Stephen Decker always knows the day of Scarlet’s Bake Sale is going to be a long one. He’s typically on site at the Eagle from noon until about 9 p.m. but he says it’s always worth the effort. And he should know — he’s been one of the volunteers for about 20 years. For the last three years, he’s been the chair.
“It’s so much fun to watch the competition,” he says. “Trying to see them all outbid each other for that cake or item. It’s just full of fun.”
Scarlet’s Bake Sale, named after the late Ed Nesbitt (whose drag name was Scarlet), is now in its 42nd year. This year’s event is Sunday from 5-8:30 p.m. at the D.C. Eagle (639 New York Ave., N.W.). Look for the event page by searching “Scarlet’s Foundation” on Facebook. This year’s proceeds will benefit SMYAL. Typically about 80 people attend. In addition to the auction, four awards are presented each year. Last year, Decker says about $8,800 was raised for LGBT charities.
The most memorable entry over the years?
“Oh my goodness, there’ve been so many,” Decker says. “One year we had a group bring in a watersports-themed cake. It actually had a figure standing up and a recycling pump in it, so he would actually be peeing on a man down in a pond. It, to me, was the most spectacular.”
Another year, an elaborate 3-D chocolate sculpture of a tree was so impressive it raised $2,400 in three different auctions (each winner kept putting it back up for auction knowing it was a hot item) only to be destroyed on the ride home.
Decker, a Scenery Hill, Pa., native, came to Washington for work in 1980 and has been here ever since. He previously lived in Maryland, Virginia, Mississippi and elsewhere during his growing up years and a stint in the Air Force.
He and husband Ed Moore live together in Brookland. After a long stint as a grant manager with the International Association of Firefighters, he’s looking for a new job.
He enjoys baking, cooking, the leather community and times with friends and extended family in his free time.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I have been out to myself since high school, but could never do so as the community would have never allowed it and I may not be here now if I did. One of my favorite statements when asked when I knew — it was in seventh grade with the cutest ass that sat in front of me in most all of my classes. I came out to myself in the 1980s but the hardest person to come out was more a fear of my own, it was my mother, who politely told me, “This is supposed to be news to me?” I came out to her in 1995.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
Leonard Matlovich. He received a medal of honor for killing two men and a dishonorable discharge for loving one.
What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
Loved the old DC Eagle on 7th Street before it closed. Today you will find me quite often at the Green Lantern.
Describe your dream wedding.
Our wedding was a dream. Who would ever guess that after being with my love for 22 years we would be able to wed in 2010? I wanted to elope, but our friends would not hear of that. We had an engagement party, two bachelor’s parties and a wedding with two receptions. We had about 30 great and close friends with us at the wedding and over 100 other friends that celebrated us in the other events. We were surrounded by love and it was worth every second.
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
Children with no love or home. Everyone deserves love, no matter who provides it.
What historical outcome would you change?
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
The first Liza with a Z Concert I attended in the 1970s with another Air Force buddy who I think may have liked me for the same reason I liked him.
On what do you insist?
I insist that all are honest with me. I have always stated we can solve all issues.
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
It was about the Scarlet’s Bake Sale. Ask everyone to come and have fun with us.
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
“Vanilla? I Don’t Think So”
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
Hide from it. I am happy to be who I am and with whom I have chosen to live.
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
That we are created by God to be who and what we are.
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
Keep moving forward, the job is not done. We should all have the equal rights just like every other person. Thank you, so far as we have made major movements.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
The love of my life and maybe a cup of hot chocolate on this cold day.
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
People who feel they have to be “straight acting.”
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
“Rent” — it tackled AIDS, which affects everyone.
What’s the most overrated social custom?
The handshake — why not a warm hug?
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
Black Roses Community Service Award
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
That it was OK to be who I am and not ashamed of it. I let so much get away from me.
I guess it is the only place I know that the museums are free and that there is so much history here. It’s hard to believe that the Supreme Court area has so much history itself. Check it out sometime.