Your Guide to Capital Pride and the Equality March in Washington D.C. June 8–11, 2017
This summer’s Pride weekend in Washington D.C. promises to be great—huge, even. In addition to the annual events planned by Capital Pride from June 8–11, 2017, there is an Equality March scheduled for Sunday, June 11. The grand marshal for the Capital Pride Parade on Saturday the 10th will be Edith Windsor, whose court case struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, creating marriage equality in the US.
Though D.C.’s skyline is flecked with rainbow flags, darker clouds are looming. “For the first time in eight years, we’re on the defensive,” says Elliot Imse from the Victory Institute. At the Equality March on Sunday, Elliot and others will be advocating against a variety of obstacles that hinder the LGBT community, including unaddressed LGBT hate crimes. Ryan Bos, executive director of the Capital Pride Alliance, tells us to “expect a different level of intensity and urgency this year,” while at the same time appreciating how “there’s a continued need to celebrate and not succumb to fear.”
D.C.’s Pride celebrations are famously sophisticated for some, stodgy for others. Military, international development non-profits, and political candidates regularly march in the Capital Pride Parade wearing matching T-shirts, throwing Mardi Gras beads at crowds standing neatly alongside the parade route in polos and khaki shorts. Don’t get me wrong—this is my hometown, and I love our preppy style—but I’m also excited to see how things shake-up this summer. The discussions that have been happening about the Equality March have engaged a broad swath of new folks to the planning table. Here in D.C., the buzz and anticipation is palpable.
And not everything new will be purely political. Fresh celebrations are being planned, including a new block party on Saturday. One special drag performer and D.C.-native, Shea Van Horn herself, is even flying in for the weekend from Bangalore. The Advocate has called D.C. the gayest city in America—that honor, along with D.C.’s fervor for bottomless brunches and happy hours, make it unlikely that any of you leave thirsty.
Where to Stay
Kimpton Palomar, 2121 P Street NW. On the parade route, two blocks from Dupont Circle. All 335 guest rooms and suites have been recently redesigned with a “preppy minimalism.” Don’t forget to enter code “TRPR” when booking to receive 10% of total room cost. Kimpton will donate $10 to the Trevor Project for every room reserved using this code. www.hotelpalomar-D.C..com/
Kimpton Mason & Rook, 1430 Rhode Island Avenue NW. Mason & Rook opened April 2016, a couple blocks from the gay bars Trade and Number Nine. All 178 rooms have marble walk-in bathrooms, some with charming little bathtubs. Its debonair rooftop pool and bar is also open to the public after 4 P.M. www.masonandrookhotel.com/.
Washington Hilton, 1919 Connecticut Avenue NW. A D.C landmark. The Washington Hilton is the Official Host Hotel of Capital Pride this year. It’s notorious for being the site of the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan, and its distinct double-arched design is one of the easiest landmarks to identify when flying into D.C.A. www3.hilton.com/en/hotels/district-of-columbia/washington-hilton-D.C.AWHHH
Dupont Circle Hotel, 1500 New HA.M.pshire Avenue NW. On the parade route, with views onto Dupont Circle. Their Level Nine Executive Floor includes a 2,041-square-foot penthouse suite with floor-to-ceiling windows. All rooms offer luxurious little touches, like 300-thread-count Lissadell linens and heated bathroom floors. Part of the Doyle Collection and the Discovery Loyalty program. www.doylecollection.com/hotels/the-dupont-circle-hotel
Here is a 72-hour guide to Capital Pride weekend, with a mix of events planned by the Capital Pride Alliance, and other must-dos in the city. For a full list of formal Pride events, check the Capital Pride’s website (www.capitalpride.org/events-365/).
For updates on the Equality March, check out the group’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/TheEqualityMarch2017/).
Thursday, June 8
7 P.M. – 10 P.M., Rooftop Pool Party at VIDA Penthouse Pool Club at the Yards, 1212 4th St. SE. A luxury gym hosts a gay rooftop pool party. Tickets on sale now. www.seetickets.us/wafform.aspx?_act=eventtickets&_pky=344194
Friday, June 9
Noon, Lunch at Mason Dixie, 2301 Bladensburg Rd NE. Executive Chef Jason Gehring and COO Ross Perkins are out, gay, and follow a mantra of making “biscuits for misfits.” Their fried chicken biscuit sandwich is a local favorite. www.masondixiebiscuits.com/
5 P.M. to 8:30 P.M., Jazz in the Garden, National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden. Every Friday, Washingtonians gather over pitchers of cool sangria to listen to live jazz in D.C.’s famous Sculpture Garden. Don’t forget to bring your own picnic blanket. www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb/calendar/jazz.html
7 P.M., D.C. Front Runners Pride Run, Congressional Cemetery, 1801 E Street, SE. This chip-timed 5K race finishes with a Finish Line Party with beer and a live DJ. Register online. www.D.C.frpriderun.com
8:30 P.M., Capital Pride and BYT Opening Party. Twinky and merry. This year’s theme is “Rainbow Resistance: The Giampire Strikes Back.” More details and tickets will be posted on the Capital Pride website. www.capitalpride.org/events/opening-party-2017
11 P.M., Drinks at TRADE, 1410 14th St NW. Head to Trade’s backyard patio for a drink and see where the night takes you. Trade is a local-favorite, a real place with real people. Queer, divey. www.facebook.com/TradeBarD.C.
Saturday, June 10
12 P.M. – 3P.M., Crack of Noon Pride Brunch. Recharge with a big gay gourmet buffet and bottomless mimosas. More details will be posted online. www.capitalpride.org/events/parade-brunch-2017
4:30 P.M. Capital Pride Parade. For a front-porch viewing experience of the parade, get a street-facing room at the Kimpton Palomar or the Dupont Circle Hotel, or hustle for a seat at one of the restaurants along the parade route. My favorites are the restaurants on 14th St., including Le Diplomate (1601 14th St. NW. lediplomateD.C..com), Ghibellina (1601 14th St. NW. www.ghibellina.com), Tico (1926 14th St. NW. www.ticoD.C..com), Drafting Table (1529 14th St. NW. www.draftingtableD.C..com). Expect minimums for outdoor tables. You may also buy a ticket for bleacher seats for $25 (www.seetickets.us/event/Pride-Parade-VIP-Viewing-Stand/344200), or attend Capital Pride’s first outdoor Block Party, which is planned to be a block-long beer garden on 15th St. NW between P St. and Church St. Entry to the Block Party is free and starts at 4:00 P.M.. Peter Morgan from Capital Pride Alliance warns us to arrive early to get in.
6 P.M. – 10P.M., Pride in Our HIPS Party, 645 Florida Ave NW. HIPS is a D.C.-based non-profit and clinic that offers services for D.C.’s local LGBT community such as HIV testing and needle exchanges. Saturday night’s HIPS-hosted party will bring local DJs like Devon Trotter to spin at Flash nightclub. E-mail matt@D.C.flash.com for bottle service. www.facebook.com/events/610155315853497/
10 P.M. and later, my top-pick party is MIXTAPE at the 9:30 Club, 815 V St NW (www.facebook.com/events/1468034463218917/). One of D.C.’s favorite DJs and drag performers Shea Van Horn will be flying in for the weekend from Bangalore to spin indie dance, electro, nu-disco and house all night. For something more pop, head to TOWN (2009 8th St NW.www.townD.C..com/), which is hosting a party with Andrew Christian Underwear models and a drag show featuring Tatianna of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Tickets to skip lines will be on sale in May. Distrkt C Men’s Party is also hosting a circuit party at D.C.’s historic gay leather bar and club, the D.C. Eagle (3701 Benning Rd NE. www.D.C.eagle.com/). Two-day passes on sale now for $145. distrktc.ticketleap.com/twodaypass2017/
Sunday, June 11
The Equality March for Unity and Pride has already engaged 118,000 people interested in attending on Facebook. Though details have not yet been set, it is tentatively scheduled to take place from 10 A.M. to 6P.M. on the National Mall.
First started as a Facebook page by David Bruinooge from Brooklyn a few days following the Women’s March, momentum for this march has continued to build and even spread to other cities.
“Our pride weekend is already a powerful celebratory weekend, the addition of this grassroots march will only add opportunities for folks to get engaged,” Ryan from Capital Pride anticipates. According to David Mariner, Executive Director of the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community, the diverse leadership team for the Equality March “reflects our community as a whole, and that makes me excited or this March. As an LGBTQ Community, it’s important we speak out about all the ways LGBTQ folks have been marginalized by the current administration, and that means bringing all of who we are and all our intersections to the table.”
Keep an eye out for updates on the Equality March for Unity and Pride’s Facebook page. www.facebook.com/events/1949652305264195/
How to Get Involved
For folks coming into town who want to help with the parade, Peter from Capital Pride tells us that they are still looking for volunteers and are welcoming folks from out of town to help as parade marshals along the route, as well as at safety and security stations. Volunteering is “a great way to meet a whole new group of friends,” Peter tells us. “You get a t-shirt, and get to walk in the parade—the staff and volunteers of Capital Pride are the last to walk to cross the endpoint together.” Sign up to volunteer online. www.capitalpride.org/volunteer/
To get involved with the Equality March, David Bruinooge tells us to keep an eye out for an upcoming splash page that will include opportunities to sign up. Also keep up with conversations happening on the Facebook page. www.facebook.com/events/1949652305264195/