“You’re such a DC Block Girl.”
That’s what Gabrielle Jeri-Greene’s mother would tell her when she was a teenager hanging out in Washington, D.C. The term “block” was coined in the 1960s and commonly used in Harlem, NY. While attending Howard University, Jeri-Greene’s mother used the nickname to identify her friends from D.C.
“She always told me I possessed the same rebellious, free spirited, and outspoken qualities that her friends possessed in the 60s. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I understood the depth of the term,” says Jeri-Greene.
Jeri-Greene is the founder and CEO of DC Block Girl International (DCBG), a boutique travel agency committed to empowering the LGBTQ community through travel. This spring, the company is focused on International Day Against Homophobia on May 17, 2016 in Cuba. Though the Caribbean island tends to have a retro vibe, it prides itself on being LGBTQ-friendly.
“This is a great destination for LGBTQ travelers because it’s such a rare experience,” she says. “Cuba has so many programs geared to educating communities about safe sex and sexual awareness. Supporting these pride events helps support those programs that give back to their community.”
The nine day tour includes activities in Havana and Matanzas. Led by Mariela Castro of CENESEX—their leading organization fighting for LGBTQ rights and acceptance—there will be open panels, exhibitions, galas, parades, and nightlife parties.
The authenticity of the island offers a diverse landscape for travelers. Foodies can enjoy Cuba’s savory foods and libations that are hard to come by in the states. Artists can appreciate the history and culture displayed throughout the island where many writers, singers, musicians, and poets call their home.
Jeri-Greene loves to experience the world’s different queer communities. It’s important for her and her team to experience different travel destinations before booking trips for clients. “I plan to hit the nightclubs in Havana and get a true LGBTQ experience. I can’t wait to visit Hemingway’s House and the Martin Luther King Jr. Museum. I also want to go shopping and grab a few Cuban cigars [laughs],” she explains.
The company has a vested interest in working with the LGBTQ community throughout the year. DCBG offers a variety of trips and experiences for their clientele from wine tours to cruises to romantic getaways both nationally and internationally. Currently they have an adventure tour in the Amazon, a riverboat experience in Patagonia, and a wine tour in Italy, just to name a few.
“We are real people who have a personal interest in the quality of your life,” she explains. “We know that the more you travel the more you live. The more you live the better your mental health. Sometimes in life you just have to get away. When that bug bites, we are here to help you.”
For more information on Cuba’s LGBTQI Pride Celebration or to learn more about DC Block Girl International, click here.