We did it again. We made it through another year full of ups and downs. We here at Baltimore OUTloud are happy that we were a part of your year. Let’s look at some of the stories that we brought you in 2019.
JANUARY: JPride Baltimore, Baltimore’s Jewish LGBTQ social and service organization, hosted a “Winter Blues Happy Hour” on January 17th at the Hotel Revival. The closing of some popular LGBT venues over the years only encouraged the Baltimore drag community to expand their horizons. On January 18th an evening drag brunch was held at The Point in Fells hosted by Robyn Ya’Men. On January 20th the Creative Alliance held “Taste Test,” an evening of short films created by and for black femmes. The event kicked off the second annual Black Femme Supremacy Film Fest. In world news, French scientists announced a “potential major breakthrough” in HIV treatment while here in the US, Lambda Legal sued the Pentagon over HIV policies. Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend was held in DC from January 18th to 20th with Mr. Pittsburgh Leather Fetish 2019 Emerson Aniceto taking home the title of Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather 2019. On January 22nd the Supreme Court’s five conservative justices voted to lift an injunction that had been placed by the lower courts on the Trump administration’s policy banning transgender people from military service.
FEBRUARY: On February 2nd, Brother Help Thyself celebrated 40 years of providing grants to non-profits serving the LGBTQ community in the Baltimore / Washington area with a reception at Baltimore’s Belvedere Hotel. On February 9th a spirted crowd joined drag hosts Pariah Sinclair and Saaphyri Widz for “Drink, Drag, and Paint.” Guests painted nude cartoon images on wine glasses, enjoyed wine tasting, and applauded drag performances at Spirits of Mount Vernon. The February 15th issue of Baltimore OUTLoud honored LGBTQ black pioneers, such as writer Richard Nugent, poet Audre Lorde, and dancer Willi Ninja. Also, on February 15th a federal judge ordered the US Department of Defense to stop discharging HIV-positive members of the US Air Force. On February 26th EC Pops partnered with Moby’s bar to host Baltimore’s Drag Showdown, an eight-week competition to pick Baltimore’s best performer.
MARCH: Baltimore OUTloud’s March 1st issue provided all the details regarding Chase Brexton’s AIDS Walk & Music Fest, scheduled for June 9th, and also contained an article from Baltimore’s LGBTQ liaison Jabari M. Lyles outlining his first six months in City Hall. Frankie Kujawa interviewed mega truck driver Krysten Anderson, who was in Baltimore as part of Monster Jam. On March 10th the inaugural FreeState Justice Ice Ball fundraiser was held at the Patterson Park Skating Arena. Mark Segal informed readers about the John C. Anderson Apartments, which provide affordable housing for LGBT seniors in Philadelphia’s Gayborhood. The Baltimore City school system announced policies regarding transgender and gender-nonconforming students that would put them far ahead of most other school systems. On March 23rd the Keystone State Rodeo Association held its Royalty Pageant at 704 Lounge in Harrisburg. On March 25th the Baltimore Men’s Chorus kicked off its 35th anniversary with a “Spring Welcome Mixer” at Memorial Episcopal Church. The New Wave Singers, Baltimore’s LGBT chorus, held its spring showcase on March 30th at the Towson Unitarian-Universalist Church. March 27th to 31st was LGBT Health Awareness Week and Sam McClure of the LGBT Health Resource Center provided our readers will all the details. The GLCCB announced a name change to the Pride Center of Maryland. A LGBTQ book club debuted at the Towson Library. On March 25th, the Maryland legislature voted to allow doctors to prescribe PrEP to minors without requiring parental consent. Poppy Champlin’s “Queer Queens of Qomedy” returned to Baltimore on March 31st at Magooby’s Joke House.
APRIL: On April 2nd Chicago elected its first African-American woman and first out lesbian mayor. In the April 12th issue writer Richard Finger introduced readers to Monty Howard, who was selected to be the emcee for the Baltimore Pride Parade. On April 20th Hagerstown Hopes presented the LGBTQIA Prom at the Ramada Plaza, with over 70 young people from three states in attendance. On April 25th at the Lord Baltimore Hotel, the first LGBT Champions Awards dinner was held hosted by the LGBT Chamber of Commerce.
MAY: On May 4th the ShipMates Club of Baltimore, Maryland’s first leather club, toasted 45 years with a party at Max’s in Fells Point. Baltimore’s Queen of Comedy Shawnna Alexander provided entertainment. Comedic genius Judy Gold had Baltimore laughing on May 5th at the Bolton Street Synagogue. On May 8th the Pride Center of Maryland hosted a job fair for sexual and gender minorities. On May 9th Chase Brexton’s LGBT Health Resource Center hosted a workshop for LGBT elders providing tips for aging at home. A headline in the May 10th issue of Baltimore OUTloud announced that the Pride Center of Maryland, with the support of State Senator Mary Washington and State Delegate Maggie Macintosh, had secured a $500,000 bond towards construction of a new building. FreeState Justice hosted its annual jazz brunch on May 11th at the Haven Street Ballroom. Writer Mark S. King introduced readers to a group of straight women who were on the frontlines of the fight against AIDS. LGBT Elders Day was celebrated on May 16th. On May 24th President Trump proposed repeals of Obamacare protections for LGBT people. Over the Memorial Day Weekend in Chicago, Baltimore resident and Leatherman of Color 2019 Jack Thompson was sashed International Mr. Leather 2019. This year’s contest saw 68 contestants.
JUNE: The headline article in our June 7th issue told the life story of Baltimore OUTloud’s co-founder and co-owner Jim Williams, who announced his retirement. Also, on June 7th Staff Sergeant Shane Ortega lectured at the Baltimore Veterans Administration regarding his experience as a transgender man in the military. The New Wave Singers celebrated the 50th anniversary of Stonewall with concerts on June 8th and 9th. The Baltimore AIDS Walk & Music Festival hosted by Baltimore’s own Montel Williams was held June 9th at Power Plant Live and raised over $150,000 to support HIV services. On June 12th LGBTQ Pride Night was held at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. June 14th brought the popular Twilight on the Terrance fundraiser to the Baltimore Museum of Art. State Senator Mary Washington and Delegate Maggie McIntosh were Grand Marshals for Baltimore’s Pride Parade held on June 15th followed by the popular block party. Baltimore Pride continued June 13th with the festival in Druid Hill Park. It was Baltimore’s 45th Pride celebration. June 22nd was time for Frederick to celebrate. Frederick Pride 2019 was held once again in the beautiful Carroll Creek Linear Park in downtown Frederick. AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) opened a Baltimore location at 11 East Lexington Street. The first Howard County Pride Festival and the inaugural Annapolis Pride Parade & Festival were both held on June 29th. On June 30th WorldPride was celebrated in New York with a huge parade in honor of the 50th anniversary of Stonewall.
JULY: The July 5th issue of Baltimore OUTloud highlighted Clay Pots, a community center in Baltimore that is helping a diverse group of Baltimore area residents. On July 11th the American Visionary Art Museum kicked off its free summer outdoor film series with a sing-along Sound of Music. Hagerstown Pride was held on July 13th in downtown Hagerstown. Also, on July 13th was the first Westminster Pride.
AUGUST: On August 9th the Baltimore Sex Workers Outreach Project threw a fundraiser at the Metro Gallery. On August 11th Shawnna Alexander hosted a revue featuring Baltimore Kings and Queens of Pride at the Rowan Tree. Writer Frankie Kujawa introduced readers to the hilarious new modern gay sitcom “Vent and Chester” appearing on Facebook. Treasure was named Mid-Atlantic Leather Woman 2019 and Ren Laine was selected Mid-Atlantic Leather Woman Bootblack 2019 during the annual Mid-Atlantic Leather Woman Weekend held August 23rd – 25th in Baltimore. The weekend also included a celebration of 20 years of community service by the Hooker & Boys organization. The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore hosted LGBT Family Day on August 25th to benefit FreeState Justice. The William Way LGBT Community Center in Philadelphia announced that its building will undergo $1 million worth of renovations thanks to a grant from Governor Tom Wolf.
SEPTEMBER: On September 13th folks from the LGBT community gathered outside the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel to protest President Trump’s arrival in town for the GOP congressional retreat. The Baltimore Drag Festival was held September 14th at the Creative Alliance. On September 16th Baltimore lost a drag icon and Queen of Pride 1991 / 1992 as Tia Chambers (aka Skip Peacock) passed away. Restaurants all over Baltimore donated a portion of their proceeds to Moveable Feast during the annual Dining Out for Life on September 19th. On September 24th Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison held a meeting at the Pride Center of Maryland to answer questions about the city’s police department’s role in serving the LGBT community. Baltimore Safe Haven, a nonprofit drop-in center geared towards helping trans people working the streets opened. Prynce Cache and Victoria Blair were selected King & Queen of Pride 2020 at a pageant held at the Motor House in Baltimore.
OCTOBER: On October 4th co-owner and co-founder of Baltimore OUTloud Jim Williams passed away. The October 11th issue of Baltimore OUTloud celebrated LGBT History Month with a detailed look at LGBT publishing and the raise and fall of LGBT bookstores written by Jason Villemez. Also, on October 11th Baltimore native and pre-Stonewall gay activist Bradley Grant passed away. The third annual Keystone State Gay Rodeo was held October 12th at Spring Valley County Park in Glen Rock, Pennsylvania. On October 13th Dreams and Visions, a local LGBTQ spiritual community held a seminar focusing on the pressing issue of LGBTQ homelessness and housing insecurity in Baltimore.
NOVEMBER: On November 1st Howard County Executive Calvin Ball signed an executive order to create a LGBTQ workgroup “to promote the shared community values of diversity and civility” in Howard County. Oya Ra was sashed Mr. Maryland Leather 2020 during a contest produced by COMMAND MC at the Ottobar in Baltimore. The transgender community was celebrated on November 20th, and remembrances were held for those we lost during the Transgender Day of Remembrance. Events were scheduled throughout the Mid-Atlantic area. Meanwhile President Trump continued to push for laws that would allow LGBTQ discrimination by religious groups.
DECEMBER: World AIDS Day was remembered on December 1st. Hearts & Ears celebrated 20 years of helping Baltimore’s sexual-minority community with mental-health services with an open house on December 6th. A memorial service was held on December 7th at Brown Memorial for Baltimore OUTloud co-founder Jim Williams. The Baltimore’s Men’s Chorus celebrated the holiday season and 35 years of bringing music to the Baltimore LGBT community with two concerts entitled “Women’s Works” on December 14th and 15th. The concerts also included a performance by the newly formed Baltimore Women’s Chorus. The 21st annual 12 Days of Christmas variety show extravaganza was held December 14th at the Maritime Conference Center in Linthicum. This year’s fundraiser benefited AIDS Action Baltimore, Mid-Atlantic Deaf Interpreter Fund, Trans Lifeline, and Bee & Dee’s Baltimore Love.
These are just a few of the events that were covered in Baltimore OUTloud in 2019. As we face another year that is sure to be filled with ups and downs, we at Baltimore OUTloud are grateful to have you join us on this journey. At a time when the LGBT media is more important than ever, we thank you for your support. If you would like to read more about the above events visit the archive section of our website: Baltimoreoutloud.com. Have a safe and happy new year!
- Rodney is originally from Hagerstown, Maryland and for many years has lived in Baltimore. In April 2017, Rodney was sworn in for his 10th year as the President of the ShipMates Club of Baltimore. He has been involved in the leather community for many years, but often denies that he sold Jell-O shots at The Last Supper. He has been writing THE LEATHER LINE for the BALTIMORE OUTLOUD newspaper (Baltimoreoutloud.com.) for over fourteen years. He has produced the Mr. & Ms. Baltimore Eagle Contest and the Maryland LeatherSIR/Leatherboy Contest. In 2001 he was proud to serve as Maryland Mr. Drummer 2001. Rodney also does stand-up comedy and in 2013 was thrilled to perform at Philadelphia Leather Pride Night. He has been nominated multiple times for a Pantheon of Leather Award, was selected Leather Man of the Year in 2013 by COMMAND M.C. and by the Baltimore Leather Association of the Deaf in 2006. The 11th annual 12 Days of Christmas benefit show was dedicated to Rodney and his partner Sir Steve. He has been twice selected as ShipMate of the Year. He has judged Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather 2015, Atlantic States LeatherSIR / Leatherboy and recently judged Mr. Eagle NYC 2018. He is delighted to be able to bring news of his beloved leather community to his readers every issue.