(WB) The LGBT community and its major organizations and institutions in the nation’s capital and surrounding jurisdictions joined their respective governmental bodies and the community at large this week in taking action to stay safe in the midst of a global pandemic related to the coronavirus outbreak.
President Trump on Friday declared a national emergency to address accelerating spread of the virus. The president’s action followed declarations of emergency by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam.
Among other things, Bowser announced on Friday that at least a third of D.C. government employees — which includes many of the city’s large number of LGBTQ employees — would be working remotely rather than coming to their government offices from at least March 16 through March 31. The mayor said during that same period all city public schools would “implement long distance learning” and students would not report to school during that time.
She also announced on Friday that the city’s Health Department has revised its earlier call for cancelling or postponing all public gatherings in the city of 1,000 people or more to 250 people or more until at least March 31.
At least two major LGBTQ community organizations based in D.C., the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ civil rights group, and the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community have closed their offices to the public for at least the remainder of this month. HRC spokesperson Elizabeth Bibi said HRC staff would be working remotely.
HRC also announced it has cancelled or postponed all of its public events through the weekend of April 4; including its large fundraising dinners in Nashville, Tenn., on March 14; Los Angeles on March 28 and Houston on April 4.
The D.C. Center announced on its website it will close its offices located in the city’s Reeves Center municipal building at 2000 14th St., N.W., beginning March 16.
“We are going to be cancelling in-person meetings and offering support group facilitators the opportunity to host meetings using a conference line,” the Center said in a statement.
Following is the latest available list of closings, postponements or changes announced by D.C. area and major national LGBTQ organizations and institutions. The Washington Blade will update this list as additional information becomes available.
Human Rights Campaign: The nation’s largest LGBTQ national advocacy and civil rights organization announced it has cancelled or postponed all of its public events through the weekend of April 4; including its fundraising dinners in Nashville, Tenn., on March 14; Los Angeles on March 28, and Houston on April 4.
HRC says it has also closed its D.C. headquarters offices at 1640 Rhode Island Ave., N.W., and its regional offices in other cities through the end of March, with staff set to work remotely.
GLAAD: The New York-based LGBTQ national media watchdog organization has cancelled its annual GLAAD media awards fundraising dinner scheduled for March 19 in New York in which several big-name celebrities, including “Glee” TV show star Ryan Murphy were set to appear.
LGBTQ Victory Fund: The D.C.-based national group dedicated to helping elect LGBTQ leaders to public office announced it has postponed all public events through April 15 out of concern for the “health and safety of supporters” related to the coronavirus situation. Among the postponements is its National Champagne Brunch in D.C., which is now scheduled for June 21.
Equality Virginia: The statewide LGBTQ advocacy group, Virginia’s largest LGBTQ organization, announced it has cancelled its annual Commonwealth Dinner scheduled for March 28 in Richmond due to circumstances surrounding the coronavirus outbreak. The group says it was unable to reschedule the event but is looking into a possible alternative event.
D.C. Center for the LGBTQ Community: One of D.C.’s largest local LGBTQ organizations, the D.C. Center announced it was closing its offices at the city’s Reeves Center municipal building at 2000 14th St., N.W., effective March 16 with no reopening date immediately available. It is canceling all of its numerous in-person meetings and offering the opportunity for its member groups to host meetings using a conference line.
Cherry Fund 25: D.C.’s largest annual “circuit” dance party and LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS fundraising venue announced it has postponed this year’s 25th anniversary Cherry 25 from April 16-20 to Oct. 1-5. Officials said tickets purchased for its various events scheduled for different locations the April 16-20 dates would be honored for the October dates.
Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, D.C.: The city’s preeminent gay choral group announced it has postponed its concert called “A Glam Rock Spectacle Serving Self Expression Realness” originally scheduled for March 14-15 at the Lincoln Theater and rescheduled for June 6-7 at the same location.
Avalon Saturdays: The weekly Saturday night D.C. LGBTQ dance party that in recent times has been held at the downtown nightclub Soundcheck announced it has postponed all of its upcoming Saturday night events through the end of March.
Food and Friends: The highly acclaimed local group founded during the height of the AIDS epidemic to deliver nutritional meals to homebound people with a serious illness has been designated by the city as an “essential service” whose operations will not be curtailed during the coronavirus emergency. The mostly volunteer group has issued an appeal for urgently needed volunteers through the end of March due to a large number of cancellations by existing volunteers due to issues related to the coronavirus outbreak. “If you are an existing volunteer and are in good health, please consider volunteering in the next few weeks,” Food and Friends states in an announcement. Interested persons should call 202-269-2277.
Log Cabin Republicans of the District of Columbia: The D.C. LGBTQ GOP group has announced it has cancelled its next meeting scheduled for March 19 at the Chastleton Apartments Ballroom where Richmond radio talk show host John Reid was the scheduled guest speaker.
Dignity Washington, D.C.: D.C.’s LGBTQ Catholic organization announced that beginning this Sunday, March 15, it was cancelling its weekly Sunday Catholic mass that for nearly 20 years has been held at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church near Dupont Circle. Dignity Washington President Daniel Barutta says the group is making arrangements for its mass to be held March 22 at the Dignity Center building at 721 8th St., S.E., with the intent of broadcasting it live online through its website at dignitywashington.org.
St. Patrick’s Pub Crawls: The D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration announced it has cancelled permits for three St. Patrick’s Day related “Pub Crawls” scheduled for March 14 in which large numbers of patrons walk from bar to bar to celebrate prior to St. Patrick’s Day on March 17. The three events cancelled due to what ABRA said was coronavirus-related concerns about large public gatherings are the Shamrock Crawl 2020 and the St. Patrick’s Day Crawl set for the Dupont Circle area, and the Chase the Green Crawl initially scheduled for the U Street, N.W., area.
Congressional Chorus: The D.C. Congressional Chorus, which has long been popular among the LGBTQ community, has announced it has cancelled its upcoming cabaret performance concert called “Vogue: Return to the ‘90s” originally scheduled for March 21 at D.C.’s Church of the Epiphany. The announcement says the chorus hopes to reschedule the concert at a future date and tickets already purchase would be honored at that time, can be refunded now, or converted into a tax-deductible donation to the chorus.
Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts: D.C.’s largest performing arts center announced all public performances and events scheduled at the Kennedy Center through March 31 have been cancelled as of Friday due to the coronavirus situation. An announcement says that until further notice, the Kennedy Center campus and its facilities will be closed to visitors, including the restaurant, café and other food service facilities. Officials were exploring options for rescheduling performances and productions for a future date.