Thomas Nicholas ‘Tommy’ Platt & the Spirit of East Baltimore

Thomas Nicholas “Tommy” Platt, a Baltimore native who grew up in Highlandtown and moved to the gay mecca of San Francisco for several decades before returning to his hometown, died of liver cancer on October 12th, 2020. He was 74 years old and had been in declining health for some time. Tommy and childhood friend Stephen Janicki lived next door to each other on East Baltimore Street, about five blocks east of Patterson Park. Stephen said their families were so close that the doors to the two houses were unlocked so that everyone could go back and forth between them […]

Pride in Pride

As I look at these light displays in two of Baltimore’s iconic buildings, I am aware that in all the years, it is the first time that this has happened here. I think of how the White House was bathed in rainbow colors when marriage equality became a reality. I think of friends and acquaintances who are now wife and wife, and husband and husband. I think of the couples who are now enjoying parenthood. And I feel proud. Then my other, more realistic side kicks in: The bills being introduced against trans kids and adults, the effort to deny […]

Trans is the TARGET

Every year for LGBTQ Pride month, those of us who have chosen LGBTQ advocacy as our work are inundated with requests for presentations, panels, keynotes, workshops – you name it. My team at the Center for LGBTQ Health Equity is no different. We will be many places in June and then again in October, when many additional LGBTQ-centered awareness days occur. It is strange though: no one has asked us to talk about the public policy assault our community is experiencing. And I want to talk about it. I think no one has asked us to talk about this issue […]

MAX TALISMAN: Bringing LGBTQ Voices to the Silver Screen

Writer, filmmaker, and actor, Max Talisman is a trailblazer among LGBTQ millennials. The Bethesda, Maryland, native is fighting for diversity and focusing all his efforts in creating content that will bring about change in the entertainment industry. Recently, Talisman spoke to Baltimore OUTloud regarding his upcoming work Things Like This, which is set to begin production this fall. Not only will Talisman star in the film, but he will make his directorial and screenwriting debut. The film, which has assembled an ensemble cast including Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins (TLC), Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight), Krista Allen (Significant Mother), Dyan Cannon (Kangaroo […]

The Appropriation of Pride

A few days ago I was talking with a good friend I haven’t seen since before the pandemic began. We were catching up and the topic landed on Pride. Neither of us have any solid plans for Pride, given that the pandemic has disrupted Pride season yet again. My friend told me he was celebrating Pride month by revisiting some queer cinema classics. We compared favorites and discussed the movies that were important to us in the past. For us, these movies were more than entertainment – they were an introduction to the queer community. They showed us that we […]

In Memory and Reflection

A friend died this past week. She was a handful of years younger than me, and I’ve been struggling this past week with a lot of thoughts, emotions, and periods of emptiness related to her passing. The husband, daughter, family, and friends that she still has here have before them a long summer mourning her loss, and beginning to piece together their lives around the holes left behind. Her husband is the person I’ve known longer, and the cliché of a “kitchen family” is very apparent in the wake. Many of the people with whom I sweated and grinded in […]

With the Stock Market Near All-Time Highs, What’s Your Next Move?

Despite the pandemic and its severe financial shockwaves, the US stock market is up significantly over the last 18 months; however, the economy is still technically in a recession. The Business Cycle Dating Committee, a panel that acts as the official referee on the US economy, has not yet named an end date for the 2020 recession. These contradictory messages, combined with rising inflation and increased government debt, lead many to think that we may be on the brink of a major downturn. As wealth managers for decades, we’ve learned that no matter how strange the market may seem at […]

Escape to the Woods

For many years, the ShipMates Club of Baltimore and the Centaur MC of Washington, DC, hosted leather weekends at a campground. The ShipMates called their weekend “Keelhaul” and the Centaur MC hosted “Olympia.” In the spirit of leather brotherhood, the events were alternating years. (The clubs did not wish to conflict or compete.) Odd years brought Keelhaul and on even years leather folks headed to Olympia. Attendees paid one price, which included a bed in a cabin, all meals, endless cocktail parties hosted by various leather clubs, a run pin, and lots of fun. There was always a dungeon “play […]

Celebrating ElderPride – Our Roots Keep Us Strong

The LGBTQ movement grew, as all do, because it was necessary. Our Elders and 20th century ancestors were degraded, pathologized, systematically brainwashed to deny their own truth. Those who couldn’t or wouldn’t be “discreet” were outcast, murdered, and institutionalized. The only safe option for so many was hiding, and we now know from a pile of research that living a shadow life of deception and shame slowly kills you. Pride dawned from the dignity of our people. Pride was the flower of our convictions—the way I love is valid, my gender is worthy, the desires I have are honorable—and our […]

Honoring Our LGBTQ Elders

Tell us a little about yourself… I am a 64 year young lesbian. I have been with the person of my life Leitner for 31 years. We have two 4 footed children Onyx and Paulie and one amazing adult daughter an amazing artist.  I grew up with my familiarity of the LGBTQ community in Mt. Vernon and PRIDE at the Dell. I am a therapist by profession and advocate by nature. My role in the community today is to advocate for all with an emphasis on our Elders which we will all become eventually become hopefully with grace and nature. […]