Like many, Terrance Laney will be at Black Pride this weekend. For him, it’s a “super important” event.
“It’s black LGBTQ people coming together to love and support each other,” he says. “That’s a radical act of courage and we need Black Pride and more spaces to do that.”
Laney, a 31-year-old McDonough, Ga., native, has worked as deputy director of the Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs in Mayor Muriel Bowser’s administration since January.
He’s single and lives in Shepherd Park. He enjoys travel, exercise and the arts in his free time.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I have been out since 19, but I don’t really think of myself as ever being in. Most of my family members responded to me disclosing my sexual orientation with an unimpressed “we already knew.”
Who’s your LGBT hero?
Bayard Rustin. He organized the 1963 March on Washington and made non-violent political philosophy part of the Civil Rights Movement.
What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
Anywhere my friends are.
Describe your dream wedding.
Marrying a man who loves me very much is the most important part of my dream wedding. I want a huge celebration on or near a beach to celebrate with my friends and family over several days before and after the ceremony.
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
I can’t fully say what a non-LGBT issue is because our lives are not single issue but when I am not spending time on LGBT-specific causes, I fiercely advocate for racial justice.
What historical outcome would you change?
The idea of race and racial distinctions would have never been created and African people would have never been enslaved.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
When the last Beyoncé album was released and my entire life and mental capacity were overtaken for weeks.
On what do you insist?
Being treated with respect and taking time to take care of myself.
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
“I Have Lived In Many Ways”
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
I would throw shade and serve filthy reads to anyone who changes theirs but mainly enjoy more space on dance floors. My grandmother would say “good riddance to bad rubbish.”
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
A very loving God/dess and my ancestors.
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
The movement has to invest much more toward developing LGBTQ leaders of color who have the power to set the agenda and frame the conversation.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
To own a house on the beach.
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
Our only political concern is marriage rights.
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
“Paris Is Burning,” especially before everyone knew about it and tried to appropriate the culture it pays homage to.
What’s the most overrated social custom?
Small talk. If someone doesn’t have anything genuine or worthy to say or if someone really has no interest in engaging with another person then I think a smile is sufficient.
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
My undergraduate degree. Being the first person in my family to finish college proved to me that I could do whatever I set my mind to.
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
Life is what happens when you are planning to do something else. Set realistic goals but don’t try to plan your entire life.
This city embraced me with love and gave me opportunities that no other place could have. We all have a home that we are given but Washington is the home that I have chosen and I look forward to many more years of building a life and family here and working with Mayor Bowser and her administration as we continue to build pathways to the middle class.