Photography by Ryan Pfluger in Marina del rey, Calif., on October 1, 2015. Styling by Michael Cook. Groomer: Harper at Exclusive Artists Management.
Derek Washington says he was in the depths of despair before starting his life over in Nevada, and that becoming active in the Democratic Party in 2008 was the key to his rebirth. In 2014, the Black Democratic Empowerment Project emerged, with a mission to educate and empower the black community politically and economically, with Washington as its president. He still believes he’s the “only gay person heading up a black Democratic partisan organization,” but is hopeful he won’t be the last, citing the next generation of activists as his biggest inspiration.