Allan Armus says it’s good for LGBT faith-minded folks to join forces on occasion.
“So often we hear that this or that church is against LGBT people and have taken it upon themselves to speak for some church, synagogue or mosque,” he says. We want to prove that they’re not really representing their faith community. By joining together, we achieve a critical mass. We’re … saying you don’t have a monopoly on what you’re saying on what the faith means and how it should treat LGBT people.”
The 30th anniversary Pride Week Interfaith Service is Tuesday evening at 7:30 p.m. at First Congregational United Church of Christ (945 G St., N.W.). Rev. Harry Knox, president of Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice will speak. Shirli Hughes & Ovation will provide music (details available at capitalpride.org under the events listings). About 200 attend most years.
“It is my belief that every religion has some element of truth and no religion has all the truth,” Armus, treasurer at Bet Mishpachah, says. “And I think these religions that say everybody must be my religion are misguided.”
Armus has been active at Bet Mishpachah since he came to Washington in 1983. He got involved with the Washington Area Gay & Lesbian Interfaith Alliance (which changed into the Celebration of the Spirit Coalition in 2000) in 1985, just a few years after it formed. This year’s Interfaith Service will incorporate elements of services from previous years for the anniversary.
Armus, a 69-year-old Fairview, N.J., native is retired from Verizon Communications where he was director for finance until 2000. His late partner, Mark Goldfarb, died in 1999.
Armus lives in Arlington and enjoys music, volunteering, theater, motorcycles, meditation, reading and massage in his free time.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I came out to myself in 1979, then gradually came out to family and friends. It was no big deal to my family and my late partner’s family. We were both loved and accepted completely. The only question I got was, “Why did you wait so long to say it?”
Who’s your LGBT hero?
What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
Describe your dream wedding.
One with my dream man.
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
Social justice for everyone.
What historical outcome would you change?
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
Shortly after moving to the D.C. area, I was invited to the opening night party of the Paul Taylor Dance Company and met the lead male dancer, whom I had a crush on. I got so flabbergasted upon meeting him that I couldn’t speak and just babbled incoherently. He smiled at me, then walked away to meet others. From that time on I knew I would love it here in D.C.
On what do you insist?
Punctuality and honesty
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
A snarky remark to a snarky friend who was stuck at an airport; something about check-in vs. chicken.
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
“He Did the Best He Could”
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
Nothing. Now if they found a pill that could make me lose weight and have big muscles, then we could talk.
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
That the creative power of the universe made everyone of us to experience our lives to the fullest. That the spirit within us is a gift from that source that we must return in the same or better condition than when we received it. That if you look deeply into the eyes of another you can see that divine spirit within them as well of the reflection of your own spirit.
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
Don’t turn our friends and supporters into our enemies. Be grateful for whatever help they can provide. It’s OK to push for our rights, but don’t push so hard that someone gets hurt.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
To eliminate groundless hatred and bigotry.
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
That all gay men are limp wrested, effeminate queens; only some of us are that way.
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
What’s the most overrated social custom?
People asking, “How are you?” when they really don’t care.
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
I don’t seek any prizes (other than the Publishers Clearing House Grand Prize.) If someone says thank you or good job after I’ve done something, that’s great.
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
That I was gay. When I look back, I recognize all the signs, but I was just very naive and oblivious to them in myself.
I moved here with my job at the break up of the Bell System.