The organizers of the Equality March for Unity and Pride are getting excited about the big gathering in a few short weeks. As you can imagine, coordinating a large mobilization like this march is an daunting but incredible task. Volunteers are needed for a variety of tasks but most importantly we need help the day of the march and rally to ensure that all of our fabulous community members can participate as safely and positively as possible.
Visit www.equalitymarch2017.org/volunteer to sign up. We will follow up with you to confirm participation and provide all of the training you need to help us make this march a historic and successful event. Thanks in advance and we look forward to seeing you on June 11.
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The DC Center is proud to announce our honorees for our Annual Reception. This year we will recognize Eboné Bell, David Perez, Ellen Kahn, Rabbi Gil Steinlauf, Sapna Pandya for their contributions to the LGBTQ community. The reception takes place Thursday May 11th at the Warner Building from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM. Get your tickets here and learn more about our honorees below.
Sapna Pandya has served as the Executive Director of Many Languages One Voice (MLOV) since April 2010. Many Languages One Voice (MLOV) fosters leadership and facilitates community-led initiatives to increase the meaningful inclusion of immigrants in the District of Columbia who do not speak English as their primary language.
Sapna’s connection to the Center dates back to June 6th, 2011, when she spoke on a panel entitled “Celebrating Queer People of Color: Activism, Leadership, and Community”
Born and raised in DC, Sapna comes from an immigrant family which deepened her passion to work towards social justice for priority populations, particularly immigrant communities and LGBTQ communities. Sapna and MLOV have been powerful and effective voices advocating for all immigrants during this challenging moment in our nation’s history.
Sapna is a commissioner for the DC Mayor’s Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs. She has served as Vice President of KhushDC (which meets at the DC Center).
Sapna has a Masters in Public Health from George Washington University. She has received awards from the Asian Pacific American Bar Association Educational Fund and the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance.
Since 2005, Ellen Kahn has served as Director of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Children, Youth & Families Program. In her role, Ellen provides national leadership and expertise in public education and advocacy efforts to achieve full equality for LGBT families.
From October 1999 to November 2005 Ellen served as the Director of the Lesbian Services Program (LSP) at Whitman Walker Clinic. The DC Center hosts programs to this day that were housed at LSP including Women in their Twenties and Thirties (back then it was Women in their Twenties) and Center Aging (which back then was called the Elder Think Tank).
For over six years, Ellen served as Board President of Rainbow Families DC, a DC Area LGBT Parenting Organization providing educational and social programming for prospective parents and LGBT-headed families.
Eboné Bell has served as the managing editor of Tagg Magazine since 2012. Tagg Magazine is your connection to the DC Metropolitan lesbian community. Tagg Magazine was created to give the LBT community a one-stop shop for content and events. Tagg is distributed in DC, Maryland, Virginia, and Rehoboth Beach.
Eboné has been a longstanding supporter of both the DC Center and the LGBT communithy as a whole. Eboné has served as co-chair of the DC Center Beaujolais Nouveau party for two consecutive years.
Bell received the Capital Pride Hero award in 2010. She has also received the Capital Area Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce’s Emerging Entrepreneur Award, Metro Weekly’s Next Generation Award , and EV’s OUTstanding Virginian Award.
David Pérez is Director of Development for the League of United Latin American Citizens, the largest and oldest Latino membership organization in the U.S.
Pérez served as president of the board of the Latino GLBT History Project (LHP) from May 2011 to February 2015. During his tenure David expanded the project’s programs in history, education, and cultural celebrations for metropolitan Washington, DC’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Latino community.
David currently serves as chair of the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on LGBTQ Affairs.
Rabbi Steinlauf is the senior Rabbi of Adas Israel. Rabbi Steinlauf is the first senior rabbi of a large, historic, conservative congregation to come out as openly gay. During this journey, he has sought to create an atmosphere of constructive dialogue on the issues facing modern culture and Judaism. Since then he has been an active member of the Washington DC LGBTQ Jewish community and hosts a monthly Queer Torah Study group in his synagogue. Steinlauf has also published an op-ed in the Metro Weekly describing the various ways that Trump’s agenda conflicts with the values of Judaism.
As a rabbi and leader in the community, Steinlauf has helped raise the spirit of debate regarding LGBTQ issues in Jewish spaces and serves as role model for young LGBTQ students intersted in joining the Rabbinate. His impact on the community has been wide and truly embodies the values of Judaism such as Tikkun Olam – or repairing the world.
Timothy Elliott is a licensed clinical social worker in DC who has a passion for supporting LGBTQ youth. He has been working in the District since 2009 and currently serves as the Coordinator of LGBT Youth Mental Health Programs at Whitman-Walker Health, a federally qualified health center. Timothy developed the LGBT youth mental health program – providing low-barrier, comprehensive outpatient mental health services for LGBTQ youth and young adults affected by crime. Additionally, he provides therapy and clinical trainings through his private practice located in Northern Virginia focusing on supporting gender expansive children, youth and their families. He has previously held the role of the Program Coordinator for Rainbow Youth Alliance, an adult-facilitated, peer-to-peer support group for LGBTQ youth and their allies in Rockville, MD and currently serves on the RYA Advisory Council. As a Social Worker, Timothy strives to encourage and develop safe, affirming spaces for all LGBTQ youth and their allies. Timothy is often seen as the “squeaky wheel” in agencies and organization he works with; he tirelessly advocates for needed changes in how we are supporting our LGBTQ youth. He obtained a BSW from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and his MSW from Andrews University in Michigan. In addition, he has completed advanced training and certification programs around trauma treatment, expressive therapies, and co-occuring disorders. He works with several local universities guest lecturing on issues around youth mental health, trauma, and the specifics needs of LGBTQ youth – committed to lifting youth voices and challenging providers to do better. His experience working within schools, outpatient mental health facilities, and government agencies has provided him with a vast knowledge and respect for how multiple systems work together. He has spoken at national conferences on various topics within youth mental health and meeting the unique needs of LGBTQ youth. In his free time, Timothy enjoys running and juggling. Most of all he enjoys getting to know people and hearing their stories.
2017 Youth Advocate of the Year
Celina Gerbic served a 2-year term as Co-Chair of the Trevor Project’s DC Ambassadors Committee from 2012-2014 and has been serving as Chair of the Education & Community Outreach Committee since 2010. She has been responsible for Trevor’s outreach with local area schools and community organizations, and has managed the Lifeguard Workshop trainings and volunteer coordination for local opportunities. She has also served on the DC Public Schools LGBTQ Steering Committee since 2011, working together with other community leaders to create the Plan for Inclusivity which was approved in August 2011 and has been implemented in over 30 pilot schools. This work is now focused on creating and implementing a transgender guidance policy. She currently serves on Point Foundation’s Regional Board of Trustees, serving as Co-Chair of the Board of Trustees in 2014, and has co-chaired Point’s Annual Cornerstone Reception since 2013. She was a founding member of the GSA “Leading With Pride” Conference, working with other community organizations as a representative of the Trevor Project to create the first ever GSA conference in DC. She has served on the DC Citywide Bullying Prevention Task Force since 2013, and helped plan “It Takes A District: Tools & Tips to Prevent Bullying”. As a representative of the Trevor Project, she served on the Panel Planning Committee with Ford’s Theater Lincoln Legacy Project, assembling a panel “To Achieve and Cherish a Just and Lasting Peace: Envisioning a World Beyond Hate” in 2013. Celina has also served as a member of the DC Concerned Providers Coalition since 2010 and received their Excellence Award for Leadership & Commitment to LGBT Youth in 2013. She formerly served on the Board of UNA (Urban Neighborhood Alliance) as Advisory Committee Chairman, is a founding member of the 17th Street Festival, and has served as Arts & Entertainment chair for the festival. Celina was formerly a trial attorney focusing on employment discrimination law and a partner in a Boston firm, Thornton & Naumes. She received Boston University’s Young Lawyer Chair Award in 2000 and was named one of Massachusetts Lawyer’s Weekly “Up and Coming Lawyers” in 1998. Currently, Celina is the Annual Fund Coordinator at School for Friends, a Quaker preschool devoted to diversity in Dupont Circle.
About the Youth Working Group Awards and Reception
The 2017 Youth Working Group Reception on Thursday, May 18 from 6 to 8pm at Agora Restaurant at 1527 17th Street NW. In addition to presenting our two awards, the event will have free appetizers, a champagne toast, and happy hour drink specials. There will also be a silent auction table and great several raffle prizes, too.
Tickets for $20, host committee tickets of $50, and sponsorship opportunities from $100 to $500 are at www.tinyurl.com/ywg2017.
Proceeds raised at this event will go to fully support mini-grants for gay-straight alliances and other LGBT affinity groups in middle and high schools; travel stipends for DC Center summer and fall interns; prizes and giveaways for year-round LGBT youth events; and staff support for our courageous advocacy efforts.
In previous years, our Youth Working Group Reception gave awards to Jim Graham of the DC Council; Maggie Riden of the DC Alliance of Youth Advocates; Jeff Poirier of American Institutes for Research; and Travis Wise of DENIM/Us Helping Us. Members of the group and the public submit nominations and current members of the group vote on winners.
About the Youth Working Group
In 2010, the Youth Working Group was founded at the DC Center. We are a group of 200 community members focused on creating a city where LGBTQ youth are safe, respected, and connected! Our priorities are safe shelter, freedom from bullying, affirming laws, policies, and practices, and avenues to make youth voices heard on issues affecting their lives. Since our inception, we were instrumental in supporting the passage of bills to ensure: More shelter beds for runaway youth; LGBTQ competency training for shelter workers; a ban on health providers trying to change a minor’s sexual orientation; mandatory LGBT training for all licensed healthcare providers; suicide prevention training requirements for school teachers; some of the nation’s most LGBT affirming and medically accurate health/sex education standards; and much more! We meet monthly at the DC Center.
About the DC Center for the LGBT Community
Founded in 2002, The DC Center’s mission is to educate, empower, celebrate, and connect the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities. To fulfill our mission, we focus on four core areas: health and wellness, arts & culture, social & support services, and advocacy and community building. Visit www.thedccenter.org.
Results from the 2015 District of Columbia Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) released today by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) show positive trends related to obesity and sexual activity among DC youth, but troubling data on LGBTQ Youth. Lesbian, gay, or bisexual high school students were two to three times more likely to feel sad or hopeless and to think seriously about, plan, and attempt to kill themselves. For example, one out of 11 lesbian, gay, or bisexual high school students had to be treated by a doctor or nurse as a result of an attempted suicide. Survey results highlight areas of concern related to mental health that must be addressed to ensure DC students are reaching their maximum academic potential and living healthy lives.
“This rich data source allows us to know what is going well and what may be problematic across the city and in individual schools,” said State Superintendent Hanseul Kang. “Additionally, knowing what pockets of students are most at risk allows us to target those individuals with appropriate programming and development of policy at the state level.”
The biennial YRBS evaluated a representative sample from both District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) and public charter schools (PCS) in 2015, compiling data from more than 30,000 District students in grades six through 12. YRBS data are compared to results from 2012, the last year the survey was administered, and include data from 2007, the first year OSSE administered the survey, to show trends over time.
The survey covers the following risk behavior categories, which coincide with the categories of OSSE’s Health Education Standards: Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs, Mental and Emotional Health, Nutrition and Physical Activity, Disease Prevention/Sexual Health, and Safety Skills. The report notes significant differences within subgroups of the DC youth population (e.g., sex, grade, race/ethnicity) for various health behaviors and describes behaviors that have undergone significant changes since the YRBS was previously administered in 2007 and 2012.
Results show positive trends in student well-being with a nearly 2 percent drop in the number of high school students who were obese in 2015. Results for middle school students who described themselves as slightly or very overweight remain unchanged since 2007. DC has worked to combat obesity and hunger since 2010 through the D.C. Healthy Schools Act – a landmark law designed to improve the health and wellness of all District public school students.
Other positive trends include a 4 percent drop in the pregnancy rate among high school students since 2012, the last year the survey was administered. Condom use among high school students increased, while sexual activity declined. And more than 60 percent of our students have a supportive adult at school, which we know is vital, particularly for those that experience trauma in their lives. Despite these positive findings, results also highlight areas of concern, including a decrease in testing rates for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases among high school students and a large percent of students who reported feeling depressed, hopeless or suicidal, particularly among Hispanic/Latino students.
Hispanic/Latino high school students reported significantly higher rates of attempting suicide (14.4 percent for boys, 18.3 percent for girls) compared to non-Hispanic black (10.2 percent for boys, 13.2 percent for girls) and white students (6.2 percent for boys, 4.7 percent for girls). Compounding the problems reflected in these data, Hispanic/Latino middle and high school students were significantly less likely than their peers to have a teacher or other adult that they could talk to if they had a problem.
Results also indicate troubling trends among lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) students in several categories. While LGB youth made up 7.3 percent of the District middle school population and 14.4 percent of the District high school population, they were disproportionately represented in youth who used alcohol (21.2 percent of middle school students, 23.5 percent of high school students), tobacco (23.5 percent of middle school students, 22.1 percent of high school students) and other drugs (23 percent of middle school students and 22.1 percent of high school students who used marijuana).
Lesbian, gay, or bisexual high school students were two to three times more likely to feel sad or hopeless and to think seriously about, plan, and attempt to kill themselves. For example, one out of 11 lesbian, gay, or bisexual high school students had to be treated by a doctor or nurse as a result of an attempted suicide.
The YRBS also shows a correlation between academic outcomes and health behaviors. For example, mood and suicidal behaviors were associated with academic performance among high school students, with more than one quarter of students receiving mostly D’s and F’s reporting having attempted suicide one or more times during the previous 12 months. High school students who receive mostly D’s and F’s were approximately two-and-a-half times more likely to use marijuana and about seven times more likely to use synthetic marijuana. Results also indicate that students who participate in sports and eat breakfast have significantly better academic outcomes than those who don’t.
OSSE will use the data collected through the YRBS to target trainings for all District teachers and principals at public and public charter schools and licensed personnel at child development facilities on how to identify and refer students with behavioral health needs. Data also will be used for public awareness campaigns and training parents, family members, teachers, school personnel and peers on how to assist youth facing mental health challenges or crises. OSSE is strategically partnering with various agencies and organizations to address the issues reflected in the report.
It is important to understand these risky behaviors, in order to create appropriate multifaceted programs. OSSE is revamping current programs and initiatives to focus on the whole child to coordinate and systematically address issues that are intersected. By doing this, OSSE will focus on expanding the availability of resources to schools and families to address the issues both at school and at home. OSSE also understand the importance of diversifying professional development offerings and including youth at the table to address some of the risky behaviors identified.
The DC Center for the LGBT Community is still seeking Interns for the Summer. Interns provide support for different programs and areas of interest at The DC Center, like Health and Wellness, Advocacy, Center Arts and Development. Interns also gain valuable office experience providing administrative support in the day-to-day tasks at our organization.
Internships are unpaid with no stipends, and require a minimum commitment of 18 hours per week. Metro or Capital Bikeshare Transportation Assistance is provided. Academic internships are strongly preferred.
Health and Wellness Internship: This position works on health programming including HIV/AIDS and Tobacco Prevention. This position also works with support group and peer groups that meet at the DC Center.
Development Internship (This position has been filled for Summer 2017) This position includes assisting with grants and fundraising events.
Adam Heller presented testimony on April 25th at the council hearing on the DC Office on Aging. Adam volunteers with Center Aging, a program of the DC Center, by hosting the weekly Center Aging Coffee Drop in. Adam is pictured in the far left on the photo above. The testimony is included below:
My name is Adam Heller. I’m here as a concerned DC resident and as a representative of The DC Center for the LGBT Community to help elaborate on the need to have DC City-sponsored affinity programming for LGBT older adults.
It’s been a privilege and incredible education to volunteer at The DC Center where, for the past three years, I have helped run the community center’s program for older adults – the vast majority of whom are in their 70s and 80s. In that time I’ve gotten to know women and men who have brought laughter and joy to each other, create meaningful friendships, and been able to safely and comfortably share their rich lives including past experiences and traumas, current troubles, as well as their hopes for the future. It’s at these weekly coffee klatches and monthly potluck get-togethers at The DC Center where lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender older adults have not only felt a sense of comradery, but an added source of strength in their weekly routine. Currently, we are the only ongoing public event for LGBT seniors in the city. The DC Center’s older adult program is meant to combat the social isolation experienced by a disproportionate number of LGBT senior residents relative to the rest of the older adult population. As a DC Center intern noted at a Budget Oversight Hearing one year ago, “one study found that 65% of gay and lesbian seniors surveyed reported living alone — nearly twice the rate of all seniors.”
When I initially found out LGBT older adult DC residents did not have their own city-sponsored affinity program like a congregate/group meal program for their community I was a bit sad. I was also unaware of the disproportionate social isolation of LGBT older adults relative to their non-LGBT neighbors who often have spouses, and children, and other family who can help them as they become septuagenarians. Today, LGBT families of all types are growing, however, the research still shows that 90 percent of gay and lesbian seniors don’t have children, which stands out when compared to the 20 percent of all seniors who don’t.
Later on, I was surprised to learn that city-funded affinity programming does exist for low-income older adults of other minority groups who greatly benefit socially and financially from congregate meal programs. As you probably know, there are congregate meal programs each for older adult DC residents who are Asian & Pacific Islander, Latino, or Deaf/HOH, but there isn’t one for specifically for LGBT seniors. I thought this was merely an accidental omission for a large city with a record 10% out of the closet LGBT population to not offer programming that would match those of other groups. It gave me the chutzpah to come here today to share with you that there are other passionate DC residents like me who are motivated to help create such a program, but we need your help to do so.
Upon inquiry with the city as to why LGBT older adults don’t have their own programming, they have been encouraged to partake in one of the other offered congregate meals, which are unfortunately neither specifically for LGBT seniors nor ensure an LGBT cultural competent environment. As our LGBT citizens further age and join senior living facilities and communities, often times they are forced back into the closet for fear of the same archaic prejudices from their peers they faced throughout their lives. This is why they need their own program.
And if I may tug on your heartstrings for a moment longer: I am speaking specifically of the current generation of LGBT older adults, the same ones who were part of the first generation of Americans who came out of the closet en mass fifty years ago. For a generation of women and men whose LGBT friends dropped dead weekly in the 80s and 90s whilst largely having felt the cold shun from family, I hope we can do our part to provide a space where those who need community can find it without worry of prejudice or cost. The DC Center is happy to do its part to make this happen!
The DC Anti-Violence Project, a program of the DC Center for the LGBT Community, has been invited to sit on a community policing panel organized by the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). We want to hear from YOU about your experiences with the MPD.
This survey is completely anonymous. Thank you for your help! To begin the survey, simply follow the link below:
Researchers at the George Washington University are conducting a study about how parents and sons talk about sex. To be to eligible to participate, you must be (a) between the ages of 14-22; (b) be assigned male at birth; (c) currently identify as male; (d) identify as gay or bi; (e) be out to at least one parent; and (f) live at least two days/week in your parent’s home. For your parents to be eligible to participate, they must be your parent or legal guardian.
Youth receive $50 for their time and effort and parents receive $100.
To participate, you and a parent must be able to participate in an interview for about 90-minutes at GW or a location convenient for you.
To learn more, text/call: 301-541-7405 Or E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org