Suzanne McArdle grew up in Beltsville, Md., and after college and graduate school, couldn’t wait to come back to the region.
“The opportunities and community in the D.C. area are unmatched in my mind,” the 29-year-old says.
McArdle works by day as a cartographer with the U.S. Census Bureau. She’s also co-chair of Team D.C.’s Night OUT at the Nationals Committee, which has its 10th annual event — one of a series of Night OUT events — Tuesday night at Nationals Park when the Nationals take on the Houston Astros. Gates open at 4:40 p.m. for the game at 7:05. There are three tiers of tickets. Visit teamdc.org for details.
She also sits on the leadership board of the U.S. Census Bureau Rainbow Alliance.
McArdle lives in Silver Spring and enjoys wine nights with her girlfriend, Janine, play dates with her nieces and, of course, Night OUT events.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I’ve been out since soon after I realized who I was at 18. I never said the exact words to my dad until much later. He found out through my sibling grapevine and was probably the most well aware of who I was before I even said it to anyone.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
Anyone who has ever spoken up when it hasn’t been safe or hasn’t been cool to do so is a hero in my book. Edie Windsor, Dr. Thea Spyer and their relationship are also kind of rock stars in my book.
What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
Describe your dream wedding.
One where everyone who is supposed to be there is there.
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
I’m pretty gay in every aspect of my passionate life.
What historical outcome would you change?
I don’t like war so there are probably a bunch you can infer from that.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
Something I will never forget is sitting outside of the Supreme Court when the DOMA ruling came down. I even took a teary-eyed (rare) selfie — something I will show my children and grandchildren.
On what do you insist?
Using lots of silly puns and sarcasm in everyday life.
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
“Little Miss Lesbian”
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
You couldn’t pay me enough money to pay for a “straight change.” I love who I am, I love the people in my life, I love the people I get to meet on an everyday basis. I am proud of who I am and proud to call myself a member of the LGBT community.
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
Even though I spent some of my elementary years in Catholic school, I wouldn’t consider myself a practicing Catholic. I am spiritual and believe everyone who has done good on this earth will be welcomed into heaven.
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
The movement is about opening yourself up to conversations — especially calm and genuine conversations with people who don’t share your views — and making enough of a connection to teach someone something they didn’t know before.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
To save my loved ones.
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
The stereotype that a lesbian looks a certain way drives me crazy.
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
“If These Walls Could Talk 2”
What’s the most overrated social custom?
Why can I only think of an underrated one? Eye contact is everything.
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
I think the title I am most proud of is the fact that the U.S. Census Bureau Rainbow Alliance group has been the largest community group in attendance at Night OUT at the Nationals for two years running. This year, we have 240 going as a part of our group.
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
One thing I do wish I had known was how to stand up a little more strongly for myself and others who needed it. I’m trying my best to make up for lost time on that in my every day life now.
There are a lot of powerful and amazing people living right here who are influencing the political, social and well-being of our future. It’s kind of neat to walk around the city and just know that.