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“I loved to skate as a kid, so having a gay skate night sounded really cool,” says Ward Morrison. “I went, and fell in love with it so much, I went every week for 52 weeks. I literally would not miss it.”
Morrison, now the chief promoter for Monday Night Skating, joined the group in 1996, twelve years after it first started meeting weekly at the old wooden Alexandria Roller Skating Rink. Despite several moves to various rinks around the D.C. area, Morrison and his fellow skaters continued to congregate weekly until 2003, when the rink they were using in Lanham, Maryland, was sold to an anti-LGBTQ person. It took more than a decade for the group to get back on its wheels, this time at a rink ten miles away in Laurel.
Once a month, newcomers and veterans alike pay up to $10 to strap into their skates, take to the roller rink floor, and socialize, link arms, race, and practice their fanciest footwork — all while listening to tunes from the ’70s and ’80s. There’s theme nights as well, such as costume parties and an underwear night (just try not to fall).
“At halftime, we do a limbo contest and the Conga line,” says Morrison. “It’s just a fun, funky good time.”
This Friday, March 24, Monday Night Skating will hold a fundraiser at the DC Eagle in order to reserve a spot for marching — or, more accurately, skating — in the Capital Pride Parade. (Last year, Morrison paid the $500 bill himself.) The group also has plans to expand its offerings by holding a women’s skating event on April 24, and two Sunday evening LGBTQ youth events on April 30 and June 4.
“I’ve never done anything like a bar night, but I’ve photographed plenty of them,” says the gregarious Morrison, who photographs Scene for Metro Weekly. “But I’d like to make the youth night a monthly thing. So you’ll probably see us at the Eagle more than once in the coming months.”
Monday Night Skating hosts an LGBTQ private roller skating party on the last Monday of each month from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. at Laurel Roller Skating Center, 9890 Brewers Ct., Laurel, Md. For more information, visit mondaynightskating.com.
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