September 20, 2017 at 2:01 pm EDT | by Joey DiGuglielmo
QUEERY: Desmond McKenna
Desmond McKenna, gay news, Washington Blade

Desmond McKenna (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Desmond McKenna likes to dispel a notion he says many have — they fear they can’t afford to buy a house in Washington.

McKenna holds first-time homebuyer workshops quarterly at his D.C. Home Buzz office in Columbia Heights and finds that many clients are unaware of D.C. government and federal programs that can help.

“Often times people feel undeserving or think that they’ll never be able to get on the property ladder in this market,” says the 40-year-old Castleblayney, Ireland native. “In order to help people and dispel this myth I provide an A-to-Z scenario from strategy to market knowledge on how this goal can be achieved.”

McKenna says his team of local lenders, title companies and home inspectors at the workshops have a wealth of good information for prospective homebuyers.

“It gives me great pleasure to have people learn from what would have been my own mistakes,” he says. “I started by giving my friends these shortcuts and now I have expanded to a much broader audience.”

The next workshop will be held in December though no date has been set. They’re free to attend and about 30 are in each class. Details at

McKenna came to Washington 18 years ago to help open a hotel with his sisters. He’s single and lives on the H Street corridor. McKenna enjoys entertaining, exploring the city and day trips in the region in his free time.


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

Twenty years and my family was the hardest to tell. But I’m so glad I did because they’re accepting and love visiting and meeting my friends in D.C.


Who’s your LGBT hero? 

Martina Navratilova is the first person I remember being openly gay at a time when it must have been so much more difficult.


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

Rock & Roll Hotel on H Street has started to host Bear Happy Hour every other Friday. It’s worth a trip if you don’t live in the neighborhood.

Describe your dream wedding.

Small, intimate, destination

What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?

As an immigrant who is now an American citizen, I believe America is at its best when we welcome everyone. This is what makes D.C. a great community to live in.

What historical outcome would you change?

The District lost a lot of its history with the destruction of homes, detailed in the book “Capitol Losses.” I think more could have been done to preserve our unique history.

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

Princess Diana’s death. For many Americans this was devastating and it hit even closer to home for those of us who were on the other side of the Atlantic at the time.

On what do you insist?

Manners. Why not always be nice to others?

What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?

I love sharing stories and photos about the D.C. of yesterday. My friends know they can count on me for a dose of history in their news feeds.

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

“Finding Home.” This describes both my journey from Ireland to America as well as my passion for real estate.

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

Convert everybody to our team.

What do you believe in beyond the physical world? 

Cher said it best: “I believe in life after love.”

What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?

Never give up.

What would you walk across hot coals for?

My friends

What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?

That we all secretly want to be “Real Housewives.” Guilty.

What’s your favorite LGBT movie?

Does “The First Wives Club” count?

What’s the most overrated social custom?

Air kissing.

What trophy or prize do you most covet?

I’ve received a lot of pink love letters from the mayor on my windshield. An unlimited parking pass would be the best prize I could ever receive.

What do you wish you’d known at 18?

There isn’t a time limit on your dreams, but I would tell my 18-year-old self to have the courage to start earlier.


Why Washington?

Washington is much more than most people realize. There’s a neighborhood for every person and for every season.

Joey DiGuglielmo is the Features Editor for the Washington Blade.

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