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District of Columbia

D.C. Black Pride celebration set for May 26-29

Wide range of indoor, outdoor events over Memorial Day Weekend



A scene from last year’s D.C. Black Pride. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

As many as 60,000 people from outside the D.C. area along with a large number of local participants were expected to attend D.C.’s LGBTQ Black Pride celebration and related events scheduled for May 26-29.

Like past years, most of the official D.C. Black Pride events will be held indoors at the Renaissance Washington, D.C. Downtown Hotel, according to Kenya Hutton, one of Black Pride’s lead organizers.

Hutton serves as deputy director of the Center for Black Equity, the D.C.-based national group that has organized D.C. Black Pride for the past decade or longer along with the group’s founder and CEO Earl Fowlkes.

“D.C. Black Pride is open to all, to everybody, regardless of race, age, gender, or sexual orientation,” Hutton told the Washington Blade. “Everyone is welcome.”

The official D.C. Black Pride schedule posted online includes as many as 38 events over Memorial Day Weekend, with a few unofficial events hosted by organizations in partnership with Black Pride taking place on Thursday, May 25.

The outdoor events, which are sponsored by partner venues, include Pride By the River Super Sunday at Anacostia Park on May 29 from 12-8 p.m., and Pride In The Park, at Fort Dupont Park on Monday, May 29, from 12-7 p.m.

Among the official events are nine “enrichment workshops” led by experts in a wide range of topics of interest to the black LGBTQ community as well as the LGBTQ community as a whole. Sutton said the workshops would take place on Saturday, May 27, at the Renaissance Washington D.C. Downtown, which serves as the Black Pride headquarters hotel.

Among them are an ONYX University workshop to explore “all things kink and BDSM,” a workshop called “Resources for LGBTQIA+ Veterans,” another called “Trans Town Hall,” and a “Faith In Blackness” panel discussion covering the topics of spirituality and theology.

Hutton said the workshops are free of charge and anyone is welcome to attend, although organizers would like those who are not registered in advance for Black Pride events to register at the welcome desk at the hotel where most Black Pride events will be held.

Also, like in recent past years, D.C. Black Pride is hosting what the schedule describes as its Rainbow Row of organization and vendor exhibitors. According to Hutton, the number of exhibitors hosting tables and booths at the host hotel will be greater than in previous years.  

Also new this year, Hutton said, will be the presence of American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters at all the workshops as well as some of the other events, including the official Opening Reception scheduled for Friday from 6-9 p.m. at the Renaissance Hotel.

“Join us for the D.C. Black Pride Opening Reception Talent Showcase celebrating LGBTQ+ people of color and their artistic talents,” a write-up on the official schedule says. “Enjoy an evening of comedy, music and performances from talented members of our community,” it says. “This is a fantastic opportunity to connect with other LGBTQ+ people of color, celebrate diversity and support local artists.”

Hutton said D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser was scheduled to appear at the opening event to welcome those attending the 2023 D.C. Black Pride. Earlier this month, Bowser issued an official mayoral proclamation declaring May 22-29, 2023, as D.C. Black Pride Week.

As many as 60,000 people from outside the D.C. metro area were expected to attend this year’s D.C. Black Pride events based on pre-registration records, Hutton told the Blade. He said many have booked rooms at the Renaissance Washington, D.C. Downtown Hotel, and were expected to occupy most if not all of the hotel’s rooms during the weekend events associated with Black Pride. 

This year’s D.C. Black Pride will mark the 32nd anniversary of the first D.C. Black Gay and Lesbian Pride event held May 25, 1991, on the grounds of Howard University’s Banneker Field. 

That event was organized by veteran Black gay activists Welmore Cook, Theodore Kirkland and Ernest Hopkins, who modeled the event after a Memorial Day Weekend celebration and fundraiser for HIV/AIDS organizations providing services to the Black gay community held at the D.C. Black gay bar called The Clubhouse, which operated from 1975 to 1990. 

The current D.C. Black Pride website says Cook, Kirkland, and Hopkins one year later, in 1991, organized the first D.C. Black Pride to continue the tradition started by the Clubhouse, which was known as the Children’s Hour celebration. The write-up says D.C. Black Pride expanded dramatically over the next decade and drew African-American and people of color participants from across the country and even from abroad.

“DC Black Pride was the catalyst for what is now regarded as the Black Pride movement,” the write-up says. “Since its birth, more than 50 other Black Pride celebrations now take place throughout the world, many using DC Black Pride as its model.”

One of the workshops at this year’s D.C. Black Pride called “An Homage to The Clubhouse” will celebrate the role that the iconic gay bar played in developing the “rich history and culture” that led to the founding of Black Pride celebrations in D.C. and worldwide, the Black Pride website write-up says. The workshop was scheduled to take place Saturday, May 21, from 3-6 p.m. at the Renaissance Washington hotel.

A full schedule of the weekend’s D.C. Black Pride events can be accessed at


District of Columbia

Inaugural Uptown Pride to take place June 10

Festival to feature drag storytime, makers’ market, DJs



Logo created by Anthony Dihle (Courtesy of Justin Noble)

A new Pride festival is coming to D.C. 

The inaugural Uptown Pride will be hosted in Sixteenth Street Heights on June 10 with Pride celebrations for Washingtonians of all ages.

The festival, hosted at the intersection of 14th Street, Colorado Avenue and Kennedy Street, NW, will feature a drag storytime, a makers’ market, DJs and more. There will also be a raffle for various prizes, with all proceeds going to the Trevor Project, which provides suicide prevention services for LGBTQ teens.

The festival will be from 2-7 p.m. and is partnering with local businesses like Moreland’s Tavern, Captain Cookie and Lighthouse Yoga Center for activities and refreshments.

Justin Noble, one of the organizers of the festival, said that the inspiration for the event came out of wanting a Pride experience tailored to the residents of the Sixteenth Street Heights, Petworth and Brightwood neighborhoods.

“It can be a hassle to get to downtown,” Noble said. “There needs to be something in our community that supports LGBTQ+ people and the culture and all of that because we’re everywhere, right? We are everywhere.”

Organizer Max Davis said that the inclusion of children’s events like a drag storytime was purposeful, and helps make the event more accessible to LGBTQ families and youth. 

“Kids I feel are the most important in as far as just showing them, just visibly showing them that you can live out and you can be queer,” Davis said. “There is no more dangerous time than now to be queer, questioning youth … So who better to welcome into the fold than kids who might be questioning their sexuality.”

Davis said that a big part of wanting to bring Pride celebrations uptown was to have a physical representation of support for the LGBTQ community.

“I felt like because there wasn’t anything going on in Sixteenth Street Heights — the clientele that we were serving up at Moreland’s absolutely is supportive, and I never felt that it wasn’t a supportive environment — but if you don’t have something to actively support that I feel that your support is just words,” Davis said. “If our community had someplace to attend even for one day to just be like, ‘Hey, I stand with you,’ … that is something that every community should have available to them to actively support the LGBTQ community.”

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District of Columbia

Capital Pride announces 2023 honorees, grand marshals

Assistant Secretary of Health Levine among picks



Assistant U.S. Secretary of Health Admiral Dr. Rachel Levine. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Assistant U.S. Secretary of Health Admiral Dr. Rachel Levine and acclaimed longtime D.C. LGBTQ and transgender rights advocate Earline Budd are among nine prominent LGBTQ community leaders named on Wednesday by the Capital Pride Alliance as its 2023 Capital Pride honorees.

Capital Pride Alliance, which organizes D.C.’s annual Capital Pride parade, festival, and related events, announced in a May 24 statement that it will present the honoree awards to each of the recipients at a ceremony scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday, June 2, at the Penn Social event and catering hall at 801 E St., N.W.

“The recipients are nominated each year by members of the community,” the Capital Pride statement says. “They represent individuals who and organizations that have advanced the causes of LGBTQ+ rights,” it says.

The statement says Levine was selected for the Capital Pride Paving the Way Award, which “acknowledges an individual or organization that has provided exemplary contributions, support, and/or advocacy that has positively impacted the LGBTQ+ community, and whose leadership has inspired continued progress.”

Levine, who was appointed by President Biden in 2021 as Assistant Secretary of Health, is a longtime pediatrician who also serves as an admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. She became the first openly transgender person to hold the admiralty position.

Capital Pride named Earline Budd as recipient of the Capital Pride Super Hero Award, which “recognizes additional significant and important contributions to the LGBTQ+ community in the national capital region.”

The statement announcing the honorees says Levine and Budd will also serve as grand marshals for the June 10 Capital Pride Parade. It says each of the other honorees will serve as parade marshals.

The announcement says the following four people have been named as recipients of the Capital Pride Hero Award:

• Shi-Queeta Lee, the D.C.-based nationally acclaimed drag performer
• Benjamin Rosenbaum, longtime congressional staffer, LGBTQ rights advocate, and LGBTQ Jewish community advocate
• Nancy Canas, president of D.C. Latinx History Project and advocate for the LGBTQ Latinx community
• Abdur-Rahim Briggs, longtime leader of the D.C.-based Project Briggs, which provides philanthropic support for LGBTQ causes.

The following two organizations were named as recipients of the Capital Pride Breaking Barriers Community Impact Award, which recognizes individuals or organizations that have “demonstrated a significant impact to the LGBTQ+ community at either the local or national level and who helped eliminate barriers for social, personal, or professional growth of the LGBTQ+ community:

• Drag Story Hour DMV
• National LGBTQ Task Force

The Bill Miles Award for Outstanding Volunteer Services, which acknowledges “exemplary contributions to the Capital Pride Alliance, its programs, initiatives, or other Pride sponsored activities,” is being given to Brandon Bayton, Jr., a longtime Capital Pride volunteer, consultant, and organ transplant advocate, and LGBTQ rights advocate.

“We are fortunate to have such a vibrant honoree selection process, with so many outstanding individuals who were nominated,” said Ashley Smith, president of the Capital Pride Alliance Board of Directors. “We are very pleased to celebrate these individuals at the 2023 Capital Pride Honors,” Smith said in the CPA statement.

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District of Columbia

Blade names recipients of two summer fellowships

Kravis, Lev-Tov join LGBTQ news team



Isabelle Kravis and Joel Lev-Tov are the Blade Foundation’s 2023 summer fellows.

The Blade Foundation this week announced the recipients of its 2023 summer fellowship program. 

Isabelle Kravis (she/they) is a senior at American University studying journalism and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. She will focus on covering LGBTQ issues in the local D.C. area for 12 weeks starting this week. The fellowship is made possible by a generous donation from the DC Front Runners Pride Run 5K event.

“I’ve been reading the Blade since I first moved to D.C. for my freshman year and I’m so excited to be able to contribute to such a historic paper,” Kravis said. “I love covering the LGBTQ community because of the diversity of experiences that each queer person has and the joy that queer people bring to everything they do. I’m incredibly lucky to have this opportunity to be able to cover both the city and community that I love.”

Joel Lev-Tov (they/them) is a senior at the University of Maryland College Park studying journalism. Lev-Tov also serves as president of the Association of LGBTQ Journalists at College Park. Lev-Tov is the sixth recipient of the Steve Elkins Memorial Journalism Fellowship, which honors the co-founder of CAMP Rehoboth. The fellow covers issues of interest to the LGBTQ community in Delaware, also for 12 weeks. The fellowship is funded by donations from the Rehoboth Beach community.

“I’m extremely excited to start reporting about my community for my community,” Lev-Tov said. “The Blade is offering me a special opportunity that I’m very grateful for. I can’t wait to start reporting!”

Kevin Naff, editor of the Blade, welcomed Kravis and Lev-Tov to work this week.

“We’re all excited to work with Isabelle and Joel this summer,” Naff said. “There’s never been more news to cover and they will add an important, fresh perspective to our work. Thank you to our donors and to the Front Runners for making this program possible.”

For more information on the fellowship program or to donate, visit

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