Dr. Pat Hawkins remembers her first Pride celebration in D.C. – from a distance. It was the mid-1970s and she was working with youth, keeping her in the closet as a lesbian for fear of losing her job. As the metro area prepares for Capital Pride 2011, things have come full circle.
(Photo by Photography by Julian Vankim; cover design by Glenn Hennessey )
''To be able to be on the cover [of the guide] is a long way to come,'' says the 70-year-old Hawkins, one of 15 locals serving as cover models for this year's Capital Pride Guide. Today, working as a clinical psychologist and executive director of the D.C. Community AIDS Network, Hawkins is no longer afraid. Were there any doubt, consider the instructions from photographer Julian Vankim, who asked the participants to tap into their Pride-associated emotions.
''I find Pride very liberating,'' Hawkins shares. ''It's fun and it just feels really free. That's what was going through my head.''
Her resulting smile will be seen all across the area as the Capital Pride Guides are distributed over Memorial Day Weekend – a week earlier than years past – wherever issues of Metro Weekly are distributed, as well as other spots particularly known for LGBT foot traffic, including 17th Street, next to JR.'s. But not every issue will feature Hawkins, as earlier distribution isn't the only change for 2011. This year, there are four different covers, which together constitute a single, panoramic shot.
''It's the 13th Capital Pride Guide produced by Metro Weekly staff and affiliates,'' says Sean Bugg, co-publisher of Metro Weekly and editorial director of Jansi, the LGBT magazine's parent company. He also uses ''daunting'' in describing the request from Capital Pride organizers to advance publication by a week, paired with his co-publisher Randy Shulman's idea to shoot four separate covers. ''Randy always comes up with wild ideas.''
Whatever the challenges, however, there was some fun behind the scenes.
''We were all laughing -- we were at Town and the music was playing,'' says Brent Minor, well known in the community for heading Team DC, explaining that the upstairs space offered by the popular nightspot helped set a jovial mood for the Saturday afternoon, May 14, photo shoot.
Cover model Albert Ting, an international trade specialist and a keyboardist for the local band The Camels That Ride, agrees.
''It was really fun,'' he says. ''I got to meet a lot of new friends in the LGBT community, and got to party it up in front of the cameras.''
Before seeing the final product, Michael Lutz, president of Capital Pride, is already pleased with the project.
''Using four covers allows us to show the depth and breadth of our community,'' he says. ''I think it goes to show that there doesn't need to be anything orthodox about it, that we can continue to change and shake things up and be innovative. I can't wait to go out and collect all four.''
While agreeing that the four-cover approach helps to better celebrate the diversity of LGBT locals – ''We have a really broad community'' – Bugg suggests it's the beaming expressions on the faces of those gracing the cover that may deliver the most powerful message.
''We wanted to capture the joy and friendships behind Capital Pride,'' he says. ''That's what it should always be about. It's not about the symbols of Pride, but the actual people those symbols are supposed to represent. Seeing 'LGBT' actually represented with happy and joyous human faces is the best part of it.''
The 2011 Capital Pride Guide is available for free wherever you pick up Metro Weekly, in all Metro Weekly street boxes, and in a massive stack next to JR.'s, 1519 17th St. NW. The guide will also be available at the Capital Pride Festival on Sunday, June 12.