Testimony on LGBTQ Youth Homelessness

In response to the DC City Council’s budget oversight hearing for the Department of Human Services, the Youth Working Group submitted testimony regarding LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness in DC. The Youth Working Group urged the Council to consider the need for a safe system for youth to submit complaints and the need for LGBTQ competency training at shelters and housing providers. Read the full testimony letter the Working Group submitted below.

Did you know the DC Center has lockers for youth experiencing homelessness?

For more information on the Youth Working Group, visit https://thedccenter.org/youth/


Dear City Council Members,

I am writing today on behalf of the Youth Working Group at the DC Center for The LGBT Community. We are a group of adult advocates who work with LGBTQ youth in a variety of contexts and organizations throughout the city and come together at the DC Center on a monthly basis with the goal of ensuring that LGBTQ youth in D.C. can enjoy freedom from displacement, harassment, and bullying, in a community where youth feel safe, respected, and connected.

At this time, we would like to raise concerns about the safety of LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness. As we know, nearly 40% of youth experiencing homeless in D.C. identify as LGBTQ. These youth are placed at an increased risk of harassment from both peers and facility staff when entering shelters and housing providers, often leaving youth unsafe and vulnerable when visiting these facilities. We have noted, however, that when issues do arise, there is no safe way for youth to submit complaints without fear of retaliation. For many youth, the possibility of jeopardizing their housing situation constitutes too high a risk to raise concerns directly.

As such, we ask that the Council support and set aside aside funding for the creation of an anonymous complaint system for shelter and housing providers, giving LGBTQ youth the opportunity to express their concerns–and compliments– with the assurance that they will be heard and efficiently followed up on. Relatedly, we urge the Council to consider the need for and bring forth legislation to enact LGBTQ competency training for all staff at shelter facilities and housing programs in the District of Columbia. These persons are integral to the services provided youth in the District, and LGBTQ competency is essential when interacting with this vulnerable population. We consider this equally as important as the legislation for mandatory competency training enacted in 2016 (B21-0168) for healthcare providers serving LGBTQ youth. Finally, we also affirm the proposal for additional funding for youth beds and encourage the expansion of capacity in low-barrier shelters for LGBT youth.

We appreciate your time and consideration of these requests.

Kind regards,

Taryn Kitchen
on behalf of the Youth Working Group
The DC Center for the LGBT Community

Study Planned to Explore Future of the Reeves Center

Reeves Center

The Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development recently held a ‘March Madness’ event where they revealed upcoming development projects.  DC Properties that were discussed include the Reeves Center (2000 14th Street NW), the MPD Third District and FEMS location (on U Street between 16th Street NW and 17th Street NW, and the DC Parks and Recreation site at 1325 S Street NW.

Mayor Muriel Bowser and and Deputy Mayor Brian Kenner  announced plans for a “Re-Imagining the Reeves Center” study.    According to the fact sheet provided:

“The Reeves Center, a government office building at 14th and U Street NW, and other District
owned properties surrounding the U Street corridor are poised for redevelopment. The District wishes to conduct a study to evaluate how these sites can contribute to a vibrant public life in the surrounding neighborhood, and what kinds of uses best balance public needs and economic development potential.”

An RFP for the study will be released in the Fall of 2019. (read the fact sheet here)

It is unclear how development plans for the Reeves Center will impact offices located at the Reeves Center, which include The Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs, the Mayor’s Office of Latino Affairs, and of course, the DC Center for the LGBTQ Community.  The DC Center has approximately 15 years remaining on a twenty year lease.

We will continue to monitor the situation and share information as it becomes available.




2019 LGBTQ Community Survey

2019 LGBTQ Community Survey

The DC Center for the LGBTQ Community is proud to partner with Community Marketing Inc for the 13th annual LGBTQ Community Survey. When you complete the survey using our unique link (tinyurl.com/2019communitysurvey) your survey data is shared with the DC Center.

click here to take the survey now

This is the fourth year the DC Center has participated in the survey.  Last year we had 400 unique responses which provide us with useful information about the community members we serve.

Please take a moment and complete the survey now.  Results from previous years surveys are included below and on our Data page at thedccenter.org/data.

Previous Community Survey Results

The DC Center Community Survey 2018

The DC Center Community Survey 2017

The DC Center Community Survey 2016

Norton Introduces Bill to Ban Discrimination Against LGBTQ Jurors in Local D.C. Court

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today introduced the District of Columbia Local Juror Non-Discrimination Act of 2019, which would clarify that D.C. residents may not be excluded or disqualified from jury service in the D.C. Superior Court based on sexual orientation or gender identity.  Specifically, the bill would clarify that “sex,” which is a protected class under the non-discrimination law that currently applies to local D.C. jurors, includes sexual orientation and gender identity.

The District has one of the strongest anti-discrimination laws in the country, including protecting individuals based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  However, the District cannot make its anti-discrimination law applicable to local D.C. jurors.  Under the Home Rule Act, only Congress has the authority to regulate local jury service.

“District of Columbia jurors should not be discriminated against based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, and D.C. juries should not be deprived of the service of LGBTQ residents,” Norton said.  “Soon, we will introduce our home-rule bill to give D.C. control over the jurisdiction and organization of its local courts, which requires only completion and perfection of the Home Rule Act, not statehood.  Until the District is given control over its local courts, it is up to Congress to pass this important LGBTQ equality bill.”

Norton’s bill is based on H.R. 874, the Juror Non-Discrimination Act of 2019, which would make the same changes to federal jury law.  Norton is an original cosponsor of H.R. 874.

Norton had been talking with the D.C. courts and advocacy groups about this bill before reading that D.C. Councilmember Mary Cheh had also been looking into this issue.  Norton appreciates Councilmember Cheh’s interest in the issue.  Under the Home Rule Act, however, this change in law requires congressional action.

GLAA: Increase Funding for OHR

The Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance is a non-partisan, non-profit political organization that defends the civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the District of Columbia. The alliance is calling on the Committee of Government Operations and its members to increase funding for the Office of Human Rights (OHR) in order to ensure the rights of LGBTQ people. The GLAA is asking that the Mayor’s OHR funding be increased to include additional investigators, a full-time coordinator for the hate crimes response team, as well as an expansion for its public education and outreach programs.

The OHR’s latest report on transgender individuals found that 48% of employers prefer at least one less-qualified person who is perceived as cisgender over a more qualified person perceived as transgender. Due to this, over 40% of trans people have been denied at least one job because they are perceived as transgender. While OHR is dedicated to its mission of eradicating discrimination, increasing opportunities, and protecting human rights, the GLAA believes this can only be done with the level of funding necessary. Since 2016, hate crimes have doubled, and nearly half of hate crimes in 2018 were based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The Mayor has taken the Office of Human Rights with the responsibility of coordinating a team to combat hate crimes, but the GLAA does not believe enough money is being allocated to this vital resource.

To read the full letter, click here.

5 Ways to Support LGBTQ Older Adults in the District

LGBTQ Older Adults

Center Aging recently held it’s April Advocacy Meeting and we were excited to be joined by Imani Woody of Mary’s House DC and ANC Rep. Mike Silverstein.  Now is a great time to stand up for LGBTQ Older Adults in the District.  Here are five steps you can take to help.

Join us at our next meeting.  Center Aging Advocacy meetings take place on the first Monday of every month at 12:30 PM.  We would love to have you join us for our next meeting on May 6th at at the DC Center.  We hope to see you there!

Testify at the Office of LGBTQ Affairs Budget Hearing.  The Budget Hearing for the Office of LGBTQ Affairs is on April 22nd (It was originally scheduled for April 11th but has been rescheduled).  Find out more about this meeting here.  LGBTQ organizations including Casa Ruby, Wanda Alston House, and the DC Center recently testified at the budget hearing for the office of LGBTQ Affairs calling for $3 million dollars to be added to the budget so that they can provide competitive grants to local organizations to support our community.   Priorities for this funding include seniors, youth, housing, the transgender community, and employment.  In addition, Mary’s House has called for office to receive 24 housing vouchers.

Volunteer your time.   Our Center Aging lunch for LGBTQ older adults takes place on the fourth Friday of every month!  We depend on support from the community to provide the meal and entertainment for this event.   As you may know, social isolation is a big issue for LGBTQ older adults, so providing these social events is important to their health and well being.  We are grateful to the ATT Employee Resource Group who recently paid for one of these meals, and for community members who have volunteered their time including Dan Carter, Fabián H. Ríos Rubino, and Adam Heller who have donated their time.  If you would like to provide lunch for our older adults please let us know.  You can learn more about this and other group volunteer activities for LGBTQ Older Adults at: thedccenter.org/groupvolunteering.

Testify at the Office of Aging Budget Hearing.  The Budget Hearing for the Office of Aging is April 25th.  We were excited to hear at our recent meeting that the ANC Rainbow Caucus plans to testify at this hearing in support of housing programs for LGBTQ Older Adults (among other issues).  While the Office of Aging does not deal with housing directly, they have an important role to play in this issue.  This is an excellent opportunity to share the experiences of LGBTQ older adults.  Find out more about this meeting and sign up to testify.

Make a donation.  Consider supporting an organization that works to support LGBTQ older adults.



Breaking Ground 2019

The award winning theater program “Breaking Ground” is recruiting for the 2019 season and is looking for actors, singers, dancers, poets, artists and performers!

Breaking Ground is an Obama White House Summer program for LGBTQIA+ youth of color age 16-30 where they create a full-length musical theater production based on their life stories, and addressing the unique culture and experiences of their people.

Issues addressed in the show cover dating, sex, mental health, body image, HIV/AIDS, transphobia and the trans experience, racism, substance abuse and many other important topics.

Breaking Ground REQUIRES an audition (not based in arts talent, but evidence of passion for community and the program).

Transgender men and women, gender non-conforming, intersex,  and cisgender women are encouraged to apply and welcome to join to ensure diverse stories and experiences are represented.

If you are interested, click here to register.

The Transgender Community Condemns the Murder of Ashanti Carmon

Ashanti Carmon

Update: The Press conference has been cancelled but the vigil will take place as described below.

The Transgender community condemns the murder of Ashanti Carmon, a 27-year old transgender woman who was brutally shot multiple times to death in the 5000 Block of Jost Street in the town of Fairmount Heights Maryland on the morning of Saturday March 30th.

The Transgender community and other local LGBTQ organizations joins the Carmon family and friends in mourning this senseless loss.  Her murder reminds us all of how often the transgender community is targeted for violence in our society.   Sadly, violence against transgender people has become far too common in many cities.  While this murder was just across the Eastern Avenue line and happen in Maryland, Ashanti is well known and loved in the DC area by many.  In looking back on murders it brings us to the shooting death on Eastern Avenue N.E. of Lashai McClean age 23 who was killed in July of 2011.   While this murder may or may not be characterized as a hate crime by police at this time, it is important that each of us works to eradicate transphobia on a personal and societal level.

The LGBTQ community is organizing a vigil, which will take place on April 02, 2019 at 6:30pm in the 5000 block of Jost Street near the site of the attack.  The LGBTQ community encourages everyone to participate and show solidarity against hatred and violence.  Also, Funeral arrangements are pending and will be announced once released.

Submissions Open for OutWrite’s 2019 Chapbook Competition

OutWrite Chapbook Contest

April 1, 2019
dave ring, OutWrite Chair


Submissions Opened for OutWrite’s 2019 Chapbook Competition

WASHINGTON, D.C. — OutWrite is pleased to announce its first Chapbook Competition, running from April 1st to May 25th, 2019.  The winning chapbooks will be published the first weekend of August 2019, to coincide with the 2019 OutWrite LGBTQ Literary Festival. Submission details are included at the end of this text.

Each winner will receive 25 copies of their winning chapbook, an offer of print publication, and an opportunity to read from their work at OutWrite 2019 on Saturday, August 3rd.

Winning chapbooks will be selected in three categories by the competition judges:

NONFICTION: Kristen Arnett

Kristen Arnett is a queer fiction and essay writer. She won the 2017 Coil Book Award for her debut short fiction collection, Felt in the Jaw, and was awarded Ninth Letter’s 2015 Literary Award in Fiction. She’s a bimonthly columnist for Literary Hub and her work has appeared at North American Review, The Normal School, Gulf Coast, TriQuarterly, Guernica, PBS Newshour, McSweeneys, Electric Literature, Bennington Review, Salon, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. Her debut novel, Mostly Dead Things, will be published by Tin House Books in June 2019. You can find her on twitter here: @Kristen_Arnett.


JY Yang is the author of the Tensorate series of novellas from Tor.Com Publishing (The Red Threads of Fortune, The Black Tides of Heaven, The Descent of Monsters and The Ascent to Godhood). Their work has been shortlisted for the Hugo, Nebula, Lambda Literary and World Fantasy Awards, while their short fiction has been published in over a dozen venues, including Tor.com, Uncanny Magazine, Lightspeed, Clarkesworld, and Strange Horizons.  JY is queer, non-binary, and lives in Singapore. Find them online on Twitter: @halleluyang.


Wo Chan is a queer poet and drag performer living in Brooklyn. They are the author of the chaplet ORDER THE WORLD, MOM (Belladonna), and has received fellowships from the New York Foundation of the Arts, Kundiman, Lambda Literary, and the Asian American Writers Workshop. Wo is standing member of the Brooklyn-based drag/burlesque collective Switch N’ Play, and has performed at venues including The Whitney, MOMA PS1, Joe’s Pub, National Sawdust, New York Live Arts, and the Brooklyn Museum. Wo was born in Macau, China. Check them out @theillustriouspearl.

There is a $5 entry fee, which can be paid through OutWrite’s website.

Please follow these guidelines in preparing your submission:

  • Chapbooks may be submitted in three categories:  fiction, nonfiction & poetry.
  • We accept submissions in all three categories in English.
  • OutWrite is a celebration of LGBTQ literature; entries that explore aspects of LGBTQ culture or identity are encouraged.
  • Thematically-linked works are encouraged, but not required. There are no limitations regarding genre.
  • Manuscripts should be no shorter than 20 pages and no longer than 40 pages. This does not include the table of contents or title page.
  • Manuscripts can be collections as well as single pieces.
  • Submissions are open from April 1st to May 25th 2019.
  • Each writer may only submit one entry per category.
  • There is a $5 reading fee.  If the fee for entering is an economic hardship, please contact us at outwritedc@gmail.com.  A limited number of entry fees have been sponsored by donations.
  • Your manuscript should be in a standard font, size 12. Please single-space poetry and double-space prose. Please include a title page and a table of contents; do not include an acknowledgements page (winning entries will be given the opportunity to adjust front and back matter before publication).
  • The collection as a whole must be unpublished, but individual poems/stories may be previously published (as long as relevant rights have reverted)
  • We will be accepting simultaneously submitted work. All semi-finalists will be required to remove their work from simultaneous review upon notification.
  • We expect to announce the semifinalists in June.  Winners will be announced in July. Publication will be at OutWrite, August 2-4 2019.

Entries must be submitted no earlier than April 1st, 2019 and no later than May 25, 2019. The submission window closes at midnight EST.

Send all submissions to outwritecontest@gmail.com.

Each entry must include the following:

  • A subject line including your last name and the words ““<Fiction/Nonfiction/Poetry> Submission: <Your Title> by <Your Name>.”
  • In the body of the email: the title of the collection; your name, your contact information (phone number and email address), and the PayPal Transaction ID for your entry fee.
  • It may also include a brief bio.

Any updates to these guidelines will be posted here:

About OutWrite

OutWrite is a celebration of LGBT literature, held annually the first weekend in August in Washington, D.C. The 2019 festival will kick off on Friday, August 2nd. On Saturday, August 3rd, there will be a full day of readings, panels, book sales, and exhibitors. To finish the weekend, a number of writing workshops will be held on Sunday, August 4th.  For more information, visit: thedccenter.org/outwrite.

About the DC Center

The DC Center for the LGBT Community educates, empowers, celebrates, and connects 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. We envision communities where LGBT people feel healthy, safe, and affirmed.