Name: Suzanne McArdle
City, State of Residence: Silver Spring, MD
Profession: Co-Chair, Team DC Night OUT at the Nationals Committee, Board Member of US Census Bureau LGBT & Allied Employee Group, Rainbow Alliance, and Cartographer for the U.S. Census Bureau
In a few words, how would you describe yourself?
OUTspoken in a non-aggressive way, family-oriented, loyal, driven, and passionate.
Your favorite hangout spots.
Anywhere my friends and family are, and most any professional sporting event in Washington, D.C. or Baltimore, Maryland; Anywhere in Rehoboth—I fell in love with it on frequent visits while going to Salisbury University.
Favorite guilty pleasure.
My mom’s homemade rice krispy peanut butter ice cream bars, V-neck tees, and The ID (Investigation Discovery) Network.
I am not sure where my uncle picked it up, but in a congratulatory spiel soon after graduating from high school he gave me some advice for my future: “Profit by the mistakes of others, but don’t be afraid to make a few of your own along the way.” It really struck a chord that everything happening around you and the world can be a personal learning experience if you’re paying enough attention.
Who is your biggest influence? And why?
I think without he or I knowing it, my biggest influence is my father. From the days he coached my youth soccer team, he drilled the notion of “anticipation” into my head. I can’t think of a single behavior that has contributed more to where I am or who I am. If you can read into things—have the foresight of knowing what might happen in a given situation and how you might react to it or how others might react to it, you’re already prepared for a lot of the “what if’s.”
Since I came out 10 years ago, I have tried to experience every “gay” event possible from Key West to New York City over to West Hollywood. There really is nothing like the D.C. area. The diversity, talent, political influence and success of the LGBT community rooted here amaze me.
Team DC hosts two of the events I am most proud to take part in. Ticket sales for Night OUT at the Nationals have raised thousands of dollars to fund scholarships for self-identifying LGBT high school students who are recognized at Team DC’s Champions Awards every year. The game itself helps raise visibility and support of our community in the world of professional sports while raising money to recognize LGBT youth who make a notable difference in our local community. It is really incredible to see thousands of LGBT fans, friends, families, and allies gather in the OUTfield for this event. I will say that since I joined the Night OUT at the Nationals Committee three years ago, I have made it my mission to get more women involved in Team DC’s events. Please come and “Tagg” Night OUT!
Do you have any regrets in life?
I think a regret a lot of LGBT people could have in common is not coming out until later in life. I feel extremely fortunate to have been raised in a family where unconditional love and support has been the highest verbalized priority no matter what the case–I didn’t ever feel I had to hide who I was once I figured it out. Not having that regret has made me confident in every part of my life and has motivated me to live my life as openly and honestly as possible, which is why I feel the need to be so outspoken and why I am so active in the LGBT and Allied employee group at the US Census Bureau and with Team DC.
People I have encountered in life who don’t think they know anyone in the LGBT community or don’t get the big deal about marriage equality are always shocked when I share personal stories with them. It is so neat to see a simple conversation open someone’s eyes and play a role in changing the way they think for the rest of their lives. Although, I think we all have regrets, I decided that “not being proud” or “open about who I am” were never going to be one of mine.
Favorite lesbian celebrity.
Hands down—Ellen. Seeing her throw out the first pitch of a Night OUT at the Nationals game would make my entire life and maybe make Brent Minor, Executive Director of Team DC, speechless—something else I never thought I’d see in my lifetime. ::snicker::
Any fun facts or anything else you want our readers to know?
The US Census Bureau Rainbow Alliance group is bringing 175 people to Night OUT at the Nationals—that makes us the largest single group in attendance. I would estimate that 90% of that group is women. Can you bring more women to the ballpark? Tagg, You’re It!
Ticket Information for Individuals and Groups: www.teamdc.org/noan