Kaine Event at Federico’s — Updated at 8:55 a.m. — “On Monday, May 13, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine will hold a roundtable in Arlington with fair housing advocates to discuss the work ahead to ensure equal access to housing for all Americans and address discrimination that LGBTQ Americans continue to face as they search for homes.” The event is now being held at 9 a.m. at Federico’s Ristorante Italiano (519 23rd Street S.) in Crystal City, per an updated media advisory.
Amazon Hiring for Alexa Job in Arlington — Among other open job positions for Amazon’s HQ2 in Arlington, the company is now hiring a “Principal Product Manager” for its Alexa Experience team. [Amazon]
Puppy Recovering from Pike Crash — “Earlier this week Yoda ran into oncoming traffic after escaping his leash. I ran after him in attempt to save him, which resulted in both of us getting hit by a car. I am okay but Yoda was not so lucky. He has two major fractures in his back leg which lead him into surgery. He is resting but having a difficult time.” [GoFundMe]
Satisfaction with Metro Rebounds — “Metro’s reputation in the region has improved dramatically in the past two years and has almost reached the positive levels it enjoyed before a fatal smoke incident in 2015, according to a Washington Post-Schar School poll… A 68 percent majority of Washington-area residents rate Metrorail positively, up from 42 percent in 2017. In 2013, 71 percent had positive ratings of the subway system.” [Washington Post]
Post Endorses Tafti — The Washington Post has endorsed challenger Parisa Dehghani-Tafti over incumbent Theo Stamos in the Democratic Commonwealth’s Attorney primary. [Washington Post]
SoberRide Record for Cinco de Mayo — “Nearly 800 (792) persons in the Washington-metropolitan area used the free safe ride service, SoberRide, this Cinco de Mayo as opposed to possibly driving home drunk.” [WRAP]
Family of Detained Arlington Man Seeks Answers — “Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met privately with the families of Americans detained abroad Tuesday and urged them not to abandon hope. The State Department declined to share the names of those present but they included… the daughter of Majd Kamalmaz, a 61-year-old psychotherapist from Arlington, Virginia, who has been missing in Syria since 2017.” [NBC News]
Jury Duty Changes — “The verdict is in, and at least from the standpoint of Arlington officials, a two-year-long revamp of how local jurors are selected appears to be a success. ‘We have received positive feedback,’ said Clerk of the Circuit Court Paul Ferguson.” [InsideNova]
Arlington is Near Top for Dog Owners — Arlington has ranked No. 14 among the most dog-friendly places in the U.S. in 2019, according to pet website Rover. The most popular breed in Arlington: mutts. [Zebra]
Va. to Implement Conversion Therapy Ban — Virginia’s Board of Psychology is a month away from potentially implementing a ban on conversion therapy on minors by licensed psychologists. “This has been a long, arduous process but make no mistake, Virginia is going to ban this ineffective, harmful practice on children,” Arlington’s Del. Patrick Hope (D) said via Twitter. “This is the first of many steps toward protecting Virginia’s children.” [Virginia Mercury, Twitter]
Nearby: Woman Runs All of Alexandria’s Streets — “For the last 19 weeks, Stephanie Lasure has been running every street in the City of Alexandria. She is weaving her way through every nook and cranny — down every block in Old Town, around every cul-de-sac in Seminary Hill and up every ascent in Rosemont.” [RunWashington]
For decades now, the only way to catch a drag show in Arlington, or Northern Virginia, was to head to Crystal City and line up at Freddie’s Beach Bar (555 23rd St S.)
But earlier this month, one bar in Clarendon began offering drag bingo nights as gay business leaders say growing demand for the glittery entertainment is opening up new doors for drag queens.
Ten years ago, RuPaul’s Drag Race set out to find, “America’s next drag superstar” but in doing so the reality competition show also launched drag onto a mainstream stage for the first time. The show has since garnered millions of fans online, launched modeling careers for contestants, and introduced straight viewers to historically gay slang like “kiki.”
And As RuPaul’s moved from a niche gay television network to VH1, so too did drag shows begin moving from the gay bars to the straight pubs.
“Our drag shows have been consistently popular for all these years,” said Freddie’s owner Freddie Lutz. “But I have noticed that with the RuPaul’s Drag Race coming on the scene that a lot of drag shows have been popping up all over the place — even in straight bars.”
“RuPaul has kind of made it more mainstream,” agreed long-time local drag queen Destiny B. Childs, who managed Freddies’ weekend drag shows for the last 15 years, adding that until recently not many straight bars hosted drag.
Arlington is now joining D.C. and other local jurisdictions in having drag events at straight bars. The mainstream move was kickstarted by the Board Room in Clarendon (925 N. Garfield Street), whose owner Mark Handwerger said he first had the idea to bring the glitz and glam of drag to his establishments after a trip to Las Vegas, Nevada.
“I went to a drag brunch out in Vegas and we ended up having to go to the 11 o’clock one because the 9 o’clock was sold out and the 3 o’clock was sold out,” he said of his trip with friends. “So it was like we came back thinking, ‘This could be a great fit’.”
Handwerger said to him incorporating drag events into the Board Room was no different than the modifications he’s made to his other bars like Buffalo Billiards as people’s taste changes.
“We try to look for trends and give people want they want,” he said.
But for the LGBT community, drag shows have been a fixture from the beginning. Over the decades, drag queens have donned make-up and wigs to start the Stonewall Riots and fundraise for AIDS research during the height of the epidemic.
Drag queens’ gender-bending performances are an integral part of the culture and history of queer and trans communities, stories some people worry could get lost in the translation to pop culture.
But Arlington is special, Childs and Lutz say, because traditionally Freddies’ encouraged mingling between the gay population and their straight, cis allies. Lutz said this is because when he bought the bar “Foxhole” and turned it into “Freddie’s” he never closed for renovations or kicked the regular bar clientele out.
“I just came in and started painting everything purple,” said Lutz. “We just had gay people start coming in and mixing with the dart-throwers. That was actually some of the most magical times.”
(Updated at 10:40 a.m.) Arlington Public Schools is developing a framework for a policy passed years ago aiming to protect transgender students from discrimination.
APS is trying to figure out how it could best achieve a 2015 policy aimed at protecting transgender and non-binary students from discrimination and bullying.
The Policy Implementation Procedure (PIP) is slated for revisions until June, per a timeline posted by APS.
“Staff has been reviewing a variety of resources to develop a working draft and outline of the procedures, but the working group has not yet finalized the draft,” said APS spokesman Frank Bellavia. He added that when the draft is ready it “will be shared with our Advisory Committees and others to gather feedback” but that at the moment no public input events were planned.
The PIP comes a year after Superintendent Patrick Murphy announced in a memo for the previous school year that gender identity had been added to the school system’s anti-bullying policy, and that transgender students will be allowed to use their bathroom that corresponds with their self-identified gender.
It’s popular on a Facebook group for APS parents where dozens of members expressed support for the PIP in discussions on the page, and 243 voted to favor of it in an informal poll.
One anonymous group calling themselves the “Arlington Parents Coalition,” however, called the PIP “radical” and said the coalition had “concerns” about it in a blog post.
When contacted by ARLnow via a form on their website — which appears to have been created in March and has only posted about the PIP development — a member declined to identify themselves or others in the group.
The 2015 policy the PIP hopes to support was unanimously approved by the School Board in 2015. Policy J-2, as it’s called, requires APS provide, “educational opportunities and learning environments that are free of discrimination, including harassment, on the basis of… gender identity or expression.”
“No student, on these bases, shall be denied access to educational or extracurricular programs, activities, services, or benefits, or be limited in the exercise of any right, privilege or advantage,” the policy says. Depending on the framework adopted, the PIP could have implications for bathrooms and other school facilities, sports teams, and school procedures.
The School Board Chair at the time, Emma Violand-Sánchez, said she was “very proud” of the policy.
Bellavia said the PIP has not been changed by the recent backlash from right-wing websites after transgender activist Sarah McBride read a book about trans kids, I Am Jazz, To Ashlawn students earlier this month.
Research from William Institute of UCLA’s School of Law released this month found a correlation between the presence of anti-bullying laws for sexual orientation in a state and fewer suicide attempts by youth. LGBT+ youth have historically reported high rates of bullying in studies, with one in three transgender high school students surveyed last year saying they attempted suicide and a third saying they felt unsafe in school.
New Hotel for DCA? — “A hotel might be in the works for Reagan National Airport, according to Jack Potter, CEO of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority… A spokeswoman for MWAA said they are still in the ideas phase and nothing is concrete.” [Washington Business Journal]
Parents Fight Proposed Key Changes — “Parents are battling for the school’s future after Arlington Public Schools surprised them with a plan to relocate Key [Elementary], an announcement that animated larger questions about race, class and the purpose of bilingual education.” [Washington Post]
APS Friday Closure Questioned — “Most schools in the DC region decided to stay open despite the wintry mix Friday morning, but Arlington County Public Schools decided to close leaving parents in disbelief.” [WJLA]
Kindergarteners Learn About Transgender — “Dozens of kindergarten students sat cross-legged in his classroom at Ashlawn Elementary School in Arlington, listening as an advocate for transgender rights paged through a children’s picture book about a transgender girl,” as part of an event with the National Education Association and the Human Rights Campaign. [Washington Post]
Chamber Partners with APS — “The Arlington Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce a partnership with Arlington Public Schools Career Center for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) program. The Chamber is in its fifth year of offering the YEA! Program, but this is its first class of students for the program as part of their Arlington Public Schools learning.” [Arlington Chamber of Commerce]
Dog With Dementia Falls into Storm Drain — “A small dog with dementia is missing after falling into a storm drain in Arlington, Virginia. The Animal Welfare League of Arlington tweeted out an alert Thursday and said the cute pup disappeared after falling into the sewer about 8 p.m.” [NBC Washington, Twitter]
ACPD Helps With Bush Funeral — Arlington County Police Department motor officers “had the honor of assisting with escorts” for the George H.W. Bush funeral yesterday. [Twitter]
Arlington County Named LGBTQ ‘All-Star’ — “For the third year in a row, Arlington has received national recognition for its protections of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community members. The County scored 92 out of 100 on the Municipal Equality Index (MEI)… because it scored at least an 85 despite being in a state without supportive state-level LGBTQ protections, the County also earned ‘all-star’ recognition.” [Arlington County]
Bikeshare Station Coming to Gravelly Point — A Capital Bikeshare station was being installed along the Mt. Vernon Trail at Gravelly Point Park yesterday. [Twitter]
County, Volunteers Planting Trees — “This fall alone, the Tree Stewards has planted about 300 trees. The group planned on planting 900, but the ice and snow in early November steered it a little off track. Arlington County contractors picked up the rest of the job.” [WDVM]
Flickr pool by Tom Mockler
MCM This Weekend — The Marine Corps Marathon is taking place Sunday morning, shutting down a bunch of streets around Arlington. Many of the street closures will be centered around Crystal City, a favorite gathering spot for spectators who root on runners on the final leg of the race, and Rosslyn, which hosts the starting miles of the race and its Finish Festival.
Candidates Weigh in on LGBT Center — “Wonderful in theory, but perhaps impractical in the current economic environment. That’s the Cliff’s Notes version of the response of the two Arlington County Board candidates to a calls for creation of a local community center specifically geared toward the county’s LGBT community.” [InsideNova]
Big Raise for Arlington Startup — Courthouse-based WireWheel, a data privacy compliance SaaS company, has closed a $10 million Series A round. Total funding raised to date is $13 million. [WireWheel]
Storm Approaches — “Here comes our nor’easter. Rain starts today and it’ll last into early tomorrow. It may amount to nearly two inches in some spots. Our weather turns windy tonight and perhaps much of tomorrow, when we could see some late-day clearing. Luckily for Sunday’s Marine Corps Marathon, shower chances are low.” [Washington Post]
Local GOP Getting Jump on Recruitment — “In recent years, the [GOP] has not only not been competitive in Arlington races, but at the local level often fails to field candidates at all. Presswood, who has been party chairman for almost three years, has worked hard to try and reverse that trend.” [InsideNova]
Photo courtesy John Broehm
Chess Growing in Popularity at Wakefield HS — A hot new trend with students at Wakefield High School: chess. The school offers chess boards for students and teachers to use during their lunch periods. Five or six students were regular players at the beginning of the year, but by the end of the year the number of students playing on a weekly basis grew to around 200, including standout varsity athletes like Amari Cooper and Ben Horsford. [InsideNova]
Religious Protesters Picket Freddie’s — A pair of religious protesters held signs and chanted anti-gay slogans outside of Crystal City LGBTQ watering hole Freddie’s Beach Bar over the weekend. Despite their message of intolerance, owner Freddie Lutz invited the two in to have a dialogue about their beliefs and why Lutz is proud of his bar and customers. [Washington Blade]
Ballston Mall Owner to Be Sold — The Cleveland-based owner of the revamped Ballston Quarter mall is being sold to a Toronto-based management company, Brookfield Asset Management, for a reported $11.4 billion. [Washington Business Journal]
Hot Day Ahead — Anyone spending time outdoors today should hydrate frequently and take proper precautions. The heat index is expected to climb into the 90s or even the low 100s. An air quality alert is also in effect. [Twitter, Twitter, National Weather Service]
Energy Rebate Program Ending — Arlington’s energy rebate program, which provides rebates to homeowners who add high-efficiency HVAC or water heaters, or who perform other energy-saving work, is ending due to county budget cuts. The last day to apply is today, June 18. [Twitter, EcoAction Arlington]
Rosslyn Bus Tunnel to Open — “A long-delayed bus tunnel in Rosslyn that is expected to help ease traffic in the area and significantly speed up bus trips has now been turned over to Metro, and should formally open within weeks. Metrobus and Arlington’s ART routes are expected to begin using the street-level tunnel June 24 through a glitzy new building between N. Moore Street and N. Lynn Street.” [WTOP]
GOP Beyer Challenger Courts LGBT Voters — “Thomas Oh, the Republican candidate embarked on an uphill quest to unseat U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-8th), is reaching out to a constituency often left untapped by local Republican candidate. ‘I proudly support the LGBT community. I firmly believe in providing equality for every American,’ Oh said as he marched with the Capital Area Young Republicans in the recent Capital Pride Parade in the District of Columbia.” [InsideNova]
County Board Approves DARPA Changes — “Citing its desire to retain DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency headquartered in Ballston, the Arlington County Board today unanimously approved adding 1,265 square feet to its building for a secure screening and visitor check-in facility.” [Arlington County]
Graduations at Arlington High Schools — Wakefield, Washington-Lee and Yorktown high schools help their respective graduation ceremonies last week. Said Wakefield’s class president: “Just because this chapter of our lives is closing, we will prevail and go on to do great. The thing is, don’t think of this as a ‘goodbye,’ but a ‘see you later.'” [InsideNova, InsideNova, InsideNova]
Photo courtesy @TheLastFC
Hotel Planned for Pike Development — Attendees at yesterday’s Columbia Pike Progress Luncheon learned that Orr Partners — which is redeveloping the Food Star grocery store and adjacent sites at Columbia Pike and S. George Mason Drive — has partnered with WhyHotel for the mixed-use project. WhyHotel touts itself as an operator of “pop-up hotels in newly built, luxury apartment buildings.” [Twitter]
County Launches LGBTQ Resource Website — Arlington County has partnered with the Human Rights Commission to develop a website with local, state and national resources for the LGBTQ community. The resources cover a range of topics including housing, domestic violence, sexual assault, health and youth needs. [Arlington County]
Mitten Departing for Illinois — Arlington Deputy County Manager Carol Mitten has accepted the job of City Administrator for Urbana, Ill. “I look forward to advancing common goals for a safe, healthy, sustainable city through thoughtful growth,” she said in a statement. [Smile Politely]
Location Named for Dominion Pint — The owners of Dominion Pint, the new restaurant from the team behind the District’s Meridian Pint and Brookland Pint, have signed a lease for their Northern Virginia establishment. The restaurant is scheduled to open in December at 6035 Wilson Blvd. in Dominion Hills. [PoPville]
VHC Employee Earns ‘4 Under 40’ Award — Virginia Hospital Center’s Taryn Overman, MSN, RN, CEN, has received this year’s “4 Under 40” Emerging Leader Award from the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association. Overman is recognized for going beyond her management responsibilities to help her community, such as during a collaboration with A-Span in which two tons of cereal was collected, and in directing a program that helped train community members in hands-only CPR.
Man Struck, Killed by Blue Line Train — A man was struck and killed by a train at the Arlington Cemetery Metro station last night. Video appears to show that the man was intentionally on the tracks at the time he was struck, according to Metro. [Washington Post, WUSA 9]
Flickr pool photo by Jennifer Presser
Roxanne Edwards, vice president of the Transgender Education Association of Greater Washington (TEAGW), will be hosting the discussion starting at 7 p.m., according to Nicholas Englund, the Arlington Mill Senior Center director. The event is free and open to the public.
Topics of conversation will include transgender community concerns and how to be an LGBT ally, including vocabulary, etiquette, and additional resources. A question and answer session will be part of the discussion.
The event is part of the AGLA speaker series, according to an online event posting. AGLA — the Arlington Gay and Lesbian Alliance — is a “nonpartisan 501(c)(3) nonprofit open to all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning (LGBTQ) people and straight allies.”