Meet the Staff – Meet Dr. Zelaika Hepworth Clarke

September 4,  Virgo

Dr. Clarke is a staff social worker at the Center. They provide counseling services for individuals, couples and groups. They also offer consulting and training services for the support groups held at the Center. They conduct social work assessment and check-ins for Center Global clients.

Dr. Clarke’s work is made possible with support from the Centerlink-Johnson Family Foundation Mental Health Initiative.

Why did you start working at The DC Center?

I am committed to serving communities that have historically been marginalized and face multiple oppressive forces. I specialize in human sexuality and gender diversity and am passionate about  improving the wellbeing for individuals, couples (& polycules), and families living their truth and loving despite heterosexism, homonegativitiy, patriarchy, bi-erasure, monosexism etc..

What is your  music anthem?

I enjoy listening to the radio as I like knowing that I am not the only one jamming to a specific song in the moment but sharing tunes with my community simultaneously.

What is your favorite part about the LGBTQ+ community?

I love the love. I love to see couples/lovers/polycules  love each other despite society telling them they should  not.

What is your favorite spot in DC and what do you do there?

I am still new to the area and have much to explore. I have been enjoying the aesthetic of the architecture and monuments as well as the river. I love watching planes fly by while overlooking the Potomac river at Gravelly Point Park.

What do you think the LGBTQ+ community needs to improve on?

There are still oppressive forces at work in the community. Eliminating racism, cissexism, monosexism, biphobia, transphobia etc both internally and within the community should be prioritized.  I would like to see more work on creating inclusive spaces and events. For example,  if bisexuals/pansexuals/omnisexuals/queer folks happen to have partner(s) of a different gender they can be excluded from some queer events. Also in spaces for all “women” or “men” it tends to leave out non-binary folks, genderqueers, two-spirit, intersex and people of trans experience. Dominant narratives of LGBT+ folks seem dominated by white cisgender mononormative representations; I would love to see more diverse representations of the community including in leadership positions.

What is your favorite Queer movie?

Some good ones that come to mind are: I am Not Your Negro, Stud Life, Pariah, Naz and Maalik, Blackbird, Still Black:A Portrait of Black Transman, 195 Lewis ….

What has been your favorite moment while working in The DC Center?

I love to transform people’s affect and inspire epiphanies, breakthroughs, and healing in my clients recovering from trauma committed to self-growth.

What clothing item is a staple in your wardrobe?

Stilettos and bowties – sometimes my femme or androgynous self likes to dress up.

What color would you paint the White House, given the chance?

I think it would be fun to feature different  artist’s  work be displayed (murals, mosaics, paintings etc.) on the outside every month.  

Who do you most look up to in the queer community?

I admire the queer people who inhabitat nations with compulsory heterosexuality and where laws deny their right(s) to love, safety and respect. There are still many areas where it is extremely dangerous for people to exist and live their truth. I admire those who risk death simply by being authentically themselves.  

 

Meet the Staff: Meet Juan

This is a weekly newsletter to put a face to the staff at the DC Center. Every week we will be featuring a staff member. This week, meet Juan! Juan is our Development Intern.

Juan

Aquarius

Why did you start working at The DC Center?

I’m apart of a program that takes university students from the west coast, and places them in washington D.C.. Part of the program having a local internship, and I knew I wanted to work in a field that deals with LGBT folks. It doesn’t more in the queer field than a community center!

What is music anthem?

Not to be too young, but Be Alright by Ms. Ariana Grande and Pillowtalk by Zayn Malik

What is your favorite part about the LGBTQ+ community?

Honestly, the resilience I see in the folks of our community is one my favorite traits. I love seeing a queer or gender non-conforming individual simply daring to exist in spaces that dont want use to be there. Also, the humor a lot of the members in our community poses is one of my favorite things to indulge in. It’s cathartic being able to laugh at shared pain and experiences with strangers.

What is your favorite spot in DC and what do you do there?

I’ve recently relocated to the D.C. area, so I don’t know too much about anything here. BUT, there is a cute little ramen shop I’ve been to a few times that I love to go to.

What do you think the LGBTQ+ community needs to improve on?

Oh man. Alright, coming from the perspective of cisgendered gay Mexican man I notice the violence against womxn does not differ from our straight male peers. Gay men love to utilize feminine culture as part of our lives and humor, yet are quick to harm non-male identifying individuals.

What is your favorite Queer movie?

Road to El Derado.

What has been your favorite moment while working in The DC Center?

Beginning to understand how important the center is. With of all of its’ branches and programs offered, the folks here at the center are honestly dedicated to doing important work needed in our community. I also love heading back home everyday and telling my housemates how gay my day was.

What clothing item is a staple in your wardrobe?

I wear the same brand of shoes everyday like a cartoon character who never changes outfits. Plus, my beautiful smile.

What color would you paint the White House, given the chance?

My favorite color is baby pink and orange, so I’d paint it a nice forest green.

Who do you most look up to in the queer community?

Every single one of my queer friends. Like I said before, daring to exist and be is a brave and beautiful thing to accomplish everyday.

Meet the Staff: Meet Lamar

This is a weekly newsletter to put a face to the staff at the DC Center. Every week we will be featuring a staff member. This week, meet Lamar! Lamar is our Outgoing Support Desk. He assists ALL office administrative efforts, including cutting the checks, making bank deposits, responding to emails, updating the website, ordering office supplies, working closely with the Director, and so much more.

Lamar Trowers

June 10, Gemini

 

Why did you start working at The DC Center?

 

I started working at the DC Center as a volunteer, then moved to be on staff, I had recently moved from Jamaica, and the DC Center had a program called Center Global that assists refugees and asylum seekers, they assisted me and I decided to give my time to an organization that is dedicated to the betterment of the LGBT Community.

 

What is music anthem?

August Alsina feat Nicki Minaj – No Love

 

What is your favorite part about the LGBTQ+ community?

I love the fact that the DC community is very supportive of our community center. I also love the fact that no matter what we can come together in times of need.

 

What is your favorite spot in DC and what do you do there?

I don’t really have a spot, my favorite thing to do in DC is riding my road all around bike, I love love how DC is getting even more bike friendly.

 

What do you think the LGBTQ+ community needs to improve on?

The LGBT Community could help in some ways with homelessness LGBT population ( young and seniors)

 

What is your favorite Queer movie?

I enjoyed another gay movie as well as Milk ( Harvey Milk )

 

What has been your favorite moment while working in The DC Center?

I loved working at the DC Center because I feel like I am the bridge of information to people who may need information about a center service in the area. I also enjoyed the sex positive environment in our work space. The management of the center allows us to be our true self and let us take on roles we never dreamt of taking on.

 

What clothing item is a staple in your wardrobe?

Lol, I worked at a strip club as a waiter and I have lots of underwear “lots”. I buy them weekly.

 

What color would you paint the White House, given the chance?

I think the white house is fine the way it is.

 

Who do you most look up to in the queer community?

I am fascinated with Rupaul , I mean she brought a drag show right into the homes of everyone. She gave those “weird” people a spotlight to shine and show that they are more than drag queens, they are humans and talented at that.

Meet the Staff: Meet Chris

This is a weekly newsletter to put a face to the staff at the DC Center. Every week we will be featuring a staff member. This week, meet Chris! Chris is our Office Administrator. He is in charge of the administrative and office support activities , making updates to the DC Center website, and disseminating information through our social media sites, including Facebook and Twitter.

Chris Rothermel

June 4, Gemini

Why did you start working at The DC Center?

I started working at the DC Center to get involved and support the local LGBTQ+ community. I knew the DC Center did a lot of different things, and I wanted to help organize.  

 

What is music anthem?

Rhiannon by Stevie Nicks or Xanadu by Olivia Newton John would be my anthem.

 

What is your favorite part about the LGBTQ+ community?

My favorite part of the LGBTQ+ community is that it is constantly growing and evolving.

 

What is your favorite spot in DC and what do you do there?

My favorite spot in DC is my home with my cats.  I like to play video games and nap. A close tie for second place would be Cusbah or Sticky Rice on H St. NE, I like to eat there.  

 

What do you think the LGBTQ+ community needs to improve on?

I think the LGBTQ+ community needs to be better about being inclusive and supporting each other. I also think the community could use its collective power to create systemic change better.

 

What is your favorite Queer movie?

My favorite Queer movie is Better than Chocolate.

 

What has been your favorite moment while working in The DC Center?

My favorite moment working at the DC Center is when I learn something new.

 

What clothing item is a staple in your wardrobe?

I like to wear expensive ties and underwear that I didn’t pay full price for.

 

What color would you paint the White House, given the chance?

I think I would like a Blue House instead.

 

Who do you most look up to in the queer community?

I look up to everyone that has the courage to devote their lives to standing up for people who don’t have a voice in society at the expense of their own safety and comfort. Charles King, JD Davids, Aryka Chapman, Ruby Corado, David Mariner, Kaytee Ray-Reik, and Michael Rajner are the first few people that come to the forefront of my mind.

Meet the Staff: Meet Ping-Hsuan

This is a weekly newsletter to put a face to the staff at the DC Center. Every week we will be featuring a staff member. This week, meet Ping! Ping is our general intern. This summer Ping has been working with Shareese on End Violence Against Sex Workers and with Dee Curry on Solutions to Wellness Conference and Awards Banquet.

Ping-Hsuan Wang

July 12, Cancer
Why did you start working at The DC Center?

I started out volunteering and soon I grew to love the feeling of being part of the community by participating in the events. I wanted to do a little bit more by joining the team and helping organize some of the events, where I get to interact with awesome people in real life.

What is music anthem?

Jie Mei (姊妹) by A-Mei (1996). It’s the anthem for many gay men in Taiwan, I believe. The heartwarming message unites us.

What is your favorite part about the LGBTQ+ community?

The activism. Every time I look back on the progress we’ve made over time, I feel pumped to go even further. The energy coming from all of us as a community even in times of setbacks keeps me motivated. This collective endeavor to make lives better continues to inspire me.

What is your favorite spot in DC and what do you do there?

Roosevelt Island. It’s on Potomac River but it’s still part of DC. It’s a great place for a walk to escape the city, even when it’s pouring. I love taking a walk or jogging or simply sitting on a bench somewhere to enjoy the time alone.

What do you think the LGBTQ+ community needs to improve on?

Communication. We have such diversity within the community that sometimes there are misunderstandings that stands in the way of accomplishing great work. I think communication is the key to having all the different voices being heard, from which we can start to address the different needs and concerns our members have to create a more inclusive and welcoming environment. 

What is your favorite Queer movie?

Somewhere I Have Never Travelled/帶我去遠方 (2009). I didn’t know it was a Queer movie when I went to the cinema but I was bawling when I left as the sense of loss and not fitting in resonated so much.

What has been your favorite moment while working in The DC Center?

That moment when someone from Alaska visited the Center and I showed her around and provided some resources she was looking for, I felt how directly impactful the work we are doing is on people’s lives.

What clothing item is a staple in your wardrobe?

I love layers. If I have to pick just one item, it’d be vests. They’re versatile; casual yet professional. I also love the feeling of being hugged tightly around my waist (by a vest).

What color would you paint the White House, given the chance?

Navy blue. I just love that color.

Who do you most look up to in the queer community?

My professors at National Central University, including Fifi Ding and Hans Huang, who are as actively involved and outspoken in the classroom as they are on the street as activists.

 

Meet the Staff: Meet Stacey

This is a weekly newsletter to put a face to the staff at the DC Center. Every week we will be featuring a staff member. This week, meet Stacey! Stacey is our Health & Wellness intern. This summer Stacey has been working with Shareese to help run our weekly packing parties, as well as help found The DC Center’s new yoga program.

Stacey Mannuel

July 18, Cancer
Why did you start working at The DC Center?

I was taking classes part time and I thought pairing that with part time work at an LGBT organization would be fun too.

What is your music anthem?

Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin

What is your favorite part about the LGBTQ+ community?

I love that if you are looking for a home you can find it in our community.

What is your favorite spot in DC and what do you do there?

I like the phallic Washington monument and the tidal basin. When I’m there I typically go for festivals or just a nightly stroll

What do you think the LGBTQ+ community needs to improve on?

We need to work on trans inclusion and media representation of Queer people of color, specifically bisexual members of the community. A lot of media representation of bisexual people involve cheating, manipulation or experimentation… and hardly anyone ever comes out as bisexual!

What is your favorite Queer movie?

Blue is the Warmest Color because it’s the first Queer film I ever saw. I also like Paris is Burning and Tongues Untied because it showed me a new perspective on certain parts of the Queer Community.

What has been your favorite moment while working in The DC Center?

My favorite part while working at The DC Center was meeting another queer Indonesian

What clothing item is a staple in your wardrobe?

Earrings, rings, and bandanas

What color would you paint the White House, given the chance?

I would paint it with murals of the people of color who constructed the house.

Who do you most look up to in the queer community?

Alison Bechdel because I’m in love with her work, Dykes to Look Out For and Fun Home

The DC Center: Meet Matt

This is a weekly newsletter to put a face to the staff at the DC Center. Every week we will be featuring a staff member. This week, meet Matt! Matt is our social Development Intern here at the center. Primarily Matt works with fundraising for The DC Center but during his time here he has been concentrating on raising money for the OutWrite book festival and Center Arts.

Matt McFaul

June 12, Gemini
Why did you start working at The DC Center?
While interning at the HRC I discovered I had a passion for LGBTQ issues and wanted to continue working for the community. When I heard about The DC Center I jumped at the opportunity to work with them and support the local community that I’ve been so lucky to be apart of for the last couple of years.

What is your music anthem?

Gypsy by Fleetwood Mac. Stevie Nicks is a goddess!

What is your favorite part about the LGBTQ+ community?

I really love how diverse the community is. Coming from a boarding school where I was the only openly gay student, the DC queer community has allowed me to meet so many strong and unique individuals that I have been able to learn from.

What is your favorite spot in DC and what do you do there?

The back of the Lincoln Memorial facing Arlington Memorial Bridge. I could spend all night watching the cars leave the city and watching JFK’s eternal flame. For anyone interested it’s a great place to cry and not be seen as well make out with someone.

What do you think the LGBTQ+ community needs to improve on?

We need to have a greater acceptance of body types.

What is your favorite Queer movie?

Blue is the Warmest Color. I love how it accurately depicts the failing of what seems like a perfect relationship.

What has been your favorite moment while working in The DC Center?

I definitely would say walking in the Pride Parade for the first time.

What clothing item is a staple in your wardrobe?

Searsucker anything!

What color would you paint the White House, given the chance?

I want to make it glass so I can see that rat of a president running around his cage.

Who do you most look up to in the queer community?

Harvey Milk. He was the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California. He showed great tenacity by continuing to run for office after his many failed attempts.