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Transgender woman murdered in Baltimore

Baltimore, Maryland, gay news, Washington Blade, open walls

(Photo public domain)

A transgender woman was found dead in Northeast Baltimore early on Tuesday.

The Baltimore Police Department said she was discovered around 6:30 a.m. in the 1400 block of Fillmore Street. The Baltimore Sun reported the victim, whose name was Kandy, was found in a field near a post office in the Coldstream-Homestead-Montebello neighborhood.

Police officials have yet to return the Washington Blade’s request for comment.

The Baltimore Sun reported Acting Capt. Eric Kowalczyk of the Baltimore Police Department took part in a conference call with local LGBT rights advocates on Wednesday.

“We need the public’s help trying to find out who is responsible for this,” said Kowalczyk as the newspaper reported. “We don’t know how the homicide occurred yet. We’re waiting for the medical examiner to do the autopsy.”

Court records indicate police arrested Kandy twice in 2010 on prostitution-related charges, but other details about her life have yet to emerge.

“The BPD is pursuing all leads and are as committed to finding answers as we all are,” Equality Maryland Executive Director Carrie Evans told the Blade on Wednesday.

Evans said a meeting with local LGBT advocates is scheduled to take place on Friday. She urged anyone with information about Kandy’s death to call Metro Crime Stoppers at (866) 7-LOCKUP.

The Blade will provide further updates as they become available.


Trans rock band forms in Baltimore

Transexual Fetus, Baltimore, Maryland, gay news, Washington Blade

Transexual Fetus promotional image. (Image courtesy of Transexual Fetus)

A new contemporary conceptual performance art band, Transexual Fetus, consisting of artists within the trans spectrum, recently formed in Baltimore. The band, which features a combination of beat poetry, funk, psychedelic new wave and punk rock and glam metal fusion music, was conceived by Devin Cherubini, also known as Devin Hellfire.

Cherubini/Hellfire is a Baltimore-based female-to-male transgender visual artist, performance artist, political activist, poet, lyricist and writer. He has performed in a variety of bands since the 1980s and was a headliner at Club Hippo for five years sharing the same stage as performance artist Wolfgang Nomi, who is a member of the local group Charm City Boys.  Nomi, who plays percussion in Transexual Fetus, combines contemporary dance movement material with mime and outrageous costume designs inspired by the likes of Klaus Nomi, his namesake.

Baltimore born and raised Roxy Storm, a veteran musician of 35 years, is another key component of the band, playing lead guitar. Roxy Storm is a black trans woman struggling with inner city violence, poverty and oppression. “A true survivor,” says Cherubini/Hellfire. “She is a very courageous and talented woman.”

Transexual Fetus reflects “the same struggle of those musicians and artists who came before us who were gender queer and non-conformative and died too young from hard living in a world that could not accept or understand them,” says Cherubini/Hellfire.

Hellfire encourages trans people with musical talent in Maryland to join in on the fun. “Transexual Fetus is always open to working together musically on this project.” If interested, contact Devin Hellfire by visiting the Facebook page TransexualFetus.


All-American Genderf*ck coming to Baltimore

All-American Genderf*ck, gay news, Glass Mind Theatre, Washington Blade

(Image courtesy of Glass Mind Theatre)

The All-American Genderf*ck Cabaret by Mariah MacCarthy presented by Glass Mind Theatre makes its Baltimore premiere April 11-19. A gender-bending emcee guides the audience as limitations of sexuality are redefined throughout confines and confusion.

Playwright MacCarthy says that she wanted to write vignettes about female experience. She then had a revelation: “I couldn’t create a piece about women that had no men in it.”

Aside from the androgynous emcee, Genderf*ck revolves around eight seeming-stereotypes of gender and sex. The 20-somethings are all intertwined in each other’s lives as they navigate sex, gender identity and their relationships with each other. MacCarthy combines humor, drama, raunchy jokes and dance parties.

“I might be feminine, androgynous or a tomboy; straight, a lesbian, pansexual, or just ‘queer’; a livid, no-bullshit Feminazi robot queen, or the most people-pleasing boy-crazy girl next door you’ve ever met,” says MacCarthy. “In a way, Genderf*ck has been my way of investigating and teasing out all my contradictions, by putting those aspects into different characters and setting them loose on each other.”

The play is contemporary, but director Susan Stroupe layers in the lens of the Gilded Age in the 1900s, where cabarets began.

The All-American Genderf*ck Cabaret will run at Gallery 788, 3602 Hickory Ave. in Hampden. Tickets are $15, with discounts available for artists, students, seniors and groups. Visit for tickets and more information.


Murdered transgender woman was ‘fun-loving, caring person’

police, Northeast Baltimore, transgender, gay news, Washington Blade, Candy

Police tape remains near a Northeast Baltimore field where a transgender woman was found dead on June 3. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

BALTIMORE — Police continue to investigate the murder of a transgender woman whose body was found last week in Northeast Baltimore.

Lt. Eric Kowalczyk of the Baltimore Police Department told members of its LGBT Advisory Council during a June 5 meeting at Chase Brexton Health Services that detectives currently have few leads into their investigation of the murder of Kandy Hall who was found in a field near a post office on the 1400 block of Fillmore Street in the Coldstream-Homestead-Montebello neighborhood early on June 3.

Crime scene tape remained on a nearby fence several days after Hall’s body was discovered.

“This is a case that will not be solved without community help,” said Kowalczyk.

Equality Maryland Executive Director Carrie Evans, Center for Black Equity-Baltimore Executive Director Carlton Smith, Rev. Meredith Moise and Free State Legal Project Executive Director Aaron Merki are among those who attended the meeting.

Hall’s friend, Derrick Smith, told the Washington Blade that Hall, 40, was a hairdresser from Annapolis. He said they had known each other for more than three decades.

“I was there with her at the beginning of the process before she transitioned and everything,” said Smith. “I knew her as her little boy self and I knew her as Kandy.”

Smith told the Blade he hadn’t spoken with Hall in more than two years.

He said he found out about her death on Facebook.

“She was a very fun-loving, caring person,” said Smith. “She just enjoyed life. She lived life to the fullest because I guess her mindset was tomorrow’s not promised to anybody so I’m not going to wait until tomorrow to do this if I can do it today.”

Court records indicate Hall was charged with prostitution four times in Anne Arundel County between 2001-2003. The Baltimore Police Department arrested her twice on prostitution-related charges in 2010.

Court records also note Hall was charged with robbery, theft, trespassing, possession of marijuana, driving with an expired license and other minor offenses in Anne Arundel, Howard and Wicomico Counties since 1991.

Police have yet to publicly disclose a possible motive behind Hall’s murder, but Smith scoffed at suggestions prostitution may have contributed to her death.

“I get tired whenever a transgender person is murdered, [people] automatically connect it to prostitution,” he told the Blade. “She could have just been walking across the field and there could have been a random hate crime.”

Some of the more than two dozen people who attended the LGBT Advisory Council’s meeting at Chase Brexton also expressed concern about anti-trans violence they say continues to take place in Baltimore. WJZ reported the person who shot Kelly Young to death in East Baltimore in April 2013 remains at large.

“Because we do not know the motive behind Kandy’s death, the LGBT communities of Baltimore remain apprehensive and on guard,” said Evans as WJZ reported.

Anyone with information about Hall’s death is urged to call Metro Crime Stoppers at (866) 7-LOCKUP.


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.


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


GLCCB to hold town hall meetings on Pride

Baltimore Pride Parade, gay news, Washington Blade

2014 Baltimore Pride Parade (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Kelly Neel, executive director of the Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Baltimore, announced following the conclusion of the Baltimore Pride celebrations on June 14-15, the organization will seek input from the community in an effort to improve the annual event in future years.

“Organizing Baltimore Pride is an around-the-year undertaking,” explained Neel in a statement. “In an effort to engage and inform the Baltimore LGBT community, The GLCCB and its Baltimore Pride committee will host a series of Pride town hall meetings in July to wrap up this year’s event, recruit members for next year’s Pride organizing committee and discuss improvements for Baltimore Pride 2015. Dates and locations for our Pride Town Hall meetings are being finalized.”

After being situated in Mount Vernon for the Saturday block party and Druid Hill Park for the Sunday festival, the GLCCB, which has operated Pride for more than 35 years, changed venues this year. Both days’ events took place in the Mount Royal area, several blocks north of the previous location and attempted to control drinking with the establishment of two beer gardens.

For more information, please email


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.


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


‘Burlesque-a-pades’ to feature Pontani Sisters

Angie Pontani, gay news, Washington Blade

Angie Pontani (Photo courtesy Angie Pontani)

The Pontani Sisters present “Burlesque-a-pades,” a burlesque show, at the Birchmere (3701 Mt.. Vernon Ave., Alexandria, Va.) Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Angie Pontani, Miss Exotic World Champion, will perform along with lesbian couple Kitten N’Lou. Performers the Main Attration and Helen Pontani also perform. The show is a mix of classic strip tease, comedy, illusion and dance.

Tickets are $29.50. For more details, visit