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.

 

Meet the Staff: Michael

Welcome Michael to the DC Center! As a development intern, he looks forward to getting to know the ins and outs of non-profit management! You can meet Michael at the DC Center on weekdays and some evenings. He is looking forward to helping serve and provide assistance to the DC LGBTQ+ community! 

 

Birthdate, Astro Sign

July 29, 1999, Leo but I’m Virgo rising with an Aquarius moon… I know it’s so chaotic.

 

Where are you originally from? 

Originally from Fanwood, New Jersey

 

Why did you start working at the DC Center? 

I wanted to explore more about non-profit management and development specifically in the D.C. area, also I wanted to help serve my community! 

 

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

How down to earth and genuine the staff is at the Center!

 

What is your music anthem? 

Perfect Places by Lorde because I love to travel and the song brings me back to riding the train through the Swiss Alps last summer. 

 

What is your favorite part about the LGBTQ+ community? 

The diversity and how the community encourages individualistic expression!

 

What is your favorite queer movie?  

Definitely Call Me By Your Name, the filming locations are beyond serene. 

 

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

Well since I am a student at Syracuse University I would obviously have to paint the White House orange! Go ‘Cuse! 

 

Who do you look up to in the queer community?

Marsha P. Johnson, who was an outspoken advocate in the gay liberation movement. 

 

OutWrite 2020 Chapbook Competition

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 5, 2020
MEDIA CONTACTS:
dave ring, OutWrite Chair
outwritedc@gmail.com

 

Submissions Opening for OutWrite’s 2020 Chapbook Competition

WASHINGTON, D.C. — OutWrite is pleased to announce its second Chapbook Competition, running from May 5th to June 5th, 2020.  The winning chapbooks will be celebrated at the 2020 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 from Neon Hemlock Press, and an opportunity to read from their work at OutWrite 2020 on Sunday, August 2nd.

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

Nonfiction: Tyrese Coleman
Tyrese L. Coleman is a writer, wife, mother, and attorney. Her debut collection of stories and essays, How to Sit, was published by Mason Jar Press in 2018 and nominated for a 2019 PEN Open Book Award. Her work has appeared as a notable in Best American Essays 2018 and 2016 and nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Fiction: Rivers Solomon 
Rivers Solomon writes about life in the margins, where they are much at home. Their debut novel, An Unkindness of Ghosts, was a finalist for a Hurston/Wright and Lambda award and appeared on the Stonewall Honor List. Their novella, The Deep, has been nominated for a Hugo and Nebula. Solomon’s next book is forthcoming 2021 from MCD books.

Poetry: Faylita Hicks
Faylita Hicks (pronouns: she/her/they) is a Black queer writer and the Editor of Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review. She is a 2019 Lambda Literary Fellow, a 2019 Jack Jones Literary Arts “Culture, Too” Fellow, and a 2020 Right of Return Fellow. She was a finalist in the 2018 PEN America Writing for Justice Fellowship, the 2018 Cosmonauts Avenue Annual Poetry Prize and Palette Poetry’s 2019 Spotlight Award. Her collection HoodWitch (Acre Books, 2019) is a finalist for the 2020 Lambda Literary Annual Award and is now available.

There is no fee to enter this year’s contest.

Notes on each category:

  • In nonfiction, we are looking for work from DMV-based writers.  All submissions should be from writers with a connection to the DC/Maryland/Virginia area.  Our judge is particularly interested in hybrid work, so we have some genre flexibility in that regard.
  • In fiction, our judge is particularly interested in noir, speculative fiction, trope-subversion, and/or anarchist fiction.
  • In poetry, we have no additional notes or restrictions.

Please follow these guidelines in preparing your submission:

  • Chapbooks may be submitted in three categories:  fiction, nonfiction & poetry.
  • We will 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.
  • Submissions are open from May 5th to June 5th 2020.
  • Each writer may only submit one entry per category.
  • Your manuscript should be in a standard font, size 12. Please single-space poetry and double-space prose/nonfiction. 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/essays 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 late June.  Winners will be announced in July. Publication will be in August.

Entries must be submitted no earlier than May 5th, 2020 and no later than June 5th, 2020. The submission window closes at 11:59pm EST on the 5th.

Submit all entries via this submission form.  Queries can be made to  outwritecontest@gmail.com. If the form is inaccessible to you for any reason, please email your submission to the email above with all of the information requested by the form.

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 20120 festival will kick off on Friday, July 31. On Saturday, August 1st, 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 2nd.  For more information, visit: thedccenter.org/outwrite.

About Neon Hemlock Press
Neon Hemlock is a purveyor of queer chapbooks and speculative fiction based in Washington, DC.  More information at www.neonhemlock.com.

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.

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!

Expansion of Unemployment Insurance Benefits under the New CARES Act

The federal government recently passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act),
which includes an expansion of unemployment insurance benefits for District of Columbia workers.
While the CARES Act was signed into law by the President on March 27, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor
is still in the process of releasing corresponding guidance to provide states with operating, financial and
reporting instructions specific to the CARES Act of 2020 through the issuance of a series of Unemployment
Insurance Program Letters (UIPLs). Like most other states, the District’s Unemployment Insurance system is
currently being updated to enable processing of the new CARES Act programs.
A summary of the expanded unemployment insurance programs offered through the provisions of the CARES
Act is provided in the link below:

Expansion of Unemployment Insurance Benefits under the New CARES Act

 

“The DC Centers Community Engagement team is here to help you with any questions. Contact:  supportdesk@thedccenter.org

Center Global Asylees Face Extraordinary Pandemic Threats

#queertranscaravan

Greetings,

Center Global participants live in a tenuous job, housing, and healthcare context. They are largely unqualified for federal supports during COVID-19, placing them in greater danger and despair.

Many have lost well-earned jobs and under increasing pressures to pay rent and living expenses as their work hours and job options evaporate in this pandemic economy.

On March 28th, Center Global and the DC Center launched the COVID-19 Emergency Support Program. We created it to a) establish a fund to assist with COVID-19-related expenses and b) reach out and check on our participants’ wellbeing. 

In less than a week, we received 25 applications with requests of over $16K for help with rent, medical expenses, food, and transportation.

We’ve been able to support approximately 60% of our immediate requests, realizing more will arrive as the virus’s impacts spread. Experts warn DC will be the next virus hot spot.

Now’s your chance to help!

Through our generous supporters and volunteers, we’ve been fortunate to cover some of our participants’ needs—yet there’s an urgent need to close the financial gap.

Online or By Mail

We welcome your contributions to the COVID-19 Support Fund. You can make a tax-deductible contribution by visiting https://donorbox.org/centerglobalOr you can send a check to: Center Global, 2000 14th St., NW., Suite 105, Washington, DC  20009 (please write “Center Global COVID-19” in the memo line).

 

With your help, we can guide our participants through this pandemic. To learn more about Center Global’s COVID-19 response, please email Geoffrey Louden, vice chair at geoffreyl@thedccenter.org.

 

Thank you and best wishes for your health and safety.

Tom Sommers, Geoffrey Louden, Don Driver

Executive Leadership Committee


Tom Sommers                                                                 Geoffrey Louden

COVID-19 Know Your Rights PT2

COVID-19 DV HOUSING FAQs

 

Question:
I received a shut-off notice for my utilities. Will my utilities be shut off during this
time?
 Answer: On March 17th, the DC Council passed emergency legislation, the
COVID-19 Response Emergency Amendment Act of 2020. As a result, the electric,
gas and water companies cannot disconnect utilities for non-payment of a bill or
fee during a public health emergency and for 15 calendar days after the
emergency is declared over.

Question:
 I have an eviction hearing scheduled. What should I do?
 Answer: To address coronavirus concerns, DC Superior Court issued an order on
March 16, 2020th stating that all non-priority matters scheduled before May 1,
2020 will be rescheduled and new dates will be set. This means that all evictions
and foreclosures (as well as other court matters) on or before May 1st are
stopped and court hearings for such matters like landlord tenant, debt
collection, mortgage foreclosure, and housing court will be continued and
parties should not come to court until you receive a new date. Consult
https://www.dccourts.gov/coronavirus for more information.

Question:
 Can my landlord charge me late fees if my rent is late?
 Answer: On March 17th, the DC Council passed emergency legislation, the
COVID-19 Response Emergency Amendment Act of 2020, as a result, landlords
may not impose a late fee on a tenant during any month for which a public
health emergency has been declared.

Question:
 Are DC homeless shelters still open during this emergency?
 Answer: Yes. Shelters are still operational. If you need transportation to a
homeless shelter, please call (202) 399-7093 or 311.
 DV shelters are open but most services have switched to call-in services only. For
DV shelter and other services, please contact the DC Victim Hotline at 1-844-443-
5732 or access the online chat at www.DCvictim.org/chat.

Question:
• How will DHS determine eligibility during this time?

 Answer: The DC Council passed emergency legislation, the COVID-19 Response
Emergency Amendment Act of 2020, which allows the Department of Human
Services (DHS) to place families seeking shelter in a short-term shelter placement
for 60 days, in the event DHS cannot determine a family’s eligibility on the same
day they seek services. It also allows the Mayor to extend the placement through
the end of the public health emergency.

Question:
 What will happen if my benefits expire during this public health emergency?
 Answer: DHS has stated in its COVID-19 status report that customers who
receive SNAP, TANF, Medicaid, Alliance and other public benefits do not need to
take any action to continue to receive benefits that would expire on March 31st
or April 30. Please visit dhs.dc.gov if you are filing a new application or visit a
Service Center.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________.

COVID-19 DV ECONOMIC SECURITY FAQs

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Question:
 What will happen if my benefits expire during this public health emergency?
 Answer: DHS has stated in its COVID-19 status report that customers who
receive SNAP, TANF, Medicaid, Alliance and other public benefits do not need to
take any action to continue to receive benefits that would expire on March 31st
or April 30. Your benefits will not expire until further notice. Please visit
dhs.dc.gov if you are filing a new application or visit a Service Center.

Question:
 I don’t have public benefits. How do I apply for public benefits like SNAP?
 Answer: For new applications for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
(SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid, Alliance, or
other public benefits, please visit dhs.dc.gov, You can currently apply online for
most public benefits. Residents with questions about their benefits should
contact the Call Center at (202) 727-5355 from 7:30 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.

Question:
 Due to the public health crisis, I’m unable to work. What benefits are available for
workers dealing with staffing changes?
 Answer: On March 17th, the DC Council passed emergency legislation, the
COVID-19 Response Emergency Amendment Act of 2020. As a result,
unemployment compensation benefits have been expanded to help even more
workers who become fully or partially unemployed due to the COVID-19 crisis.
 This includes job losses from: Quarantine or self-quarantine of a worker; closures
as required by the Mayor or health department; and/or voluntary quit by a
worker whose employer fails to follow a public safety order of the Mayor or
health department.

Question:
 How do I apply for unemployment benefits? Do I need documentation when applying?
 Answer: To apply for unemployment compensation in DC, contact the DC
Department of Employment Services at (202) 724-7000 or online at
https://www.dcnetworks.org/vosnet/Default.aspx
 Any worker who experiences COVID-19 related job loss or loss of income should
attempt to document the job loss to the best of their ability – for example, with
a doctor’s note, written guidance from the Mayor or health department, or

email or letter from their employer describing the lay-off or temporary shut-
down of the workplace.

Question:
 My unemployment insurance application was denied. What can I do?
 Answer: If you are denied unemployment compensation in DC, you have a right
to appeal this decision within 15 days by filing a hearing request. Contact the DC
Office of Administrative Hearings at (202) 442-9094 or oah.dc.gov.
 If you are wrongfully denied unemployment compensation in DC, contact our
partners at Legal Aid at (202) 628-1161 or by completing an online intake to
apply for free legal help.

Question:
 Due to the schools being closed, I’m worried about feeding my children. Where can we
find additional food resources?
 Answer: DC Public Schools has meal sites across the city and is available for all
students and other families in need. You can go to the site that is closest to you,
even if your child does not attend that school. Updated location sites for
students and seniors can be found here: https://coronavirus.dc.gov/mealsites

Question:
 What other food and basic necessities resources are available during the public health
crisis?
 Answer: Martha’s Table, in partnership with DC Health and Capital Area Food
Bank, is offering pre-bagged groceries (fresh fruits and veggies) at D.C. Public

School & D.C. Public Charter School sites located in Ward 7 and 8. To see up-to-
date information on Grab and Go sites across the District, visit our friends at DC

Hunger Solutions: https://www.dchunger.org/home/covid-19-food-resources/

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

LEGAL FAQs

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Question
 My civil protection order ends or expires soon. Can I get an extension or more time?
Answer: Any existing CPO is good through May 15, 2020 or the next assigned
court date. If the courts are still closed on May 1st, you can call the Courthouse
or DC Victim Hotline at 1-844-4HELPDC (1-844-443-5732) for assistance.

Question
 My CPO trial is scheduled in two weeks. Do I still need to go?

Answer: The courts will not hold any hearings until they open back up. All CPO
cases with a trial or hearing before May 15th will be rescheduled.

Question:
 I need a temporary protection order. How do I get one?

Answer: During Court hours, 8:30am—5:00pm, you can file a temporary
protection order petition through DC Superior Court’s portal at
https://www.probono.net/dccourts. Once you fill out the form and submit it
electronically, you should then contact the Clerk’s office by phone at (202) 879-
0157 or by email at domesticviolencemanagement@dcsc.gov to complete the
filing process.
A Domestic Violence Unit Clerk and a DV Unit Judge will review the request for
imminent risk. They will contact DC SAFE to complete the process with the
survivor as described in the ETPO court directive.
If you need a temporary protection order after hours, on weekends or holidays,
call 911 or the DC Victim hotline at 1-844-4HELPDC (1-844-443-5732) to speak
with an advocate.

Question:
 My abuser was arrested for domestic violence and is still in jail. What happens now?
Answer: To request information about a person who was arrested you can call
the Department’s Records Office at (202) 523-7060. If you are a victim, you can
register to receive automated updates on your phone or email about a person
who was convicted of a crime by calling VINE (Victim Information & Notification
Everyday) at 1 (877) 329-7894.

Question:
 I am supposed to do custody exchanges at the Supervised Visitation Center (SVC).
What do I do now if the SVC is closed?
Answer: For now, the Supervised Visitation Center is not supervising any parent
child visitation or conducting any visitation exchanges. To confirm whether the
visitation center is still closed you can call them at (202) 879-4253. Please note
that the child care center at DC Superior Court is also closed until further notice.

Question:
 I have a CPO against me and my abuser is telling me to bring the kids to them. Can I
ignore the CPO and go near my abuser?
Answer: A Temporary Civil Protection Order or any other court issued Custody
Order should say what you and can and can’t do. You should make decisions
based on the order, not what the other person is telling you. If the order says
you cannot go near them, do not take the kids to them. If you have questions,
you can call the DV Clerk’s Office at (202) 879-0157 or speak to an attorney at
one of the call-in clinics.

Question:
 Where do I go if I want to file for custody?

Answer: Please note that the court is limiting the matters it will hear before May
15th, 2020. Before that time, the court will only hear emergency matters in
Family Court. All trials and non‐emergency motions in Domestic Relations, and
scheduled before May 15, 2020 are continued and the court will set a new date
and notify the parties. You can call the courthouse at (202) 879-1010 for more
information. Due to limited staff, wait times may be longer than usual.

Question:
 Where do I make emergency filings and what are the filing fees?

Answer: Emergency filings should be made at the Central Intake Center.
However, due to limited capacity and changing information, you should call the
Courthouse at (202) 879-1010 for up to date information. All fees are due at
time of filing. You will have to pay a $80.00 filing fee before the Clerk gives you
the copy of the complaint and summons to serve on each defendant. All filing
fees must be paid by cash, money order, cashier’s check, or credit card
(Mastercard or VISA only).

Question:
 What if I cannot afford the fees to file documents?

Answer: If paying the filing fees will cause a hardship to you or your family, you
can request a fee waiver to ask the Court to allow you to file without paying
fees.To request a fee waiver, you must submit an “In Forma Pauperis” form (also
called an “IFP”) to the Court. If you receive Temporary Assistance for Needy
Families (TANF) or other public benefits and can provide documentation showing
this, you may receive a fee waiver without having to provide additional
information. Otherwise, you may have to provide information about your
income, assets, and expenses.
Your IFP waiver request will have to be approved by the Judge in
Chambers (temporarily located in the Moultrie Courthouse, Room JM 540).

 

The above information was sourced in full from DC Coliation Against Domestic Violence.

For the latest information on the District Government’s response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus),
please visit coronavirus.dc.gov.

Free Legal Advice / Assistance

DCVLP has opened up a call-in legal clinic from 9am – 5pm every day for individuals with immigration or family law questions. We know there are a lot of people in the LGBTQ community that are struggling with the uncertainty right now, so we want to make sure everyone has a quick resource to get the legal advice they need. Call 202-425-7573 or email clinic@dcvlp.org.

 

Health and Wellness Festival Vendor Registration – Postponed

Hello friends,
In order to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus, the DC Center is closed effective Monday, March 16th. To protect the health and safety of everyone we have decided to postpone our health and wellness festival. Please consider how you can help delay the spread of coronavirus by consulting sites such as https://coronavirus.dc.gov/ for more information.

On March 28th, the DC Center will host its first ever health and wellness fair, as we work towards putting the finishing touches on our programming schedule, we are encouraging small to large organizations, businesses and nonprofits to sign up for a table or sign up to become a partnering sponsor of this wellness event. So far, we have organizations and businesses from varied backgrounds that are partnering with us. This Health & Wellness Fair represents The DC Center’s commitment to a strong and healthy community and is part of our ongoing effort to provide a safe space for the LGBT community to access basic health screenings and important information. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend. We seek to provide a comprehensive offering geared towards the health and wellness of LGBTQ people in body, mind, and spirit as such we will be having several different workshops,pop-ups and panel discussion on LGBTQ health and wellness. We will have a day full of hands-on health and wellness activities including yoga, self-defense, tai chi, meditation, acupuncture, and massage. HIV testing, STI testing, and other health screenings will be available. Space is limited. Click the link below to register:
https://thedccenter.org/events/healthfest/

When: Saturday March 28, 2020
Time: 10:00am-6:00pm
Where: The DC Center for the LGBT Community
2000 14th St NW, Suite 105
Washington
DC 20009
Questions: supportdesk@thedccenter.org
202-682-2245

Supporting Our Local Community

For over 15 years, The DC Center has served the LGBTQ+ communities of DC through direct support, diverse programming, and targeted advocacy. During that time, we have aided over 200 people pursuing personal freedom and asylum, and distributed over 250,000 condoms to our surrounding community. In the last 6 months, we have done over 140 intakes with new clients from communities of color that were seeking housing, education, sexual health screenings, employment, and mental health support. We have also educated over 2,300 people from marginalized communities within the LGBTQ+ umbrella through our new Early Intervention Services Program. Today, we have over 20 support groups that represent diverse domestic and international communities. Our programs focus on building community bonds to help ensure no one feels alone and all can access support in facing the barriers that impact marginalized communities of color, gender, and sexual orientation.

 

This year, the Center joined a Coalition of over 15 local, diverse LGBTQ organizations to collectively advocate for the support our community needs and deserves to thrive. Together, we submitted a $20+ million funding request to the Mayor’s Office with a collection of proposals that will support hate crimes reporting, housing, health education, and professional development for the most marginalized members of our community, including trans and non-binary youth and LGBTQ+ older adults. We’re extremely proud to be a part of the Coalition and believe it is the best way to advocate for the support our community needs.

The request includes $10 million to fund a larger LGBTQ+ community center. This space will facilitate expanded services and greater collaboration between DC LGBTQ organizations through colocation and partnership. With over 9% of the DC population identifying at LGBTQ+, this is long overdue. This money would be used to purchase a new, larger space that multiple organizations would use together to better serve our community. This is a model that has worked in many other cities around the world, and will greatly benefit the DC LGBTQ+ community.

Join us in advocating for the support our community needs! Sign up to attend one of the remaining two Mayor’s Budget Engagement Forums here.

The DC Center has always been committed to serving LGBTQ+ communities and our diverse team has fought to stand in unity with open doors, arms, and hearts as we renew our commitment to equality for our most vulnerable and oppressed community and family members. We will continue to serve our most vulnerable community members and lead the local fight for equity as we serve our community as a whole.

Join us here!