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Gays and Spiritual Space

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There has often been friction between religious institutions and gay, bi, lesbian, and trans folks. However many of us desire and pursue spiritual fulfilment within religious organizations. For those among us who seek it out, how do we navigate the minefield of the spiritual landscape to deal with those anti-LGBT churches and religions to find a religious ideology and congregation that satisfies our longing for spiritual fulfillment?  Is it easier to undergo that journey successfully in some religions over others?  Or in some regions over others; for example, is it easier to find somewhere accepting in regions where church attendance is a common community practice, such as in these states?

Moreover, within our own community we encounter a wide array of spiritual and non-spiritual beliefs. There are LGBT specific spaces being carved out in a myriad of Judeo-Christian as well as other religious sects; the Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) website has a very comprehensive list here. Our community also has a higher predisposition toward being non-religious.  A 2014 Gallup poll found that LGBT Americans are significantly more likely to identify as not religious, and American Atheists even sponsors two ‘LGBT Atheist Activism’ scholarships.

LGBT populations are already so rich with diversity in our backgrounds, race, sex, etc. and the array of forms our spiritual (or nonspiritual) journeys take are no less diverse. So let’s come together this Friday at 8:30pm and discuss how our individual and collective experiences and relationships with religion further strengthen and enrich our LGBT DC-metro community.

Gay District meets at The DC Center, located inside the Reeves building at 2000 14th Street NW Washington, DC 20009.  Attendees will need to enter the Reeves building via the “Exit” doors on 14th Street, facing McDonald’s. We encourage attendees to bring their photo ID to gain access inside the building. If you do not have or are unable to present a photo ID, please contact the DC Center at (202) 682-2245.

Gay District Open Mic Night 7/17/2015

Have a thought that’s been gnawing at the back of your brain that you have to get out? Need a space to bitch about things that other GBTIQ guys will totally get? Just want to listen and catch up with things going on? Then come on over for Gay District Open Mic Night! We’ll pass around the mic and discuss whatever y’all want to dish on, take down ideas to flesh out in future discussions, and afterward anyone interested can join in a tasty trip to Amsterdam Falafel. See you tomorrow night!

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Gay District meets at The DC Center, located inside the Reeves building at 2000 14th Street NW Washington, DC 20009.  Attendees will need to enter the Reeves building via the “Exit” doors on 14th Street, facing McDonald’s. We encourage attendees to bring their photo ID to gain access inside the building. If you do not have or are unable to present a photo ID, please contact the DC Center at (202) 682-2245.

 

 

Wanna take you to a Gay Bar! Gay Bar! Gay Bar!

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“Wanna take you to a Gay Bar! Gay Bar! Gay Bar!” (song by Electric Six)

 

The gay bar has a cornerstone place in our LGBT history (I’m sure you’ve all heard about the Stonewall Riots and the importance that bar has in our civil rights movement), and perhaps in our current queer culture too. Unlike much of rural America, metro area gay, bi, trans, and queer men are not bound to a single LGBT watering hole, but blessed with a plethora of gay focused, owned, and operated spaces ready and willing to receive our patronage.

 

Pick a scene, any scene, and it’s a good bet the DC nightlife has a brick and mortar place that caters to that crowd. Leather and Kink? The Green Lantern and DC Eagle are still serving it up to the more scandalous among us. Twinks and college guys? Town has got you covered, at least when they aren’t hosting Bear Happy Hour.  We can’t forget Bachelor’s Mill and Fireplace’s distinctive space in the DC gay nightlife scene either.  Maybe you want to catch the sportsball game while cruising the locals: Nellie’s brings you both. Number 9 is great for a happy hour after work, and there’s both drag and brunch at Level One underneath Cobalt, Perry’s in AdMo, and (for those adventurers trekking into the wilds of NoVA) there’s Freddy’s Beach Bar. You won’t find brunch at Ziegfeld’s Secrets, but that’s not why you were going there anyway. The metro area is so LGBT enriched that we even have the option of ‘straight gay bars’ such as Black Cat (voted Best Straight Gay Bar 2015) and the Dacha Beer Garden in Shaw.

 

As defined in the article “How Do Non-Gay Bars Become Gay Destinations?”, a ‘straight gay bar’ is one that doesn’t specifically label themselves as a gay bar but are widely frequented by LGBTQ residents. Places can now become gay havens without expressly identifying as a gay bar by intentionally hosting events with large gay followings, such as Mix Tape, Bright Young Things parties, queer burlesque shows, etc. Places can also become gay bars for the night quite unintentionally, as is the intention of The Welcoming Committee’s Guerilla Queer Bar event. The concept is to select a gay-unfriendly or otherwise heavily hetero-centric space, flash mob it with gays on the appointed date, and voila! Instant gay bar. Once we start to overlay the brick and mortar places with the respective events that a bar can host to lure in the gays, we have a very rich matrix of gay places and events that could cater to our every inclination.

 

So with all these places and events to choose from, how does one decide where to go? Get a friend’s advice? Follow the happy hour specials? Create an alcohol-infused social calendar that rotates between all possible bars each month? Outside of our wide-range of options, what’s the situation like for our lesbian, bi, trans and queer sisters? What impact might the blurred line between intentional and unintentional gay bars have on our local LGBT community? Are there any pro’s for the stand-alone small town gay bar that an urban gay bar doesn’t get?

 

Join us at Gay District in the DC Center this Friday, June 19 at 8:30pm as we dish about gay bars.

 

Hyperlinked Sources Include the Following:

Gay District is a DC metro area, donation-based, gay, bi, trans-, queer men’s conversation group. Gay District meets at The DC LGBT Center, located inside the Reeves building at 2000 14th Street NW Washington, DC 20009.  Attendees will need to enter the Reeves building via the “Exit” doors on 14th Street, facing McDonald’s. We encourage attendees to bring their photo ID to gain access inside the building. If you do not have or are unable to present a photo ID, please contact the DC Center at (202) 682-2245.

 

Where do you get the 411?

 

 

Where do you get the 411?

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In our celebrity-obsessed culture, famous people are in a particularly influential position to weigh-in on socially and politically charged issues.  It seems more and more commonplace for highly visible people like professional athletes, writers, actors, and musicians to serve as spokespeople for certain causes, informing the public about sex, health, drug use and other important topics.  Liz Taylor is synonymous with championing the fight against HIV/AIDS, controversial columnist Dan Savage with launching the ‘It Gets Better’ campaign, Laverne Cox has gained international attention as a spokeswoman for trans- issues, and on his journey as an NFL draft football player Michael Sam assumed a position to advocate for decreasing homophobia in professional sports.  With the ever increasing influence of the internet, a new cast of characters has joined the influential elite; examples could include Youtube personalities like Davey Wavey or Chris Crocker to name a few.

 

Some celebrities strive to become immersed and knowledgeable about the issue they champion, and couch their discussions in research relevant to that issue.  However, there are also celebrities who speak out on sensitive issues based on their own (sometimes faulty) knowledge, opinions, or even based solely on something they read in a magazine while waiting at the dentist’s office. Many people rebuke the idea of celebrities speaking out on socially charged topics, claiming that they are likely uniformed and could cause harm by spreading misinformation and/or negative sentiments.  For instance, many in the HIV/AIDS community have taken issue with actor Zachary Quinto’s statements on the HIV drug PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis; you can read more about this controversy and Quinto’s response in the two links below).

http://www.hivequal.org/hiv-equal-online/how-zachary-quinto-let-down-the-hiv-aids-community

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/zachary-quinto/on-my-cover-interview-for_b_6158498.html

 

Do celebrities take responsibility or take advantage of the position they have to influence others?  People may take their advice/information to heart and apply it to their own lives and decisions.  However, how much responsibility should a public figure be required to take for their statements?  How much responsibility do we have as individuals to seek out information from other, perhaps more reliable, sources?

 

Join this week’s facilitator Taylor Monson and guest facilitator Robert Soriano for what promises to be a great discussion!


Gay District meets at The DC Center, located inside the Reeves DC government building. Attendees will need to enter the Reeves building via the “Exit” doors on 14th Street, facing McDonald’s. We encourage attendees to bring their photo ID to gain access inside the building. If you do not have or are unable to present a photo ID, please contact me ahead of time by email or The DC Center’s Executive Director David Mariner. Afterwards, we’ll head out to one of the fine establishments on the U Street Corridor to eat.

New Year’s Reflections, Resolutions, and Real Talk

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With the holiday season winding to a close, we are once again greeted with the promise of a new year.  The reminder that 2015 is practically here can prompt many thoughts, such as “I’m so over 2014 and thank goodness it’s done!” or “Crap, how is it a new year already??”  New Year’s Eve in particular can leave us remembering all the things we’ve done in the past 12 months, and get us thinking about what we want to accomplish going forward.

 

In an effort to make the most of the opportunity a new year brings, perhaps you’ve found yourself drafting a list of resolutions to help guide you toward a better self and an improved quality of life.  So what’s on your list?  Are you resolved to travel more, to get healthier, to secure a new career milestone, or to improve your love life?  If you need some internet inspiration for those aspirations, here is a list of 10 New Year’s Resolutions As Told by Cats.

 

For most of us it’s sticking to our resolutions that proves the far more challenging task.  Vox recently published an article that does a nice job summarizing the research on actually keeping one’s New Year’s resolutions.  So, what’s your track record?  Are you steadfast in sticking to your goals?  Maybe you’ve used tricks like those outlined by this Mirror article to help keep committed throughout the year.

 

Come join us on Friday January 2nd as we chat about the good times 2014 brought us and the hopes we have for 2015.  We’ll also play a fun game where we think up some “real talk” resolutions that we’d like to set for others.  Would you set Janet Jackson a resolution to release a new album?  Would you set the gay community a resolution to be more inclusive?  Or perhaps you’d set a resolution for the Tea Party to be a little less crazy.  Join us at 8:30pm this Friday to ring in a new year, Gay District style.

 

Gay District meets at The DC Center, located inside the Reeves DC government building (2000 14th Street NW, Suite 105 Washington, DC 20009). Attendees will need to enter the Reeves building via the “Exit” doors on 14th Street, facing McDonald’s. We encourage attendees to bring a photo ID to gain access inside the building. If you do not have or are unable to present a photo ID, please contact this week’s facilitator, Taylor Monson, ahead of time or contact The DC Center’s Executive Director David Mariner.