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Security camera footage of a Pride flag being stolen on Jan. 27, 2024 (via Michelle Logan/X)

Two men — including one with an apparent military connection — have been arrested in connection with a series of Pride flags stolen from an Arlington couple, police announced Friday evening.

Twenty-year-old Matthew Henshaw was arrested and charged with three counts of bias-motivated unlawful entry and three counts of petit larceny for incidents occurring on Sept. 16 and Sept. 30 and Jan. 27. ACPD said he resides at Fort Myer, suggesting he has military ties. Henshaw was released on a secured bond.

Joseph Digregorio, 23, of Bay Shore, New York, was charged with one count of petit larceny for an incident occurring on Jan. 21 and was released on a summons.

Penrose residents Michelle Logan and her partner Jenna Burnett took to social media late last month to ask for community help identifying who has stolen Pride flags from their home on five occasions over the last five months, using security camera footage. The couple also filed police reports and told their story on local TV news broadcasts.

ACPD announced its property crimes unit made the arrests one week after telling ARLnow its investigation was ongoing.

“Between September 2023 and January 2024, the Arlington County Police Department received five online reports for larcenies in the 200 block of S. Courthouse Road,” ACPD said in a statement. “In each incident, a male suspect approached the property during the early morning hours and stole a Pride flag from outside the residence before leaving the scene. During the course of the investigation, detectives reviewed evidence and conducted witness interviews which led to the identification of the suspects.”

ACPD says this remains an active criminal investigation.

“Anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact the Arlington County Police Department’s Tip Line at 703-228-4180 or [email protected],” the police department said. “Information may also be reported anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).”

Photo via Michelle Logan/Twitter

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Michelle Logan and Jenna Burnett’s dogs watch over their Pride flag from the second floor of their home in Penrose (courtesy of Michelle Logan)

Michelle Logan and her partner Jenna Burnett celebrated their moving in together and the end of Pride month last July by displaying a rainbow flag in front of their house.

But two months later, while looking out the window of their Penrose home one morning, the couple noticed the flag had vanished. All that remained was a mangled flag pole.

Upon reviewing footage from their Ring camera, the couple observed a man dressed in a cowboy hat forcefully remove the flag from its resting place around 2:35 a.m. on Sept. 16, 2023. He can then be seen fleeing with two other people on foot, heading north along S. Courthouse Road.

After that night, the couple would have their Pride flag stolen from their porch four more times. Logan has posted four of the five incidents to the social media site X, formerly Twitter, and provided regular updates on Reddit.

“To us, this isn’t just about a flag being stolen. Each time this happens is really violating and scary,” Logan told ARLnow in an email. “It’s a reminder that a lot of work still needs to be done for LGBTQ+ communities to feel comfortable and supported being their full selves, and loving who they want to love.”

Although the footage didn’t provide a clear view of the culprit, Logan and Burnett said they filed a police report.

In defiance of the vandal, the couple purchased a new flag pole, and several friends, along with the Arlington-based community organization The Kindness Activist, donated flags.

Two weeks later, they again faced the theft of their Pride flag by a man in a cowboy hat. This time, in addition to reporting the incident to Arlington County police, Logan and Burnett shared the footage on Nextdoor, hoping the community could help identify the individual.

“Our friend even made a funny ‘Have you seen this anti-LGBTQ+ cowboy?’ flag and we hung it up to make light of the situation,” Logan said.

A flag mocking the cowboy hat-wearing Pride flag thief (courtesy of Michelle Logan)

After a third flag was stolen on Dec. 16, Logan and Burnett appeared on WUSA9 to raise awareness about the multiple incidents. They pledged to donate $100 to the Trevor Project, an international suicide prevention hotline for LGBTQ youth, for each previous and subsequent theft of their flag, for a total of $300.

“We then put another flag up because we didn’t want to let him stop us from being ourselves and sharing who we are,” Logan said.

The fourth theft took place last Sunday, Jan. 21, at 2:14 a.m. This time, the thief’s face was captured on camera but it is unclear whether this individual was the same person seen wearing a cowboy hat during the initial two thefts.

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Tomorrow, the spotlight will fall on local drag entertainers in Crystal City.

The inaugural Miss Arlington Pride Drag Pageant on Friday will kick start Arlington’s second-ever Pride festival.

“Hosted by the incomparable Shi-Queeta Lee, the Miss Arlington Pride Drag Pageant is going to be one of the most anticipated local events of the summer,” an event page says. “This event will be full of charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent from our contestant, and an abundance of drag entertainment as we determine who takes the crown for 2023.”

Contestants can compete in four categories: presentation, talent, evening dress and a Q&A. The event runs from 8-9:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City (2799 Richmond Hwy), located near Reagan National Airport. Doors will open for entry at 7 p.m.

Attendees will need a ticket, which can be bought online. Regular admission costs $20 but a VIP package is available for $160. This ticket reserves a table for up to 10 guests and comes with a free drink and a gift bag.

The proceeds from sales will be donated to an undisclosed nonprofit.

After the drag pageant, Pride festivities will continue all weekend long in Crystal City and Rosslyn. Details are available online.

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After its debut last year, the Arlington Pride Festival is back — this time, with a whole weekend of events.

The inaugural festival in 2022 lasted one day, with thousands of attendees, according to the festival’s website. Now, it will run Friday, June 23, through that Sunday.

“Our goal is for The Arlington Pride Festival to grow year after year,” according to the event’s website. “For 2023, we have decided to expand Arlington Pride to an entire weekend of celebration!”

Before the 2022 festival, Arlingtonians celebrated LGBTQ pride with independent events throughout the county. Now, festival organizers say they expect more than 7,000 attendees next weekend — building on the unexpected turnout for its inaugural festival.

Arlington Pride Weekend 2023 promotion (photo via arlvapride.com)

“In 2022, we anticipated ~3,000 attendees for The Arlington Pride Festival,” organizers said. “However, Arlington really came out to show [their] pride, and we ended up welcoming over 5,000 attendees throughout the day!”

The pride weekend will begin on Friday at 8 p.m. with a drag pageant at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City hotel near Reagan National Airport. Tickets, which range from $20 to $160, are required to attend the event and can be found on Eventbrite.

“This event will be full of charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent from our contestant, and an abundance of drag entertainment as we determine who takes the crown for 2023,” the event description says. “This is a family friendly event that is taking place at Arlington Pride’s host hotel.”

Saturday will kick off with a free hour-long fitness class in Gateway Park (1300 Langston Blvd) at 10:30 a.m. Organizers encourage registration as space is limited.

From 12-7 p.m., the park will host vendors, live entertainment, a DJ, photo stations, games and prizes, per an event page. The evening will conclude with an after-party.

On Sunday, a drag-themed brunch held at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema (1660 Crystal Drive) will go from 12-3 p.m., with a $20 ticket required for entry. The movie theater is concurrently showing movies about the LGBTQ experience, through June 25.

Advance general admission ticket sales and spot reservations for the pride fest are scheduled to end tomorrow (Friday).

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Kevin Saucedo-Broach, a candidate for Virginia’s 2nd District in the House of Delegates (courtesy photo)

(Updated at 9:35 a.m. on 03/22/23) A second candidate has emerged for the open seat in Arlington’s new 2nd District in the Virginia House of Delegates.

Last week, Kevin Saucedo-Broach, a former Chief of Staff for Del. Alfonso Lopez (D-Arlington), announced his candidacy for the district, created after a 2021 redistricting process.

Saucedo-Broach, the treasurer for the Democratic Latino Caucus of Virginia, will run against Adele McClure, the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus executive director, in the Democratic primary this June.

According to the Virginia Public Access Project, Saucedo-Broach and McClure, who announced her candidacy more than a year ago, are the only two candidates in the running. Former candidate for state Senate and County Board Nicole Merlene withdrew last year after buying a home outside of the district’s boundaries.

If elected, Saucedo-Broach — who identifies as bisexual — says he would be the first openly LGBT legislator of color in Virginia’s history.

“It would be an incredible honor to bring my hometown’s progressive values of openness, compassion, and justice to the House of Delegates,” Saucedo-Broach said in a statement.

As Lopez’s chief of staff, he says he helped pass legislation that allowed undocumented residents to pay in-state college tuition rates and receive financial aid, as well as another that established the first statewide LGBT governmental advisory body in the South.

“As someone who has spent over a decade organizing to elect progressives in Virginia, I can’t sit on the sidelines while MAGA Republicans like Glenn Youngkin step up the attacks on low-income, immigrant families like mine to push an extremist agenda,” he continued. “I am more than ready to fight back and to take that fight all the way to Richmond.”

Saucedo-Broach is outspoken on LGBT equality, healthcare and anti-poverty measures.

The fourth-generation Arlingtonian says healthcare reform in particular motivated him to get involved in politics.

“I started organizing a decade ago to help expand Virginia Medicaid, because I was terrified of what would happen to my mom if she couldn’t afford health insurance,” Saucedo-Broach said. “The struggle to access vital primary and mental healthcare services has deeply impacted my entire family and I know that far too many other people in our community are struggling with it, too.”

He says his grandmother died by suicide in Arlington in 1992.

“I’m running for Delegate to ensure that all Virginians have access to the kinds of services that could have saved her life, so we might keep other families from suffering the same pain mine has,” he said.

Saucedo-Broach notes that he is a longtime volunteer with Arlington County Democratic Committee, a former chair of the local party’s Latino Caucus, and former executive board member for its LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus.

District 2 mostly consists of the Metro corridor communities of Rosslyn, Courthouse, Clarendon, Crystal City and Pentagon City, and the single-family home neighborhoods surrounding them.

The Democratic primary will be held on Tuesday, June 20.

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Groups of Arlington Public Schools students walked out today (Tuesday) to protest model policies the Commonwealth says local school boards should adopt regarding the treatment of transgender children.

Released last week, the draft policies from the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), among other things, direct schools only to affirm a transgender student’s identity if parents request it. The document is perceived as a rebuttal to last year’s Democratic-led policies, which advised schools to affirm the child’s gender expression regardless of their family’s support.

In less than a week, a student-led LGBTQIA+ advocacy organization in Virginia mobilized kids across the state to protest the proposed revisions. The group said these changes would allow students and teachers to misgender transgender students while forcing those students to use restrooms corresponding to their sex assigned at birth.

In Arlington, walkouts were scheduled at Wakefield and Washington-Liberty high schools, the H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program, and Thomas Jefferson and Kenmore middle schools, according to the student group, Pride Liberation Project.

A few dozen W-L teens gathered this morning in nearby Quincy Park (1021 N. Quincy Street), and some — including a few transgender students — made speeches and spoke to the media. The walkout was not school-sponsored, per an email to W-L parents.

“It’s just so bad. I don’t understand why [Gov. Glenn Youngkin] wants to bully these kids, including myself, I don’t see what’s so scary about using the name Matteo, using he/him pronouns, and why that threatens him so much, but it’s really sad that it does,” W-L junior Matteo Hope, a transgender boy, told ARLnow.

Mars Cirtain, a W-L junior, said politicians and family members cannot override how transgender students choose to express themselves.

“For a parent to tell a child that they are not the person they identify as is the same as their parents telling them, ‘You are not the person I raised you to be,'” Cirtain said. “It’s not about what your parents think you are, and it’s not about what your family thinks you can be. It’s about who you are and you get to decide that for yourself, not Gov. Youngkin, or your parents.”

Under the draft, teachers could not be compelled to use a student’s preferred pronouns, and students would use bathrooms and locker rooms corresponding to their sex assigned at birth. Schools would only accommodate students who identify as transgender at the written request of their parents. The document says these changes respect parents’ rights and beliefs and reverse Democrats’ attempts to “promot[e] a specific viewpoint aimed at achieving cultural and social transformation in schools.”

Waltz Fellone, W-L senior and a school organizer for Pride Liberation Project, told participants that Youngkin’s policies were “cruel and evil.”

“All of you have made a difference,” they said. “I know it may not feel like it because we are just a small school in Arlington. We might not even be affected by this, but it still means a lot.”

Generally, the W-L students in attendance expressed optimism that Arlington Public Schools would continue to affirm transgender students’ right to self-expression, with support from residents of Arlington, which runs deep blue. W-L junior Sophia Braier said she has “several” friends who would be affected by this decision if they lived in more conservative, rural areas.

“Beyond just protecting people here, we’re doing it to garner attention all over Virginia,” Braier said.

The walkout drew a large crowd at Wakefield this morning, according to Del. Alfonso Lopez (D-49), who posted about it on social media.

APS and neighbor Fairfax County Public Schools are adhering to their current policies while they review the updates, ARLnow previously reported. FCPS students also held walkouts at a number of schools today.

Yesterday (Monday) marked the start of a 30-day public comment period in which people can respond to the policies and potentially change VDOE’s approach. APS says it is currently reviewing the draft policies and would not take action until it has reviewed the final document.

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Men’s restroom sign at county office building at Sequoia Plaza (staff photo)

(Updated, 2:40 p.m.) Arlington Public Schools is “aware of and are reviewing” new draft policies handed down by the Commonwealth late last week regarding the rights of transgender students.

On Friday evening, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) released updated “model policies” directing local school boards to adopt a set of new policies relating to the treatment, rights, and actions of transgender students as well as who teachers are allowed to identify as transgender.

The guidelines, seen as a rebuttal to last year’s Democratic-led policies, are set to regulate everything from which bathroom a student can use to the meaning of “the phrase ‘transgender student’.”

In response this morning, APS released a statement saying that it is reviewing the guidelines and will continue to adhere to its own policies related to transgender students.

“APS will continue to uphold our core mission and policies to ensure that every child receives equal educational access and opportunities,” read the statement in part, which is co-signed by Superintendent Dr. Francisco Durán and School Board Chair Reid Goldstein.

“We value the many diverse identities within our schools, where every student can authentically express themselves, including those in the LGBTQIA+ community,” the statement continued. “APS continues to take seriously the privilege and responsibility of working towards a shared understanding and mutual respect for all people.”

APS’s response also noted there’s a 30-day public comment period that begins Sept. 26 prior to the enactment of the new state-directed policies. APS spokesperson Frank Bellavia told ARLnow that VDOE could make changes to the policies in response to public comment.

“There is a 30-day public comment period, at which point the VDOE will review comments and make potential changes prior to posting a final document,” Bellavia wrote. “School divisions will need to then review the final document prior to any action.”

Fairfax County Public Schools are “thoroughly reviewing” the guidelines as well.

The new policies, under the administration of Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R), say that teachers and staff can identify as a transgender student only those whose parents provide written permission.

“The phrase ‘transgender student’ shall mean a public school student whose parent has requested in writing, due to their child’s persistent and sincere belief that his or her gender differs with his or her sex, that their child be so identified while at school,” says the guidelines.

Even if a parent does submit the required written request, however, it does not mean teachers and staff are required to use the student’s name or gender if the staff member believes it will violate their “constitutionally protected rights.”

The new policy has received backlash from some who say that this could result in students being misgendered, outed, and put in harmful situations. It also stands in contrast to APS’s policy first adopted in 2019, which says that students have the right to decide their own gender identity.

“Every student has the right to be addressed by names and pronouns that correspond to the student’s gender identity. Regardless of whether a transgender student has legally changed their name or gender, schools will allow students to use a chosen name and gender pronouns that reflect their gender identity,” reads APS’s policy.

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Morning Notes

Twilight on the W&OD Trail (Flickr pool photo by Tom Mockler)

Lots of Rain from Wednesday Storms — Most parts of Arlington saw 2-3 inches of rain from Wednesday’s onslaught of storms and downpours, with one weather station in a southwestern portion of the county reporting 3.41 inches. [National Weather Service, Twitter]

No ‘Missing Middle’ Cost Analysis — “Staff leading the effort acknowledge there has been no cost-benefit analysis of exactly how such a major zoning change would impact the local government’s bottom line. Nor is there likely to be one. ‘We typically don’t do analysis of this nature. It’s hard to even capture all of that,’ said Richard Tucker, one of a number of county-government housing personnel dispatched to the June 14 meeting of the Arlington County Civic Federation to address an issue that is fast becoming the most contentious Arlington battle since the Columbia Pike streetcar fight of a decade ago.” [Sun Gazette]

Millions for Local Housing Nonprofits — “Two Arlington-based groups will receive a total of $7 million in federal funding to help provide affordable housing and services to low-income people, U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine of Virginia announced Thursday… Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing Inc. will receive $5 million from the fund and Arlington-based AHC Inc. will receive $2 million.” [Patch]

ACPD Pride Event Next Week — “In recognition of Pride Month and the significant contributions of Arlington’s LGBTQ+ communities, the Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) will host the 2nd Annual Pride with the Police… Pride with the Police will take place on: Wednesday, June 29, 20225 p.m. to 7 p.m. [at] Freddie’s Beach Bar and Restaurant, located at 555 23rd Street S.” [ACPD]

F.C. Outranks Arlington for ‘Healthiest Community’ — “The City of Falls Church has been recognized as the second healthiest community in the country by U.S. News & World Report… The City earned an overall score of 98, and is the only community to receive a score of 100 in both education and population health.” Arlington ranked No. 13. [City of Falls Church, U.S. News & World Report]

It’s Friday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 83 and low of 63. Sunrise at 5:46 am and sunset at 8:39 pm. [Weather.gov]

Flickr pool photo by Tom Mockler

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One of the first of several Pride Month events in Arlington is happening this coming Thursday (June 9) in Crystal City.

Rock the Lot with Pride is a “Pride Month kick-off celebration” organized by The National Landing Business Improvement District, at 2611 S. Clark Street, a parking lot behind the Hyatt Regency hotel, between 4-8 p.m., according to the event’s webpage.

There will be food, drinks and merchandise giveaways at Rock the Lot with Pride, according to the website. The Kona Ice and Curbside Kitchen trucks are set to provide food for the event, while mobile cocktail bar Toastworthy is expected to bring its Tequila Truck to the event.

Rock the Lot with Pride is free and open to the public. Registration is now available online. Toastworthy plans to give the first 100 participants a free cocktail, according to the event’s webpage. DJ Chan Don, a disc jockey based in D.C., is set to play live music for the event.

Arlington is also getting its first Pride festival, which is scheduled for Saturday, June 25, at Rosslyn’s Gateway Park (1300 Langston Blvd) between noon and 7 p.m.

The event, hosted by the Polished Kreative, is free and open to all ages, with the theme “Moving Forward Together.” Attendees will be able to enjoy games, food and drinks, live music and entertainment at the festival, according to its website. There will also be a designated area for pets and kids with games, face painting and other activities, according to an Instagram post.

Deejay JL and DJ Swoosh are set to perform at the festival, according to another Instagram post. Sponsors for the event include the Kitchen Shaman 9, a private chef, a local bar Quinn’s On The Corner, D.C.-based pet care firm Puppy Luv Pet Services and others.

Other events around Arlington include:

Documentary and talk on the Lavender Scare

The Arlington Arts Center is set to hold a virtual talk between artist Alexander D’Agostino and historian David K. Johnson about the history of the Lavender Scare, a purge of government employees due to their sexuality during the Cold War, on Wednesday (June 8) at 6 p.m.

The center also plans to make the documentary “The Lavender Scare” available for virtual screening between Wednesday and Tuesday, June 14.

Family Pride Day

The Arlington Art Center organized Family Pride Day on Saturday (June 11) beginning at 10:30 a.m. It is free to the public, according to the event’s webpage. Art-making activities and readings from the Drag Queen Story Hour, where drag queens read stories to children, are set to take place.

Virtual talk with Alex Myers

The Arlington Public Library is set to host a virtual talk with transgender advocate and writer Alex Myers on Monday, June 13, between 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. It is open to people over 12. Those interested need to register for the event.

Pride Month for county employees

On Wednesday, June 15, OUTstanding, a LGBTQ+ employee resource group aimed at promoting diversity and inclusion in the Arlington County government, is set to host a Pride Month Proclamation and Celebration event for county employees to “celebrate living, working and thriving,” according to the event’s poster. The event is scheduled between noon and 1:30 p.m. in Courthouse Plaza at 2100 Clarendon Blvd. It is open to the public and no registration is needed.

Book club discussion

The library’s book club is also set to host a discussion session on books with LGBTQ+ themes and its June selection, “Leaving Isn’t the Hardest Thing” by Lauren Hough. The event is scheduled for Monday, June 27, between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. It is set to be held at the Campbell Room in the Shirlington branch library, at 4200 Campbell Avenue. It is only open to adults and registration is required.

Photo by Sophie Emeny on Unsplash

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Morning Notes

An airliner leaving DCA is reflected in a building in Rosslyn (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Gun Violence Rally Planned — “A National Gun Violence Awareness Day rally will be held Saturday in Arlington. The rally will be held by the Virginia chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a group that supports stricter gun laws, at 5 p.m. on Saturday at Hope Garden near Courthouse Plaza in Arlington.” [Patch]

Animal Control Rescues Bald Eagle — From the Animal Welfare League of Arlington: “Our animal control officers were all very surprised this weekend when a call about a large bird behaving oddly turned out to be a fledgeling bald eagle! He is now with a licensed wildlife rehabber and when he’s feeling better we hope to release him back into the wild!” [Twitter]

Blood Drive this Weekend — “Fire Works American Pizzeria and Bar is partnering with Inova Blood Donor Services to host an Arlington Community Blood Drive on Monday, June 6.” [Patch]

Pride Month Events at Library — Pride Month starts today and Arlington Public Library has a page with LGBTQIA+ book lists, stories and history discussions. The library is also hosting a series of Pride Month events. [Arlington Public Library]

It’s Wednesday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 89 and low of 73. Sunrise at 5:46 am and sunset at 8:29 pm. [Weather.gov]

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A Clarendon salon has decided to stop charging different rates for haircuts depending on your gender.

Casals Salon Collective at 3033 Wilson Blvd says women and men will, starting today, pay the same price for services requiring the same length of time. Before, as is common in the salon business, women were charged more than men.

In a segment that aired on NBC 4 last night, salon co-owner Therese Snow said the decision was partially inspired by awkward instances in which a stylist would have to decide how to charge a non-binary client.

A statement posted on the salon’s website says it “continues to provide a safe space for everyone free of judgement.”

Effective February 1st, we will switch to non-gendered services. We will no longer differentiate between a “woman’s cut” and a “mens cut.”

Hair length or technique does not determine gender, and we believe that hair color and cuts should be individually curated for every guest.

Casals Salon Collective supports our LGBTQIA community and continues to provide a safe space for everyone free of judgement.

The salon opened in Clarendon ten years ago, notably with a no-tipping policy. It was named Best Hair Salon in Arlington by ARLnow readers last summer.

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