Walter Lundy says handing out donated toys to needy Washington-area kids has become the Christmas-related activity he most looks forward to.
It started modestly last year with what he calls his “Red-Themed Toy Drive Party.” He hosted last year’s event out of his Bloomingdale home. Guests wore red and brought gifts to his house the weekend before Christmas. On Christmas Eve, he and a group of friends delivered about 100 toys to about 40 children in seven or so families.
This year, the Dec. 22 party, which Lundy held at Halstead Tower in Alexandria, yielded about 250 guests/toys that were delivered to about 100 kids in 10 local families and a local group home. Lundy worked with the D.C. Department of Human Services and its “Strong Families” program, the Greater Urban League of Washington, the Hubbard Place and the Williams Life Center of Greenbelt, Md., to identify needy families.
“It’s a very gratifying experience and it’s become the complete focus of my holiday experience,” the Petersburg, Va., native says. “I feel like this is the proper way to end the calendar year for me and I intend to do it every year.”
Lundy hosted the event with his friend JoVone Pender. They paid for the party themselves and Lundy says it’s an important component of the event.
“I guess I’m just a party type-of guy,” he says. “I love the toy part of it, of course, but it’s also rewarding to give something to the community as well. We deserve it.”
Though not a gay-specific event, Lundy guesses “about 90 percent” of the friends who help him deliver the gifts are also black gay men, not all of whom are out. He says they’re just friends he knows “from all over — just guys I know in the same-gender-loving male community.”
Lundy works for the D.C. government but declines to give specifics. He’s also in a relationship but says, “We’ll just leave it at that.”
Lundy lived in Ohio for much of the ‘90s, but settled in Washington in 2003. He lives in Bloomingdale in the fifth Ward and enjoys tennis, NASCAR, exercising, writing, cooking and socializing in his free time.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
Not fully out but I guess I am now. But my family has known for about 14 years and my mother was the most difficult person to tell.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
Don’t really have a hero, but I admire all professional and college athletes who come out.
What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
The Park at 14th — great food, amazing drinks and awesome people. I love that place — it’s a place where everyone can go to have a great time.
Describe your dream wedding.
Going to the Caribbean with a small group of friends and family and getting married on the beach, walking in the sand with the blessing of the powerful waves in the background.
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
Getting Hillary Clinton elected president in 2016.
What historical outcome would you change?
I would erase the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. The Haitian government reported that an estimated 316,000 people died, 300,000 had been injured and 1 million made homeless. The greatest catastrophe of my life time. I break down and cry every time I think about it.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
How appropriate — I remember when I first when to New York and partied in Times Square for News Year’s Eve. Something that I had always seen on TV as a child, I was now finally experiencing live as an adult and it was the most amazing and electrifying experience. It’s an American tradition that everyone should do at least once.
On what do you insist?
I insist that people in my circle of friends treat all people the same regardless of their education or social economic status.
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
I don’t Tweet but I did post a link to a gospel sermon by Bishop Noel Jones talking about how “God Grows You” and that one has to have an enormous challenge in order to have an enormous outcome. I thought this was a powerful word heading into the new year.
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
I wouldn’t take advantage of the discovery because I am finally happy with myself, but I would certainly understand and respect those who took advantage of the science.
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
I believe in God and that there is a heaven. I also believes that the universe is a powerful force that influences our physical presence. I know it sounds silly but I believe that the universe is a surrogate power of God and has his blessings to influence our physical lives. I have so much respect and admiration for the power of the universe.
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
Educate the youth and teach them about life and being independent and responsible. The value of an education, a career and life goals — we get so caught up in trying to affirm them that we forget to hold them accountable to being successful and independent human beings. We can’t baby them — we have to demand excellence and high standards.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
To save the life of my baby sister.
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
Some of the most educated, family oriented, financially stable men in our community are GBT, especially in the black community, yet we are often not viewed as real men when we are usually the backbone to a fragmented and unstable family structure. We endure and take on so much emotional hardship that it’s amazing that more of us are not suicidal.
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
“The 24th Day”
What’s the most overrated social custom?
Celebrating birthdays. Eight years ago I had unexpected life-threatening heart surgery and I now have a strong appreciation for life every single day. So for me, every day is a day to celebrate.
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
I covet the acceptance of my Lord and Savior into his Kingdom.
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
I wish I had known my parents were going to die at a young age. I would have spent more time fostering a more meaningful and lasting adult relationship that I can forever cherish. I was so busy on my education and career grind that I lost track of time. I now regret that choice.
I am from Virginia and need to be close to my siblings as I am their primary caregiver and provider.