Meet the Board: Ashley Gibbs

We are excited to welcome Ashley Gibbs to the Board of Directors! Read on to learn more about our newest board member.

Where are you originally from and how long have you been in DC?

I was born in New Hampshire, spent my childhood in southeastern Connecticut, and moved to DC in 2009.

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

At the moment it’s the National Arboretum. I adopted a rescue puppy with a severe anxiety disorder in August 2021. The Arboretum is one of the few places in the city she feels safe to sniff, roll in the grass, and just be a dog. And being in nature is great for my mental health too!

What is your favorite queer movie?

That’s a difficult question, but I’m going to go with Call Me By Your Name. Spectacular scenery, a moving romance, and supportive family – it’s a great film.

Who do you look up to in the queer community?

I look up to everyone in this community who is living life on their terms, pushing the boundaries of what’s “acceptable” in our society, and showing that queer life is diverse, vibrant, and free. This includes activists and elders who have paved the way for us to have the freedoms we do today, young people who are walking out of school in defense of their classmates, those who are building a family on their own terms, and everyone who believes freedom and rights are universal, and that society is better when people can live openly, queerly—whatever that means to them as individuals.

What are you most excited about regarding the future of the DC Center?

I’m excited to see how we can adapt to the future in a way that best serves our community. The events of the past few years have changed the world, our country, and us as individuals. How do we as a queer community evolve and become even stronger? That’s the question I’m excited to work with the DC Center to answer.

Are you interested in joining the Board? Learn more here.

Meet Our New Board Chair, Andrew Zapfel

At the last Board of Directors meeting of 2021, Andrew Zapfel (he/him) was unanimously elected Board Chair. “Andrew has shown his deep commitment to the Center over his last few years at Board Member, Secretary, and Development Chair,” shared former Board chair, Rehana Mohammed. “I’m so excited to see the Center continue to thrive under his leadership as Chair and grateful that he has stepped up to take on this new role. I’m looking forward to continuing to support as Vice Chair and focusing on our search for a new permanent space as a part of the DC Queer Space Taskforce.”

Read the interview below to get to know Andrew!

Where are you originally from and how long have you been in DC?

I was born and raised in Buffalo, New York. Deciding that I was semi-over constant blizzards, I moved to Washington DC in 2011. I have been a resident of the city ever since.

How did you first get involved in the DC Center?

I started volunteering at condom packing parties as part of the organization’s HIV and sexual health services. From there. I started helping with our “Gay Day at the Zoo” events with fellow board member, Jonathan Gilad. Those events got me interested in doing more and signing up to be a part of the DC Center Board.

What are you most excited about regarding the future of the DC Center?

What I love about the DC Center is our overall goal to meet the needs of our diverse LGBTQ community. Going through so much in the past two years with COVID, we know that the needs of community members may look different. What do we want virtually? What do we want in person? What new social and health services need to exist to meet the challenges we all face? How are we reaching everyone? We need the community involved to help us answer these questions as best as we can! I know we will get there thanks to the dedicated staff and board of the Center.

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

My favorite two spots (they are connected – so could count as one) would be the Smithsonian’s African Art Museum and the Asian Art Museum. I love the permanent collections as well as the amazing exhibits they put on. Both have wonderful courtyards and places to work, relax, and contemplate the history of our civilizations. I am happy to go with anyone!

What are your goals for the next year?

First, we need to make sure we are meeting the immediate needs of our community as we continue living in the COVID-19 pandemic. Next, I look forward to finding ways the DC Center can best share what it does with the community, so that more can see the services we provide and get involved. Finally, I really want to see our events grow! From our arts and cultural events to social services, we have plenty of opportunities for anyone.

What is your favorite queer movie?

I am a Shakespeare fan so I have to say “Were the World Mine.” It is based on one of my favorite Shakespeare plays,  “A Midsummer’s Night Dream.” One of the leads so perfectly sings my favorite line, “I’ll Follow Thee and Make a Heaven of Hell.” I may be a bit of a romantic.

Who do you look up to in the queer community?

I look up to the amazing leaders we have here in DC. Whether it be Kimberley Bush, the DC Center’s Interim Executive Director and incredible Arts and Culture lead, June Crenshaw leading the Wanda Alston Foundation, Alexis Blackmon as the Interim Executive Director of Casa Ruby, and more. The needs of our community are great and the organizations find ways to collaborate as much as possible to meet them. I look forward to working with these leaders!

 

 

Seeking Candidates for Board of Directors & NEW Advisory Council

The DC Center invites you to get more involved in our work by applying to join the Board of Directors or our new Advisory Council.

Why apply?

  • Contribute strategic counsel to the DC Center’s organizational priorities, financial decisions and long-term vision
  • Contribute to a future where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people feel healthy, safe, and affirmed
  • Advance the Center’s mission of educating, empowering, celebrating, and connecting the LGBT communities.
  • Deepen relationships within the DC LGBT community

For the Board of Directors, we are seeking candidates with experience and/or interest in fundraising, finance, operations, communications or strategic planning who can commit 1-3 hours per week to this role.

If you are interested in supporting the DC Center, but do not have the time to support efforts, consider joining the Advisory Council.

Board of Directors Application

Advisory Council Application

Please send your completed applications to nominations@thedccenter.org.

DC Center Relocating by December 2022

October 27, 2021

Have you been back to the DC Center yet? We reopened our doors earlier this month, inviting community members to explore our new set up, and experience our newest Center Arts Gallery exhibit by Julian Vankim. We are once again offering access to our cyber center, library, food pantry and a new clothing closet, as well as some in person, virtual and hybrid support groups and events. The Center was also part of a successful advocacy effort to secure funding from the DC government for a new space for a community center.

As we look towards this exciting future, we are writing to share that the DC Center will relocate by December 2022, due to the renovation of the Reeves Center. The Board of Directors is working with other community leaders and organizations on a long term strategy for the permanent location of the DC Center.

While the DC Center staff and volunteers did a fantastic job providing support and services virtually for over a year and half,  the pandemic has also reminded us of the importance of gathering in person. Having a community center is essential not only as a place to congregate and experience a sense of belonging, but also as a place to distribute essential resources. 

Although we do not yet have a new address to share yet, we are confident that our new home will enable us to fulfill that purpose. We look forward to a new building that will enable us to offer our current programs — and possibly some new ones —  to the LGBTQ+ community of the DC metro area.  We will keep the community aware of any updates as they develop. 

If you have any questions or thoughts regarding the DC Center’s future home, please contact Board Chair, Rehana Mohammed, at rehana@thedccenter.org.

 

Statement from the DC Center regarding Nellie’s

The DC Center for the LGBT Community condemns Nellie’s actions during Pride Weekend. The security staff’s violent treatment of Keisha Young was unacceptable. We know that LGBTQ+ liberation is connected to Black liberation and we will continue to support and stand in community with Black and Brown organizers. The DC Center demands that Nellie’s take reparative action for this and prior harm caused to the community.

 

 

Pride 2020 Community Calendar

Pride looks different this year, but Pride cannot be cancelled. We’ve compiled a list of community events happening in the coming weeks to help you stay connected to the LGBTQ+ community. Have an event you want added to the calendar? Email rebecca@thedccenter.org 

June 4
Out LGBTQ Dog Mushers In Alaska Share Stories & Answer Questions at 8:00 pm
FREE! Brought to you by Pride Outside

Blade Pride Chats Presented By The Ariadne Getty Foundation at 4:00 pm
Topic: Celebrate Your First Pride & Coming Out
FREE! Brought to you by Washington Blade, Blade Foundation and Los Angeles Blade

June 6
Virtual Dance Party 5.0 – PRIDE Night at 8:30 pm
Registration required; Pay what you can – minimum $1 donation!
Brought to you by Scorpio Entertainment

June 8
PRIDE Talks at 8:00 pm
FREE! Brought to you by Capital Pride Alliance

PRIDE Week Trivia at 8:00 pm
Tickets required >> $10
Brought to you by NoMa Business Improvement District, DC Beer and Red Bear Brewing

June 9
Second Tuesday Queer Trivia at 7:00 pm
FREE! >>> But please consider supporting the staff of A League Of Her Own & Pitchers DC
Brought to you by A League of Her Own

Story District’s Out/Spoken at 7:30 pm >>> POSTPONED
Registration required; Pay what you can!
Brought to you by Story District

June 10
DCPS Parent University: Loving with Pride at 2:30 pm
FREE! >> Registration required
Brought to you by DC Public Schools 

Outloud: Raising Voices – DC Episode at 8:00 pm
FREE! Brought to you by JJLA

June 11
Blade Pride Chats Presented By The Ariadne Getty Foundation at 4:00 pm
Topic: Pride in Business
FREE! Brought to you by Washington Blade, Blade Foundation and Los Angeles Blade

June 12
National Pride Shabbat at 7:00 pm
FREE! Brought to you by 6th & I; RSVP appreciated

June 13
DC Pride2020 March + Caravan at 2:30 pm
FREE! Brought to you by No Justice No Pride

TRADE Virtual Pride Show at 9:00 pm
FREE! Tips to the performers encouraged.
Brought to you by TRADE

June 14
Pride Yoga
FREE! Brought to you by Capital Pride Alliance

June 15
Pride Talks: Defund MPD – Educational Forum
FREE! Registration required. Brought to you by a coalition of DC LGBTQ+ organizations

June 17
La Plática – DC Latinx Pride 2020
FREE! Brought to you by the Latinx History Project

June 18
Blade Pride Chats Presented By The Ariadne Getty Foundation at 4:00 pm
Topic: Reflections of Pride
FREE! Brought to you by Washington Blade, Blade Foundation and Los Angeles Blade

Smut Slam DC: Queer Pride Online at 8:00 pm
Tickets required >> Pay what you can – $10 suggested donation
Brought to you by Smut Slam – International and Smut Slam DC

June 19
Virtual Pride Shabbat
FREE! Brought to you by GLOE, Bet Mishpachach, Nice Jewish Boys and Nice Jewish Girls

June 19 – June 22
Reel Affirmations XTRA Films On Demand Presents: Irving Park
Irving Park is the story of four gay men in their 60s, living together in Chicago, and exploring an unconventional lifestyle of master/slave relationships. A family based on free choice and the consent to lose one’s personal freedom in favor of the desire of the Other.
$12 Virtual Ticket >> Brought to you by the DC Center’s Reel Affirmations

June 20
Proud Memories – Preserving the Legacy of DC’s LGBTQ+ Community at 1:00 pm
FREE! Brought to you by DC Public Libraries

National Pride Inside at 6:00 pm
Registration required >> Donations encouraged!
Brought to you by the Victory Fund

June 25
SMYAL for Summer
$25 suggested donation; Brought to you by SMYAL

June 26
Blade Pride Chats Presented By The Ariadne Getty Foundation at 4:00 pm
Topic: Global Pride Preview
FREE! Brought to you by Washington Blade, Blade Foundation and Los Angeles Blade

June 26
14th DC Latinx Pride Official Dance Party: La Fiesta En Casa
FREE! Brought to you by the Latinx History Project

June 26 – June 29
Reel Affirmations XTRA Films On Demand Presents: Breaking Fast
Mo, a practicing Muslim living in West Hollywood, is learning to navigate life post heartbreak. Enter Kal, an All-American guy who surprises Mo by offering to break fast with him during the holy month of Ramadan. As they learn more about each other, they fall in love over what they have in common and what they don’t.
$12 Virtual Ticket >> Brought to you by the DC Center’s Reel Affirmations

June 27
Global Pride 2020

June 28
FB Live DC Center Drag Brunch Fundraiser at 12:00 pm
FREE! Tips to performers and donation to the Center encouraged!
Brought to you by the DC Center & Capital Pride Alliance

Capital Pride in the City – #StillWe Entertain at 7:00 pm
FREE! Brought to You By Capital Pride Alliance

Throughout the month:

The DC Center Center Arts Virtual Gallery
The Virtual Art Gallery of Mixed Media Muralist Laya Monarez’ Work.
Laya Monarez is a 36 year old bisexual transgender latinx artist based out of Washington DC.
FREE! Brought to you by The DC Center’s Center Arts Gallery

MoCo Pride Center #PostYourPride Challenges

Have an event you want added to the calendar? Email rebecca@thedccenter.org 

The DC Center Stands in Solidarity with the BLM Movement

As we begin Pride Month this year, we have been confronted with multiple visible acts of violence and police brutality, caused by the widespread systems of white supremacy and racism in our country. That is why The DC Center for the LGBT Community joined together with over 500 LGBTQ+ and civil rights organizations across the country to stand in solidarity with our Black siblings and reaffirm that Black Lives Matter. We also recognize that speaking up alone is not enough. The DC Center recommits to challenging and confronting anti-Blackness, and to working to be more intentionally anti-racist in our work. We cannot forget that the first Pride was an uprising against policy brutality and harassment led by Black and Brown trans and butch women. Intersectionality is critical to our movement – none of us have justice until we all do. 

In Solidarity,

The DC Center Board of Directors

 

You can read the full letter and see all the organizations who have signed on here.

 

Updates from the DC Center

The DC Center continues to bring essential services to the LGBTQ+ community during this challenging time. We have paused our Executive Director search given the current situation, but our phenomenal staff have continued to step up to ensure the Center is thriving! While our building remains closed, we are very much open and here to serve you.

So what’s been happening at the Center lately?

  • Many of our social, peer and support groups have been meeting via video chat including Center Aging, Job Club, Center GenderQueer, Center Trans, Women in their Twenties & Thirties, LGBTQ People of Color, the DC Antiviolence Project, and more! Visit our calendar for a complete list of upcoming virtual events>>.

  • Center Arts is finding creative ways to bring cinematic LGBTQ Lifestories to your home. Reel Affirmations: Washington DC’s International LGBTQ Film Festival and Monthly Film Series will continue with a virtual film screening THIS Friday, April 24th. Get your tickets now! 
  • Be on the lookout for our launch of our Virtual Center Arts Gallery where you can check out our current artist’s video message and view and purchase her work.

  • Unfortunately, Gay Day at the Zoo has been canceled, but you can still spend some time with the pandas, cheetahs, elephants, lions or naked mole rats via the zoo cam.

  • Our blog continues to have helpful COVID-19 related resources! Read about legal rights, unemployment support and more here.

  • Our support desk is still open! You can email us at  supportdesk@thedccenter.org or call 202-682-2245. Is there anything else we can do to help you during this challenging time? Let us know!

The DC Center Board announces Kimberley Bush as Interim Executive Director

The DC Center is proud to share that Kimberley Bush, the Center’s Director of Arts & Cultural Programs, will serve as the Interim Executive Director while the Board of Directors conducts a search for a new Executive Director. Kimberley also oversees, manages, and co-curates Center Arts Gallery, Arty Queers: DC’s LGTBQ Indoor Art Market, Outwrite: DC’s LGBTQ LIterary Festival, DC Queer Theatre Festival,  Reel Affirmations: DC’s International LGBTQ Film Festival and Monthly Film Series. Kimberley previously filled the Acting ED role while David was on sabbatical for three months in 2018.
In her role as Director of Arts & Cultural Programs, Kimberley has demonstrated a sense of innovation and ambition in the projects she has taken on. The Reel Affirmations program, which Kimberley has been involved with for more than 15 years, has been ranked in the top three LGBTQ film festivals in the country. Arty Queers, an LGBTQ Art Market, that Kimberley established more recently, has already become a recurring event which draws patrons to the Center every month.
Though a New York native, Kimberley has lived in the DC area for thirty years and has become an accomplished leader in the community. In May, she was recognized as one of the 2019 Capital Pride Heroes.
We are appreciative of Kimberley’s willingness to step up and serve the DC Center as the Interim ED. We know the Center is in great hands and we look forward to her leadership in the months ahead!