Gay What ?
Rest of site back up shortly!

2013 in photography

2013 was a banner year for the LGBT community. Here are the top Washington Blade photos of the year. (Washington Blade photos by Blake Bergen, Tyler Grigsby, Michael Key, Kevin Majoros, Damien Salas, Lee Whitman and Jon Wooten) buyphoto 


Twilight on the Terrace benefits GLCCB

GLCCB, Baltimore, Maryland, gay news, Washington Blade


To officially kick off Baltimore Pride, the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Baltimore will host the 8th annual Twilight on the Terrace gala at Gertrude’s Restaurant at The Baltimore Museum of Art on June 14, from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. This is a fundraiser for the GLCCB, which also produces Pride, and is presented by Tongue In Cheek Entertainment.

For a $125 ticket, guests will be treated to hors d’oeuvres, a four-hour open bar, and dancing to music courtesy of DJ J.R. Embrey. Recommended attire is “Garden Party Chic.”

Tickets may be purchased at


Spacing out the fun

Baltimore Pride, gay pride, gay news, Washington Blade

Last year’s Baltimore Pride. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Capital Pride is far from the only gay Pride event in the Mid-Atlantic with fabulous festivities and must-see entertainment. Those celebrating the LGBT community can extend the fun by taking road-trips to festivals in Baltimore, New York, Frederick, Md., and Annapolis, Md.


The Baltimore Pride Celebration has been Maryland’s largest LGBT visibility event since 1975. Baltimore’s Pride Parade and Block Party are on June 15 from 3:30-9 p.m. in the heart of the city’s historic gay neighborhood, Mount Vernon. The Pride Festival on the following Sunday is held in lakeside Druid Hill Park from noon-5 p.m.

Baltimore Pride attracts roughly 30,000 people annually from all over the Mid-Atlantic. This year, there will likely be an even higher turnout with “WeDo Baltimore,” a mass LGBT marriage ceremony during the festival on Sunday. Carrie Heirs, the event organizer, describes “WeDo” as symbolic of a turning point for Maryland.

“We’re doing the first ever LGBT mass wedding in Maryland. We just won the referendum, so it’s the first time we’ve been able to legally marry during Pride,” Heirs says. “I think it symbolizes what we as a community have always known. We’ve known this in our hearts always: love is love.”

Heirs says it’s time for Maryland to celebrate after years of hard work, but that does not mean the national struggle for LGBT equality is over.

“We are the first state below the Mason-Dixon line for this to happen. It wasn’t just a one-time shot. We’ve always been given the opportunity to celebrate our own uniqueness during Pride, but why not take this chance to say what this actually means,” Heirs says. “I think that we’re celebrating because it’s Pride month, but it should not just be in our state. It should be in all 50 states. It should be the law, the norm.”

In addition to “WeDo Baltimore,” this year’s Baltimore Pride is also introducing “Summer Reign,” a dance party for ladies 25 and over, at Paparazzi Nightclub (407 East Saratoga St., Baltimore) from 9 p.m.-2 a.m. on June 15. Early bird tickets are $10 and tickets the day of are $20. For details and to purchase tickets, visit

The headlining performer at the Saturday Block Party will be Ultra Naté, a Baltimore native who has proven her talent in a wide span of genres, including R&B, hip-hop, soul, house, rock and electro-pop. J Pope and Funk Friday, a female soul band, headline the Sunday Pride Festival. Septimius the Great, who cites Madonna and Lady Gaga as musical influences, will also be performing at the festival, as well as the Baltimore-based reggae group Unity.

Other Baltimore Pride events include Twilight on the Terrace, a cocktail party benefiting Baltimore Pride on June 14 at Gertrude’s Restaurant at the Baltimore Museum of Art (10 Art Museum Dr. Baltimore) from 7-11 p.m., and the High Heel Race at 3 p.m. on June 15 (corner of Charles and Read Streets in Baltimore). For more details on Baltimore Pride, visit

New York City Pride, of course, is a hugely popular weeklong celebration of LGBT visibility just a bus or train ride away. The NYC Pride Rally kicks off the week’s festivities on June 28 from 7-10 p.m. at Hudson River Park’s Pier 26 in TriBeCa. The Rally features motivating speakers and popular performers who have yet to be announced.

The NYC Pride March has been an annual civil rights demonstration free and open to the public since 1970. The march starts on June 30 at 11 a.m. at 36 St. and 5 Ave.  This year’s grand marshals are Edith Windsor, Harry Belafonte and Earl Fowlkes. Following the march is PrideFest, a massive LGBT public street fair with vendors and entertainers on Hudson St. between Abdingdon Sq. and West 14 St. PrideFest is from 11 a.m. -6 p.m.

NYC Pride has many other events during the week, finishing with the glamorous Dance on the Pier party on June 30 from 3-10 p.m. on Pier 26 in Hudson River Park. Tickets are $75 and $125 for VIP passes, and all proceeds go to NYC Pride Week events and community organizations. For more details on NYC Pride, visit

Frederick Pride 2013 is Frederick, Md.’s second Pride festival after a successful turnout at last year’s event. The gathering takes place in Utica Park (10-200 B Old Frederick, Rd., Frederick, MD) at noon on June 29. Tons of fun outdoor activities will be featured, including Capture the Flag, Football, Dodgeball and a pie-eating contest. For more information, visit the “Frederick Pride 2013” event on Facebook.

For late summer gay Pride, the Chesapeake Pride Festival will be held Aug. 3 from noon-6 p.m. at Mayo Beach Park (4150 Honeysuckle Dr., Edgewater, MD) in the Annapolis area. The afternoon will include a drag performance by Stormy Vain, as well as food, music and other activities. On June 22, guests can board the Richard Lee wooden tour boat for the Chesapeake Pride River Cruise from 6-8 p.m. to benefit Chesapeake Pride. Tickets are $40 and the boat will depart from the Discovery Village Marina (4800 Atwell Rd., Shady Side, MD). For more details and to purchase tickets, visit

Other nearby pride events include OBX Pridefest in Outer Banks, N.C., the weekend of Sept. 13, Philly Pride this weekend and Pittsburgh Pride next weekend. Roanoke Pride is in September.


Law of the land

Maryland, gay marriage, marriage equality, same-sex marriage, gay news, Washington Blade

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake will join several LGBT clergy at WeDo Baltimore Sunday for a mass wedding celebrating gay marriage. (Photo courtesy of Baltimore mayor’s office)

The idea of getting married at a public festival like Baltimore Pride may seem daunting and lacking in intimacy for a lot of couples, but for Carrietta Heirs, it’s an important option to provide the LGBT community after years of struggling for marriage equality in Maryland.

“It’s the way we’re validating what we’ve always known — that we have this right,” Heirs says of WeDo Baltimore, a mass LGBT wedding ceremony new to Baltimore Pride that she has organized. “We’ve finally earned this right, so the public should know.”

WeDo Baltimore will host about a dozen LGBT couples during the Baltimore Pride Festival on Sunday in lakeside Druid Hill Park (2600 Madison Ave., Baltimore) to celebrate the passage of marriage rights for same-sex couples in Maryland. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake will lead the event and address the crowd. Rev. Meredith Moise, Father E. Skip Koritzer, Elder Harris Thomas and Rev. Dorothy Harris are among the local faith leaders who will officiate.

Heirs says WeDo Baltimore will be an integral part of Baltimore Pride in the coming years and is not just a one-time event.

“I think for the next couple years it very well may be. This is the month to celebrate,” Heirs says. “I think that this is historical. Today it’s gonna be a hell of a big deal, but in five years from now, I’d like it to be ‘Oh, it’s another wedding.’”

In addition to managing the event, Heirs will marry her partner of nearly 13 years, Tonya Cooke.

“We had a commitment ceremony in 2010. We said that when it became legal we would do it. We didn’t realize it would happen so soon. It really means a lot,” Heirs says. “I’m also so excited for the other couples who are finally able to get married.”

The ceremony will include couples that cannot get married in their own states, some traveling from as far away as Atlanta to share their vows. Heirs is especially touched that a couple that has been together for 50 years will tie the knot at WeDo.

“It was very powerful to find that couple who’s going to be celebrating over 50 years. It gives you chills to think about it. It’s amazing,” Heirs says. “It is so significant for people who have been together over 50 years to be able to stand up and say, ‘Love is love,’ no matter what.”

Baltimore Black Pride Inc., Strapped Up Baltimore, the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Baltimore, Unity Fellowship Church of Baltimore, SEIU Eastern Regions National Lavender Caucus, Alpha Eta Omega Sorority and the Alpha Alpha DMV Chapter of Beta Phi Omega Sorority are sponsoring the event.

The Baltimore Pride Festival, which includes WeDo Baltimore, will be held from noon-5 p.m. This year’s performers are duo J Pope and Funk Friday, Septimius and Unity. In addition to WeDo, there will also be a “Family Zone” with activities for children to enjoy. For more information on WeDo Baltimore and Baltimore Pride, visit


Here comes Baltimore Pride

Baltimore Pride, gay news, Washington Blade

Baltimore Pride (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Friday, June 14

Gertrude’s Restaurant at the Baltimore Museum of Art (10 Art Museum Dr., Baltimore) hosts the eighth annual Twilight On the Terrace cocktail party tonight from 7-11 p.m. Guests can enjoy hors d’oeuvres, a four-hour open bar and dancing. Tickets are $125 and all proceeds benefit Baltimore Pride. For more details and to purchase tickets, visit

Saturday, June 15

The Baltimore Pride High Heel Race is today at 3 p.m., starting on the corner of Charles and Read Streets. This year’s winner will receive a gift basket with close to $1,100 in prizes. For more information, visit

The Baltimore Pride Parade kicks off this afternoon at 3:30 p.m. at the corner of Charles and Read Streets. This year’s Grand Marshal is Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, mayor of Baltimore. For details, visit

The Baltimore Pride Block Party is today from 5-9 p.m. at the corner of Charles and Eager Streets. This year’s performers include Baltimore natives Ultra Naté and DJ Rosie, both hip-hop artists. Visit for more information.

Paparazzi Nightclub (407 E. Saratoga St., Baltimore) hosts “Summer Reign” tonight from 9 p.m.-2 a.m. The dance party is for women 25 and older. Early bird tickets are $10. Tickets in advance are $15 or $20 at the door. For more details and to purchase tickets, visit

Sunday, June 16

The Baltimore Pride Festival is today from noon-5 p.m. in Druid Hill Park (2600 Madison Ave., Baltimore). This year’s performers include duo J Pope and Funk Friday, Septimius and Unity. Visit for more information.


Block party and heel race

Baltimore Pride continued into the evening after the Pride Parade with a high heel race and block party. (Washington Blade photos by Michael Key) buyphoto 


Baltimore Pride Festival

The annual Baltimore Pride Festival was held at Druid Hill Park on Sunday, June 16. (Washington Blade photos by George Marc Alderman) buyphoto 


Mass wedding highlights Pride weekend

We Do, mass wedding, gay marriage, same-sex marriage, marriage equality, Maryland, Baltimore, Baltimore Pride Festival, Druid Hill Park, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, gay news, Washington Blade

(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Nineteen couples tied the knot during a mass wedding at Baltimore’s Pride Festival on June 16. Proclaiming “WeDo Baltimore Day,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake acknowledged the victory in achieving marriage equality in Maryland and then presided over the brief service in front of hundreds of the couples’ family members, friends and spectators at the main stage in Druid Hill Park.

Also on hand with the mayor and making remarks were four local clergy: Rev. Meredith Moise, Father E. Skip Koritzer, Elder Harris Thomas and Minister Clifton G. Speller.

Brittany and Alice Chong from southwest Baltimore were elated about the impending ceremony an hour before. “We’re so glad it’s legal now,” said Brittany who has been with Alice for five years. “We’re sealing the deal.”

A reception for the newly married couples and families followed the ceremony that was highlighted by a display of rainbow-colored cupcakes.

The previous day brought huge crowds to the annual parade that included 66 units representing a wide array of organizations, gay-friendly businesses and politicians. Rawlings-Blake was the parade’s grand marshal. Also in the parade were potential gubernatorial candidates Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler and Del. Heather Mizeur.

The conclusion of the parade merged with the beginning of the block party whereby thousands crammed the intersection of Charles and Eager streets in Mount Vernon. Controversy formed the backdrop to the block party as business owners and residents complained a week before about underage drinking and other related issues. A compromise was worked out so that the party’s boundaries were shortened. No major problems were reported.

“The GLCCB is very proud of Baltimore Pride 2013,” Matt Thorn, the Center’s executive director, told the Blade. “From Pride with the Orioles, Twilight on the Terrace to the Parade, Block Party and Festival there were many functions for our community to participate in.”


Organizers expand 2014 Pride celebration

2013 Baltimore Pride, Parade, Gay News, Washington Blade

Next year’s Baltimore Pride will feature an expanded lineup of events. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center of Baltimore and Central Maryland announced new, expanded dates for Baltimore Pride 2014.  The festivities will take place next June 12-22.

The GLCCB, which has operated Baltimore Pride for more than 30 years, has limited the celebration to essentially two days—the parade-block party on Saturday and the festival at Druid Hill Park on Sunday—with a fundraiser held the Friday before. Next year, there will be “many new aspects to Baltimore Pride, including pre-Pride events such as Pride with the Orioles,” according to GLCCB executive director Matt Thorn.

The first Baltimore Pride 2014 planning meeting will be Monday at 6:30 p.m. and the GLCCB encourages the community to attend. The meeting will take place at the GLCCB’s current headquarters at 241 W. Chase St. in Baltimore.

Creative community members are also encouraged to participate by helping the Center design a new Baltimore Pride logo. Design submissions for the Pride Logo Contest will be accepted through Sept. 30, 2013, and the winner will be announced later this fall. Contact for more information.


Baltimore mayor to marry couples at Pride

Baltimore, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, gay news, Washington Blade

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake at the Baltimore Pride Parade in 2011. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake will serve as grand marshal of next month’s Pride parade and will officiate at a mass wedding of gay and lesbian couples at the Pride festival the following day, organizers announced this week.

“Mayor Rawlings-Blake’s commitment to the LGBT community has been undoubtedly one of the best records in Maryland and for the City of Baltimore, from her early position in supporting marriage equality in Maryland to her commitment to combating gender identity anti-discrimination and violence in the city,” said Matt Thorn, interim executive director of the Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Baltimore, which organizes Pride.

The mayor, a regular attendee of Baltimore Pride, also officiated the first gay and lesbian weddings in Maryland on Jan. 1, 2013. The Baltimore Pride parade and block party will be held June 15 and the festival and weddings will follow on June 16.

This year, the Pride Committee is also showcasing the work of local activists and advocates. Beginning this year, Baltimore Pride will select two ‘Activists of the Year’ to ride in the Pride Parade. The 2013 Activists of the Year are Shawnna Alexander and Jamal Hailey. Alexander is celebrating 31 years of entertaining. Hailey is an advocate for marginalized groups, especially youth and LGBTQ communities of color.