The Arlington County, Va., Human Rights Commission on Thursday, Dec. 14, was scheduled to present its 2017 Human Rights Award to Freddie’s Beach Bar, a gay bar and restaurant located in the Crystal City section of Arlington.
Freddie Lutz, the owner of Freddie’s Beach Bar, was expected to accept the award at a reception at the Arlington County government offices on Thursday evening.
“This award is intended to highlight the work of individuals, community groups, non-profit organizations, and businesses in Arlington for sustained commitment and outstanding accomplishments in the area of human rights,” the commission said in a letter to Lutz in October, when it announced his business had been selected for the award.
Under Lutz’s direction Freddie’s has served as host to numerous events organized by LGBT rights organizations. Lutz, who describes Freddie’s as “straight friendly,” said it has also become known as a welcoming place for LGBT employees and members of the military stationed at the Pentagon, which is located a short distance from the bar.
“We have served as a safe space for our military friends long before the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’” Lutz said in referring to the now-defunct policy that prohibited gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military.
“People have told me that back in the day the military people couldn’t come out,” said Lutz. “But because Freddie’s was welcoming to everyone, they then could come in there without sort of blowing their cover,” he said.
“I’m just extremely honored having grown up in Arlington County and went from elementary school to high school in Arlington County to be recognized in this way,” he told the Washington Blade.