Zach O’Connor is ready to come out.
Not out of the closet — he did that when he was 13. Now he’s “coming out” — in a manner of speaking — as the blogger behind the Tumblr blog #DCGays (thedcgayz.tumblr.com). He started the snarky, pop culture-heavy commentary page about a year-and-a-half ago and other than a few friends, kept his identity as webmaster hidden. But he says now, after about 600 posts, more than a million hits and 2,400 followers, the concept has somewhat run its course. Being employed full time — he was finishing college at American University when he started it — is also a factor.
“I had a lot of fun with it and at the time GIF images (the stop motion-type clips) were the hot new thing,” the 23-year-old Madison, Conn., native says. “Now you see them everywhere on Brightest Young Gays, Buzzfeed and even in political ads so it’s become pretty common. You kind of get to a point too where it’s like, ‘OK — how many posts can I do on 17th Street or Secrets?’ I think it’s time to bow out gracefully.”
Inspired by a similar site he saw for Philadelphia, he thought D.C. needed its own version. Overall, he says it’s been a good run.
“It’s been really fun seeing my friends post about something not knowing it’s me,” he says. “I just wanted to be absolutely ridiculous and make people laugh.”
O’Connor works in communications for a non-profit and enjoys brunch, fundraising, blogging and spending time with friends in his free time. He’s single and lives in Logan Circle.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I came out 10 years ago when I was 13. The hardest person to tell was my middle school Intro. to Fashion Merchandising teacher. I’m sure she had no clue. Overall I’ve had a very positive coming-out experience. I thankfully came from a loving and supportive family.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
I have two — Harvey Milk and the queens who fought back during Stonewall.
What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
Yum’s Takeout on 14th Street. It’s the best after party I’ve been to.
Describe your dream wedding.
Somewhere romantic in D.C. or Provincetown surrounded by close friends and family. I’m half Greek so I’m sure there will be a lot of food, dancing, ouzo and many relatives named Nick.
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
Transportation. Our infrastructure is in need of some TLC.
What historical outcome would you change?
The moment when pleated pants were a thing.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
When Janet Jackson’s breast popped out during the Super Bowl Halftime show. I was the only guy in the room grossed out by it but was hoping Justin Timberlake would do the same thing.
On what do you insist?
Live! Life’s a banquet and some poor suckers are starving to death.
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
I was returning from Provincetown on Monday and posted about it. “Due to a delay with our ferry, BHC gave Ted and me a free one-way ticket to PTown that doesn’t expire! #PTown2014”
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
“Opa! My Big Fat Gay Greek Memoir”
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
I’d do a DCGays post about it and add some judgmental GIF about it, and then continue to live my life as a proud gay man.
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
Continue to advance progress for the LGBT community and do what you can for all letters of our big fabulous acronym.
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
I believe there’s something greater out there beyond the physical world. But until I figure it out firsthand, I want to enjoy and live my life to the fullest in this world.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
My family, friends, a signed photo of Bea Arthur and/or a good laugh.
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
That we all like to drink mimosas on the weekends, wear drag for Halloween or want to get married. Oh wait — is this the “about me” section?
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
“Auntie Mame” with Rosalind Russell. It’s very witty, campy, and a classic for any gay! Even the “masc musc” ones will love it.
What’s the most overrated social custom?
The use of LOL when you aren’t laughing.
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
I would love my great-grandmother’s recipe book to continue family food traditions as well as knowing how to make the best stuffed grape leaves of all time.
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
I wish I knew how fast college would fly by, although now I am loving adulthood. Also, knowing the winning lottery numbers wouldn’t hurt either!
D.C. is an amazing global city with a small town charm. It’s a place where I grew into adulthood, where I made plenty of good and bad decisions and it’s a place where I now get to live a comfortable life with great friends.