D Kevin McNeirLifestyle

‘Out/Spoken’ Gives Voice to LGBTQ Community

D.C.’s highly-acclaimed storytelling ensemble, Story District, stands poised to showcase LGBTQ spokespersons sharing poignant reflections about their lives, guaranteed to invoke laughter, tears or inspiration, when the organization presents their annual event highlighting those who both embrace and live their lives with “pride.”

“Out/Spoken,” now marking in its eighth, consecutive year, kicks off on Thursday, June 21 at the 9:30 Club (815 V Street NW) with a power-packed lineup of District residents whose names, accomplishments and contributions have secured them places of honor within the greater Washington area.

One of the featured speakers, Rayceen Pendarvis, a Mayor’s Arts Award finalist, a former Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner, as well as an entertainer, columnist and activist, has become a fixture in the LGBTQ community over the past several decades receiving a host of awards including Go Gay DC’s “Person of the Year.”

But for the self-described “father of five and mother of many,” sharing our stories remains critical because they “provide strength and encouragement to the leaders of tomorrow.”

“I grew up in a very religious home with two strong parents and after my dad’s untimely death, my mother, left to raise five sons on her own, never strayed from teaching us the importance of living in our truth while always allowing us to be free,” said Pendarvis, 68, a native Washingtonian who hosts a popular monthly community forum, “Ask Rayceen,” at the HRC Equality Center in Northwest.

“I’m not sure my story is unique but it’s mine. I remember calling a family meeting during my sophomore year in high school after one of my brothers heard me having a phone conversation. I came out then and there. And it wasn’t a big deal because I had an affirming mother who has always been my greatest ally and my hero,” Pendarvis said.

“Nothing that I’ve experienced up to this very moment has been a surprise. There’s been pain and triumph and I wouldn’t change one thing. I tell others that their story is important because it’s part of the fabric of life. Their story and my story — our stories — are American stories. I’ve never wanted to be different. I am proud and happy to be LGBTQ. I’ve been able to live my dreams, to be accepted, valued, honored and loved.”

“Most of all, I’ve learned that happiness comes from within and it allows me to be free. I believe that being ‘Rayceen’ gives hope to the next generation. Storytelling had recently become a lost art, so I’m pleased to see that its importance has increased and become more relevant today. We must tell our stories especially our LGBTQ stories. We have that right as Americans. Despite our differences, we are America.”

Additional storytellers will include: Phill Branch, Phil Reeves, Molly Graham, Rebecca Buckwalter-Poza, Jean Montooth, Saida Agostini and Michael Sainte-Andress.

Show More

D. Kevin McNeir – Senior Editor

Dominic Kevin McNeir is an award-winning journalist with more than 25 years of service for the Black Press (NNPA). Prior to moving East to assist his aging parents, the native Detroiter engineered a transformation of The Miami Times resulting in its being named the NNPA’s “Publication of the Year” in 2011 – just one of several dozen industry-related awards he’s earned in his career. He currently serves as senior editor for The Washington Informer. There, in the heart of the U.S. Capitol, he displays a keen insight for developing front-page news as it unfolds within the greater Washington area, capturing the crucial facts and facets of today’s intriguing, political arena. He has degrees from The University of Michigan, Emory University and Princeton Theological Seminary. In 2020, he received First Place for Weekly Newspaper, Commentary & Criticism, Society of Professional Journalists, Washington, D.C. Pro Chapter. Learn more about him at www.dkevinmcneir.com, Facebook – Kevin McNeir, Twitter - @mcneirdk, Linkedin – D. Kevin McNeir or email: mcneirdk@washingtoninformer.com.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Washington Informer Newspaper, 3117 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE, Washington, DC, 20032, http://www.washingtoninformer.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Back to top button

My News Matters to me - Washington Informer Donations

Be a Part of The Washington Informer Legacy

A donation of your choice empowers our journalists to continue the work to better inform, educate and empower you through technology and resources that you use.

Click Here Today to Support Black Press and be a part of the Legacy!

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker