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Queery: Steven Wilson

The Oasis Dance Company founder/director answers 20 gay questions

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Steven Wilson, queery column, Oasis Dance Company
Steven Wilson, queery column, Oasis Dance Company

Steven Wilson (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

When Steven Wilson moved to Washington in 2008 because his husband, Brandon Wilson, got a job in the area, the 28-year-old dancer and choreographer decided to re-launch his Oasis Dance Company here.

It’s evolved since then — this weekend’s event “The Affair: Bow Ties & Pumps,” a benefit for Transgender Health Empowerment and the Wanda Alston House for homeless LGBT youth, is the launch of his expanded vision which will be known as the Oasis Dance Collective. It will continue to encompass his adult company for 18-25-year-olds (there are 13 dancers in the troupe) but a youth contingent is also launching along with a series that will find well-known choreographers coming to D.C. to offer master classes (the group is online at oasisdanceco.com). Wilson re-launched the group with co-founder Jami Shackles.

Sunday night’s event, to be held at THEARC Theater (1901 Mississippi Ave., S.E.), is designed as a dance tribute to several local public figures, both LGBT and allies, who are making a difference in the D.C. area. Similar to the Kennedy Center Honors, Wilson is overseeing mini-tributes to each of this year’s honorees: Revs. Dennis and Christine Wiley, pastors of LGBT-welcoming Covenant Baptist United Church of Christ; comedian Sampson McCormick; youth advocate Kenya Hutton, Abdur-Rahim Briggs, president of Al Sura; drag performer Shi-Queeta Lee; The Center’s David Mariner; and Rev. Aaron Wade, pastor of Community Church of Washington.

“Imagine Victoria’s Secret meets the Grammys meets ‘So You Think You Can Dance,’” Wilson says. “It will be so many different things and highly entertaining.”

Red carpet starts at 6:30 p.m. The performance is at 7:30. General admission is $30; VIP admission is $50. Tickets will be available at the door or can be purchased in advance at thearcdc.org. Proceeds go to the Alston House and THE. Details are at oasisdanceco.com/events.

Wilson works by day in Annandale, Va., as a clinical research assistant at Clinical Alliance for Research Education in Infectious Diseases (CARE-ID) and lives in Fairfax, though all his Oasis work is in Washington. The Norwich, Conn., native enjoys dancing, writing and hiking in his free time. He and Wilson have two dogs, Joi and PJ.

How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?

I have been out since my sophomore year of college in 2004 and my father was the hardest person to tell.

Who’s your LGBT hero?

Alvin Ailey

What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present? 

Town

Describe your dream wedding.

With all family in attendance on the coast of Spain.

What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?

Education

What historical outcome would you change?

The transfer of HIV/AIDS from primates to humans.

What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?

My first concert was a Janet concert (the “Velvet Rope Tour”) and it just kind of solidified everything I wanted to do in life. A lot of my friends were really into Michael Jackson, but I didn’t really grow up on Mike. I grew up way more on Janet.

On what do you insist?

Faith

What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?

“The Affair Sunday, September 23, 2012”

If your life were a book, what would the title be?

“Pieces of a Dream”

If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?

Nothing. I am proud of who I am and wish everyone else the same — just be you.

What do you believe in beyond the physical world? 

Heaven

What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?

Stay connected, make sure the messaging remains relevant and focus on legal issues more than emotional ones. A person may not agree with me, but I want to ensure that they cannot legally hinder my happiness.

What would you walk across hot coals for?

My family

What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?

That gay equates to be a feminine male or butch female.

What’s your favorite LGBT movie?

I don’t have one. “Center Stage,” but that not really gay.

What’s the most overrated social custom?

Shaking hands

What trophy or prize do you most covet?

My ultimate goal is to win a Tony Award for choreography.

What do you wish you’d known at 18?

The only person who must buy into your vision is you!

Why Washington?

It is the nuclei of America.

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Out & About

DC Center to host Alzheimer’s awareness event

‘Seniors & Cognition’ talk to explore warning signs, healthy brain practices

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The DC LGBTQ+ Community Center, the DC Department on Aging and Community Living, and the Alzheimer’s Association are joining forces to host “Seniors & Cognition with the Alzheimer’s Association” on Thursday, July 25 at 2 p.m. on Zoom. 

Guest speakers will walk the audience through understanding Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, their warning signs, healthy brain practices, and more. The lecture series will consist of three 1.5-hour sessions, with the others set to take place in August and September. 

To register, visit the DC Center’s website

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Sports

Brittney Griner and wife celebrate birth of their son

Cherelle Griner gave birth to healthy baby boy earlier this month

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Brittney Griner (Screen capture via Instagram)

It’s a boy for Brittney and Cherelle Griner. The Phoenix Mercury center revealed the news in interviews with CBS Sports and NBC News. 

“Every minute I feel like he’s popping into my head, said Griner. “Literally everything revolves around him. And I love it.”

The couple officially welcomed the baby boy on July 8. He weighs 7 pounds, 8 ounces.

“That’s my man. He is amazing,” Griner told CBS Sports. “They said as soon as you see them, everything that you thought mattered just goes out the window. That’s literally what happened.” 

Griner, 33, corrected the CBS News correspondent who said, “You’re about to be a mom!” She told her Cherelle, 33, had already delivered the baby and that she preferred to be called,“Pops.” 

Griner told NBC News correspondent Liz Kreutz they chose to name their newborn son, “Bash.” 

The WNBA star said she is Bash’s biggest fan and is constantly taking photos of him. “My whole phone has turned into him now,” Griner told CBS Sports.

The baby comes as Griner gets set to play in Saturday’s WNBA All-Star Game and then head to Paris with Team USA to compete for their 8th straight gold medal at the Summer Olympic Games. 

“It kind of sucks because I have to leave, but at the same time, he will understand,” said Griner. 

Her time in Paris will mark the first time since the basketball star was released from a Russian gulag, where she was held on drug charges for nearly 10 months in 2022.

“BG is locked in and ready to go,” Griner told NBC News on Friday. “I’m happy, I’m in a great place. I’m representing my country, the country that fought for me to come back. I’m gonna represent it well.”

Griner also spoke with NBC News about her hopes the U.S. can win the freedom of imprisoned Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who was sentenced to 16 years in a Russian maximum security prison on Friday. 

“We have to get him back,” she said. 

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Calendar

Calendar: July 19-25

LGBTQ events in the days to come

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Friday, July 19

“Center Aging Friday Tea Time” will be at 2 p.m. on Zoom. This is a social hour for older LGBTQ+ adults. Guests are encouraged to bring a beverage of choice. For more details, email [email protected].

Go Gay DC will host “LGBTQ+ Community Happy Hour” at 7 p.m. at Puro Gusto. This event is ideal for making new friends, professional networking, idea-sharing, and community building. This event is free and more details are available on Eventbrite.

Saturday, July 20

Go Gay DC will host “LGBTQ+ Community Brunch” at 11 a.m. at Freddie’s Beach Bar & Restaurant. This fun weekly event brings the DMV area LGBTQ+ community, including allies, together for delicious food and conversation. Attendance is free and more details are available on Eventbrite.

“LGBTQ People of Color Support Group” will be at 1 p.m. on Zoom. This peer support group is an outlet for LGBTQ People of Color to come together and talk about anything affecting them in a space that strives to be safe and judgment free. For more details, visit thedccenter.org/poc or facebook.com/centerpoc.

Sunday, July 21

Go Gay DC will host “LGBTQ+ Dinner” at 6:30 p.m. at Federico Ristorante Italiano Freddie’s Beach Bar & Restaurant. Guests are encouraged to come enjoy an evening of Italian-style dining and conversation with other LGBTQ+ folk. Attendance is free and more details are available on Eventbrite.

Go Gay DC will host “LGBTQ+ Funday Social and Games” at 3 p.m. at Moxy. This event is ideal for making meaningful new connections and informal community building, or just to unwind and enjoy the group happy hour. There will be Monopoly, chess, checkers, Jenga and many other games. Attendance is free and more details are available on Eventbrite.

AfroCode DC will be at 4 p.m. at Decades DC. This event will be an experience of non-stop music, dancing, and good vibes and a crossover of genres and a fusion of cultures. Tickets cost $40 and can be purchased on Eventbrite.

Monday, July 22

Center Aging: Monday Coffee & Conversation will be at 10 a.m. on Zoom. This is a social hour for older LGBTQ adults. Guests are encouraged to bring a beverage of their choice. For more details, email [email protected].

“Queer Book Club” will be at 6:30 p.m. on Zoom. The club meets on the fourth Monday of the month to discuss queer books by queer authors. This month’s read is yet to be announced. For more details, email [email protected].

Tuesday, July 23

Pride on the Patio Events will host “LGBTQ Social Mixer” at 5:30 p.m. at Showroom. Dress is casual, fancy, or comfortable. Guests are encouraged to bring their most authentic self to chat, laugh, and get a little crazy. Admission is free and more details are on Eventbrite.

Coming Out Discussion Group will be at 7 p.m. on Zoom. This is a peer-facilitated discussion group and a safe space to share experiences about coming out and discuss topics as it relates to doing so. For more details, visit the group’s Facebook page.

“Genderqueer DC” will be at 7 p.m. on Zoom. This is a support group for people who identify outside of the gender binary, whether you’re bigender, agender, genderfluid, or just know that you’re not 100% cis. For more details, email [email protected].

Wednesday, July 24

Job Club will be at 6 p.m. on Zoom. This is a weekly job support program to help job entrants and seekers, including the long-term unemployed, improve self-confidence, motivation, resilience and productivity for effective job searches and networking — allowing participants to move away from being merely “applicants” toward being “candidates.” For more information, email [email protected] or visit thedccenter.org/careers.

“Asexual and Aromantic Group” will meet at 7 p.m. on Zoom and in person at the DC Center for the LGBT Community. This is a space where people who are questioning this aspect of their identity or those who identify as asexual and/or aromantic can come together, share stories and experiences, and discuss various topics. For more details, email [email protected].

Thursday, July 25

Virtual Yoga with Charles M. will be at 7 p.m. on Zoom. This is a free weekly class focusing on yoga, breath work, and meditation. For more details, visit the DC Center for the LGBT Community’s website.

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