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Queer Gang Members In DC Find Redemption Through Fashion

Sometimes the news is good.

Check It is a gay gang known for shoplifting, purse-snatching and fighting in Washington, D.C.’s Gallery Place neighborhood (right). But Saturday night, along with sister gang Unexpected, the crew channeled its energy into a raucous fashion show and performance event. “They say we fight all the time,” Check It member Travon Warren told the crowd at a Boys & Girls Club in Northwest. “We know we can get along with people. We want to do something better. We want people to look at us in positive ways.”

As The Washington Post reports, the event—dubbed Fashion Transformation—saw gang members dancing, acting, sharing stories and modeling their original T-shirt line, TurnItUp, along with performers from Xquisite Models.

Assistant D.C. Police Chief Diane Groomes met with Check It leaders at a youth summit last fall and tried to find common ground. The gang members talked about needing jobs and a chance, and suggested the fashion show. “They are regular teenagers with dreams and aspirations, if given the opportunity to do so,” Groomes told the Post.

The police teamed up with several local community groups, including the Getrude Stein Democratic Club, to help plan and finance the event. Patrice Lancaster, who worked with the kids almost daily, recounts how, “they would show up for practice after eight hours of working at fast-food jobs. Some would have barely eaten all day. One had a court appearance.”  Since work on the event began nearly two months ago, Groomes says authorities haven’t had any major incidents with Check It or Unexpected.

Once again fashion is changing lives for the better!

By:           Dan Avery
On:           Jan 17, 2012
Tagged: ,

  • 9 Comments
    • ron
      ron

      Queer gang members?? That’s a new one! Ugh.

      Jan 17, 2012 at 12:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mike UK
      Mike UK

      had to look at the date to make sure this wasn’t an April fool!

      Jan 17, 2012 at 12:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jason
      Jason

      The only gay gang in DC I know of is the one that closeted GOP homophobes like Lindsay Girleen and David Dreir belong to, and they’re NOT known for their sartorial elegance. Maybe Larry Craig wore really sharp black patent leather shoes, but we’d have to ask the janitors at the MSP airport for verification.

      Jan 17, 2012 at 2:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Don
      Don

      What? We get to see some irrelevant picture of a movie theater but none of the fashion show? I wanna judge the looks!

      Jan 17, 2012 at 2:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • QJ201
      QJ201

      I thought they were called “houses” and not gangs…because sounds like the nonsense kids in the house and ball scene get up to.

      Jan 17, 2012 at 4:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Challenger
      Challenger

      I hope their improved behavior will continue now that the fashion show is over. These are the kids that steal iPhones and other items from METRO riders.

      Jan 17, 2012 at 5:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Triple S
      Triple S

      I never thought that gays would have gangs like that. Usually, we’re a lot less inclined for criminal behaviour. But, if they can turn it around, I’m all for it.

      Jan 17, 2012 at 10:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Esculapio Mitiríades Torquemada de la Cueva
      Esculapio Mitiríades Torquemada de la Cueva

      @Triple S: “Usually, we’re a lot less inclined for criminal behaviour.”

      Pretty sure that’s not true.

      Jan 17, 2012 at 10:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jean
      Jean

      “Homeboy” is a new film on gay gang members:

      Jan 21, 2012 at 6:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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