Even with all that’s going on in Washington’s gay nightlife scene, Andres Gaviota says something is lacking.
“D.C. is growing and changing a lot,” he says. “There are new people coming in all the time and while it’s great what Town and Cobalt and JR.’s are doing, I think sometimes it’s all a little too comfortable. People go to those regular parties and venues and they know what to expect. … Nightlife has a very rich history, all the way back to the Moulin Rouge and I think we could use a bit of that here in D.C. I want to provide a space for us to celebrate who we are and what we do. Not just go out and get wasted.”
He started Gaviota Events Promotions & Productions (gaviotaevents.com) in his native Puerto Rico. The 23-year-old San Juan native, who came to Washington two years ago to work at Human Rights Campaign, also tended bar at Cobalt for a time and soon found himself drawn back into the gay nightlife world he loves. Now by day he works in communications at the American Association for the Advancement of Science and plans events on the side. He has a monthly event called Interlude at Lost Society and is working on a New York-themed event at a new venue in the new year.
Gaviota and boyfriend Guillermo Miyano live together in Dupont Circle. Gaviota enjoys movies, skiing, sailing, working out and traveling in his free time.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I came out Feb. 16, 2006. It will be eight years in February and I always do a birthday celebration on that day. I would say the hardest person to tell was myself. I hated myself, I was disgusted. I think that was the most difficult to learn to love and accept it myself.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
Town is definitely my favorite on Saturdays. It’s the place to be, professional and frequently has the best DJ and shows. Cobalt offers a great alternative as well and is residency to one of my favorite DJs, Joe Gauthreaux.
Describe your dream wedding.
Since my life in is a constant contradiction I must have two weddings and they may happen on the same day. First, quiet “small” wedding for Guillermo’s sake, with just my family and his and some close friends. Probably back home at the beach or near the ocean were I belong. Then a big celebration with great DJs, food and multiple surprises.
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
Immigration and decolonization of Puerto Rico. A permanent status resolution must happen soon.
What historical outcome would you change?
Tough to say — on one hand, I would change many things but I also feel these things happen for a reason and if we learn from them, they should stay that way.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
In 2012 when President Obama announced he supported same-sex marriage.
On what do you insist?
Good and honest ongoing communication.
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
Probably a promo for some sort of event. There are a lot of surprises coming up with Gaviota Events and it is very exciting.
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
“Gaviota: A Celebration”
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
Nothing. A few years ago, I might have had a different answer, but pain makes us grow and understand.
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
I believe in love and the power of people. A strange bond between creatures that makes the world goes around. I’m not big on religion but having grown up Catholic, the new Pope makes me proud to be Catholic again after many years.
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
Don’t rest. Even with all the marriage victories, there are still a lot of marginalized people in our communities.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
My family, especially my mother.
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
A lot that come within our own community like thinking we can’t have stable relationships, looking down at bottoms and “trannies,” battles to be the bitchiest queen of the lot — we should be more embracing and have a place for everyone.
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
“Between Love & Goodbye” or “The House of Boys.”
What’s the most overrated social custom?
Not to check your Facebook event invites and then text me on Friday night, asking where I am at or where to go or why you weren’t invited. Grrr!
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
Joy of Life
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
A better grasp on life and understanding in general. Having previously attempted suicide several times at age 18 and 19, I had a lot to learn about how to celebrate life and who I am.
I always saw coming to the U.S. mainland as an opportunity to start over and become a better me. D.C. provided a great atmosphere and a good balance of everything I wanted.