Meet the Staff: Va

VA headshot

Welcome Virginia to the DC Center! She usually goes by Va. Va is excited to provide mental health services as a part-time social worker. She is excited to work here and hopes to continue to make the lives of LGBTQ people easier. You can meet Va at the DC Center in the evenings! Va is an Army Veteran, a Licensed Graduate Social Worker (LGSW), Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (ERYT), and an LGBTQ Advocate.

Birthdate, Astro Sign
4 March, Pisces
Where are you originally from? 
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Why did you start working at the DC Center? 
I started working at the DC Center because I believe everyone’s voice is important.
What has been your favorite part about working at the DC Center?
I love the community and my teammates that I work alongside. The vibe with the DC Center Staff reminds me much of family; wonky but we function.
What is your music anthem? 
Lloraras by Oscar D’Leon & My Favorite Things by John Coltrane
What is your favorite part about the LGBTQ+ community? 
The flavor, authenticity and community.
What is your favorite spot in DC and what do you do there? 
Bukom Cafe & Bossa Bistro. I love to dance salsa, merengue, bachata and afrobeats.
What is your favorite queer movie?  
Hands down “The Rocky Horror Picture Show!” I love the art, music and horror-comedy.
What color would you paint the White House, given the chance?  
White is fine #minimalism

Who do you look up to in the queer community?
I especially look up to transgender people of color as I feel they are stigmatized and treated the worst of the LGTBQ community. These beautiful people have the courage to be themselves and are met with immense difficulty. I admire their strength!

Meet the Board: Rehana

Rehana

Help us welcome Rehana! She is a new member of the DC Center Board of Directors. She looks forward to helping support the critical work of the Center and getting more connected with all the ways they contribute to the local community.

Birthdate, Astro Sign.

March 24, Aries.

Where are you originally from?

Takoma Park, MD.

What has been your favorite part about volunteering with the DC Center so far?

Supporting the range of programming and ways that they support the LGBTQ community in the DC area. And meeting great people!

What is your favorite part about the LGBTQ+ community?

Our diversity! I love that we’re a multi-faceted community that includes very different people – I think we can all learn a lot from each other.

Who do you look up to in the queer community?

Janelle Monae.

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

Too many favorite spots to pick just one – I love walking around different neighborhoods  and trying new bars and restaurants.

What is your favorite queer movie?

Moonlight.

What is your go to restaurant and what do you order?

El Sol – beef enchiladas.

Are you more of an early bird or a night owl?

Early bird.

Meet the Board: Rebecca Bauer

Help us welcome one of the newest members on our Board of Directors, Rebecca! She first became connected with the DC Center through her participation in the social group, Women in their Twenties & Thirties (WiTT). She has stayed involved with that group and has also helped with the Youth Working Group.

Birthdate, Astro Sign.

June 23, Cancer.

Where are you originally from?

Montclair, NJ

When and why did you start volunteering at the DC Center?

I started coming to the DC Center in August 2014 because I was search for an LGBT community after finishing college earlier that year.

What is your favorite part about the LGBTQ+ community?

I love how open-minded, supportive and strong our community is.

Who do you look up to in the queer community?

Is it too cliché to say Ellen Degeneres? If so, Kristin Russo.

What is your favorite queer movie?

Imagine Me & You (though I’m much more passionate about queer television than movies).

What is your favorite DC neighborhood?

U St Corridor, which was one of the first neighborhoods that felt like home since the DC Center is there!

What is your go to restaurant and what do you order?

I love HipCityVeg and I order their Lil Golden Nugs (vegetarian chicken nuggets) and sweet potato fries.

Are you more of an early bird or a night owl?

I’m definitely an early bird!

Meet the Staff: Sarah

Help us welcome Sarah to the DC Center! She will be taking over for Sam who is leaving us this week. She is super excited to start working at the Center and getting to know the community, and you can catch Sarah’s smiling face at the DC Center during the week! Welcome!

Birthdate, Astro Sign.

August 24, Virgo.

Where are you originally from?

I am originally from Annandale, Virginia.

When and why did you start working at the DC Center?

I started working at the DC Center in May of 2018 and am really looking forward to providing mental health care to queer folks in our community who have experienced trauma.

What do you do at the Center and what has been your favorite part so far?

I am the Staff Social Worker/ Therapist and my favorite part so far is co-facilitating the Queer Women Working Through Trauma Group.

What is your favorite event that the DC Center offers?

Our Taking the Stage, Taking A Stand event that happens several times a year at Busboys and Poets. It is a great night of poetry that is survivor-centered, full of incredible talent, and an all around a great event.

What is your favorite part about the LGBTQ+ community?

Disrupting the idea that it is one community and finding the corners that actually feel like home.

Who do you look up to in the queer community?

Fierce femmes, ancestors, & Janelle Monae.

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

Malcolm X Park to read and people watch

What is your favorite queer movie?

Kissing Jessica Stein.

What clothing item is a staple in your wardrobe?

Many bold lipsticks.

Who are you most inspired by?

Local artists and activists constantly expanding how we see and are seen.

What is your go to restaurant and what do you order?

Thip Khao! I always order the crispy coconut rice (Naem Khao Thadeau) .

Transitions: Farewell to Sam Goodwin

Transitions: Farewell to Sam Goodwin

This week we sadly say goodbye to our social worker Sam. Sam Goodwin, LGSW, started working at The DC Center for the LGBT Community in May 2016 as The Center’s first Staff Social Worker/Therapist, and has been a great asset to the Center ever since. She helped to launch The DC Center’s first ever Behavior Health Program, providing trauma-informed mental health support services to LGBTQ survivors of crime, violence, and trauma in Washington, DC. Over the past two years, Sam has served over 93 individual clients at The DC Center, providing a variety of services including individual, group and couples therapy, case management, intakes, crisis intervention, education, outreach, referrals to the LGBTQ violence prevention  hotline, and warm hand-offs to LGBTQ-friendly and affirming practitioners across the DMV. Sam has also been an integral part of The DC Anti-Violence Project, helping to organize monthly meetings, visioning processes and strategic planning for the organization. She helped to coordinate the DC AVP event series ‘Taking the Stage, Taking a Stand: LGBTQ Voices Against Violence,’ several Survivor Art Expression Night events, and the 6 cycles of the Queer Women Working Through Trauma group. Her kind and caring demeanor along with her positive attitude has not only brought joy to her clients but to everyone who works and volunteers here at the Center, and will be dearly missed.

This summer, Sam will be moving to Cheltenham, England, with her partner, Ryan, and their two cats, Kinsey and Putter. She is looking forward to serving the community of Cheltenham by providing sex therapy and other mental health services and is hoping to be involved with efforts of the LGBTQ community across the pond as well. Although we are sad to see her leave, we know she will be doing amazing things in her next endeavors. Thank you Sam!

Volunteer Spotlight: Marin

DC LGBT Volunteers

Meet our volunteer Marin! Marin helps out with many duties at the front desk and helps keep the office running! You can catch Marin’s smiling face during our office hours throughout the week!  If you’re interested in volunteering at the support desk, join us for our next volunteer orientation.

Birthdate, Astro sign.

My birthday is November 22nd, and I’m a Sagittarius.

Where are you originally from?

I’m from northwestern New Jersey.

When and why did you start volunteering at the DC Center?

I started volunteering in March. I was between jobs at the time and looking for ways to connect with the community and build potential professional skills.

What has been your favorite part about volunteering with the DC Center so far?

Working the front desk has made me significantly more comfortable talking to people, especially on the phone.

What is your favorite event that the DC Center offers?

I love going to the Women in their Twenties and Thirties meetings, it’s been such a great way to meet new friends in my age group.

What is your favorite part about the LGBTQ+ community?

Our optimism and resilience. No matter what challenges we face, our community is ultimately founded on the concepts of love and self-determination, ensuring that we always celebrate ourselves and each other above all else.

Who do you look up to in the queer community?

My idol right now is Hayley Kiyoko. Her music and videography over the last few years has really chronicled her coming into her own as a lesbian and gaining the confidence to embrace that label proudly, a powerful mirror for my own journey.

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

I absolutely love the United States Botanic Garden up near the Capitol. Just spending time among the greenery there is the best way to get a little taste of summer during the colder months.

What is your favorite queer movie?

Love, Simon. I’ve seen it three times, and each time it’s made me laugh and cry even harder than the last.

What clothing item is a staple in your wardrobe?

I have so many tank tops. They’re absolutely essential for summer wear and winter layering alike.

Who are you most inspired by?

There are so many amazing progressive leaders right now it’s hard to pick just one, but I have a tremendous admiration for Reverend William Barber. I had the privilege of hearing him speak at the Creating Change conference last year, and it has been amazing to see him continuing MLK’s legacy with the Poor People’s Campaign in 2018.

What is your favorite DC neighborhood?

Probably Brookland, the neighborhood I live in! I take walks there almost every day past the university and through the center of town, and I always enjoy exploring the various studios on the Arts Walk.

What is your go to restaurant and what do you order?

If there’s a Busboys and Poets nearby, you can bet on that as my go-to. Their burgers are fantastic, as are their many progressive books and activist events.

If you could live in any decade (past or future) which would it be and why?

I would love to live in the future, particularly in the age of widespread manned space travel. I’ve always been captivated by the idea of other habitable worlds and it would be amazing to be able to see them within my own lifetime.

Are you more of an early bird or a night owl?

Definitely a night owl! I work late into the evening so I’m glad my internal clock matches up with that schedule.

Meet Dr. Zelaika Hepworth Clarke

September 4,  Virgo

Dr. Clarke is a staff social worker at the Center. They provide counseling services for individuals, couples and groups. They also offer consulting and training services for the support groups held at the Center. They conduct social work assessment and check-ins for Center Global clients.

Dr. Clarke’s work is made possible with support from the Centerlink-Johnson Family Foundation Mental Health Initiative.

Why did you start working at The DC Center?

I am committed to serving communities that have historically been marginalized and face multiple oppressive forces. I specialize in human sexuality and gender diversity and am passionate about  improving the wellbeing for individuals, couples (& polycules), and families living their truth and loving despite heterosexism, homonegativitiy, patriarchy, bi-erasure, monosexism etc..

What is your  music anthem?

I enjoy listening to the radio as I like knowing that I am not the only one jamming to a specific song in the moment but sharing tunes with my community simultaneously.

What is your favorite part about the LGBTQ+ community?

I love the love. I love to see couples/lovers/polycules  love each other despite society telling them they should  not.

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

I am still new to the area and have much to explore. I have been enjoying the aesthetic of the architecture and monuments as well as the river. I love watching planes fly by while overlooking the Potomac river at Gravelly Point Park.

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

There are still oppressive forces at work in the community. Eliminating racism, cissexism, monosexism, biphobia, transphobia etc both internally and within the community should be prioritized.  I would like to see more work on creating inclusive spaces and events. For example,  if bisexuals/pansexuals/omnisexuals/queer folks happen to have partner(s) of a different gender they can be excluded from some queer events. Also in spaces for all “women” or “men” it tends to leave out non-binary folks, genderqueers, two-spirit, intersex and people of trans experience. Dominant narratives of LGBT+ folks seem dominated by white cisgender mononormative representations; I would love to see more diverse representations of the community including in leadership positions.

What is your favorite Queer movie?

Some good ones that come to mind are: I am Not Your Negro, Stud Life, Pariah, Naz and Maalik, Blackbird, Still Black:A Portrait of Black Transman, 195 Lewis ….

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

I love to transform people’s affect and inspire epiphanies, breakthroughs, and healing in my clients recovering from trauma committed to self-growth.

What clothing item is a staple in your wardrobe?

Stilettos and bowties – sometimes my femme or androgynous self likes to dress up.

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

I think it would be fun to feature different  artist’s  work be displayed (murals, mosaics, paintings etc.) on the outside every month.  

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

I admire the queer people who inhabitat nations with compulsory heterosexuality and where laws deny their right(s) to love, safety and respect. There are still many areas where it is extremely dangerous for people to exist and live their truth. I admire those who risk death simply by being authentically themselves.  

 

Former Intern Anna Coughlan Researching LGB Women and Long Term Care

Anna Coughlan

You may remember our amazing Intern Anna Coughlin.  While Anna was with us, she wrote this op-ed on LGBTQ Aging for the Washington Blade:  DC Office of Aging Failing our LGBT Elders.

Anna is currently working on her senior thesis which is on “lesbian, gay, bisexual, and same-gender attracted women who live in long term care”

Please read the announcement below, and if you can support Anna in this important work, you can reach her directly at accoughlan42@gwu.edu

Thanks everyone!

—————————————————————-

Hello! My name is Anna Coughlan and I am a senior undergraduate student at George Washington University. I am currently completing my senior thesis to research and understand the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and same-gender attracted women who live in long term care. As a way to expand the diversity of perspectives included in my research, I am currently reaching out to  long term care providers, long term care residents (LGBT and non-LGBT alike), and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and same-gender attracted women over the age of 60 who think they might need long term care in their lifetime. I would like to have an in person interview, about an hour in length, with these participants, and discuss their experiences and/or expectations about long term care.

If you are interested in participating or have any questions, please contact me by email at accoughlan42@gwu.edu, or by phone at 703-624-6983. You may also reach out to my professor and research supervisor Emily Morrison at Emily_M@gwu.edu, or call her office phone at 202-994-6167.

This research project has been approved by George Washington University’s Institutional Review Board (IRB). Confidentially is a top priority for me while conducting this research project. Participants’ identity, and any identifying information about them, will remain confidential in all reports. I will ask to record our interview for my research notes, and the recording will be deleted after the study is concluded.

DiCción Queer Announces DC Love – a Tribute: a Community Event to Commemorate the Casualties at Pulse Nightclub

DiCción Queer, in partnership with TRADE and Gays Against Guns DC, invites the community to the performance of DC Love – a Tribute: a Community Event to Commemorate the Casualties at Pulse Nightclub. The performance takes place at TRADE, 1410 14th Street, NW, on Monday, June 12th from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm. and will include dramatic readings, solo dances and songs to commemorate the casualties and pay tribute to those who lost loved ones at the Pulse nightclub shooting one year ago.

The performance aspires to serve as a catalyst for an open discussion on gun violence and the LGBTQ+ community. At the end of the tribute, actors and audience will initiate a candlelight procession that will end at Dupont Circle, site of the Pride Fund’s Candle Light Vigil to End Gun Violence.

The community performance will happen with the support of Gays Against Guns,  Pride, and Colectivo de Artistas Latinx.

About DiCción Queer: DiCción Queer is a bilingual LGBTQ+ Latinx arts organization active in the Washington DC metropolitan area with the purpose of developing, nurturing, and supporting the Latinx LGBTQ+ arts. Check us out on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DiccionQueer/