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Frederick Center to honor LGBT ally

Lois Jarman, gay news, Washington Blade

Lois Jarman (Photo courtesy Jarman)

The Frederick Center is honoring Lois Jarman with Frederick’s 2013 LGBTQ Ally of the Year Award on Jan. 12. She will receive this award “because of her tireless efforts over the last decade on behalf of the LGBTQ community of central Maryland,” according Brian Walker, chair of the Frederick Center board.

Jarman founded the Central Maryland chapter of PFLAG in 2006, where she continues to be the chapter president. She has also been co-producer of the “A Little Song, A Little Dance” annual World AIDS Day benefit in Frederick for a dozen years, raising tens of thousands of dollars to benefit Positive Influence (a past Frederick-based HIV support organization), Baltimore Pediatric AIDS Fund, AIDS Response Effort out of Winchester (which now covers central Maryland), and various LGBT organizations.

Jarman has also been a resource for hundreds of LGBTQ students by being a visible ally in the local high school system and other educational institutions.

“This annual award allows us to recognize the efforts of a single person,” said Walker. “But this ceremony allows many community allies to gather to celebrate the work they have done collectively over time, and to hear first-hand how much it matters to the LGBTQ community.”

The event will take place between 3-6 p.m. at the home of Peter Brehm and John Michael Day, 318 West College Terrace in Frederick. A suggested donation of $15 for individuals and $25 for couples would benefit the Frederick Center. Beverages and light refreshments will be served.

For more information, visit thefrederickcenter.org.

07
Jan
2014

New website for trans youth

trans, transgender flag, gay news, Washington Blade, trans youth

(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

A new website, trans*youth@md, has been established to answer legal questions posed by trans youth and their parents. The site was created by FreeState Legal, Inc. in partnership with local Maryland chapters of PFLAG. FreeState provides legal services to low-income members of the LGBT community.

The website, which is still under development, offers such resources as: laws about legally changing name and gender; the steps to change name or gender on official documents, like Social Security cards, driver’s licenses, and passports; rules about signing up for Selective Service if one is trans; and civil rights. However, the website does not provide information about the medical or psychological aspects of transition, although it displays links to additional resources that might be able to provide some answers.

“We want to help parents figure out what they have to do, what they can do to protect their children,” Catherine Hyde, the transgender coordinator for PFLAG- Howard County and a member of PFLAG’s national board of directors, told the Baltimore Sun.

29
Jan
2014

PFLAG celebrates Valentine’s Day

PFLAG, Baltimore, Baltimore Pride Parade, Parents & Friends of Lesbians and Gays, gay news, Washington Blade, celebrate

PFLAG marches in the Baltimore Pride Parade. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The Howard County and Westminster chapters of PFLAG will celebrate Valentine’s Day by hosting dances as part of their monthly meetings. The Howard County chapter will hold its dance on Feb. 11, billed, “A Night for All Ages,” from 7:30-10 p.m. at the Owen Brown Interfaith Center, 7246 Cradlerock Way in Columbia.

The Westminster chapter will host its dance—also for all ages—on Sunday, Feb. 16 from 5-9 pm. at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, 17 Bond St., in Westminster. At both events, snacks, music and games will be offered and will be adult-supervised. The chapter suggests a $5 donation for adults and $2 for students.

For more information visit pflagmd.org and pflagwcc.org for Howard County and Westminster, respectively.

07
Feb
2014

Dumped by her own community on Valentine’s Day

A Valentine's Day dance benefitting PFLAG banned a formerly-lesbian couple because one partner is female-to-male.

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14
Feb
2014

Supporters rally for trans rights in Md.

Martin O'Malley, gay news, gay politics

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley was among those who expressed support for a trans rights bill. (Washington Blade file photo by Pete Exis)

Bob Brittain was doing fairly well in Chestertown, Md., with a wife and family, earning more than $50,000 per year as a certified boat captain, assistant dock master and boat carpenter.  But since the age of three, he knew he was not comfortable with his gender. Two years ago, Bob transitioned to Susan Brittain, now 57, but still with her wife who has been fully supportive.

However, when Susan applied for other jobs, “the rules had changed,” she explained. As soon as she identified as transgender, she was not hired for the positions she was seeking despite her qualifications. While Susan would benefit from a statewide law that would prohibit discrimination in employment, housing, credit and public accommodations, her concern is for others. “It’s for the younger generation,” Susan points out. “They should be productive and happy.”

To that end, on Feb. 17, the Maryland Coalition for Trans Equality—a group with 54 components including Equality Maryland, PFLAG, Maryland NOW and a host of other progressive and religious organizations—held its annual Lobby Day at Lawyers Mall in Annapolis. The goal is to rally trans activists and allies and to meet with individual legislators in an effort to persuade them to pass the bill, which has been unsuccessful the past seven years.

More than 150 braved the sub-freezing chill to hear remarks by Carrie Evans, executive director of Equality Maryland; Del. Bonnie Cullison (D-Montgomery County); Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-Montgomery) who introduced the Senate version of the Fairness for All Marylanders Act (SB 212); Sara Wilkinson from the Maryland chapter of NOW; Del. Luke Clippinger (D-Baltimore) who introduced the House version (HB 1265); Patrick Paschall, a member of the Hyattsville City Council, which passed a gender identity non-discrimination measure; Gov. Martin O’Malley, who, along with Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, Attorney General Douglas Gansler, Comptroller Peter Franchot, Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller, House Speaker Michael E. Busch among other leaders, support the bill; activist and mother of a trans child Bonnita Spikes; and Del. Heather Mizeur (D-Montgomery) who is a candidate for governor.

The theme for this event was “It’s time.” Evans stated to loud cheers, “We want to pass this bill this year and make this the last Lobby Day.”

Speaker after speaker alluded to the fact that this bill has languished in the legislature for too many years and it was time to break it free.  “This is the time to put the bill to rest,” said Madaleno.  “We’ve had eight years of pushing the bill.  If we don’t do it this year, we’re going to be back and back and back for however long it takes.”

Pointing to the successes in other Maryland jurisdictions—Baltimore City, Howard, Baltimore and Montgomery counties as well as Hyattsville — Hyattsville Council member Patrick Paschall stated, “Now is the time for the state of Maryland to follow the lead of local jurisdiction.”

Others highlighted the unnecessary discrimination faced by transgender people and offered a call for inclusion.  “It’s time for all Marylanders to be accepted for who they are,” declared Cullison. Sara Wilkinson said, “We believe the feminist movement can and should embrace transgender people. NOW stands against all oppression.”

A confident Clippinger predicted, “We are going to win this year because of the momentum we have.”

O’Malley said, “We’re all in this together. Everyone deserves to be treated equally with dignity and respect.”

The Senate’s Judicial Proceedings Committee is considering the bill and a vote is expected on Feb. 20. (Visit washingtonblade.com for updates.) SB 212 has 25 sponsors, more than enough to win on the floor. Last year, the bill died in the committee by a 6-5 vote.

18
Feb
2014

PFLAG panel features parents of gays

PFLAG, Baltimore, Baltimore Pride Parade, Parents & Friends of Lesbians and Gays, gay news, Washington Blade

PFLAG

When a child comes out as LGBT, parents often jump into that very same closet themselves by not revealing to others that their child is LGBT. At the regularly scheduled general meeting of the Columbia-Howard County chapter of PFLAG on April 8, there will be a panel discussion presented by parents of LGBT children. The panel members will share their experiences of their own coming out to family and friends. Following the panel presentation, an open discussion of the parental coming out process will transpire.

The meeting takes place between 7:30-9:30 p.m. at the Owen Brown Interfaith Center, 7246 Cradlerock Way in Columbia. All meetings are free, confidential and open to the public. For more information visit pflagmd.org.

01
Apr
2014

PFLAG to present ‘Trans’ the movie

Trans, documentary, gay news, Washington Blade, Mark Schoen

Screen shot from the documentary, ‘Trans.’ (Image via YouTube)

The Columbia-Howard County chapter will present the film “Trans” on Nov. 12 as part of its monthly meeting. Released in 2012, “Trans” is a documentary feature that takes viewers on a journey into the transgender world through personal narratives, real life experiences, emotions and stories that have changed lives and will change lives. The film was made to raise awareness of transgender issues.

Inspired by the story of Dr. Christine McGinn and her work as a transgender surgeon, “Trans” provides an up-close and very personal vision into the lives of a diverse cast of characters.

Mark Schoen, producer of “Trans” will be present to discuss the film. The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Owen Brown Interfaith Center, 7246 Cradlerock Way in Columbia. All PFLAG meetings are free, open to the public and confidential.

06
Nov
2013

Juvenile attacks hamper effort to pass Md. trans bill

transgender flag, gay news, Washington Blade, trans

(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Recently there was an op-ed in the Washington Blade entitled “Maryland advocates must unite to pass trans bill” by a “guest columnist.” The author, who chose not to offer her full name, made several allegations about trans advocacy organizations in the state.

Unlike the author, I will identify myself as the current board chair and a founder of Gender Rights Maryland (GRMD), the state’s only organization founded specifically to pass legislation in Maryland to protect trans rights. Unlike the author, I am happy to name organizations as my group and I were intimately involved in this past year’s efforts in Annapolis to pass the gender identity antidiscrimination bill, SB449.

I am not going to explain at length the differences between GRMD and any other state or local organization seeking passage of these protections for gender non-conforming persons, but I will address the specifics as charged by the author.

GRMD is not a member of the Maryland Coalition for Trans Equality (MCTE), even though we instigated, with PFLAG National, the creation of the forerunner of that organization in late 2011. We left the organization in the spring of 2012 for a variety of reasons that will be revealed in coming weeks in various public forums and publications. GRMD makes no apologies for that decision.

As to the author’s “first hand” witnessing of events it is pretty clear from her writing that she was, at best, a second-hand witness, and has surprisingly little evidence to back up her allegations.

My organization, GRMD, did not support the lobby day, which was organized and promoted by Equality Maryland and the MCTE.

Long before lobby day, SB449 had 23 Maryland Senate sponsors, including Republican Sen. Allan Kittleman. For those unaware, 24 votes are required to pass legislation in the Senate. In addition, Senate President Mike Miller asserted on a number of occasions that he would support the bill (bringing us to the magic number of 24). Thus, if the bill were to make it out of committee to the floor of the Senate, it most assuredly would pass. Alas, there were three Democratic senators on the Judicial Proceedings Committee who voted “no;” had only one of them voted “yes,” the bill would have proceeded to the Senate floor. The reasons for those “no” votes were personal for each senator, and had nothing to do with any disagreement among the advocates.

The purpose of a well-organized lobby day would be to show support to legislators and apply pressure to those who were impediments or on the fence.  Aside from those three senators on the JPR committee there was no point in raising the profile of the bill in the Senate, a position supported by the chamber’s leadership. GRMD’s position was that the focus should be on those three senators, and not the entire Senate. The best way to achieve this, in our opinion, was by one-on-one, face-to-face, scheduled meetings. If those efforts were coordinated with a keen legislative focus then perhaps we might have had another opinion. That is why we did not support the lobby day effort.

As to undermining the bill, it is interesting to note that not supporting something these days is perceived as “undermining.” I dare the author to produce a single document, social media post or email solicitation urging the public to not attend. Please, bring forth such evidence.

The second charge, for which I have evidence, is that a ranking member of the MCTE did indeed engage in a campaign to convince members of our board of directors and policy advisory board to resign. At the request of the board members I will not reveal the details of that exchange; however, I will provide an excerpt of a message received by at least one board member to authenticate the event. I have purposely removed the most offensive language (which was directed at one of our board members who is well respected in the community of color).  The typos are in the original message and retained here. The last bit, of course, was directed at me.

“I am disappointed with your sitting on the Policy Advisory Board of a transphobic organization. … This is NOT an organization poised to lead. This is not an organization seeking to serve. the community. It is an organization to serve its board’s insatiable egos…..

“They participate in ‘whisper’ campaigns and spread ‘platitudes’. There are 33 people sitting on various boards. All chefs and no cooks. EVERY single one of their primary boards were in favor of compromising before negotiations, believed a partial bill was a pathway, in spite of history showing it had never been done. there is no leadership, and a fish rots from the head back …”

For the record, GRMD — this “poorly led,” all-volunteer organization — went on to spearhead passage of comprehensive bills in Howard and Baltimore counties within six months of incorporation. While we chose not to make any public pronouncements at the time, this person has repeatedly made attacks on my organization and our leadership, many of them personal. We have never called this person out and even now will not name names. We will let the MCTE police their own, or not.

I am happy to note that our organization does enjoy an active set of working boards with representatives from all persuasions, including LGB, straight and most assuredly trans communities.

It is unfortunate that the tactic here is the same one taken from the GOP playbook as of late where you blame everybody instead of the instigators. It is like saying the U.S. House is broken when the reality is there is a collection of bad actors in one party doing the damage and blaming all. We have remained largely silent on many of these antics, working to be the adult in the room. But there comes a time where you can only stand so much. That would be now.

So as for the author’s plea for unity, that sounds great. But the notion that the marriage equality effort was without differences is nonsense. Standing together cannot occur as long as there are juvenile attacks underway. GRMD has one goal — to pass antidiscrimination legislation. Pass it efficiently, quickly, quietly and comprehensively. That is all we do. Period.

Sharon Brackett is chair of Gender Rights Maryland.

15
Dec
2013

‘Trans 101′ on tap for PFLAG

PFLAG, Parents Friends and Family of Lesbians and Gays, Capital Pride, gay news, Washington Blade

PFLAG of Westminster-Carroll County will hold a “Transgender 101″ talk at their general meeting on Sept. 15. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The Westminster-Carroll County chapter of PFLAG will feature Catherine Hyde, who will present the topic “Transgender 101” on Sept. 15 during the chapter’s general meeting.

Catherine Hyde, a mother of a transgender child and a Transgender Coordinator for Children and their Parents, will discuss the key facts about transgender individuals and how one can be a supportive ally. In addition, a panel discussion will take place whereby members share their personal stories and answer questions.

Hyde did not listen to her child when he, at the age of 4, told her that something had gone wrong in her belly and that he was supposed to be a she. She did not understand transgender or gender identity until NPR educated her 11 years later. Today, she speaks and trains on transgender understanding and sensitivity. Hyde also serves on the Public Advisory Board of Gender Rights Maryland. She can be reached at cvhyde@gmail.com.

The meeting takes place at 5 p.m. at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, 17 Bond St. in Westminster. For more information, visit pflagwcc.org.

11
Sep
2013

Calendar through October 3

Lady Bunny, gay news, Washington Blade

New York City drag performer Lady Bunny comes to Town (Photo courtesy of Town)

Friday, Sept. 27

The Arlington Gay and Lesbian Alliance (AGLA) and Imperial Court host their USO-themed Show at Freddie’s Beach Bar (555 23rd St., Arlington, Va.,) tonight at 8 p.m. The show is a tribute to the United States military and a celebration of the second anniversary of the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.” There is a suggested door donation of $10. For details, visit their Facebook events page.

Whitman-Walker hosts free HIV testing at Town (20009 8th St., N.W.) tonight from 8 p.m.-midnight for National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. For more details, visit towndc.com.

SMYAL hosts “The Body Party” at Foundry Methodist Church (16th and P streets N.W.) tonight from 7-10 p.m. The party celebrates the end of #SafeSextember and is open to LGBT and allies. The winner of tickets and transportation to Six Flags Fright Fest will be announced. For more information, visit smyal.org.

Saturday, Sept. 28

The Gertrude Stein Democratic Club hosts its 37th Annual Leaderships Awards Reception at Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar (223 Pennsylvania Ave., S.E.) today from 2-4 p.m. D.C. leaders who have contributed to policies protecting transgender people, young queer people of color and older LGBT Americans will be honored. Light food and drink will be served. Tickets are $75 and can be purchased online and at the door. For more details, visit steindemocrats.org.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention hosts its Out of the Darkness Community Walk at Constitution Gardens (17th St. and Constitution Ave.) today at 5 p.m. Registration is from 3-5 p.m. Proceeds benefit local and national suicide prevention and awareness programs. For more information, email simone.poetscher@gmail.com or visit afsp.donordrive.com.

Cobalt (1639 R St., N.W.) hosts its “CTRL” dance party tonight from 10 p.m-3 a.m. Cover is $5. There will be $3 PBR Tallboys, $5 rail drinks and $4 Jameson shots. For details, visit cobaltdc.com.

Legendary drag entertainer Lady Bunny performs at Town (2009 8th St., N.W.) tonight. Doors open at 10 p.m. Drag show begins at 10:30 p.m. Cover is $8 from 10-11 p.m. and $12 after 11 p.m. $3 drinks before 11 p.m. Admission is limited to guests 21 and over. For more information, visit towndc.com.

Sunday, Sept. 29

Special Agent Galactica, cabaret, Jeffrey Johnson, gay news, Washington Blade

Special Agent Galactica (Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Johnson)

Special Agent Galactica begins her four-week run with guitarist Peter Fields at L’Enfant Cafe (2000 18th St., N.W.) tonight at 7 p.m. A mix of jazz, blues and today’s hits will be performed. Admission is free. For details, visit lenfantcafe.com.

Perry’s (1811 Columbia Rd., N.W.) hosts its weekly “Sunday Drag Brunch” today from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The cost is $24.95 for an all-you-can-eat buffet. For more details, visit perrysadamsmorgan.com.

Adventuring, an LGBT outdoors group, host a bike ride along Mt. Vernon Trail meeting at Columbia Island Marina (George Washington Memorial Pkwy., Arlington, Va.,) near the snack bar today at 11 a.m. All levels of experience welcome. Bring your own lunch or buy it during the planned stop at Firehook Bakery (430 S Washington St., Alexandria, Va.,) or at the Mount Vernon concessions. Helmet is required but any type of clothing may be worn. For more information, visit adventuring.org.

Monday, Sept. 30

PEN/Faulkner, Folger and Library of Congress host “District of Literature” today at Library of Congress (101 Independence Ave., S.E.) in the Thomas Jefferson building and The Church of the Reformation (212 East Capitol St., S.E.) from 9:30 a.m.-10 p.m. There will be readings from writers Dolores Kendrick, George Pelecanos and Elizabeth Alexander among others. A public reception at Folger Shakespeare Library (201 East Capitol St., S.E.) in the Exhibition Hall will be from 9-10 p.m.  Admission for all events is free. For more details, visit folger.edu.

Frank Bruni , The New York Times first openly gay op-ed columnist, speaks at Goucher College’s Kraushaar Auditorium (1021 Dulaney Valley Rd., Baltimore) tonight at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 and must be purchased in advance. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit goucher.edu/tickets or call 410-337-6333.

The D.C. Center (1318 U St., N.W.) hosts coffee drop-in hours this morning from 10 a.m.-noon for the senior LGBT community. Older LGBT adults can come and enjoy complimentary coffee and conversation with other community members. For more information, visit thedccenter.org.

Men’s Circle for gay, bi, trans and questioning men is tonight from 7-9:30 p.m. at a location near the Convention Center. The men meet to discuss thoughts, feelings and life in general. To RSVP and find out location, e-mail Randy Marks at rmarksftc@yahoo.com.

Tuesday, Oct. 1

Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) hosts “A Fall Party” for its 30th anniversary at former Councilmember of D.C. Carol Schwartz’s home (2029 Connecticut Ave., N.W.) from 6-8 p.m. tonight. Tickets are $30. For more details or to purchase tickets, visit pflagdc.org or call 202-638-3852.

D.C. Strokes, a LGBT rowing club, hosts a meet and greet happy hour at Nellie’s Sports Bar (900 U St., N.W.) tonight from 7-9 p.m. Meet current teammates and those curious about rowing. For details, visit dcstrokes.org.

Green Lantern (1335 Green Ct., N.W.) hosts its weekly FUK!T Packing Party tonight from 7-9 p.m. tonight. For more details, visit thedccenter.org or greenlanterndc.com.

Wednesday, Oct. 2

Bookmen D.C., an informal gay men’s literature group, discusses Tom Spanbauer’s novel “The Man Who Fell in Love With the Moon” tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Tenleytown Library (4450 Wisconsin Ave., N.W.). All are welcome. Visit bookmendc.blogspot.com for details.

Town (2009 8th St., N.W.) hosts the “Semi-Annual D.C. Gay Flag Football League and Stonewall Sports Mixer” tonight from 7:30-10:30 p.m. Wearing your league T-Shirt/jersey is encouraged. There is a $10 suggested donation that will benefit the Team D.C. Scholarship Fund and the D.C. Center. For more information, visit towndc.com.

The Bachelor’s Mill (1104 8th St., S.E.) hosts happy hour from 5-7:30 p.m. today. All drinks are half price. Enjoy pool, video games and cards. Admission is free. For more details, visit bachelorsmill.com.

Us Helping Us (3636 Georgia Ave., N.W.) hosts a support group for black men living with HIV/AIDS tonight from 7-9 p.m. For more details, visit uhupil.org or call 202-446-1100.

Thursday, Oct. 3

Author Juan Ahonen-Jover reads from his book “The Gay Agenda 2013: All In” at the D.C. Center (1318 U St., N.W.) tonight at 7 p.m. He will discuss both LGBT equality in D.C. and in New York City. For more information, visit thedccenter.org.

NOVA Dynamic Lesbians host its monthly happy hour at the Pinzimini  Lounge at the Westin Hotel (801 N. Glebe Rd., Arlington, Va.,) at 7 p.m. tonight. Valet parking is free with a validated ticket. For more details, visit meetup.com/dynamic2595.

26
Sep
2013