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“The fact that there’s multiple pride parades to recognize different intersections of identity is great—most cities don’t have that. ”

Maya Stephen

In our newest column, Person of Interest, we spotlight a cool local who walks us through the DC they know and love. This month, we’re introducing you to Maya Stephen, Grassroots Marketing Manager for the Washington Spirit. For Stephen, the month of June—and the kickoff to Pride Month—represents “a celebration of authenticity and self love”, as she puts it. “It’s our chance to amplify the message that no one should be judged based on who they choose to love,” she says. Read on as we dive into her personal connection to Pride, her local plans for celebrating and her thoughts on how allies can support the LGBTQ+ community during this important time.


How do you plan on celebrating Pride Month?

“This Pride Month, I’m excited to dive further into queer DC culture. Our city has so many resources and social events that make it easy to celebrate in different ways. I hope to volunteer with an organization like SMYAL (Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders) who provides holistic services to LGBTQ+ youth. I love to dance so I’ll be at DC Black Pride and the Capital Pride Block Party. Of course, you’ll find us at the Spirit Pride Night game, too. These events commit to being safe spaces for members of the queer community and that’s the number one priority.”

How have you seen DC embrace Pride Month and the LGBTQ+ community in recent years?

“The city is very proud. Our community is engaged and diverse which I think gives DC an edge. The fact that there’s multiple pride parades to recognize different intersections of identity is great—most cities don’t have that. At these celebrations, you don’t just see one type of person. Everyone is welcome and everyone is enjoying themselves.”

As allies, how can we support the LGBTQ+ community during Pride Month and always?

“During Pride Month, I challenge allies to support queer-owned businesses and organizations that support the LGBTQ+ community. Queer-owned business face financial challenges and discrimination so economic support during June goes a long way. I think it’s important to also educate ourselves on things we might not be familiar with. Maybe that’s watching a movie with a queer cast and storyline, checking out queer exhibits in museums, reading books by queer authors or even streaming songs by queer musicians. These things aren’t meant to separate us—it’s always meant to bring people together.”

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