"If you look back historically at the integration of African-American officers into the department and female officers into the department and now LGBT officers into the department, there is a natural progression of welcoming and acceptance," he said. "Things have become progressively easier, but it's a hearts-and-minds campaign."
In the community, Merki and Kowalczyk said the council also plans to encourage more meet-and-greet opportunities between police leadership, including Batts, and the gay community. Such meetings can spur action to back up rhetoric heard at rallies and vigils, they said.
Last summer, two gay men, Lawrence R. Peterson and Joseph Alexander Ulrich Jr., were the victims of a double-shooting in Mid-Town. Ulrich was killed and Peterson was badly wounded. In April, Kelly Young, a transgender woman, was slain in East Baltimore.
None of the incidents have been classified as hate crimes, but Kowalczyk has been kept apprised of the investigations. Arrests have been made in both Shaw's beating and in the shooting of Ulrich and Peterson, with trials pending in both cases. No arrest has been made in Young's case.
Family and friends of Young, who was 29, have pushed for an arrest in the case. Young's friends, including Sade Harrison, a neighbor who thought of Young as a daughter, say they have been left with unanswered questions.
Kowalczyk said detectives are working hard and that he's encouraged by the involvement of the transgender community, where distrust often creates silence. An arrest is "going to take the community's help," he said.
Shaw believes he was attacked because he is gay. He says five men jumped him outside a liquor store in Oliver. Only one was arrested. Shaw said he has been threatened multiple times since then and has spent months under witness protection.
At first, people offered him all kinds of support, he said. Police escorted him back to his apartment on the day of the rally so he could collect some clothes.
But now, months later, he said much of the support has faded away. He's working as a cosmetologist, trying to get by. He still has spasms in his face.
Kowalczyk says he has continued to reach out to Shaw, but Shaw said he has become discouraged by the way his case has been handled and wants to move on.
"I don't want to be suppressed over this incident, over a hate crime that wasn't even labeled a hate crime," he said.
Shaw plans to enjoy the Baltimore Pride celebration this weekend and said that the new advisory council "sounds encouraging." Victims of crime need help from police who are understanding, he said.
"It's going to be a forever process for me," he said of recovering from the attack. "I'm just basically picking up the pieces to my puzzle."
LGBT Police Advisory Council Members
•Alvin Gillard (co-chair), director, Office of Civil Rights and Wage Enforcement
•Aaron Merki (co-chair), executive director, Free State Legal Project
•Sarah Avery, sergeant, Baltimore Police Department
•Shannon E. Avery, associate judge, District Court of Maryland, District 1, Baltimore City
•Anthony W. Batts, commissioner, Baltimore Police Department
•Carrie Evans, executive director, Equality Maryland
•Eric Kowalczyk, sergeant, Baltimore Police Department
•Demetrius Mallisham, liaison, Office of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake
•Carlton R. Smith, president and founder, Baltimore Black Pride
•Owen Smith, field organizer, Equality Maryland