number Nine on a Saturday, and you’ll encounter bodies bumping to the beats of songs that’ve played since the ’80s. Within the last year, at least three gay bars from Dupont to Shaw have supplemented the tunes. Another, The Dirty Goose, plans to open on U Street NW this spring—near Nellie’s and Town Danceboutique.
Shea Van Horn has co-DJed MIXTAPE, a queer dance party, since 2008. The 46-year-old entertainment professional (who also promotes events and performs as a drag queen named Summer Camp) says when he first arrived in the District in 1998, much of gay men’s nightlife radiated west of Dupont Circle, near P Street NW. Over time, he grew interested in finding “alternative” spaces that were friendly.
“Sometimes it might just be a matter of more traditional gay spaces already being booked,” Van Horn says. “So if you want to find a space to throw a party or event, it requires creative thinking. You end up with an LGBT clientele that’s more open to the idea that we don’t have to go to a bar that’s been a gay bar for a very long time in its history… [and is] curious to venture farther afield.”
Does it matter whether D.C. has a “Fruit Loop” anymore? Not to the DJ: “I feel better knowing that there are a variety of places to choose from so I can seek out different aspects of the community when I want.”
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Ensuring events accommodate everyone beneath the LGBTQ umbrella poses a challenge. “Speaking from my own experiences, I’ll look out at the dance floor of the parties I throw—let’s say MIXTAPE specifically—and it tends to be gay, cis, white men as the majority,” Van Horn says. “We’ve never marketed it with that sort of audience in mind: We try to promote it as a safe space for all. I would say there’s a lot of room to improve and to curate more diversity.”
That’s a concern shared by 32-year-old Kate Ross and 26-year-old Marissa Barrera, who founded the Coven, “a monthly, witchy party for queer women” inspired by the third season of American Horror Story on FX. The pair typically hosts the party at Smith Public Trust in Brookland, which can accommodate up to 350 people. At the Coven’s first gathering earlier this year, the rain and the distance from downtown didn’t stop folks from showing up. “It speaks to how much people want a space to congregate,” Barrera says. “It’s like a claimed queer space for the night,” Ross points out.
Ross says big-name LGBTQ spaces like Nellie’s and Town have started attracting a fair share of straight customers, not all of whom are educated about or sensitive to the community’s culture. “It’s disconcerting,” she says. “I’m in my safe space—why am I being hit on by a guy? I don’t know if there’s some type of straight entitlement where straight people feel they can come into our spaces.”
In the kind of “crossover” now apparent along the U Street corridor, Ross says she would like to see more respect for the norms of the queer community (no homophobic comments or staring, please) as well as a greater understanding of D.C.’s LGBTQ history. “It’s like they’re sightseeing in gay bars.”
The duo see value in a central gay neighborhood. Ross, who moved to the District in 2006 and lived in Dupont for four years, fondly recalls making gay friends on 17th Street NW by chance: “I would end up at Annie’s at the end of every night, which was awesome.”
Within the District’s contemporary queer community, though, not everyone has it easy. Ageism and body-policing remain issues, particularly among young gay men. But as D.C.’s LGBTQ folk have come and gone—in and out of Dupont Circle—the essentials haven’t changed. 
“It’s not that much different from 20, 30 years ago, what we have now,” Mejia says. “People still have a good time and try to figure it out and cruise in a club, pick somebody up if they don’t have a partner, see if they get lucky in the grocery store, bar, 7-Eleven. Because we’re human.”
“That’s still the same.”

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