Delan Ellington (He/They) is a passionate fighter for Black Queer liberation in all forms. He recently graduated Magna Cum Laude from Howard University earning an M.A. in Public History with a thesis entitled “For Us, Serving Us, By Us: Prioritizing Black Queer Historical Spaces” based on research he’s collected leading the Rainbow History Project’s (RHP) ClubHouse Oral History Project. The Black Queer DC community now considers him one of the experts in the community’s history and the study of historical Black Queer Spaces. He’s the world’s foremost expert in The ClubHouse, a Black queer after hours disco that introduced House music to the DMV, was the center of the Black queer community between 1975 and 1990, and whose signature event is the precursor to DC’s Black Pride (the oldest and longest continuously running Black pride in the world) and the reason why it is held Memorial Day weekend.
Delan is featured in the 2022 documentary “Fierceness Serve! ENIK Alley Coffeehouse” A black queer short form documentary that world premiered at the 2022 DC International Film Festival. The CoffeeHouse is the location where the first generation of openly gay African American artists, writers, poets, and filmmakers congregated and performed. He was featured in Washington City Paper’s 2021 People’s Edition where they profile around twenty DC residents doing amazing, interesting, or important work in and around the DMV. Furthermore, he had the honor of being the youngest featured speaker at TEDx Foggy Bottom 2022, where he spoke on the importance of prioritizing Black queer historical spaces and publicly laying out a plan to begin to begin memorializing and stewarding them.
Throughout his 11-year fight for social equality and justice he’s been a member of many Black Queer Feminist organizations. Currently, he organizes with Harriet’s Wildest Dreams, a Black Femme & Queer led abolitionist organization. During their 2021 Boycott Nellies block Parties, He was a central and consistent Presence. He has worked with BYP 100’s DC Chapter and served as chair of the board for No Justice No Pride’s 501c 3 application after organizing with them for several years. He helped lead the 2015 University of Missouri student protests that resulted in the ouster for the System president and the University’s Chancellor. For his work building and maintaining the racial, sexual, and generational coalitions that achieved their goals Delan was featured in Spike Lee’s Two Fists Up ESPN documentary, awarded the 2016 Chancellor’s Inclusive Excellence Award and Mizzou 39 distinction where 39 members of the graduating class were recognized for academics, leadership, sports, volunteerism, and/or impact on the campus community.
He has served a two-year term on RHP’s board of directors where he co-chaired the programs committee created and the Black Queer History Committee. Currently, he is in the process of initiating the Memorialization Committee where he aims to lead the group successfully applying for historical queer spaces in DC to be recognized on the DC and National Register of Historic Places.
He’s considered an innovative GNC trailblazer professionally and aesthetically. Delan’s bold looks have been featured in the Blade and Metro Weekly. In the international Gay Rugby community, he’s known as the person with the audacity to wear a full face of make-up during matches as to showcase the expansiveness of GNC identities and expressions.
Delan has over a decade of public speaking and presenting experience, which has enabled him to be comfortable holding the attention and interacting with any audience. These qualities are important, as they allow connections to be made and growth to be shared, and learning to occur. It’s important for him to give back to the community and spread knowledge about important events in queer history, especially those that center Black people and other intersectionally marginalized communities within the queer population.
Topics he can speak and present on include Black Queer Feminism, Black Queer History, Queer History, Black Queer Spaces, DC Queer History, History of Black queer organizations, Black queer luminaries, nationally recognized historic queer spaces, inclusion in organizations, mental health in the queer community (from personal experiences), and History of Dance music and how Black and queer people were central in its creation and longevity.
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