(Washington, DC) – Tonight, on Tuesday, October 24, Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Mayor’s Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Affairs will host the 36th Annual 17th Street High Heel Race. Residents, allies, and community members are invited to cheer on drag kings, drag queens, and other race participants as they race down historic 17th Street NW.
“The 36th annual 17th Street High Heel Race is the chance to come together, have fun, and celebrate our DC Values,” said Mayor Bowser. “We are proud that, for many years, DC has been a leader on LGBTQ+ rights, and we’re going to continue leading and investing in programs and services. Whether it is an investment in housing, or jobs, or public safety, with every investment, we want to send the same message: we love you, we see you, and we’re here for you. Tonight is a celebration of that commitment.”
This year’s high heel race will be hosted by Rayceen Pendarvis and will include a special appearance by Karamo Brown. Brown is an American television host and personality, author, actor, and activist who is well known for his role on Queer Eye and the Real World: Philadelphia. He became the second out gay Black man to ever be featured on reality TV.
The event will kick off at 6:00 p.m. with festivities like a costume contest and performances by local musicians, dancers, and drag artists, including Shi-Queeta Lee with Capri Bloomingdale and Dorselle Phinn, Marck Angel, DystRucXion, DC Different Drummers, The DC Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, DC Roller Derby, and Cheer DC.
The 17th Street High Heel Race started over 35 years ago as a wager amongst drag queens, bartenders, and community members to race in heels to each of the LGBTQ+ bars along the strip. The LGBTQ+ founders of JR’s Bar continued the event. Today, DC is one of the only jurisdictions in the nation to sponsor and host an event of this type that highlights the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community.
“DC plays a such significant and historic role in our national LGBTQIA+ movement,” said Japer Bowles, Director of the Mayor’s Office LGBTQ Affairs. “We will continue to honor and celebrate our past by providing more dedicated-LGBTQIA+ funding and programs, expanding legal protections, and hosting WorldPride 2025.”
Under Mayor Bowser’s leadership, the Mayor’s Office LGBTQ Affairs advocates for the LGBTQIA+ community by supporting nearly $1,000,000 in community grants; providing housing, job, and cultural competency training services; addressing neighbors’ needs by liaising with government agencies and promoting programs; and hosting impactful events that represent the diversity, strength, and needs of the community. Throughout the month of October, the office has hosted various events, including a Queerceañera and Mayor’s Advisory Council meeting. In addition to the High Heel Race, MOLGBTQA will close the month with an LGBTQIA+ senior Halloween event on October 31.
Learn more about the High Heel Race HERE.
Tuesday, October 24
Festivities begin at 6 pm and race check-in begins at 7:30 pm
Mayor Bowser delivers remarks and kicks off race at 9 pm
Mayor Muriel Bowser
Japer Bowles, Director, Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs
Rayceen Pendarvis, Emcee, Entertainer, and Community Activist
Karamo Brown, Television Host, Personality, and Activist
Starting Point: 17th Street and P Street NW
Stage: 17th Street and R Street NW
*Closest Metro Station: Dupont Circle Metro Station*
*Closest Bikeshare: 17th & P St NW*
Press interested in attending the event are asked to RSVP to [email protected].
The DC Office of Cable Television, Film, Music, and Entertainment will provide a live feed of the Mayor delivering remarks at the event and kicking off the race. To view, visit mayor.dc.gov/live tune in on Channel 16 (DCN) or watch on Mayor Bowser’s Facebook or Twitter.