This week’s photo was taken from Whitman Walker Health (@WhitmanWalker), the gracious and supportive hosts of the Capital Transpride (@TransPrideDC) Producers Group. You can see the Washington Hilton on the far right, with the National Cathedral behind it. The Cairo is in the foreground.
This westward view looks on to the “haves” toward the dividing line of the city where health and opportunity is better. I’ll be posting on that later.
The thing about this time of year is that every time you look up, the sky and city light up and become more gorgeous than the last time you looked up. This is on top of the already most-gorgeous-capital-city view that we enjoy every moment here.
This was happening while the Producers group was going through this year’s Capital TransPride event, just days away. Our discussion touched on issues of acceptance, authenticity, the creation of safe spaces, and the fact that many people from around the United States are moving to Washington, DC now seeking these things. And why shouldn’t they, the result will be that more of the future will continue to be born here, and the sunsets will become even more beautiful (I don’t know if such a thing is possible 🙂 ).
It’s a great story about the renaissance of a part of our nation’s capital that was destroyed multiple times, neglected, and now experiencing a renaissance. It’s the neighborhood I am a part of and is integrated with dozens of artifacts of the work of great people who led in a world that didn’t them to (actually, the world didn’t want them to exist, much less lead).
In the mid-1800s, before the Civil War, Logan Circle was mostly farmland and was officially known as Iowa Circle (unofficially: “Blodget’s Wilderness”). During the Civil War, the circle itself was infamous as a place of public execution for deserters and spies.
In a blend of styles including Gothic and Romanesque Revival, the Victorian houses that still line the neighborhood’s streets first appeared in the closing decades of the 19th century. In the opening decades of the 20th century, the neighborhood developed its reputation as “Automobile Row” for the car garages and showrooms that lined 14th Street.
The circle officially changed its name in 1930 to Logan Circle, after the Union commander John A. Logan. Nearly 40 years later, the riots in the late 1960s tore apart much of the city, Logan Circle included; for the 25 years that followed, the neighborhood was rife with prostitution, drug abuse, and homelessness. The last twenty years have been a period of renaissance. (Logan Circle, A Tale of Two Eras)
Payment is being directed to a vital community organization supporting LGBTQ and all humans in the Capital, Casa Ruby (@CasaRubyDC)
My friend and colleague Ruby Corado once told me, while standing in Logan Circle, about the times she inhabited it when no one else cared to. In 2016, she is in all of the other places in the city where others don’t want to be. She is who she is.
This is a photograph of Ruby and I the day we had that conversation, in Logan Circle:
I support Washington, DC and I support Ruby, Casa Ruby, the future, and the beauty of hope and change for the future. I can’t believe I get to live here 🙂 .
Murals like this one, from the Logan Circle/Shaw neighborhood can be seen popping up all over Washington, DC while walking, and they’re beautiful (as is everything in our most gorgeous capital city).
I’m learning how to use software to create the image that I see with my eye rather than the one captured by the camera. Here’s the original:
Just down the street is another beautiful and meaningful mural, celebrating the work of Washington, DC photographer Addison Scurlock:
Scurlock’s studio was just a few blocks from where I live, and from it he captured some of the most haunting images of Washington, DC as it was destroyed following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. In its present incarnation, the building that housed his studio is now at the center of the modern day LGBTQ community in Washington, DC, fitting because these are the spaces where the future is born.
Here’s a composite of the two eras (1968-2014) that I produced previously (excuse the poor perspective – I’m always learning :))
As the title of the post says, this neighborhood and the ones surrounding it were deemed “obsolete” by the then The National Capital Park and Planning Commission in 1950, with the recommendation that they be completely be re-faced. (Was your neighborhood “obsolete” in 1950? – Greater Greater Washington). These neighborhoods were supposed to be destroyed by a grand highway (they weren’t). They were supposed to be skipped over for Metro access (they weren’t due to community activism). They were supposed to be neglected by city administrators who lived in places very far away, with different ideas about diversity and inclusion (they were). Other parts of the city were not spared and were decimated in the name of modern, car-centric planning, and continue to deal with that legacy.
This blog is about what I learned the day before, in this case it’s what I learned the 3 years before, and I want to say thank you.
I have really enjoyed collaborating with the team at Whitman Walker Health (@WhitmanWalker). We’ve worked together on Washington, DC’s Capital Pride (@CapitalPrideDC), including Capital Transpride, where we are both sponsors. When we were scouting locations for the KP Lantern project, fieldwork to understand the transgender person health experience, Whitman Walker was singled out to us as one of the leaders in this care in the United States. Whitman Walker also is distinguished for its medical legal partnership, that wins national awards. I’ve learned a ton from this team, and I’ll walk with them anywhere, anytime.
With that in mind, we we went on a walking meeting this past week, that ended in their beautiful New Medical Home, that includes never-before experienced views of our nation’s capital, also very beautiful…
A few follow-ups I promised to this walking group, that includes my Permanente Medicine colleague E.W. Emanuel, MD: