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Smooth sailing on first Equality Cruise

Equality Cruise, gay news, Washington Blade

Sixty-nine passengers took part in the inaugural Equality Cruise. (Photo by Steve Charing)

A total of 69 passengers participated in Equality Maryland’s first Equality Cruise Jan. 12-19. Those participating were mostly from the Baltimore-Washington region but some came from Pennsylvania, Virginia and Tennessee. They included a diverse group of LGBT people and allies. Carnival Cruises donated a portion of the group’s proceeds to Equality Maryland.

Travel arrangements were made by Equality Maryland’s office manager, Vanessa Bowling, who also owns Vanessa Addrienne Travel. She, along with Doug Rose, communications volunteer for Equality Maryland, served as hosts for the group.

The cruise took place aboard the aptly named Carnival Pride, which departed from Baltimore. It sailed to Port Canaveral and then on to Nassau and Freeport in the Bahamas before returning. Both Bowling and Rose hosted a meet-and-greet as the ship departed Baltimore. They also arranged group gatherings including pre-dinner socials and organized a “red party” in the Pride’s dance club.

Tokyo Derekston of Glen Burnie, Md., enjoyed her first cruise.  “I’m having a great time,” she said during its midpoint. “As long as people stop asking me to sing.”

Bowling indicated that she intends to send out surveys about what people would like in the way of future cruises and ports of call. The Equality Cruise’s maiden voyage went well and there is optimism that the size of the group will increase next year.

22
Jan
2014

Mayor celebrates birthday at Hippo

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

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake celebrated her birthday at the Club Hippo on March 19 with a round of “Gay Bingo” whose proceeds support House of Ruth Maryland. Long known for being a shelter for battered women and their children, House of Ruth, founded 37 years ago, has expanded its services to include men as well as members of the LGBT community. More than 100,000 victims have been served during its history.

The mayor won one of the games receiving loud cheers from the 60 who attended. For more information about the House of Ruth, visit hruth.org.

25
Mar
2014

Miss Freestate 2014 pageant

Araya Sparxx, Anastacia Amor, Miss Gay America, Miss Gay Maryland, Miss Freestate, drag, pageant, gay news, Washington Blade

Miss Gay Maryland America 2013 winner Araya Sparxx (left) with runner up Anastacia Amor. (Photo by Daniel McGarrity/Daniel McGarrity Photography)

As an official preliminary to Miss Gay Maryland America, S&D Entertainment will present Miss Freestate 2014: Anastacia Amor’s Fun House on Jan. 24 at the Club Hippo, 1 W. Eager St., in Baltimore. The doors open at 10 p.m. and the pageant begins at 10:30 p.m.

Hosted by Josie Foster and starring Miss Freestate Anastacia Amor, other local drag performers scheduled to appear are Tatiyanna Voche, Stephanie Michaels, Eva Couture, Tuly Fabu, Inginue, Diamond (Miss Gay Maryland 2000), Ashley Bannks (Miss Gay Maryland 2002),  Michelle Michaels (North Carolina USofA-Newcomer 2013), and Araya Sparxx (Miss Gay Maryland 2013).

General Admission is $8 with reserved seating priced at $10. For more information, contact Sue Nami at 410-440-3344.

22
Jan
2014

Breaking the Silence with GLSEN

Day of Silence, Silent March for Victims of Anti-LGBT Violence, gay news, Washington Blade

GLSEN is hosting a Breaking the Silence event on Friday at 5:30 p.m. at Baltimore’s Washington Monument. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The Day of Silence is a national day of action organized as a grassroots project by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. People around the country take a vow of silence to protest the bullying, harassment and silencing of LGBT students and their supporters. The Day of Silence has been held each year in April since 1996.

This year, GLSEN Baltimore is hosting a Breaking the Silence event on Friday at 5:30 p.m. at Baltimore’s Washington Monument on the Cathedral Street side. Attendees are asked to bring posters identifying the reasons for silence and a bring-your-own picnic dinner.

The event will be held to honor the memory of GLSEN Baltimore steering committee member Kay Halle, who fought for safe and inclusive schools in Baltimore and built school partnerships with GLSEN. Participants are asked to bring a single flower in honor of Kay and/or anyone who has helped break the silence for LGBT youth

“Many students in the Baltimore area participate in the Day of Silence,” said GLSEN steering committee member Johanna Miller. “This event is an extension of their action that increases visibility around the silence LGBT youth face and allows them and their allies to come together and briefly experience their collective strength.” For more information, visit glsen.org/chapters/baltimore.

08
Apr
2014

Mizeur finding momentum in Maryland

Heather Mizeur, Delman Coates, Montgomery County, Silver Spring, Maryland, Maryland House of Delegates, Democratic Party, gay news, Washington Blade, momentum

Del. Heather Mizeurwith running mate Delman Coates. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

There’s something very exciting taking hold in my home state of Maryland. State Del. Heather Mizeur (D-Montgomery) has tapped into the same progressive energy that propelled Bill de Blasio to the mayor’s office in New York City and Elizabeth Warren and Tammy Baldwin to the U.S. Senate.

Six months ago, Heather invited me to join her on probably the hottest August afternoon of the summer. She was speaking at a house party in Baltimore City. With the oppressive heat, I was expecting to meet a dozen or so interested voters. When we arrived we were greeted by over a hundred progressive activists eager to hear Heather’s vision for our state.

For nearly two hours Heather tackled tough issues – from marijuana decriminalization, to fighting for a fracking moratorium, slashing middle class taxes and campaigning against an unnecessary juvenile detention center in Baltimore City.

Heather has the momentum and her vision is resonating with voters. In a recent survey polling likely Baltimore City voters, Heather and her running mate, Pastor Delman Coates, scored a huge upset coming in second and only three percentage points behind frontrunner Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and his running mate, County Executive Ken Ulman (32 to 29 percent).

Maryland, despite being a progressive powerhouse, has never elected a female chief executive and no state in the nation has ever elected an openly LGBT governor. With the opportunity to shatter both of those barriers, national organizations are quickly coming to the aid of the Mizeur/Coates campaign.

In the last month alone, Heather earned the support of EMILY’s List, the National Organization for Women, Feminist Majority and was recently announced as one of the top “Women to Watch in 2014” by MSNBC.

Five months is an eternity in electoral politics and if Heather continues to tap into the same progressive energy that propelled de Blasio, Warren, Baldwin and others, we are going to witness a tremendous victory for our community in June.

Kevin Walling is a candidate for Maryland House of Delegates from Montgomery County.

28
Jan
2014

Burlesque on exhibit

burlesque, Burlesqueer, gay news, Washington Blade

“Workin’ the Tease” will look at burlesque’s rich history in Baltimore. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Maryland Institute College of Art’s (MICA) Exhibition Development Seminar (EDS) will present “Workin’ the Tease: The Art of Baltimore Burlesque,” an exhibition celebrating burlesque as an art form that combines slapstick humor, dance and body spectacle strip tease. From April 22 to May 7 at The Patricia and Arthur Modell Performing Arts Center at The Lyric (140 W. Mount Royal Ave.), “Workin’ the Tease” will look at burlesque’s rich history in Baltimore through live performance and more than 70 historical and contemporary artifacts. Receptions will take place April 22, 5-9 p.m., with a performance at 7 p.m. and May 7 from 5-7 p.m.

Admission to the performances and programs are free and open to the public.  For information, visit workinthetease.com.

16
Apr
2014

Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day set

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, World AIDS Day, gay news, Washington Blade

(Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The Prevention and Health Promotion Administration (PHPA) under the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has tapped Feb. 7 as National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD). NBHAAD is an HIV testing and treatment community mobilization initiative for blacks in the U.S. There are four specific focal points: Get Educated, Get Tested, Get Involved and Get Treated.

Baltimore-Towson had the sixth highest estimated HIV diagnosis rate of any major metropolitan area: 33.8 diagnoses per 100,000 population during 2011.

National estimates suggest that there are approximately 6,250 Marylanders who are HIV positive and are unaware of their status.

PHPA is asking organizations around the state to indicate if they are planning any events or activities in observance of this day. The purpose for this request is to include these events in the NBHAAD 2014 Events Calendar currently being developed by PHPA.

Information should be sent by Jan. 31 to carmi.washington-flood@maryalnd.gov.

29
Jan
2014

Study: HIV incidence 4x higher in people with mental health diagnoses

This study points out that those patients with mental illness may not be getting screened for HIV appropriately.

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16
Apr
2014

BHT awards $75,000 in grants

Brother Help Thyself, BHT, Ziegfeld's, gay news, Washington Blade, grants

The Brother, Help Thyself grant awards ceremony was held at Ziegfeld’s last weekend. (Washington Blade photo by Damien Salas)

Brother, Help Thyself, a local organization that supports LGBT and HIV/AIDS work, awarded about $75,000 in grants to 31 area nonprofits last weekend at a reception held at Ziegfeld’s/Secrets nightclub.

Among the grant recipients were: AIDS Action Baltimore, the DC Center’s HIV Working Group, DC Rape Crisis Center, Equality Maryland Foundation, Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, Helping Our Brothers and Sisters, HIPS, Latino GLBT History Project, Rainbow History Project, SMYAL and the Wanda Alston Foundation.

“What really makes this annual event so wonderful, on top of the awarding of the actual checks, is the opportunity for our grantees to network and connect,” said BHT President Jim Slattery. “They all do such great work and their expertise and best practices are vital to our community and each other.”

In addition to the grants, BHT presented four annual awards. The Billy Collison Award, BHT’s underdog award, was given to Baltimore’s Hope Springs. The George Dodson Business award went to GayRVA.com. The Founders Award, given to an organization doing great work with little funding, went to Casa Ruby LGBT Community Center. And the Anthony J. Bachrach Award, which recognizes an individual doing outstanding work on behalf of the community, was presented to David Mariner, executive director of the DC Center.

Click here to see a photo gallery of the event.

29
Jan
2014

Students to attend LGBT Leadership Summit

Zach Wahls, Democratic National Convention, Washington Blade, gay news

Zach Wahls will speak at the B’More Proud LGBTQIA Leadership Summit. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

At least 200 undergraduate and graduate students from Baltimore area colleges and universities are expected to attend the 2014 B’More Proud LGBTQIA Leadership Summit on March 30. The daylong event, whose theme this year is “Breaking Boundaries: The Intersections of Our Identities,” will take place at Levering Hall on the campus of Johns Hopkins University.

At the conference there will be several breakout sessions, a resources fair whereby organizations, companies and agencies offer information and answer questions, and entertainment at the end of the summit. Comedian Julie Goldman will perform.

The planners are developing the topics and leaders for the upcoming summit. Author, performer and trans-bi activist Julia Serano will be a keynote speaker as well another activist, Zach Wahls. Three years ago, Wahls gave moving testimony to the Iowa House Judiciary Committee to support his two moms when that legislature was considering a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

There is no charge to participants and meals will be provided. To register as a participant, to host a breakout session, to volunteer or take part in the resources fair, visit bmoreproud.org.

24
Feb
2014