Washington D.C. is considered to be one of the most diverse and inclusive cities in the world. It has the energy of an international crossroads and an all-American hometown simultaneously, and this city is home to people from all walks of life.
Over the years, the spirit of the LGBTQ+ community in D.C. has grown tremendously. I decided to talk a little bit about that this month and shine a light on this vibrant and beautiful community!
A Brief History
Leading up to 1960, the LGBTQ+ community faced heavy discrimination and scrutiny from state and federal governments in D.C. The Lavender Scare was a large movement by the federal government to target and dismiss Queer people from government service, citing them as national security threats and communist sympathizers.
The 1960s brought LGBTQ+ activism to the forefront of society with the birth of The Washington Blade, America’s oldest LGBT newspaper. The community continued to create a huge footprint across the city throughout the 70s and 80s and claimed gathering grounds such as Dupont Circle, Barracks Row, and South Capitol Street.
From the 70s through today, D.C. has seen a growth of LGBTQ+ friendly bars, clubs, bookstores, restaurants, and general hangouts and a continual spread throughout the city.
Some LGBTQ+ Friendly Spots in D.C.
Referred to simply as “The Diner,” this spot is open for outdoor dining and takeout during these times. It’s a beautiful spot with amazing drinks and atmosphere, so go check it out if you can!
Dirty Goose prides itself on great drinks and even better vibes. It’s available for rooftop seating with a reservation, check out their website for a full list of their cleaning and sanitation procedures!
Number Nine comes to the bustling Logan Circle courtesy of co-founder Ed Bailey, who helped DC’s gay nightlife scene to grow during his days as a DJ. Decked out in mirrors, leather banquettes, and dark wood paneling, the lounge is perfect for nighttime socialization.
The Community Today
The footprint of the LGBTQ+ community in D.C. today is in an interesting spot. Over the last 20 years, we’ve seen a decline in LGBTQ+ spaces opening up, and an increase in some places shutting their doors for a number of reasons.
This comes along with a greater acceptance of the community as a whole. After the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2009, there has been a tremendous growth of acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community in D.C. and as a result, the lines have begun to blur around what is a “Queer” place and what isn’t. People are feeling more comfortable moving to parts of the city they might have not 30 or 40 years ago.
D.C. has such a vibrant history, and I think it would be a shame if we didn’t acknowledge the incredible story that the LGBTQ+ community adds to the culture of this city. Just as with the Black community and all other groups who come together and make this city what it is, we should be open to talking about and hearing the rich stories and history these people hold in their hearts.