At the Capital Pride Festival in 2018, some visitors to our booth expressed surprise. They didn’t know we had an overlap with the LGBTQ+ community. Some asked for receipts—information on what we’d done that’s more than lip service.
In case you’re too young to remember, during the height of the AIDS crisis, some people were even afraid to share a water fountain with someone who was positive. Most Christian churches refused to do funerals or burials for people who died of AIDS. That’s not what love looks like.
During that time, the Quaker meetinghouse near Dupont Circle was one place in the District where someone who died of AIDS could have a funeral. That meetinghouse was also home to the HIV Coffeehouse, providing safe space for people with HIV/AIDS to gather socially.
All of the local Quaker meetings adopted policies of marriage equality between the 1990s and early 2000s.
Friends Meeting of Washington submitted marriage paperwork to the District of Columbia. The District threatened fines and legal action. The meeting stood their ground.
Friends have been slower to speak up for transgender inclusion. Some meetings have gender neutral restrooms, and some have started to include pronouns on name tags. A member of Adelphi Friends who transitioned in 2007 has recently published a memoir. The meeting supported her traveling ministry, visiting other Quaker meetings in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and elsewhere to talk to them about transgender inclusion.