Matt Lewis is a big sports fan. He’s rooting for the Ravens for the Super Bowl both for the local connection and for “Brendon’s [Ayanbadejo] strong advocacy.”
And he just got elected to start a second term on the board of Team D.C. where he oversees the organization’s ever-flourishing “Night Out” series. The next installment — “Night Out at the Wizards” is Feb. 8 at the Verizon Center (tickets are $20; details at teamdcsports.com). Although other cities such as San Francisco and New York have isolated “gay nights” with their various sports teams, Lewis says none are as large or cross-branded as Team D.C.’s series.
“I think it says a lot about how society is viewing us as a community,” Lewis, a 43-year-old federal civil rights attorney with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, says. “It really shows that we’re everywhere — in the NFL, on Broadway, in Main Street America.”
Lewis, originally from Wilmington, N.C., came to Washington eight years ago after a 10-year relationship ended “on amicable terms.” His family had moved here (his mother and sister are attorneys and live in Capitol Hill), so he joined them. He’s been in his current job only since June after almost six years with another federal agency. He lives with his partner of six months in Arlington, whom he declines to name, and says they “just recently became engaged.”
Lewis enjoys watching college and pro basketball, football and baseball in his free time in addition to politics and volunteering. He accepted his current job with a mind toward achieving a better “work/life balance.” He enjoys relaxing with “a nice glass of wine on the couch after hitting the gym.”
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I have been out for over 20 years. The hardest person to tell was my mother but only for about three seconds. I knew how she would react but there is that brief period of uncertainty when you finally say the words. Everybody goes through that three-to-five second period in their own way in which they use the actual word “gay.” I was fortunate to have a family that loves me overall for who I am as a person.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
I actually don’t have a particular person but rather the millions of Americans and people around the world, who get up every day and fight for equality, justice, inclusion and the basic civil rights that all people deserve, gay, straight or otherwise.
What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
The best nightspot currently I think is Nellie’s. Doug and his crew do a great job to make everyone feel at home and have a good time.
Describe your dream wedding.
Something that is simple, small, intimate and memorable.
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
I am not sure that there are any actual non-LGBT issues in the world today, as we face every issue that all people, this nation and the world face. We all face health care, civil and human rights, tax, economic and environmental issues just to name a few.
What historical outcome would you change?
That’s a tough one. I think that I would change the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. or President John F. Kennedy. Both men had so much potential to do so much good beyond what they had already done in their short lives.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
It’s a tie I think. Seeing U2 and Elton John in concert. They both put on a great show.
On what do you insist?
Honesty, sincerity and communication.
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
“Let’s Go Caps!”
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
“Lessons that I have learned along the path …”
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
I would not change anything. I am the way God made me and I am blessed to be healthy and alive. He doesn’t make mistakes you know?
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
As a Christian and Episcopalian, I believe in a heaven surrounded by all those who have gone before me.
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
Keep up the good fight knowing that Rome was not built in a day and that despite the hardships and setbacks, our day will come. We will obtain full equality in this country and elsewhere. It’s only a matter of time!
What would you walk across hot coals for?
My partner and my family, plain and simple.
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
That gay men are weak, not masculine, and can’t play or like sports. That lesbians are all “butch” and cannot be feminine. So untrue on both accounts.
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
“Philadelphia.” It’s the movie I saw the night that I came out to my mother and sister.
What’s the most overrated social custom?
I would have to say Rehoboth Beach. Being from Coastal North Carolina, I know Rehoboth is way overpriced.
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
Probably my law license. A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into getting that piece of paper.
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
To look at the bigger picture. Don’t lose the forest for the trees.
Why not? Family, friends, great political, social, sports and cultural activities not to mention the great restaurants. Where else can you witness Newt Gingrich and his wife hotly contesting which pair or New Balance shoes she should purchase?