This year’s Baltimore Pride planning committee has chosen U.S. Senator Christopher “Chris” Van Hollen, Jr., and Maryland Delegate Mary L. Washington as grand marshals, acknowledging their efforts to support the needs and concerns of the LGBT community.

Delegate Mary L. Washington– Dr. Mary L. Washington was elected to represent Maryland’s 43rd Legislative District as a Democrat in 2010. The district includes much of Northeast Baltimore, Loyola University, and part of Johns Hopkins.

She was born in Philadelphia to two healthcare professionals. She studied at Antioch University, and Johns Hopkins, where she completed her MA and PhD in sociology. Prior to her political career, she taught at Lehigh University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Maryland Institute College of Art.

Washington is openly gay and has supported numerous LGBT issues and events. She is one of six openly LGBT members of the Maryland General Assembly.

Washington’s election marked the first time in Maryland history that two openly LGBT legislators were elected from the same district.

Washington is also one of only two African-American lesbians to serve in a state legislature (the other is Simone Bell, a Democratic member of the Georgia House of Representatives).

Washington’s professional and volunteer activities focus on urban environmental education, equality for all, and improving the quality of life and sustainability of Baltimore neighborhoods.

Her volunteer work often includes negotiating solutions and developing opportunities for collaboration among academic institutions, foundations, community-based civic, local and state government agencies, residents and business owners, and researchers and policymakers.

Senator Chris Van HollenChris Van Hollen was elected to represent Maryland as a Democrat in the U.S. Senate in 2016. He previously served as a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives representing Maryland’s eighth congressional district from 2003 to 2017. Prior to his congressional career, Van Hollen served as a member of both the Maryland House State Senate from 1994 to 2002, and the Maryland State House of Delegates from 1990 to 1994. Prior to his political career, he worked as an attorney.

He was born in Karachi, Pakistan, where his father worked as a foreign service officer, and lived in several countries before returning to the U.S. to complete his junior year of high school. He earned degrees from Swarthmore College, Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and Georgetown Law School.

During his political career, Van Hollen has regularly supported legislation to support the rights of women, people of color, and the LGBT community. He’s supported legislation to outlaw anti-gay discrimination and to allow same-sex marriage.

Van Hollen and his wife, Katherine, live in Kensington where they have raised their three children.