The Washington Blade Celebrates 50 Years as a Leader in LGBTQ Journalism- Honors Ariadne Getty and Lou Chibbaro Jr with Peppermint and Frenchie Davis

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October 21, 2019

The Washington Blade, the nation’s oldest and most acclaimed LGBTQ newspaper, celebrated its 50 year anniversary over the weekend at a gala in Washington D.C. which welcomed a host of notables in LGBTQ advocacy, entertainment and politics.

Since 1969, the Washington Blade has covered the LGBTQ community of the metro D.C. area, nationally and internationally. The newspaper of record for the LGBTQ community initially started as a local publication that covered and was a resource to the growing LGBTQ community in Washington, D.C. The Blade expanded over the past five decades to include coverage of political news and is currently the only LGBTQ source in the White House press pool and is the only LGBTQ outlet in the White House Correspondents’ Association. 

“The Washington Blade is perpetually the first and often times the only press outlet to report on LGBTQ news that breaks on Capitol Hill, in states around the U.S., and in countries around the world,” said GLAAD Chief Communications Officer Rich Ferraro. “Our community is facing a crisis of visibility where mainstream outlets are covering LGBTQ issues less and less at a time when anti-LGBTQ violence is rising and our rights are rolling back. The Blade and LGBTQ media are critical resources to report on the stories that move us forward and hold people in power accountable.”

(Washington Blade Editor and Co-Owner Kevin Naff. Photos courtesy of Zach Brien)

GLAAD Board Member and philanthropist Ariadne Getty received the Blade’s Lifetime Achievement Award for LGBTQ Advocacy during the event. Getty is the President and Executive Director of the Ariadne Getty Foundation, which celebrates its 15th year of advocating for marginalized communities this year. During her acceptance speech, Getty spoke about how her children August and Nats both came out to her and also thanked her daughter-in-law Gigi Gorgeous.

"I am humbled to be receiving The Washington Blade Lifetime Achievement Award as we recognize and celebrate 50 years of Blade's pioneering, dedicated, accurate and insightful LGBTQ coverage. It is the go-to for readers who seek to be informed on all LGBTQ matters," said Getty. More details about Getty's LGBTQ advocacy work are featured in the Washington Blade's profile of her

Peppermint presented the award to Ariadne Getty, noting: “Ariadne and the Ariadne Getty Foundation’s efforts have enabled LGBTQ organizations to do what we need them to do now more than ever: support LGBTQ youth, especially trans and gender non-conforming youth, and tell the culture-changing stories to countless schools, churches, and water coolers around the globe.”

Getty's honor from the Washington Blade and Los Angeles Blade was also recognized by the Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.  

Peppermint also congratulated the Blade on its anniversary: “LGBTQ people, voices, and stories are too often missing from mainstream media, but for 50 years, the Blade has done the opposite – put LGBTQ news and our voices front and center. LGBTQ media are unsung heroes, and I want to thank the staff and contributors of the Blade.”

Pioneering journalist Lou Chibbaro Jr., who has covered the LGBT community for over three decades at the Washington Blade, was honored with the Blade’s Local Hero Award. He also published a 50 year retrospective with photos of the Blade’s history and recollections from previous contributors.

Chibbaro released a quote in advance of the event: "It is truly an honor to be named a local Hero. As a news reporter who has covered local news for many years, my being in the news in a small way like this is new to me. But the work I’ve been able to do in covering the news for the Washington Blade for many years has been possible because of the diverse and vibrant LGBT community that’s been the subject of our local and national stories. Thus I share this honor with all of you who are part of that community."

Frenchie Davis performed at the event which also featured D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), the senior openly gay member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Mayor Bowser issued a proclamation declaring October 18, 2019 as 'Washington Blade Day.' 

The Blade’s Chief Political and White House reporter Chris Johnson and International News Editor Michael K. Lavers both attended, as well as Karen Ocamb, veteran LGBTQ journalist and News Editor of the Los Angeles Blade.

“At a time when media, especially LGBTQ media, is challenged by the dizzying array of multiple platforms and ways to access information, The Blade is not only surviving, but thriving, as a respected and reliable source of the news the LGBTQ community is looking for,” said Kevin Naff, editor of The Washington Blade. “The Blade is a go-to publication and site for news, investigative journalism, current and accurate stories for LGBTQ the community, by the LGBTQ community and we are thrilled to celebrate 50 years of service in this historic year.”