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Gay Matters News important to Maryland's LGBT community
Looking Out: Equality Maryland joins call for justice in Freddie Gray case

Maryland's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy organization on Friday voiced its solidarity with the growing coalition of civil rights groups calling for justice in the Freddie Gray case and systemic improvements to policing in Baltimore.

Carrie Evans, executive director of Equality Maryland, said it had joined the Maryland Coalition for Justice and Equality's call for Gov. Larry Hogan to "use his executive powers to address a number of systemic and structural matters concerning police-community relations and structural community development needs."

The coalition includes prominent civil rights groups such as the ACLU of Maryland and local branches of the NAACP.

Gray died April 19 from a spinal cord injury sustained while in custody after being arrested by Baltimore Police on April 12. His death has inspired widespread protests against police brutality in Baltimore. Six police officers have been suspended with pay as the agency -- and the Justice Department -- investigate.

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Looking Out: First downtown 'prom' planned for LGBT youth

Not long ago, a group of advocacy organizations and health programs geared toward helping lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer youth in the Baltimore area came together around a singular cause: the prom.

"There's constantly this conversation about safe spaces. What is not part of that conversation is prom," said Anastasia Pierron, a coordinator of care services for HIV-positive youth at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. "But when you're talking about what a youth is going through in the sense of their whole journey through life, prom is this huge event."

The advocates decided LGBTQ and allied high school students in the state deserve a prom where they feel safe and welcomed, Pierron said. So they organized one.

The first-of-its-kind LGBTQ Prom is scheduled from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. on May 15 at the Pier 5 Hotel in downtown Baltimore, open to high-school students from around the state who are between the ages of 14 and 19 and have a state- or school-issued ID.

The event is free,...

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Attorney General says fertility law for same-sex couples may discriminate against straight ones

A law passed this session to end discrimination against lesbian couples seeking advanced fertility treatments in Maryland may have "inadvertently" introduced discrimination against straight couples, according to Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh.

The law, passed in Annapolis last month and awaiting Gov. Larry Hogan's signature, requires state-regulated insurers to provide lesbian couples coverage for in vitro fertilization treatments as they already do for straight couples under a 2000 mandate.

In a letter Frosh wrote to Gov. Larry Hogan on Tuesday, he warned the new law may violate the federal Affordable Care Act's restriction against differential treatment based on sexual orientation by allowing lesbian couples to use donor sperm for in vitro fertilization procedures, while leaving in place a requirement that straight couples use only the husband's sperm.

"While this change was necessary to alleviate the discrimination against women in same sex couples, it created an inequality between...

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Looking Out: Black pastors to discuss LGBT issues at Morgan State

Black religious leaders from Baltimore and around the region will gather at Morgan State University next week for a panel discussion on issues surrounding lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer identities in the church.

The event, titled "It's Time to Talk: Black Pastors Call for LGBTQ Justice," is scheduled from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Morgan Interfaith Center.

"Wondering whether the Bible offers a positive word about sexuality? Asking can I be both Christian and LGBTQ?" organizing group Many Voices wrote on it's website. "Join the conversation as religious leaders share their journey to embracing God's LGBTQ children."

Many Voices, a Washington-based nonprofit, pegs itself as a "black church movement for gay and transgender justice."

Anika Simpson, an associate professor of philosophy and women's and gender studies at Morgan, confirmed the event.

"We are looking forward to an enriching and substantive dialogue that explores LGBTQ justice within African American religious...

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Infertility coverage for same-sex couples passes

Same-sex couples in Maryland would get the same insurance coverage for infertility treatments as heterosexual couples do, under a bill passed by the General Assembly Thursday.

The House voted 93 to 45 to approve the measure, which now goes to Gov. Larry Hogan for his signature.  The Senate earlier passed the bill, which was sponsored by Sen. Cheryl C. Kagan, a Montgomery County Democrat.

Maryland requires state-regulated health insurance plans that offer pregnancy-related benefits to cover the costs of in vitro fertilization. But the law specified that only the husband's sperm could be used in any covered in vitro procedure, effectively barring coverage for lesbians using donated sperm.  The bill would remove that restriction.

Some opposed the bill because they didn't think the state should be mandating insurance coverage for in vitro at all. But supporters successfully portrayed the legislation as a fairness issue, arguing that if coverage is mandated, it should be available equally to...

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Looking Out: After cleaning house, GLCCB to host 'grand re-opening'

Having cleaned house both operationally and physically after more than a year of leadership turnover, introspection and criticism, the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of Baltimore has invited the public to a "grand re-opening."

The center, known as the GLCCB, will host community members and guests over wine and cheese at its offices in the city-owned Waxter Center from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on April 14.

"We've spent the last two years pulling the center out of a nose dive, and now you're starting to see the effects," said Chris Adkins, president of the center's board of directors.

Adkins, executive director Joel Tinsley-Hall and other members of the center's new leadership team are touting the event as an opportunity for the GLCCB to update community members about new programming, new grant funding and a new optimism that the tide has turned.

The center has recently received two private grants totaling more than $45,000 to provide community education about PrEP, or pre-exposure...

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