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!