The Capital Area Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (CAGLCC) holds its seventh annual “Mega Networking Event” Wednesday, March 25 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Town Danceboutique (2009 8th St., N.W.).
Billed as the D.C. area’s largest LGBT professional networking and social event, thousands — yes, thousands — come out each year to mix, mingle, make contacts, recruit, network and more. It’s free. Details at caglcc.org.
“The evening offers something for everyone in a fun environment,” says John Quattlebaum, CAGLCC board chair. “It’s a great opportunity to connect and network with the many professionals and business owners who will be there.”
Quattlebaum, a 46-year-old Greenville, S.C., native, who’s been in the D.C. region for 23 years, came to CAGLCC five years ago through work colleagues. Following the departure of former director Mark Guenther, Quattlebaum says the chamber is planning to start a search for a new director later this year. For now, the day-to-day operations are being handled by board members and volunteers. The board also plans to hire a staff person for administrative work “in the near future,” Quattlebaum says.
Quattlebaum works as a wealth planning strategist with Wells Fargo. He’s married to Jay Sitlani. They live in the U Street area with Lulu and Boo, a dog and cat respectively. Quattlebaum enjoys travel, gardening and volunteering in his free time.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I first came out to my best friend from college shortly after we graduated. The hardest person I came out to was my mother. However she is now one of my biggest advocates so it was well worth the effort.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
While there are many LGBT figures who have and continue to inspire me, people become heroes in our minds when we are really in need of them. When I was coming out in the 1990s, the people who inspired me most were Pedro Zamora, Madonna and Elizabeth Birch. And they continue to inspire me today.
What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
Bent on U Street in the mid-‘90s. It was unpretentious and played the best retro dance music. Plus, I loved that it attracted people from almost every demographic.
Describe your dream wedding.
I am not big on ceremony. My husband and I were married by the justice of the peace on a weekday over lunch.
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
I am inspired by clean energy initiatives and I hope that at some point in my life I can devote some time to them.
What historical outcome would you change?
Bush v. Gore (2000).
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
The launch of MTV. Hey, I grew up in the ‘80s.
On what do you insist?
No cilantro in my food. It’s the Devil’s herb.
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
Most of my posts lately are related to the Chamber. My last non-Chamber post was: “I have season tickets [to D.C. United] and will never be able to use them all. If anyone wants to go to a game, private message me.”
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
“Being Dead Is No Excuse: The Official Southern Ladies’ Guide To Hosting The Perfect Funeral.” It is actually a real book.
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
I like being gay. I’d pass.
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
Dog is good.
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
Make those who came before you proud.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
To bring back my childhood friend, Jinks, who died of cancer five years ago. In fact, I would walk back in forth if it were possible.
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
There are LGBT stereotypes?
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
“Beautiful Thing” (1995). As with my heroes, this movie really resonated with me at a time when I was struggling with coming out to my family. For a young man who didn’t know how his family and friends would react to his being gay, the story filled me with hope. Plus it has a great soundtrack of songs from the Mamas and the Papas.
What’s the most overrated social custom?
Not wearing white after Labor Day
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
Of the awards I have won, the funniest was my high school’s music award for when I was a member the school’s handbell choir.
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
To invest my weekly allowance in Apple stock.
I didn’t have a job lined up after college but didn’t want to move back home. A few childhood friends were living in D.C. and encouraged me to come live with them until I found a job. Within my first two weeks here, I found a job and fell in love. The rest is history.