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Gay Matters
News important to Maryland's LGBT community
Looking Out: City reports progress on Waxter Center repairs, promises more

New security cameras have been installed and blown-out lights have been replaced. Bathrooms have been professionally cleaned and fitted with new fixtures, and the swimming pool -- which had been closed for nearly four years and left in a state of disrepair -- has been renovated and reopened.

The recent changes to the Waxter Center in Mount Vernon -- a community facility for seniors -- are all part of the city's efforts to make good on a promise issued last winter: that significant improvements to the building would come hand-in-hand with a new lease of third-floor space to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of Baltimore, or GLCCB.

"Our work on the Waxter Center is not yet over," wrote Steve Sharkey, director of the city's general services department, in a letter to the Board of Estimates outlining the progress this week. "However, at this point in time, I believe that we are on a favorable road towards enhancing the Waxter Center for the enjoyment of...

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Looking Out: Queer storyteller recounts religious 'exorcism' in upcoming show

When S.B. Morgaine learned the theme for next week's Stoop Storytelling Series show -- "strange-but-true happenings" -- she knew just the tale to tell.

More than two decades ago, when the now 39-year-old Atheist was a young evangelical Christian teen going to church seven days a week in a small town in eastern Washington state, leaders at a religious retreat conducted an exorcism on her, she says.

"My group leader said she thought I had demons," Morgaine said, and at the time, she thought she did, too.

"I knew I felt different about my girl friends than they felt about me or other girls, but I couldn't have said at that time that I was gay," she said.

By the end of the strange and traumatic experience, the leader told Morgaine she had been cured.

"She said my demons were gone. I disagreed with her because I still felt gay," she said.

Then she heard a voice in her head, which she thought at the time was coming from God, tell her she was fine the way she was. (Now she thinks it was a...

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Maryland delegation's votes on LGBT-related bills fall exactly along party lines

Earlier this week, we mentioned here that U.S. Rep. Andy Harris was named by the Human Rights Campaign to be among the most "anti-equality" members of Congress.

The nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights group added the Baltimore County Republican to their "Hall of Shame" for his votes on recent legislation that impacts or could have impacted the LGBT community -- a bit of information they released ahead of their full "Congressional Scorecard" for the 113th Congress.

Well now that document is fully available, and Harris' isolation when compared to the rest of the Maryland delegation, which is made up entirely of Democrats, is easy to see.

The HRC based its assessment for Senate members on their votes on 9 bills and their stance on same-sex marriage. It based its assessment for House members on their votes on 6 bills and their stance on same-sex marriage.

You can see what all the bills are by accessing the report here.

Harris scored a 0 percent, meaning he took...

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In Baltimore, ballroom culture is transforming the fight against HIV

It's about pomp but also power -- not only to become a YouTube sensation or niche-culture legend, but to provide a family to those without one and to drive HIV awareness in a youth demographic identified by city health workers as being particularly vulnerable to infection.

This is the vogue ball scene in Baltimore in 2014, almost 25 years after the 1990 documentary "Paris is Burning" vaulted the then-nouveau performance dance style into the national and international spotlight. Born of the creativity, athleticism and flamboyance of often-disenfranchised black and Latino gay, transgender and queer youth in New York City in the 1980s, ballroom culture has awakened into an increasingly recognizable influencer of broader pop culture, with its mannerisms mimicked by pop music divas (remember Madonna's "Vogue"?) and its slang often lofted from the lips of reality TV wannabees.

In Baltimore, the ball scene -- in which performers belong to family-like "houses" and compete in runway balls --...

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HRC names Andy Harris among nation's most 'anti-equality' legislators

The nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization has listed U.S. Rep. Andy Harris -- a Baltimore County Republican -- among the nation's "most anti-equality members of Congress."

The Human Rights Campaign said Tuesday that Harris made its new "Hall of Shame" list of 19 legislators nationwide for having "gone out of his way to sponsor nearly every anti-LGBT bill introduced in the House" since he arrived there in 2010.

The list, which also includes high-profile legislators such as Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), comes ahead of the release of the HRC's larger Congressional Scorecard for the 113th Congress, which will be made available here on Thursday.

Harris, the lone Republican in Maryland's delegation, is the only Maryland legislator on the list. The list is entirely comprised of Republicans, with the exception of Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-NC). 

Congressional votes often trend along party lines, with Democrats far more in favor of...

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GLCCB selects new executive director after regional search

The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of Baltimore on Friday named Joel Tinsley-Hall as its new executive director, effective immediately.

The decision comes amid tensions between the community and the center, and after a community-led interview of Tinsley-Hall last month became contentious at times.

Tinsley-Hall, 39, is an 8-year Army veteran and a former supervisor of the University of Maryland's Harbor City Unlimited residential rehabilitation program for patients with mental illness. He is currently pursuing a master's degree in social work at Morgan State University.

"We are overjoyed to announce Joel's appointment," said Mike McCarthy, president of the GLCCB board of directors, in a statement. "Joel has a tremendous vision and passion for LGBTQ advocacy and activism, and brings a breadth of nonprofit experience that will undoubtedly prove essential in continuing the organization's recent efforts to better serve all of Baltimore and Central Maryland's LGBTQ...

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