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Ire erupts over gay, trans portions of new teaching guidelines.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California has overhauled its sex education guidance for public school teachers, encouraging them to talk about gender identity with kindergartners and give advice to LGBT teenagers for navigating relationships and having safe sex, the Associated Press reports.

LGBT advocates praised the new recommendations for giving attention to a community that is often left out of sex education policies. But some parents and conservative groups assailed the more than 700-page document as an assault on parental rights, arguing it exposes children to ideas about sexuality and gender that should be taught at home, the AP reports. 

The guidance approved last week by the California State Board of Education does not require educators to teach anything. It is designed as a guide for teachers to meet state standards on health education, such as nutrition, physical activity and combating alcohol and drug abuse, the AP reports. 

But it’s the parts about sex that got the most attention during a public hearing on May 8. The framework tells teachers that students in kindergarten can identify as transgender and offers tips for how to talk about that, adding “the goal is not to cause confusion about the gender of the child but to develop an awareness that other expressions exist,” the AP reports. 

It gives tips for discussing masturbation with middle-schoolers, including telling them it is not physically harmful, and for discussing puberty with transgender teens that creates “an environment that is inclusive and challenges binary concepts about gender,” the AP reports. 

Many residents spoke against the curriculum during a lengthy meeting last week. 

The post Calif. sex ed. gets LGBT-affirmative overhaul appeared first on Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights.

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LONDON — Transgender women increase their risk of getting breast cancer by taking hormones, research suggests according to a Daily Mail (U.K.) article.

People assigned a male gender at birth but who take estrogen to transition are more likely to get breast cancer than men. Meanwhile, transgender men lower their risk of breast cancer by taking testosterone, a study has revealed. 

The research follows previous studies that have shown that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) increases the risk of breast cancer in menopausal women, the Daily Mail reports. 

The study, published in the British Medical Journal, suggested hormone treatment could similarly increase risk of breast cancer among transgender women.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the U.K., with about 55,000 women and 400 men diagnosed each year, the Daily Mail reports. 

Scientists at the University Medical Centre in Amsterdam investigated rates of breast cancer in nearly 3,500 transgender people receiving hormone treatment compared with the general Dutch population.

Of the 2,260 transgender women they looked at, 15 were diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, a higher rate than the general male population.

In 1,229 transgender men, there were four cases of invasive breast cancer, a lower rate than among the general female population, the Daily Mail reports. 

The post Trans women at higher risk for breast cancer appeared first on Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights.

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‘Data suggest that kissing may be associated with transmission of oropharyngeal gonorrhoea in MSM, irrespective of whether sex also occurs,” researchers conclude.

ADELAIDE, Australia — The act of kissing has been revealed as a previously neglected route for the transmission of gonorrhoea among men who have sex with men (MSM), Cosmos magazine and other outlets report.

A questionnaire-based study led by Eric Chow from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, published in the journal BMJ Sexually Transmitted Infections, found that men who kissed multiple male partners in a three-month period had between 46-81 percent higher odds of contracting throat, or oropharyngeal, gonorrhoea compared to men who kissed only one partner or didn’t kiss men with whom they had sex, Cosmos reports.

“These data suggest that kissing may be associated with transmission of oropharyngeal gonorrhoea in MSM, irrespective of whether sex also occurs,” the researchers conclude.

To make the finding, Chow and colleagues invited gay and bisexual clients to a major public sexual health service in Melbourne to fill out a survey regarding sexual encounters over the preceding three months. The questions asked whether, and how often, intimate encounters with other men involved kissing-only, kissing with sex or sex without kissing, Cosmos reports. 

The exercise ran throughout 2016 and more than 3,000 men agreed to do the paperwork.

Among the cohort, just over 6 percent presented with throat gonorrhoea. The highest rates were among men who had four or more partners who kissed, whether or not sex occurred, Cosmos reports.

The post Study finds gonorrhoea passed through kissing appeared first on Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights.

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Rehoboth is terrific but don’t overlook nearby Lewes and Milton in your home search. (Washington Blade photo by Daniel Truitt)

Now that winter is over, summer is coming! And there’s no place like Coastal Delaware in the summertime. If you are looking to turn your rental budget into some equity at the beach, you have quite a few options to purchase property.

Of course, finding a home is not really a ‘game.’ And especially with one of the biggest investments of our lives, we love options, but too many can be overwhelming. Get in touch with a local beach Realtor to help you chart your course and narrow your focus. You have a choice of buying land to build on, a condo, town house, single/detached home, historic district property, or brand new construction. There are tons of new communities springing up with varying amenities like pools, fitness centers, and walking paths – some within walking/biking distance and many within only a 15-minute drive to the beach. In Delaware, unlike D.C. (especially at rush hour), a 15-minute drive can take you 10 miles and a world away in terms of price range.

So, what’s happened across the Bay Bridge since Labor Day?

Prices have inched up a bit since last year and market activity is brisk. It sounds like the D.C. market is highly competitive with multiple offers and contracts over the asking price. Our market environment is not quite as fast, but we have experienced fairly quick sales this spring for desirable, well-priced properties. If you are looking online for a home you hope to tour when you come to the beach, you may want to schedule a trip soon.

As a point of reference, as of earlier this week, there were 82 condos and single family homes for sale in-town Rehoboth. That’s a great selection. Prices range from $279,000 to over $4 million, depending on the type of property, size, condition, amenities and location. An average “in-town” price is $1.5+M for a single/detached home. But remember, the Delaware beaches extend well beyond the Rehoboth City limits. You can stretch your dollar if you venture even a few miles north or west.

Five miles puts you in Downtown Lewes and another 10 puts you in Downtown Milton – and there are many great communities and options in-between. You can bike between Lewes and Rehoboth on the new trail, through Gordon’s Pond and Cape Henlopen, or through the outlets – and even stop for a beer.

By contrast, there are 37 condos/homes for sale as of earlier this week in downtown Lewes. Prices in town range from $308K for a condo to $2.7 million for a beachfront home. Lewes offers an eclectic blend of charming historic architecture and some brand-new construction, albeit on a much smaller scale than Rehoboth. And much of Lewes East of Route 1 (while not necessarily “in town Lewes”) offers easy access to the quiet Delaware Bay Beach. Your budget can stretch a bit more in Lewes – and you still have easy access to Rehoboth. One of our local restaurants, Heirloom, was a featured guest last week and served dinner at the James Beard Foundation in New York.

And if you are willing to go another five miles north, Milton and its surrounding communities offer tremendous value, compared to Rehoboth and Lewes, offering increasing dining options and gems like its renovated Milton Theater and Dogfish Head brewery.

Plan a trip to Coastal Delaware soon and check out the new restaurants that have opened and re-opened over the winter in Rehoboth, Dewey, Lewes and Milton – both downtown and on the highway – from coffee and pastry to wine bars and brew pubs. It’s going to be a great summer at the beach! 

Lee Ann Wilkinson is a Realtor and CEO of The Lee Ann Wilkinson Group of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Gallo Realty, the top-selling real estate team in Delaware and #4 nationally for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. Visit LeeAnnGroup.com, email LeeAnn@LeeAnnGroup.com, or call her at 302-645-6664 for information on living at the beach.

The post ‘Game of Homes’ at the beach appeared first on Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights.

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Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

Like rainbow flags at a pride parade, crossovers are everywhere. There are more than 125 different models, but add in all the various trim levels (such as Limited, Platinum, Premium, Sport, Ultimate and so on) and suddenly there are too many choices to count. To keep things simple, here are three solid contenders.  

MITSUBISHI ECLIPSE CROSS
$25,000
MPG: 26 city/29 highway
Zero-60 mph: 8.6 seconds

This all-new compact crossover from Mitsubishi is a twist on the typical Eclipse, a sporty coupe and convertible produced from 1989-2011. Today’s Eclipse Cross is just as cocky on the outside, with an angled grille that borrows heavily from Lexus and a raised rear similar to the brash BMW X4. 

The cabin is pleasant, with soft-touch materials, optional faux leather and nicely configured controls. Plenty of room for passengers and cargo, with rear seats that fold easily. Yet while the front seats are fairly comfortable, there’s no adjustable lumbar support to ease the ride on long trips. 

The 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment is standard, but opt for the raised display atop the dash with its center-console touchpad. Being one of those people who stubbornly refuses to ask for directions or read instructions to assemble IKEA furniture, I had to surrender and read the owner’s manual to use the less-than-intuitive voice-command system. 

As for the engine, it’s quiet and perky enough; just give yourself enough time to merge onto the freeway or pass another vehicle on two-lane backroads. The overall handling is smooth over most surfaces, but beware tackling pesky parking-garage speed bumps except at the slowest speeds. Blind-spot monitoring is standard on all models, which helps offset some of the impaired rear visibility from the dramatically sloped roof. 

Other safety features can be added, including lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise control and automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection. A big plus: Mitsubishi now joins Hyundai and Kia in offering the best long-term warranties and roadside assistance available. 

TOYOTA HIGHLANDER
$32,000
MPG: 20 city/27 highway
Zero-60 mph: 7.8 seconds

Stepping up to a midsize ride, the Toyota Highlander is the classic crossover: comfortable, quiet and reliable. Available in six trim levels, the base model comes with a rather anemic four-cylinder engine. Luckily there’s an optional V6, which is standard on all the other models. 

Sure, zipping around sharp corners can bring some land-yacht body roll, but overall this crossover is responsive and stable. With three rows of seating, there’s room for eight (or seven, if you choose the cushy second-row captain’s chairs instead of a bench seat). 

Unfortunately, the third row is tight for adults and cargo room isn’t as roomy as other rides. But the long list of standard features would impress even the Fab Five: heated mirrors, windshield wiper de-icer, rearview camera, five USB ports, Bluetooth, automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking.

The higher trim levels offer even more goodies, of course, including a height-adjustable power liftgate, tri-zone climate control, second-row sunshades, heated/ventilated seats, heated steering wheel, panoramic sunroof, surround-view parking camera and 12-speaker JBL stereo. But hurry: A redesigned Highlander goes on sale in December, which means there likely will be good deals on the current 2019 models while they last. 

Toyota Highlander

MAZDA CX-9
$34,000
MPG: 22 city/28 highway
Zero-60 mph: 7.1 seconds

Slightly larger than the Toyota Highlander, the Mazda CX-9 midsize crossover mixes Japanese reliability with Euro handling and style. The stout snout and slanted liftgate are as sleek as any Volvo XC60. 

There’s also a classy, frameless rearview mirror (another nod to the Volvo XC60). Overall, the Mazda’s high-quality cabin — especially on the primo Signature trim, with its aluminum trim and genuine rosewood — is on par with Audi and BMW. Ditto the sporty handling and braking. 

Acceleration is smooth and peppy with a robust four-cylinder turbo used across all four trim levels. For its infotainment system, Mazda even adopted a large dial interface similar to the BMW iDrive format. With three seats, there’s enough room in the CX-9 for treks to Rehoboth or Lost River. But as with the Toyota Highlander, the third row and cargo area offer less space than some competitors. 

Unlike the Highlander, there’s no option for second-row captain’s chairs. Still, the CX-9 is quieter, feels lighter and comes with almost all the same features as the Highlander. Choosing between the two may come down to how tethered you are to your smartphone: The CX-9 comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which won’t arrive on the Highlander until the 2020 model. 

Mazda CX-9

The post AUTOS: Three current crossover standouts in a teeming market appeared first on Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights.

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Hi Michael,

Ethan and I have been dating for about a year. When we met he wasn’t out to his parents. He’s 22 so I was OK with this. I did tell him that if this relationship is going to go somewhere, I’d prefer he be out to them. I just think guys who aren’t out to their parents are kinda immature and fearful.

We talked about it a lot and Ethan also thought it was a good idea to come out to his parents. Not only because we’re dating but because he just thought he should.

So three months ago he came out and their reaction was really bad. Now they aren’t talking to him. 

As a result Ethan is now in a bad mood almost all the time. He was really close to them and says he is feeling like the rug got pulled out from under his life.

Ethan says he doesn’t blame me for his having come out to them, but I kinda feel like he does. Now he is almost always on a very short fuse. He apologizes some of the time and says he is just angry and upset at their reaction and he’s not mad at me.

I am trying to be patient and nice to him even when he is explosive, like when he snaps at me over some mundane thing I did, such as leaving a dripping coffee mug on the counter and it made a ring.

But lately I am feeling like I’m letting myself be abused. Why should I just take it?  So I am getting angry right back at him.

But when I yell, I don’t really feel better and it doesn’t cause him to stop yelling at me. Everything just gets worse.

What is the best way to respond?

Michael replies:

First off, look at the situation clearly. Ethan is being grouchy toward you, but being grouchy is not the same as being abusive. By telling yourself that you are being abused, you are getting yourself angrier and more reactive. You need to calm yourself, not egg yourself on, if you are going to be able to respond thoughtfully to a complicated situation.

Sometimes being nice to someone who is not being nice to you is the best choice. For example, when Ethan first came out to his parents and they responded badly, you were being compassionate if you absorbed his upset without reproach.  

And sometimes it makes sense to be angry when someone treats you badly. Anger can send a strong message and it can galvanize us to all sorts of positive actions. But be discerning about when you choose to respond with anger by asking yourself if the situation is worth your getting angry and what your anger is likely to accomplish.

When you’re getting mad at Ethan and the two of you go nowhere except downhill, you are simply giving a grouchy guy power over your mood and letting his bad mood infect you so that you feel miserable.

My suggestion is that you find a way not to just “take it,” but at the same time not act out of anger. This is not easy. But it may leave you feeling a lot better than being sweet in response to a three-month grouchfest, or being miserable and furious. And by pursuing this route, you have a better chance of achieving some sort of useful outcome.

I suggest that you talk with Ethan in a way that lets him know where you stand. I’d suggest doing this when Ethan isn’t angry, because he will be more likely to be receptive to what you say. Let him know that you understand where he’s coming from, that you care about him, that you are fed up with bearing the brunt of his unhappiness and that you want him to take some steps forward.

For example: “Ethan, I know it was painful for you to be judged and rejected by your parents. Since then, I see how upset you are. I want you to know that I miss you. You’ve been pretty preoccupied and grumpy and I’m getting worn out by your meanness. I’m wondering if there’s something you might do to come to better terms with what happened. You seem pretty stuck.”

Don’t issue an ultimatum, such as, “If you don’t change, I’m out of here.” Threats are bad for relationships. If Ethan keeps being nasty toward you, then you will have to decide if you want to stay. 

You have an opportunity here to acquire an invaluable skill: Staying calm and thoughtful when someone close to you is acting badly or letting you down. When you can do this, you are able to be a solid and resilient person in all your relationships.

Michael Radkowsky, Psy.D. is a licensed psychologist who works with LGBT couples and individuals in D.C. He can be found online at michaelradkowsky.com. All identifying information has been changed for reasons of confidentiality. Have a question? Send it to Michael@michaelradkowsky.com.

The post ADVICE: Bad family reaction causes tension between boyfriends appeared first on Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights.

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A Cuban lawmaker who is attending an LGBTQ Victory Institute conference in Colombia on May 18, 2019, said activists were “paid” to organize an unsanctioned LGBTI march in Havana that took place last week. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

BOGOTÁ, Colombia — A Cuban lawmaker on Saturday suggested independent activists were “paid” to organize an unsanctioned LGBTI march that took place in Havana last week.

“It’s not only religious groups, but also these so-called activists are often times paid to hold this type of event,” said Luis Ángel Adán Roble in response to questions from the Washington Blade during a panel at an LGBTQ Victory Institute conference that is taking place in the Colombian capital of Bogotá. “I am not saying that everyone who went to it were paid or anything.”

The National Center for Sexual Education, a group directed by Mariela Castro, the daughter of former Cuban President Raúl Castro, was to have held a march in Havana on May 11 in commemoration of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.

CENESEX on May 6 announced the cancellation of the Havana march and another in the city of Camagüey that was to have taken place on Friday. Independent LGBTI activists sharply criticized the decision and announced the unsanctioned march in Havana.

State security officials in the days leading up to the unsanctioned march told independent activists not to attend it. They also prevented some of them from leaving their homes in order to attend it and other unsanctioned IDAHOBiT marches that were scheduled to take place elsewhere in the country.

Juana Mora Cedeño and Isbel Díaz Torres were among the independent activists who were detained before the Havana march that Adán said “was not authorized.”

“Like for any march in any country in the world, you have to have authorization,” he told the Blade.

Maykel González Vivero, publisher of Tremenda Nota, the Blade’s media partner in Cuba, and other independent journalists on the island, along with reporters from international news agencies, reported several people who participated in the march were arrested. Pictures and videos that were posted to social media show men in civilian clothing manhandling some of the detained protesters before they were placed into cars.

Adán told the Blade that four people were detained after he said they attacked a police officer. He also criticized independent journalists for “only showing one picture, but not showing videos of these supposed detentions.”

Mariela Castro, with whom Adán is closely aligned, continues to insist without proof that opponents of the Cuban government in Miami and elsewhere organized the unsanctioned march. Adán told the Blade he did not know about the detentions of three independent LGBTI activists — Roberto Ramos Mori, Leodán Suárez Quiñones and Yasmany Sánchez — in the days after the event.

“I don’t know anything about it because I have been in Colombia since Thursday,” said Adán.

Independent LGBTI activists held an unsanctioned march in Havana on May 11, 2019. (Photo courtesy of Pedro Luis García)

Cleve Jones, a San Francisco-based activist, was to have been the grand marshal of the CENESEX-organized IDAHOBiT march in Havana.

CENESEX on May 10 honored Jones at a gala that took place at Havana’s Karl Marx Theater. Jones the following day attended a party with Mariela Castro that began at the same time as the unsanctioned march.

Adán told the Blade a “new way to” commemorate IDAHOBiT in Cuba “took place.” Jones and Rainbow World Fund Executive Director Jeff Cotter in a statement they released on May 14 said they are “dismayed” by the arrests that took place at the unsanctioned Havana march.

Blade reporter blocked from entering Cuba on May 8

CENESEX announced the cancellation of its IDAHOBiT marches against the backdrop of increased tensions between the U.S. and Cuba over its continued support of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and an economic crisis that has prompted food rationing, fuel shortages and blackouts on the Communist island. The unsanctioned march in Havana took place three days after the Cuban government prevented this reporter from entering the country.

My questions (in Spanish) to Cuban Assemblyman Luis Ángel Adán Roble about the arrests at the May 11 unsanctioned #LGBTI march in Havana and the arrests of three independent LGBTI activists in recent days @WashBlade @LosAngelesBlade pic.twitter.com/3u1aUJQkD2

— Michael K. Lavers (@mklavers81) May 18, 2019

The post Cuban lawmaker: Activists ‘paid’ to organize unsanctioned LGBTI march appeared first on Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights.

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The annual International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia was marked in the U.S. and around the world on May 17, 2019. (Photo by Ted Eytan; courtesy Flickr)

Politicians and activists in the U.S. and around the world on Friday commemorated the annual International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) issued a statement shortly before the Equality Act, which would add sexual orientation and gender identity to federal civil rights laws, passed in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“On International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, we reject the bigotry and discrimination that undermines our democracy and inflicts pain and violence on LGBTQ individuals around the world,” said Pelosi. “No person, anywhere, should face harassment or fear losing their jobs, their homes or their lives because of who they are or whom they love.”

OutRight Action International Executive Director Jessica Stern is among those who took part in a U.N. LGBT Core Group event in New York that commemorated IDAHOBiT.

Human Rights Campaign Global Ty Cobb in a statement noted a provision of Brunei’s new penal code based on Shariah that sought to impose to death penalty upon anyone found guilty of consensual same-sex sexual relations and the continued anti-LGBTI crackdown in Chechnya. Cobb also criticized the Trump administration for his “absence” of “leadership on these issues.”

“While countries and communities around the globe are increasingly embracing LGBTQ people, far too many of us still live with the threat of discrimination, violence and even death — including in Brunei, where draconian laws are targeting LGBTQ people, and in Chechnya, where alarming human rights violations against LGBTQ people continue,” said Cobb. “In the absence of White House leadership on these issues, it is critical that the international community continues to stand together in support of LGBTQ people around the world.”

U.S. Ambassador to Nepal Randy Berry and the U.S. Embassy in Honduras on Friday publicly acknowledged IDAHOBiT.

132 countries stand together today to support LGBTI rights and to fight against prejudice & discrimination. Let’s reaffirm there is NO place for hatred & violence against #LGBTI people. #idahot #Nepal pic.twitter.com/tSaIWQKOuw

— Ambassador Randy Berry (@USAmbNepal) May 17, 2019

The Australian Embassy in D.C. on Friday hosted an IDAHOBiT event with Amazin LeThi of Athlete Ally and other activists. The State Department has yet to publicly acknowledged IDAHOBiT.

“After issuing a strong statement last year for IDAHOTB, it’s sad that Secretary Pompeo apparently decided not to issue a statement this year — on the very day that the U.S. Congress voted to grant civil rights protections to LGBT Americans,” Council for Global Equality Chair Mark Bromley told the Washington Blade in a statement. “This is the first time in many years that there has not been a statement from the secretary or the State Department in recognition of IDAHOTB, a message that is then amplified in meaningful ways by our embassies abroad.”

Victory Institute conference in Colombia begins with moment of silence

IDAHOBiT, which was previously known as the International Day Against Homophobia, first took place on May 17, 2005, to commemorate the World Health Organization’s decision to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder.

Lawmakers in Taiwan on Friday approved a bill that will extend marriage rights to same-sex couples. Consensual same-sex sexual relations nevertheless remain criminalized in more than 70 countries and anti-LGBTI violence and discrimination remains pervasive around the world.

Police in the Turkish capital of Ankara on Friday reportedly disrupted an IDAHOBiT event. Cuban police on May 11 arrested several people who participated in an unsanctioned LGBTI march in Havana.

Mariela Castro, the daughter of former Cuban President Raúl Castro who directs Cuba’s National Center for Sexual Education, on Friday in a series of posts on her Facebook page highlighted several IDAHOBiT events in the city of Camagüey. An LGBTQ Victory Institute conference that is taking place in Bogotá, Colombia, began on Friday with a moment of silence in honor of people in Latin America who have been victims of violence because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

One minute of silence for all the LGBTIQ persons, victims of violence in the Americas #LGBTILeaders @VictoryInst @Caribeafirmativ pic.twitter.com/ppSKNBOtwD

— Alhelí ♡ (@AlheliPR) May 17, 2019

The post IDAHOBiT marked in US, around the world appeared first on Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights.

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Asia Kate Dillon as the Adjudicator in ‘John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum.’ (Photo by Nico Tavernise for Lionsgate)

The creative team on “John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum,” out Friday, May 17, liked actor Asia Kate Dillon’s trademark neck tattoo enough to let it be seen in their role as the Adjudicator. It’s so prominent, Dillon is used to covering it when they act.

The character is all business but the tattoo, which says “Einfühlung,” (German for empathy), perhaps adds a layer of insight that wouldn’t otherwise have been there. 

Non-binary actor Dillon has been a pioneer in bringing queer representation to Hollywood. They also play non-binary character Taylor Mason on Showtime’s “Billions.” 

During a Blade phone interview Tuesday, Dillon talked extensively about their “Parabellum” role and other projects. 

On the Adjudicator: “As a fan of the John Wick saga, it was really fun for me as an actor to come into a world that had already been developed and to play a new character that takes the audience deeper into the mythology and philosophy of that world. The Adjudicator is the enforcer of the binding rules of the High Table, the shadowy International Assassins Guild. In the second movie, John Wick, played by Keanu Reeves, kills a member of the High Table inside the Continental Hotel. That’s a big no-no in the world of the movie. He has broken the rules and he has to pay. Every action has consequences. … It’s really fun to play a character whose job is to come in and intimidate everyone.”

On the origin of the role, which Dillon helped flesh out with director Chad Stahelski after Keanu Reeves’ conception of it:  “The Adjudicator is all-business and no-nonsense. My character doesn’t make the rules; they just enforce them. Keanu and Chad were both interested in a character who has a quiet power, a quiet calm. Because they don’t take up physical arms in the film, it is really important that they are still able to be intimidating to characters like John Wick, characters that you don’t think can be intimidated.”

On the character’s costumes, designed by Luca Mosca: “Luca came up with all of this vintage Thierry Mugler high femme European fashion. It’s very architectural, very structural, but still showing some skin. There were sensuous fabrics like velvet and silk. The costume really allowed me to step into the character (no pun intended).”

On “Billions”: “I can’t believe we’re in the middle of airing season four right now. The fact that I am a non-binary actor playing a non-binary character on a major television show is humbling and gratifying. Taylor is a multi-dimensional fully fleshed out character who is integral to the plot of the show. It is incredibly rewarding to me as an actor. When I was a young person it would have meant a great deal to me if I had seen a non-binary character on television.”

On their previous role as Brandi on “Orange is the New Black”: “Playing Brandi was a challenge. You have a character who is a self-identified Nazi white supremacist. My job is to bring depth and multi-dimensionality to the character. For me, I started with the fact that Brandi is just incredibly afraid. Brandi has been taught to hate.”

On guesting on “Project Runway”: “It was a dream come true. love ‘Project Runway.’ I have watched it since season one. Getting to meet Tim Gunn was an honor. They’re all such incredible people. The show is inspiring to be around and watch.”

On doing theater this summer:  “I get back as often as I can. I started on the stage, so I love the theater.”

On MIRROR/FIRE Productions (mirrorfire.org), a company they founded in 2016 with Christopher Hirsch: “Right now, we’re producing a Black Lives Matter/Say Their Names piece. It’s an evening of stories shared by friends, family and community members followed by a talk-back.”

On an upcoming EP: “I sing, I dance, I do it all. I have a handful of songs that I’m really proud of and I just found a producer that I’m excited to be working with. I’m eager to put it out there and hopefully other people will love it too.”

On what drives them: “Whether it’s self-generated work or collaborative work with others, I always want to make sure that my work is uplifting and supporting historically marginalized and historically disenfranchised peoples. Whether it’s … theater or film and television, that is my goal.”

Asia Kate Dillon at the New York premiere of ‘John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum.’ (Photo by Marion Curtis StarPix for Lionsgate)

The post Actor Asia Kate Dillon relishes role in new ‘John Wick’ movie appeared first on Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights.

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Scandals Captains Tim Kilbride and Joseph Sewell in action. (Photos by Eric Brown)

When the Washington Scandals were formed in 2013, members carved out their own niche for LGBT rugby in the Washington area. 

Their seasons consisted of scheduling matches with other teams from International Gay Rugby along with matches against LGBT-friendly straight teams. They also began attending tournaments throughout the Midwest and Eastern seaboard.

Fast-forward to 2019 and the Washington Blade checks in with the team on its growth and evolution. 

The Washington Scandals have competed on the world stage in two Bingham Cup Tournaments since 2016. At the 2018 Cup in Amsterdam, the Scandals were awarded the Ben Cohen Stand Up Award for Team Sportsmanship in recognition of their positive attitude and respect for other players.

Locally, the Scandals are a member of Division IV of the Mid-Atlantic Rugby Conference. A recent growth spurt has given the Scandals a strong potential to develop a second side (team) in the coming year. Just this past week, they had 44 players at one practice.

“We go through waves each season through recruitment, but we have become better about retention,” says Scandals Captain Tim Kilbride. “It’s been a big learning curve, but we have achieved a sweet spot and reached a critical mass.”

With a larger base of players to choose from, comes the ability to utilize rolling substitutions in matches. On Saturday, the Scandals will host a round-robin tournament in D.C. against the Baltimore Flamingos and the Philadelphia Gryphons.

The games will be shortened to 40 minutes for the tournament, which will serve as a trial for team rosters for the 2019 Capital City Rugby Cup in Columbus on Memorial Day weekend.

“We seek out matches of varying abilities, so our developmental players don’t have to just stand and watch,” Kilbride says. “It’s important to also have veterans on a team for field leadership. We don’t want our developmental players to get overwhelmed.”

Kilbride has been playing rugby since 2002 and has been with the Scandals since 2016. He mostly plays as a lock or a flanker.

“I love the physicality of the sport and the satisfaction of a hit,” Kilbride says. “We spend a lot of time together and team spirit is important for our success.”

Captain Joseph Sewell is quick to add that the creation of a second side (team) doesn’t mean the Scandals have an A-side and a B-side.

“Our development has an emphasis on creating harmonious units,” Sewell says. “Giving everyone playing time results in muscle memory and we are looking to develop two solid teams.”

He says the recent influx of players has led to creative scheduling to find match time for everyone but acknowledges that it’s a good problem to have.

Sewell joined the team in January, 2018 and plays fullback, wing and inside center. A recent highlight for him was traveling to New York with the Scandals for a match against the Gotham Knights.

“Here were two (International Gay Rugby) teams playing on the field before the professional rugby match of Rugby United New York,” Sewell says. “I scored the first try of the game and I have never been prouder of the way our guys played.”

The bond Sewell feels with his teammates is strong and the lessons learned go beyond the sport.

“My teammates are great examples of the type of person I want to be when I grow up. I am hoping to emulate many of their traits including patience and wisdom,” Sewell says. “There is such a powerful sense of community on the Scandals. My main reason for joining was to make friends, but I also learned how to play this really cool and mystical sport.”

The post Local gay rugby league finds its ‘sweet spot’ appeared first on Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights.

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