Metro Weekly

House Party

Mary's House for Older Adults wants more spaces where LGBTQ elders can feel welcomed and appreciated

Dr. Imani Woody

Dr. Imani Woody is a step closer to realizing her dream of converting her childhood home into affordable housing for older LGBTQ adults.

Mary’s House for Older Adults, which Woody heads, recently won zoning approval to operate as a “Continuing Care Community Residence.” This allows them to obtain a building permit — the first step in turning the Southeast D.C. property into 16 communal-style housing units.

“It’s a Golden Girls model of communal living,” Woody says. “You have your own bathroom, closet, and living space, but if you want to cook a big meal, you’ll have to come out [of your room]…. It’s really easy to isolate — even in your 20s — if you don’t know anybody. We want to change that atmosphere so people care about each other more.”

To fight the isolation that many elders feel, Woody is constantly on the lookout for LGBTQ events that are inclusive of older adults. One such upcoming opportunity is “Party with a Purpose,” an “old-school”-style dance party that’s been part of DC Black Pride for the past five years.

“We wanted to host a party for older adults who wouldn’t necessarily feel comfortable at the bars or the other events that happen during Black Pride,” Woody says. She notes that, for the first time, the dance will be held in the Grand Hyatt Washington, the official host hotel of DC Black Pride.

“We have food, we dance, we socialize, and it brings in people from 18 to 83, and all ages in between,” she says. “Last year, we had a millennial going down the Soul Train aisle with a person who had her oxygen tank. It was a hoot.”

Mary’s House for Older Adults holds its 5th annual “Party with a Purpose” on Saturday, May 27, from 3:30-7 p.m. at the Grand Hyatt Washington, 1000 H St. NW. Admission is $20 beforehand or $30 at the door. For more information, visit or call 202-269-5736.

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