Dr. Carla Alexander Director of Clinical Affairs, 1987-1997

For Dr. Carla Alexander, the early days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic weren’t just a battle—they were a war.  After serving as a volunteer provider at Chase Brexton Health Care for several years, Alexander led Chase Brexton’s clinicians from 1987 to 1997, at the height of the epidemic. “I just saw a nurse from San Francisco the other day, and she said, ‘We lived through a war,’” Alexander said. “And it was much more like being in a war. Only the war wasn’t acceptable to anybody. Because all the people who were coming to the clinic were being blamed for the […]

Dr. Bernie Branson Shares Stories of Chase Brexton’s Early Days, Establishment of HERO

Sitting in a bar on St. Patrick’s Day in the mid-1980s, Dr. Bernie Branson had a choice to make.  From 1978 to 1982, Branson served as the first medical director of the gay men’s venereal disease clinic that would grow and evolve into Chase Brexton Health Care, before entering private practice. But as HIV and AIDS took hold in Baltimore’s LGBT community, Branson and providers across the city had to decide whether to continue to provide care to those affected. With so little understood about the disease, many straight health care providers refused to provide care—or sometimes, even simple respect—to […]

Chase Brexton’s Dr. Sam Westrick Recalls Battling the Early Stages of the AIDS Epidemic in Baltimore

When he heard about a medical clinic across town which served the health needs of the LGBT community in the early 1980s, Sam Westrick thought he could make a difference. Westrick, then a resident at Franklin Square Medical Center, picked up the phone to volunteer at the clinic, beginning a nearly decade-long association with the organization which put the young doctor front and center for the terrifying early days of the AIDS epidemic in Baltimore. Westrick began volunteering at the clinic in 1981, when it operated two nights per week and saw approximately 30 patients a night. He became the […]

The Story of Us – In His Own Words: Club Hippo  

 By Erik J. Akelaitis   “Where everyone is welcome…” That was their motto for over 40 years before the disco ball spun around one last time and dance floor closed in October 2015. It was the end of an era, but the Hippo was so much more than a bar or dance club. It was a safe haven where me and other Baltimore LGBT men and women could be ourselves, feel accepted and come together as a community.  It was the summer of 1999 when I first walked through the Hippo’s mirrored doorways. I was 22 and had just moved home to Baltimore after […]

The Story of Us

As mentioned in our previous issues, Baltimore OUTloud is proud to launch a new feature column entitled “The Story of Us” in our Pride 2018 Issue. Continuing the tradition of the many historians who have come before us, we would like to bring to you, our readers, the stories of our history. These stories and memories will highlight Baltimore’s LGBTQ community that has come before us. They will give the insight on how we have come so far, and who’s had a hand in making things happen. If you have a story to tell, we would love to hear from […]