JUNE. SWELTERING HEAT, insects, cookouts, pools, and most notably – it’s Pride season! Baltimore Pride, entering its 45th year, will provide an environment for all of Maryland’s sexual and gender minority community to showcase their culture, express their authentic identities, and revel in a weekend of celebrating us. This year’s theme, “Unity through Diversity: The ReMix,” represents the transformation of fear into empowerment and embracing community to fight for justice and dignity. “Unity through Diversity” also represents a call to action for those of us within the community, and to those who exist as allies or detractors on the margins.

The Pride we exhibit as sexual and gender minorities is not due to our differences, but rather our audacious diversity. Our community ebbs and flows, weaves and intersects through every aspect of our society. We live through varying gender identities and sexual orientations, many of our core values are influenced by a multitude of religions and spiritualities, and each year we unite to celebrate every fiber that makes us who we are, but we shouldn’t forget that our community pride must extend to the collective body of the LGBTQ spectrum.

Just last month Muhlaysia Booker, age 23, was the fifth black transgender woman to be killed this year. Fifty years ago, it was black transgender women who were the catalyst for the Stonewall rebellion, and subsequently the first LGBTQ Pride. Following the launching of the brick that quite literally change the course of history for the LGBTQ community, it would be difficult to imagine that the pioneers of our annual celebration would presume that they would find themselves erased and marginalized by their own people. As a community, a society, and a people it is imperative that we do more to protect the transgender community, especially black and Latino transgender women.

Baltimore Pride and the Pride Center of Maryland continue to actively maintain a commitment to our mission of being a catalyst for uniting and empowering sexual and gender minorities in Baltimore and Central Maryland, and to advocate for a better quality of life for the entire community. This year’s Pride celebration is not only occurring at a critical point in our history but will serve as a weekend for individuals from various walks of life to commemorate, organize, and be festive.

Baltimore Pride weekend will commence on June 14th with the 13th annual Twilight on the Terrace fundraiser. Twilight is the largest fundraiser for the Pride Center of Maryland and Baltimore Pride and provides attendees with a spectacular night of food, fun, and socializing. Attendees of this year’s event will have the opportunity to bid on one or several AmFund Sponsored Vacation Packages. Twilight on the Terrace will take place on June 14th from 7 to 11 pm at Gertrude’s at the Baltimore Museum of Art (10 Art Museum Drive, Baltimore).

On June 15th, the largest event of Baltimore Pride Weekend, the Official Baltimore Pride Parade takes place. The parade is a lively 11-block procession starting at North Charles and 33rd Streets, passing Wyman Park and ending at North Charles and 23rd Streets.

Of course, it would not be a parade without our annual Pride High Heel race. Heels must be at least two-inches high (the queens will be measuring honey!). For the first time, Pride will host a mini Pet Parade for our furry companions. Following the parade, the Pride Block Party in Station North is where you want to be for all the action. More details about the artists and entertainment schedule can be found on pages 12 and 13). Also, don’t forget to reserve your spot at the “Rainbow” Lot.

As the sun sets on Saturday and shines again on a new day, the Baltimore Pride Committee and the Pride Center of Maryland staff and volunteers will be pitching tents and coordinating the Sunday Pride Festival in Druid Hill Park from noon to 6 pm. The Pride Festival will celebrate families and children with a kid-friendly environment including music and entertainment stages, a drag stage, exhibitors, and local food trucks.

Unity, diversity, commemoration, celebration – whatever motivates you to enjoy this extravagant weekend we at the Pride Center of Maryland and the Baltimore Pride Planning Committee want to wish you a happy and safe Pride season. Happy Pride!

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