How Dare Leo Herrera Pretend AIDS Never Existed?

What would the lives of gay men be like today if AIDS never happened? Filmmaker Leo Herrera’s answer to that question is a genre-busting web series “The Fathers Project.” A dreamlike mix of actual historical information and clever wish-fulfilment – with plenty of sex for good measure – Herrera’s series takes us on quite a fantastical journey (the complete series is included in one video, below). “Fathers” also gave me a strange pang of discomfort. As someone who has chronicled the epidemic since it began, there was a small but persistent voice in my head as I watched the series, […]

The World is Changing

However, we are making strides – like on NBC, their Wednesday night, prime time, biggest show, they had a story line of a transgender female. I hope some of y’all saw me on Chicago Med season five, episode six. I was honored to be able to help tell one of our stories. I struggled with accepting who I was for many years. I was ashamed – even embarrassed – about who I was. It wasn’t until a series of family tragedies before I could embrace who I was. Five years ago, my mother and brother died on the same weekend. […]

Aim for Thriving

I’ve sat down many times over the last several months to write this series of articles. Every time I came up short. After all, it’s difficult to say to others like myself that in a world which is fundamentally unsafe to us and threatens to destroy us that we must find a way to know ourselves, be ourselves, and embrace ourselves. Regardless of all the stigma we’ve internalized or externalized, the rules that are placed upon us by a heteronormative society, or even the rules that are placed upon us by our own LGBT community itself – somehow we must […]

A Year of Firsts

Wow, what a ride! 2019 was a year of firsts for me. It was filled with triumphs, and considering where I was just a year earlier, these past 12 months were absolutely amazing. Let’s start where I was in January 2018. You see, I was at the end of the throes of a super deep depression. I mean, I was just getting off the precipice I’d stood on for a couple of years. You know, that place above the tenth floor of any high-rise building. I was ending a relationship of flirting with suicide, but it was still flirting back. […]

Warm Welcome

What an honor to be writing to the Baltimore OUTloud community! I’ll use my first column as an opportunity to talk about myself – don’t leave just yet! I also want to talk about the thoughts and intention behind this column, and encourage you to participate in the conversations to come. (@bmorequeer on Instagram). My name is Elizabeth Harring, I am a licensed therapist in Baltimore City and I specialize in work with LGBTQIA youth, adults, couples, and families. Before that I was an energized young social worker- advocating for at-risk youth in foster care, developing inclusive programs for the […]

Italians Honored World AIDS Day

WHAT A DISTINCT PLEASURE to be in the company of spirited Italians for the week of World AIDS Day in early December. I was honored to be the guest of Plus Onlus, their national coalition of gay men living with HIV and their allies, and on Saturday, November 30th, they joined forces with Komos, the Bologna gay men’s chorus, for a night of music and advocacy that I will not soon forget. My role was to present three segments to the audience which filled the Teatro Testoni to the rafters: the past, present, and future of the HIV epidemic. I […]

Comic Adam Sank Won’t Do HIV Jokes

Comedian Adam Sank has a joke about HIV that left me gasping when he told it to me, the kind of story that has a punchline that mortifies you with shock and a naughty, guilty delight. I would tell you this joke right away but you might get the wrong idea about Adam. There are other things you should know about him first. Adam was a frustrated musical theatre geek in college, made all the more frustrating because he wasn’t the greatest singer or dancer. But he did have confidence. What he needed was the right platform. When Adam graduated with a […]

Doing Our Part

I’m the type off person that likes to know exactly how we’re getting to a destination; accomplishing a goal; or moving forward. This need to plan also includes being able to see the entire map before I start any trip. It can be annoying for others who like to “go with the flow.” The need to plan can be frustrating for me with this work because of the uncertainty. Needless to say, I’ve had to learn to accept and embrace uncertainty. Maybe you are like me? This worldwide endeavor that so many advocates and educators are on to do the […]

Outwardly Affirming

“The assumption is negative unless you are outwardly affirming.” – Tom Koerber Now, you may already know this. Then again you may not. Cpl. Robert Koch joined the growing list of Maryland LGBTQ liaisons throughout our state in April. He joins professionals like Jabari Lyles of the Baltimore City Mayor’s Office; Lt. Becky Fetcher of the Hagerstown police department; Sommer Gray of Sinai / Lifebridge Health – just to name a few. In Cpl. Koch’s own words – directly from the Anne Arundel county police department’s official press release, “As a member of the LGBTQ community myself, I feel honored […]

Call Me By My Name

Since December 2017 the Anne Arundel County Police Department has had a department policy on how to interact with transgender people in an appropriate and dignified manner. We’ve been reviewing the policy in class. The policy states that, “no person shall be discriminated against based on gender identity, sexual orientation, or any other basis.” The policy not only provides some very basic definitions, it also gives instructions on addressing members of the trans community with a person’s preferred first name and appropriate pronouns. The policy prompts the officer to remember that you can’t ask a person about their anatomy or […]