Sadly it was a tragedy that inspired Amy Loudermilk to get involved in LGBT advocacy. A friend’s suicide at age 16, she says, was a wake-up call.
“I carry her memory with me and every day I hope I’m contributing to a body of work that will help prevent young people from knowing what that grief is like and helping youth in crisis get the appropriate care they deserve,” she says.
Loudermilk is a government affairs director for the Trevor Project, an intervention and suicide prevention service for LGBT youth ages 13-24. Loudermilk started her activist work in college 15 years ago and joined the Trevor Project team two-and-a-half years ago. For her work, she’s been named a 2017 Capital Pride Hero and will be honored at a ceremony Saturday night at 7 p.m. at the Carnegie Library (801 K St., N.W.) along with Dee Curry, Juan Carlos Loubriel, Rick Rosendall, Melvin Thomas, Stacey Karpen, Hayden Mora, Jerry Houston, Braden Holtby and Brother Help Thyself, which will receive the Larry Stansbury Award. Tickets are $65 and $85. Details at capitalpride.org.
Loudermilk says the recognition is a great honor.
“It means that the work I’ve done all my life has had some significance and it’s a welcome pat on the back to keep going,” she says.
Loudermilk grew up in Gaithersburg, Md., and considers the D.C. area her hometown. She and partner, Tonya Turner, live in Ward 7 with their two dogs, Jinxie and Miles. Loudermilk enjoys reading, gardening and relaxing at the beach in her free time.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I’ve been out since my junior year of college when I was living with my then-girlfriend. The hardest person to tell was my mother whom I told first. I think it’s often the hardest to tell the very first person.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
Ellen. She’s done so much amazing LGBT charitable work and has changed the hearts and minds of many people. Bayard Rustin is a close second though.
What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
Phase 1. We really need more lesbian spaces in D.C.
Describe your dream wedding.
If I describe it then it might not happen. Stop trying to jinx me.
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
Almost every issue is an LGBT issue, from D.C. statehood to human rights, there are just too many to choose from.
What historical outcome would you change?
The election of Trump. I don’t think anyone is prepared for or can predict the massive amount of harm he is going to do and has already done.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
The death of Princess Diana and Elton John singing new lyrics to “Candle in the Wind” at her funeral. All the tears!
On what do you insist?
Respect and kindness.
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
Thanking the people of France for electing Macron as president and restoring my faith in humanity.
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
“The Little Engine That Could”
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
Not a thing.
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
Work together, not against each other and diversify your staff and board in every sense of the word.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
Chocolate. It’s a necessity.
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
Which one of you is the man in the relationship? Ugh! Expand your horizons people.
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
“Cloudburst.” If you watch it and don’t laugh there’s something very wrong with you.
What’s the most overrated social custom?
I don’t think social customs are overrated. I think things like shaking hands or opening the door for other people are really just small acts of kindness that are important.
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
It gets better. Trite but true.
It’s home and I can’t imagine living anywhere else. Plus I love the little bubble of its liberalism.