Tim Woody remembers his early years in Washington fondly. He’d been through the HIV-related death of his partner in 2000 and emerged from the tragedy as a gay social butterfly.
“Monday was JR.’s, Tuesday was drag bingo, Thursday was shirtless night at Green Lantern, Friday was bear happy hour at Ramrod, Saturday was the Eagle,” he says. “I was out all the time.”
Working in various retail management jobs by day and partying with the bear and leather communities many nights, Woody was never at a loss for activities. He was also active with Brother Help Thyself, a local gay HIV/AIDS charity. The socializing paid off. He met his current partner, HRC’s Jim Rinefierd, one night at Titan Ramrod.
“I said, ‘What would it take to get you to take your shirt off,'” Woody recalls. “He said, ‘Not much.’ I went home with him that night and basically haven’t gone home since. That was three-and-a-half years ago.”
The 37-year-old Oceanside, Calif., native, who was discharged from the Navy under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in 1993, has had a lot of change in his life. Just a year ago, he switched careers and started selling real estate for Coldwell Banker in Dupont Circle. For a rookie Realtor, it’s going surprisingly well he says. Woody and Rinefierd live together in D.C.’s Brookland neighborhood with their 7-year-old Border Collie, Seamus. Woody enjoys shopping, cooking and community efforts. For information on Brother Help Thyself’s annual fundraiser Night Out at Kings Dominion, slated for Sept. 11, visit brotherhelpthyself.org.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I’ve been out for almost 20 years. The hardest person to tell would have been my mom. Primarily because of those fears most of us face when deciding to come out. Will I be rejected and ousted or accepted and loved all the more. Fortunately it was the strong emphasis on the latter with all the love my mom could have given me. Being on “The Sally Jesse Raphael Show” helped too.
Who’s your gay hero?
People who took a stand to make things right or fought doing so that others would enjoy life’s offering more. People like the late Neil Alexander and the late Cheryl Spector.
What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
It all depends on what day of the week you’re going out. Our community has a lot to offer and there is definitely something for everyone.
Describe your dream gay wedding.
If money was not an issue, for me it wouldn’t be about the gifts but more about the moments, and the party of the century. Hosted and featured with the best of food, music and drinks. It would be friends and family coming out to celebrate that moment in my life. To celebrate not only what has become but what will be in the future, a bonding of lives.
What non-gay issue are you most passionate about?
Helping those in what way I can who are less fortunate than I. I’ve been given a great number of blessings and sometimes others aren’t as lucky who deserve to be.
What historical outcome would you change?
In my own personal history, it would happen to be the loss of my father when I was only 5-and-a-half years old to a Tractor Trailer accident in Oregon. I’ve always wondered what my dad would have been like as I grew from a kid to my teens into the man I am today.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
Going to the “Wildest Dreams” Tina Turner concert with my late partner, Jon. Feeling alive with the energy, which radiated from the stage. Wow, what a woman.
On what do you insist?
Good hygiene, well addressed manners and people who give a shit about what is going on around them.
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
Silly nonsense about a good laugh I had with the new Geico commercial about the little piggy who cried, “We we we all the way home.”
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
“The greatest thing I’ve learned was just to love and be loved in return.” (Yes, a “Moulin Rouge” quote).
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
I would stay exactly who I am. I believe I have been made for God wants me to be, not what society wants of me.
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
Be it heaven, nirvana or wherever you may end up, I do believe there is a place to where the spirit from our body takes flight. Being receptive to spirits and their presence (loved ones passed are always around me).
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
We’ve made great strides for our community since knowing I was gay almost 25 plus years ago. Keep up with the momentum, persevere and endure. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
Being brought up by a mother who has lived with polio all of her life, there is nothing more that moves me than the thought for her to know what it is like to walk without her brace, crutches or the aid of her wheelchair/scooter.
What gay stereotype annoys you most?
All gay men are just pedophiles in hiding or we’re out to recruit for our cause or hidden agenda. Where’s my toaster?
What’s your favorite gay movie?
A true toss up between “Sordid Lives” and “Girls will be Girls.” I love do me some Varla Jean. Who doesn’t?
What’s the most overrated social custom?
Boys should be raised as boys and girls as girls. Let kids express and find themselves as they will.
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
Holding the title as Mr. D.C. Bear for 2005 through 2007. As well as being awarded Brother Help Thyself’s Anthony J. Bachrach Award for 2010 in recognition for “Outstanding Volunteer Services to the Gay and Lesbian Community” here in D.C.
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
That my life was going to be touched by a lot of different people. Never be afraid to embrace them and always let them know what they mean to you before it’s too late.
After my partner of four years passed in December 2000, I started getting involved more with the leather and bear community. Doing more fund raising, meeting new people and instead of constantly commuting, I was told by a good friend, a mentor of sorts, that there’s no better time to just jump into a new life. And so I jumped. I just didn’t know it was going to be one as great as this life has turned out to be.