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Two Maryland teens make Out100 list

Maryland connections are sprinkled through Out Magazine's 2013 Out100 list, a roll call of the year's most influential members of the LGBT community that has been gradually released online since last Tuesday.

Take L.A.-based filmmaker Jeffrey Schwarz, whose documentary "I Am Divine" explored the life of Baltimore-born drag queen and frequent John Waters collaborator Divine. He's joined on the list by a shirtless Robbie Rogers, the former Terp who made headlines as the first openly gay male athlete to take the field in any American professional sport.

But since Schwarz and Rogers are both Californians whose links to Maryland are tangential at best, it falls on openly gay teenagers Jack Andraka and Pascal Tessier to represent the state — and in one case, the Baltimore area — on a list of prominent LGBT luminaries.

Somehow, we're betting they can hold their own.

Crownsville resident Andraka is a child prodigy who developed a new method of testing urine or blood to detect early-stage pancreatic cancer. In 2012, as a high school freshman, Andraka won the $75,000 grand prize at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

Science fair officials told The Sun at the time that Andraka's study resulted in more than 90 percent accuracy in detecting a cancer biomarker. His Hopkins-based mentor called Andraka "the Edison of our times."

Like Andraka, Tessier is also on the cusp of progress. A Montgomery County resident, he may be the most visible representative of a generation of gay Boy Scouts that will get booted from the organization once they turn 18. Along with his older brother, Tessier began publicly criticizing the Boy Scouts' ban on gay members, which led to an Associated Press article that sparked further media attention.

The teen was present in Dallas in May when the Boy Scouts of America voted to end a ban on gay youth members but kept its prohibition of gay adult leaders. In a June interview with D.C.-based Metro Weekly, a forward-thinking Tessier said he would not let the Boy Scout's policy stand. "I don't think there's a way that they could forever keep a ban on adults only," he said. "It's just inevitable, really, for it to change."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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