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 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 bike all around the city, 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?

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 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 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 David

This week we are switching things up a bit. Rather than our usual “Meet the Staff” feature, we will be focusing on one of our donors this week. David Merrill has been a long time supporter of The DC Center, and will be reaching a milestone with us very soon!

David Merrill

November 18, Scorpio
What inspired you to become involved with The DC Center?
I’ve always believed in supporting our community, and I believe in supporting local organizations, so of course The DC Center has had my support for many years.

What is your music anthem?

I don’t have an anthem, but I do always have a song playing in my head, pretty much 24 hours a day. I wake up and it’s already playing.

What is your favorite part about the LGBTQ+ community?

The leather community, where I found a group of wonderful people who welcomed me just as I am.

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

I love the Smithsonian museums, which are just one of the things that make The District a great place to live. My parents let me go by myself since I was eight years old, and to this day I visit on a regular basis. I especially enjoy The National Portrait Gallery and The Museum of American Art. I plan to visit The Museum of African American History and Culture this very afternoon as I write this.

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

I’ve seen an alarming trend in recent years toward heteronormativity and cleaning up the image of queer people by sanitizing our sexuality. I’m proud to be queer, I have a poly family, and I have no desire to copy the lifestyles of straight people.

What is your favorite LGBTQ+ movie?

Orlando (1992)

What’s a memorable event that you supported at The DC Center?

My favorite events at the center are all of the little events that happen all week, every week that make our community work. From “Rainbow Family Story Time” for queer families, to the “Poly Discussion Group” for people living in alternative family structures. Whatever your lifestyle or interests, there is something for you at the center.

How has the LGBTQ+ community changed in recent years?

We are mainstreaming. Our gay bars are losing customers as we migrate to straight bars and integrate. This is both a good thing, and a bad thing. We are victims of our own success, but I am not one who fears the end of gay culture. It will change, but we are too strong to lose our culture so easily

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

White. I respect tradition.

Who in the LGBTQ+ community has been an inspiration to you?

Oh there are so many, but if I had to pick one it would be Cleve Jones.

Meet Sam

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 Sam! Sam is one of our social workers here at the center and meets with her many clients all throughout the week. This summer, Sam has also been working tirelessly to plan Taking the Stage, Taking a Stand, which will provide a platform for queer voices to speak out against violence they have faced.

Sam Goodwin

September 20, Virgo
Why did you start working at The DC Center?
I began working as a Staff Social Worker at The DC Center in May 2016, with the hope of providing a safe space and tools for healing within a community that I care deeply about. I had always dreamed of working with LGBTQ individuals in my hometown of Washington, DC, and through The DC Center I was given the opportunity to create our mental health program and provide individual, group, and couples therapy to individuals who have been affected by crime, violence, sexual assault and other trauma. It has been an incredible and very rewarding experience.

What is your music anthem?

Canned Heat by Jamiroquai.

What is your favorite part about the LGBTQ+ community?

My favorite part about the LGBTQ+ community is the synonymous feeling of unbridled support and connectivity around being fiercely committed to being authentic to yourself and loving who you love. There is a unique beauty and deep strength in the freedom of genuine expression, and I feel those qualities radiate throughout the community.

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

I grew up in DC (one of the few and the proud!), and love so much of the city, so this is a hard question! I really love Eastern Market and the flea market that pops up every weekend. To me, there is really nothing better than strolling down the streets of Capitol Hill, getting brunch and then picking up a painting created by a local artist while listening to street performers serenade passersby with gentle Beatles ballads. I lived briefly near Eastern Market and it holds a very special place in my heart.

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

One of the strengths of the LGBTQ+ community is our diversity, the many different groups of individuals that make up the rainbow of letters in our ever-expanding acronym. The piece that we can improve is communication and connection between groups and communities within the larger community, specifically folks that have been historically marginalized and under served. We can always do better in lifting up and underscoring the voices that do not always get a chance to speak their truth, especially within our larger community.

What is your favorite Queer movie?

It’s a tossup – I love ‘To Wong Foo: Thanks For Everything! Julie Newmar’ and ‘But I’m a Cheerleader.’ Both are such quirky classics.

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

One of the most difficult weeks in my time at The DC Center was right after the horrific shooting at Pulse in Orlando. We worked around the clock with other LGBTQ+ organizations to put together an event for the community to come together, mourn, honor the victims of the shooting, and just talk about what had happened while uplifting and featuring the voices of Muslim and Latinx LGBTQ+ individuals. We had over 700 members of the community come out for this event, and the conversations that sprung from the speakers and individuals from the community knocked me sideways. There was so much love, and sadness, and anger, and wisdom, and respect in that space. It was raw and painful, but also presented all of us with a way to come together in a really intentional and important way when so many of us were hurting deeply. I’ll never forget the way I felt that evening, and how connected I was in that moment to everyone in that space. Perhaps it wasn’t my ‘favorite’ moment while working at The DC Center, but has certainly created the deepest impact and will be a moment that I will always hold with me.

What clothing item is a staple in your wardrobe?

I really love vintage style a-line dresses in soft, bright colors, and anything that looks vaguely 50’s and 60’s. Thrift-store shopping is my cardio.

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

I would paint the white house turquoise with hot pink stars. Maybe put some Hello Kitty stickers right across the front, too.

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

I would say my queer hero is Janet Mock. I’ve seen her speak a few times in person, and read her memoir, ‘Redefining Realness,’ and think that her wisdom comes from a radical place of self-love and self-acceptance that is so inspirational and moving. I think she’s the voice of our generation, and that her wisdom pushes all of us forward.