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Queer as German Folk
Exhibit Impressions from Washington, DC


The exhibit space at the Goethe-Institut Washington offers an introduction to the Transatlantic Rainbow Friendship from its beginnings with Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben to its current manifestations. For our opening the exhibit extended into our multi-use Goethe-Forum, where we organize film screenings, discussion events, seminars, and live music performances. After the exhibit opening, we relocated pieces of the exhibit to our language department, so that the exhibit is more visible throughout our entire space and from the atrium of our building.

The exhibit primary exhibit is installed at the Goethe-Institut Washington. We also highlight part of the exhibit at the DC Center for the LGBTQ Community. At the DC Center we display content on the history of DC Pride movements, a sampling of pieces of exhibit focused on Germany, and a walking tour that connects the two exhibit spaces featuring important sites of LGBTQ history, drawn from resource of our partner the Rainbow History Project. Both sites offer moments to engage with the content in a meaningful way, in the form of QR codes directing viewers to become involved with local organizations, Snap Moments, and additional information about our LGBTQ programming. We were also fortunate feature artifacts from the archive of Whitman-Walker Health, which has been engaged with the LGBTQ community in DC for over 40 years.

Our exhibit is not presented in a chronological order, but instead is organized like a deconstructed archive, allowing the visitor to experience chance encounters with the history of LGBTQ communities in the DC area and Germany. Many of the pieces exploring local history are on the walls around the standing exhibit so that visitors are surrounded by historical moments. This was also done for with an eye toward accessibility. Our local curator worked with a professional exhibition installer to ensure that the space was navigable by all visitors regardless of their mobility issues.

The DC Center for the LGBT Community

The DC Center for the LGBT Community is located on the ground level of the Franklin D. Reeves Municipal Center. Its educates, empowers, celebrates, and connects the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities. To fulfill their mission, they focus on four core areas: health and wellness, arts & culture, social & peer support, and advocacy and community building.

The DC Center works to promote health equity in our local LGBTQ Community.  Their health work focuses on areas that disproportionately impact the community including HIV/AIDS, Cancer, Substance Use, and Smoking and the behavioral health program provides support to survivors of violence and trauma in the community.

Center Arts is the home for the Center’s arts and cultural programs. This includes the Reel Affirmations Film Festival and RA XTRA: their Monthly LGBTQ Film Series, the OutWrite LGBT Book Festival, the Arty Queers: DC’s Indoor Monthly LGBTQ+ Art Market, and the DC Queer Theatre Festival.  In addition, the DC Center regularly exhibits visual art collections in the Center Arts Gallery. Their art programs fosters inclusive, diverse and creative outlets and opportunities. 

The DC Center offers a number of social/peer support groups and is a resource and active proponent of numerous advocacy efforts.