Welcome David!

Welcome David Arriaza to the DC Center! As the new Health and Wellness Intern. David (He/Him/His) looks forward to having a great learning experience while serving the LBGT community in DC. You can meet David (He/Him/His) at the DC Center on weekdays and some evenings. David (He/Him/His) is looking forward to being the best Health and Wellness intern that ever was.

 

Birthday, Astrological Sign

November 6th, 1981, Scorpio

 

Where are you originally from?

I am from California’s northern Bay Area but I was born and raised in El Salvador.

 

Why did you start working at the DC Center? 

During my youth I volunteered at Positive Images (Sonoma county’s Queer youth and young adult center) and I would like to use the skill I have learned while working at the DC Center.

 

What has been your favorite part about working at the DC Center?

As this is my starting week I have yet to discover all the wonderful things that The Center has to offer.

 

What is your music anthem? 

The Origin of Love as performed by John Cameron Mitchel in the movie Hedwig and the Angry Inch. And, The Queen of Mean as performed by Sarah Jeffry in the Disney movie Descendants 3.

 

What is your favorite part about the LGBTQ+ community? 

I like the feeling that I belong and the freedom of being myself in public. I was brought up in a very repressive culture during my childhood in Central America and having the opportunity to experience the shift in the Queer community in the U.S. has become one of the best experiences of my life.

 

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

So far I have only been a couple of weeks here in DC for the first time, but I have had the opportunity to visit some of the monuments in the National Mall. By far what I have enjoyed the most is the Smithsonian Natural History Museum. It makes me feel like a child once again when all I ever wanted to do in life was to become a paleontologist and study dinosaurs. 

 

What is your favorite queer movie?  

Hedwig and the Angry Inch, But I Am a Cheerleader, Short Bus, etc.

 

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

All of the color into a kaleidoscope pattern so that it can represent every visible spectrum of light perceivable by the human eye.

 

Who do you look up to in the queer community?

I would like for it to be standard and not so much a separate instance of heteronormative society. I would like for the Queer community to be what interracialism has become for the last half a century and more.

¡Bienvenido/Welcome Michele Johns, LGSW!

Michele Johns, LGSW, Therapist

!Bienvenido a Michele al DC Center/Welcome Michele to the DC Center!

Michele (she/her) is a therapist/advocate at the DC Center. Michele joined us on a part-time contract earlier in 2021, but this summer has accepted a full-time position as one of our trauma-informed, licensed mental health clinicians! Bonus: Michele speaks English and Spanish. We are very excited to have her on the DC Center team!

You can meet Michele at the DC once it is safe to return to the Center in-person, but for now, read on to learn about our newest team member.

I love working with staff, volunteers, and folks who connect to The DC Center for community, care and creativity.  The DC Center is an exciting place that invites and welcomes and nurtures authenticity and creativity – and real and lasting connections – through art, therapy, education, and advocacy.  I really look forward to being able to gather in person at The DC Center – and until then, will continue to seek and soak up the virtual connections!

I enjoy leading groups, working individually with folks, and connecting to the other aspects of the Center – like the open mics, art and movie gatherings.

I look forward to bringing my full self to The DC Center – my queer, social justice-y, artistic, therapist, religiously trained, Spanish-speaking, pet-loving self!

Birthdate, Astro Sign:

–October 2, Libra

 

Where are you originally from?

–born and raised in Montgomery, Alabama.

 

Why did you start working at the DC Center?

–because I got lucky!!!  I wanted to be a part of a dynamic, creative, authentic, place doing real and transformative work with and for our LGBTQ+ community!  It is an amazing place!  I am fortunate to be a part of The DC Center!

 

What has been your favorite part about working at the DC Center?

–collaboration with amazing, creative, and dynamic staff and working with folks who come to The DC Center for connection, care, and healing!

 

What is your music anthem?

–I love music!  Life could and maybe should be a musical!  So picking one song or album is really hard.  I love “Rise Up” (Andra Day) and “This is Me” (Keala Settle and “The Greatest Showman Ensemble”) and Joy Oladokun’s latest album!  And I am a longtime fan of The Indigo Girls, Ani DiFranco, and Maná!

 

What is your favorite part about the LGBTQ+ community?

–we are resilient and creative!  We know pain and we know how to have a great time!  We know how to make joy come alive!  We know how to make sparkling lemonade out of dry lemons!  We know how to create and recreate family and community, to rise from the ashes and live in vibrant color!

 

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

–there are so many great spots in DC!  I love exploring Rock Creek Park, the museums, and hanging out around U Street.

 

What is your favorite queer movie?

–“Pose” (not a movie, but, yes!  Wow!!)

 

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

–rainbow, of course!!   With colors in the Progress Pride flag.

 

Who do you look up to in the queer community?

–there are so many I look to with deep gratitude and respect.  I look to the artists – who birth creations that touch souls and transform minds.  I look to those at Stonewall who let the uprising and were then ignored and discarded.  I look to those who had to live in the closets in order to survive and were quiet revolutionaries.  I look to courageous leaders in spiritual and religious settings who name truths of the inherent worth and dignity of each person.  I look to the amazing performers in “Pose” – who have fought to be where they are and have transformed lives from their audacity to live their lives out loud!  I look to children of today, with more freedoms and choices of who to be and how to be – and to the adults around them who are following the lead of the children, rather than imposing rigid norms of how and who to be.

Meet The Staff: Lizette

Selfie of Lizette.

Welcome Lizette to the DC Center! As the social media and advocacy intern this summer, she looks forward to celebrating Pride month and getting to meet others in the community. You can meet her at the DC Center on weekdays and some evenings.

 

Birthdate, Astro Sign

October 25 – Scorpio

 

Where are you originally from? 

I was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, but I grew up in Portland, Oregon!

 

Why did you start working at the DC Center?

I always loved how social media could be used for advocacy, so I wanted to work in a position that would allow me to explore that further. I was also drawn to the DC Center because after being remote for the past year, I wanted to reconnect with people and foster community. 

 

What has been your favorite part about working at the DC Center?

Meeting and working with the staff!

 

What is your music anthem? 

Home by BTS

 

What is your favorite part about the LGBTQ+ community? 

Being able to find my second family

 

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

Unfortunately, I’ve never visited DC, but I’ve always wanted to see the cherry blossoms in person!

 

What is your favorite queer movie?  

The Handmaiden

 

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

Lilac

 

Who do you look up to in the queer community?

Roxane Gay and Audre Lorde

Washington D.C.’s LGBTQ Literary Festival OutWrite Welcomes New Leadership

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Marlena Chertock, Malik Thompson, OutWrite Co-Chairs
outwritedc@gmail.com

Local poets Marlena Chertock and Malik Thompson have been announced as the new Co-Chairs of OutWrite. After 5 years of service, culminating in the 2020 festival being nominated for the 35th Annual Mayor’s Arts Award, writer and editor dave ring is stepping down as Chair of the festival. We thank him for his many years and support of OutWrite.

Malik and Marlena look forward to continuing OutWrite’s mission of cultivating inclusive literary programming that reflects and uplifts trans/queer literary communities. Both poets come to this work after being engaged in literary community — including festivals, conferences, poetry readings, open mic series, and writing workshops — at both the local and national level for years. OutWrite is delighted to have them at the helm, looking towards 2021 with the intention of centering BIPOC writers, Indigenous writers, and disabled writers.

OutWrite has extended the submission deadline for 2020’s two special edition festival journals: Ten Year Retrospective and We Got This: Black Writers on Imagination, Joy and Liberation. The new deadline is November 30. View submission guidelines here.

Mark your calendars for next year’s festival, which will be August 6-8, 2021. Due to this uncertain time, we will be planning OutWrite 2021 with the assumption that it will be virtual. We will release updates as the situation develops. Please visit outwritedc.org for more information and submit your ideas for panels and readings!

More about the Co-Chairs of OutWrite

Marlena Chertock, a white writer with short brown hair in a jean jacket with a space scarf holding a copy of her book.

Marlena Chertock has two books of poetry, Crumb-sized: Poems (Unnamed Press) and On that one-way trip to Mars (Bottlecap Press). She uses her skeletal dysplasia as a bridge to scientific writing. She is queer, disabled, and a 2020 Pushcart Prize nominee. Marlena serves as Co-Chair of OutWrite, Washington, D.C.’s annual LGBTQ literary festival, and on the Board of Split This Rock, a nonprofit that cultivates poetry that bears witness to injustice and provokes social change. Her poetry and prose has appeared in AWP’s The Writer’s Notebook, Breath & Shadow, The Deaf Poets Society, Lambda Literary Review, Little Patuxent Review, Neon Hemlock Press, Noble/Gas Quarterly, Paper Darts, Paranoid Tree, Plants & Poetry, Rogue Agent, Unheard Poetry, Washington Independent Review of Books, WMN Zine, Wordgathering, and more. Find her at marlenachertock.com and @mchertock.

 

Malik, a queer Black man, in front of a purple wall.

Malik Thompson is a Black queer man proud to be from D.C. A bookseller, anime fanatic, and workshop facilitator. Malik has worked with Split This Rock, The University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Moonlit DC as a workshop facilitator. He also organized the Poets In Protest poetry series at the Black queer owned bookstore Loyalty Bookstores. Malik’s work can be found inside of Split This Rock’s Poetry Database as well as the mixed media journal Voicemail Poems. You can find Malik’s thoughts on literature via his Instagram account @negroliterati.

 

 

 

About OutWrite

OutWrite is a celebration of LGBTQ literature, held annually the first weekend in August in Washington, D.C. The 2021 festival will be August 6-8, 2021. 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.

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Meet The Staff: Katerina

Welcome Katerina to the DC Center! As the social media and advocacy intern, she looks forward to serving the needs of the LGBTQ+ community in DC, as well as helping in projects that would promote their voices and stories in creative ways. You can meet Katerina at the DC Center on weekdays and some evenings. She is looking forward to getting more involved with the DC LGBTQ+ community and gaining more valuable skills from her work with the DC Center.

 

Birthdate, Astro Sign: May 17, 1999 (I’m a Taurus!)

 

Where are you originally from?: I am from Spring Lake, North Carolina

 

Why did you start working at the DC Center?: After sitting in some of the peer support groups that the Center offered, I was excited to learn more about the various ways the DC Center served the LGBTQ+ community, whether it be through art, activism, or accessible resources and support. I am also currently working on an independent project studying the resilience and health autonomy of LGBTQ+ Latinx individuals for my senior year at Georgetown, and with this experience at the DC Center, I hope to gain more strategies and practices from a nonprofit level to better serve the community through my work.

 

What has been your favorite part about working at the DC Center?: The staff has been very welcoming and open to any questions and concerns I had about their professions and on-going projects! They definitely make me feel involved in a team right from the start, and understand the complexities of being a working college student!

 

What is your music anthem?: “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen

 

What is your favorite part about the LGBTQ+ community?: Definitely the people and the support! I have made incredible friends and mentors who are a part of this incredible community who have helped me discover and become proud of my identity. I wouldn’t be the person who I am today without their encouragement.

 

What is your favorite spot in DC and what do you do there?: It has to be between Mount Pleasant or the Waterfront near Georgetown

 

What is your favorite queer movie?: Love, Simon or The Half of It! (I highly recommend my favorite queer show too, Pose)

 

What color would you paint the White House, given the chance?: Rainbow, for the gays

 

Who do you look up to in the queer community? Sylvia Rivera, MJ Rodriguez, and Hayley Kiyoko

Meet the Staff: Ella

Welcome Ella to the DC Center! As the health and wellness intern, she looks forward to getting to know the center and the people it serves. You can meet Ella at the DC Center on weekdays and some evenings. She is looking forward to working with the peer support groups and learning more about the mental and physical healthcare needs of the LGBTQ+ community.

 

Birthdate, Astro Sign

January 5, 2000. I’m a capricorn sun and moon and a virgo rising!

 

Where are you originally from? 

I was born and raised in DC.

 

Why did you start working at the DC Center? 

I wanted the chance to learn more about working in mental health, and the Center’s work is so important! 

 

What has been your favorite part about working at the DC Center?

How kind and welcoming the staff is.

 

What is your music anthem? 

Space Cowboy by Kacey Musgraves

 

What is your favorite part about the LGBTQ+ community? 

My friends and my girlfriend!

 

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

Rock creek park, I love to take walks there and listen to a good podcast or audiobook.

 

What is your favorite queer movie?  

Boy Erased– the book is also very powerful.

 

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

A nice olive green. Might put a few murals on the sides!

 

Who do you look up to in the queer community?
Experimental musician Pauline Oliveros. She was out and open in a time when that was very uncommon, and her music is incredibly powerful.

Meet the Staff: Jazmin

Welcome Jazmin back to the DC Center! Jazmin is in charge of coordinating much of the day to day activities here at the center. Without Jazmin at the office there is no way that The DC Center would be able to function as smoothly as it does.

Jazmin has experience working to better sexual health and status neutral services, along with improving access to Ryan White Services. Jazmin also dedicates herself to community building and outreach, especially among marginalized communities and communities of color; Jazmin focuses on outreach to trans persons, non binary individuals, along with gay and bisexual males. You can meet Jazmin at the DC Center on weekdays and some evenings. Jazmin is truly a gift, we are so grateful for her positivity and hard work!

 

Birthdate, Astro Sign

December 6, Sagittarius

 

Why did you start working at the DC Center? 

I started working at The DC Center because I wanted to make a difference and be a visible example to my community and the world that we all matter and have a place in the journey to equality and justice.

What has been your favorite part about working at the DC Center?

My favorite moment has been watching the peer educators grow and blossom into full fledged activists.

What is your music anthem? 

Jennifer Holiday – Woman’s Got the Power

What is your favorite part about the LGBTQ+ community? 

My favorite part of the LGBTQ+ community is the compassion and creativity that we provide and share with each other and the world.  We have been through so much as a community but yet we love and live and support each other unconditionally.

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

My favorite spot in DC is the Tidal Basin, with all of it’s glorious monuments. I go there to think and dream, plotting out my own legacy one step at a time.

What is your favorite queer movie?  

To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar (1995)

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

I would paint the White House white, pink and blue for the trans flag. The colors aren’t too complicated and they mean so much to me and my community.

Who do you look up to in the queer community?

There is no doubt in my mind, Earlene Budd is my personal hero!  Knowing her and working with and for her down through the years has shaped my personal advocacy journey so much.  Her leadership, professionalism, boldness and compassion continues to inspire me  each day. Grace comes from experience and endurance,  and I can only hope to be so graceful as I grow as an advocate day by day.

 

Meet the Staff: Dan

Welcome Daniel to the DC Center! He will be joining us at the Support Desk. Daniel looks forward to meeting and working with members of the community. You can meet Daniel at the DC Center on weekdays and some evenings. Daniel is a psychology major at George Washington University with aspirations to go to graduate school and conduct research in LGBTQ+ health as a psychologist. Daniel is a certified yoga teacher and enjoys meeting local dogs and going on hikes.

 

Birthdate, Astro Sign

May 12th, Taurus

 

Where are you originally from? 

New Jersey

 

Why did you start working at the DC Center? 

I wanted to become more involved in the LGBTQ+ community.

 

What has been your favorite part about working at the DC Center?

I really enjoy being able to work with such kind people.

 

What is your music anthem? 

In My Mind by Amanda Palmer

What is your favorite part about the LGBTQ+ community? 

My favorite part about the LGBTQ+ community is the potential for inclusivity of such a diverse group of people.

 

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

My favorite spot in DC is a spot on the National Mall (about 50 meters from the Washington Monument), smack-dab in the middle of the Washington Monument, The Lincoln Memorial, The White House, and The Jefferson Memorial – a great spot to have a picnic or do yoga!

 

What is your favorite queer movie?  

Mine Vaganti (Loose Cannons) is a great Italian romantic comedy.

 

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

I think the White House would look nice if the columns stayed white and the walls were painted teal.

 

Who do you look up to in the queer community?
I look up to Charles Silverstein, a queer psychologist who argued to remove homosexuality from the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM).

 

Meet the Staff: Christina

Welcome Christina Cappelletti to the DC Center! She is the new Therapist and Anti-violence Advocate. Christina looks forward to being here as a counselor, activist and artist in our community. You can meet her at the DC Center Monday through Friday. Christina has been a Queer change agent for over two decades, including several years in San Francisco/East Bay, California. She also lived in Colorado, where she started a gender counseling program at a public health clinic, as well as co-founding a queer-owned art gallery and community artists studio. Both as a therapist and an artist, she deeply appreciates creating space for the processes of personal growth and transformation for all identities.

Pronouns: She/Her/s and any that encompass Pangenderism

 

Birthdate, Astro Sign — November 15 — Scorpio Sun, Leo Moon, Libra Rising

 

Where are you originally from? Athens, Ohio, a lively liberal college town in the Appalachian foothills.

 

Why did you start working at the DC Center? To hold space for healing and to be part of a creative team in service of social justice.

 

What is your music anthem? Imagine, by John Lennon. It’s timeless.

 

What is your favorite part about the LGBTQ+ community? The full spectrum of freedom of cultural identity expression based on love and infinite possibility, as a model of the capacity of the human soul.  And it’s just fun!

 

What is your favorite spot in DC and what do you do there? My home in Mount Rainier. Time with my Love and pups and for making art.

 

What is your favorite queer movie?  Yentl. Home for the Holidays. The Danish Girl. Brokeback Mountain. Lots of good ones out there, finally.

 

What color would you paint the White House, given the chance?  Murals! Depicting every imaginable cultural identity.

 

Who do you look up to in the queer community? Audre Lorde. Gloria Anzaldua. Elton John. Again, lots of good choices!

Meet the Staff: Ragya

Welcome Ragya to the DC Center! They will be joining the team as a fall intern. They currently attend the University of Texas at Dallas and are majoring in International political economy! They look forward to working at the DC Center and getting to know DC, as they have only recently moved here. You can meet Ragya at the DC Center Monday through Friday.

Birthdate, Astro Sign

June 8th, Gemini
Where are you originally from? 

Reno, NV! #homemeansnevada

Why did you start working at the DC Center? 

To do work that actually benefits the LGBT community and to meet more friendly faces.

What has been your favorite part about working at the DC Center?

Getting to know the other people who work here! Such sweet individuals.

What is your music anthem? 

Monotony by Jozy. A small story of prioritizing yourself 🙂

What is your favorite part about the LGBTQ+ community? 

The feeling of understanding and kinship. You can reach out to people who might experience the world in similar ways to you.

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

I like to pack a meal and sit in the flowers at the arboretum. It’s very calm and warm.

What is your favorite queer movie?  

Moonlight, but I’m much more into music than movies and shows.

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

Maybe purple?

Who do you look up to in the queer community?

My best friend, Jada. They’ve taught me so much about love and understanding and I don’t know where I would be without them.