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Baltimore-area locations marking LGBTQ history | PHOTOS

699 Washington Place, 410-962-5070, mvpconservancy.org/the-monument <br> Six years after Stonewall launched the movement, Baltimore had its first Pride rally in 1975. The celebration was held around the Washington Monument in Mount Vernon and organized by the Gay Community Center of Baltimore, the first political activist group for gay people in the city.
(Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun)

Baltimore-area locations marking LGBTQ history | PHOTOS

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To mark Black Pride, here are sites across Baltimore that serve as historical landmarks and safe havens for the LGBTQ community.
(John-John Williams IV, Stephanie García)
Pepper Hill Club
200 North Gay St. <br> Fourteen years before raids on New York’s Stonewall Inn ignited a gay rights movement, Baltimore police raided the Pepper Hill Club in October 1955. They arrested 162 people on charges of disorderly conduct after some men were observed kissing. While 139 people showed up for court, five were convicted of disorderly conduct. Pepper Hill was near City Hall and The Block, the city’s sex and entertainment district. The club was torn down in the 1960s for construction of the Jones Falls Expressway.
200 North Gay St.
Fourteen years before raids on New York’s Stonewall Inn ignited a gay rights movement, Baltimore police raided the Pepper Hill Club in October 1955. They arrested 162 people on charges of disorderly conduct after some men were observed kissing. While 139 people showed up for court, five were convicted of disorderly conduct. Pepper Hill was near City Hall and The Block, the city’s sex and entertainment district. The club was torn down in the 1960s for construction of the Jones Falls Expressway.
(Baltimore Sun)
Leon’s
227 W. Chase St., 410-539-4850, facebook.com/leonsbackroom <br> This Mount Vernon space, which dates to the 1890s, takes its name from Leon Lampe, an owner who served time in the 1930s for bootlegging. It assumed its identity as a gay bar in 1957 and is said to be one of the city’s oldest. A Baltimore Sun story at its half-century, headlined “It’s a dingy little place, but it’s home,” cited a regular who said Liberace stopped in once. It’s still serving stiff drinks and was used in June to film a pilot for a potential FX series.
227 W. Chase St., 410-539-4850, facebook.com/leonsbackroom
This Mount Vernon space, which dates to the 1890s, takes its name from Leon Lampe, an owner who served time in the 1930s for bootlegging. It assumed its identity as a gay bar in 1957 and is said to be one of the city’s oldest. A Baltimore Sun story at its half-century, headlined “It’s a dingy little place, but it’s home,” cited a regular who said Liberace stopped in once. It’s still serving stiff drinks and was used in June to film a pilot for a potential FX series.
(Chiaki Kawajiri, Baltimore Sun)
The Drinkery
205 W. Read St., 410-225-3100, facebook.com/The-Drinkery <br> While many LGBTQ bars in “The Gayborhood,” as the LGBTQ community affectionately calls Mount Vernon, have shuttered, this Mount Vernon dive bar will mark its 50th anniversary next year. When its liquor license was challenged in 2016 by several community members who said customers were disorderly, hundreds submitted signature supporting the bar. Its strong, cheap drinks and mostly Black gay crowd remain staples, as do a welcoming atmosphere, karaoke and Ravens and Orioles on TV.
205 W. Read St., 410-225-3100, facebook.com/The-Drinkery
While many LGBTQ bars in “The Gayborhood,” as the LGBTQ community affectionately calls Mount Vernon, have shuttered, this Mount Vernon dive bar will mark its 50th anniversary next year. When its liquor license was challenged in 2016 by several community members who said customers were disorderly, hundreds submitted signature supporting the bar. Its strong, cheap drinks and mostly Black gay crowd remain staples, as do a welcoming atmosphere, karaoke and Ravens and Orioles on TV.
(Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun)
Club Hippo
1 W. Eager St. <br> Opened in 1972, the cavernous club was home to drag bingo, a “New Faces” drag competition, a popular hip-hop night and countless other experiences. It, along with Grand Central a few decades later, anchored “The Gayborhood” at the corner of Charles and Eager streets, and became a landmark symbolizing the hub of Baltimore’s LGBTQ community. When it closed in 2015, owner Chuck Bowers said it was one of the oldest LGBTQ dance clubs in the country. The space is now a CVS.
1 W. Eager St.
Opened in 1972, the cavernous club was home to drag bingo, a “New Faces” drag competition, a popular hip-hop night and countless other experiences. It, along with Grand Central a few decades later, anchored “The Gayborhood” at the corner of Charles and Eager streets, and became a landmark symbolizing the hub of Baltimore’s LGBTQ community. When it closed in 2015, owner Chuck Bowers said it was one of the oldest LGBTQ dance clubs in the country. The space is now a CVS.
(Helgi Olgeirsson)
Washington Monument
699 Washington Place, 410-962-5070, mvpconservancy.org/the-monument <br> Six years after Stonewall launched the movement, Baltimore had its first Pride rally in 1975. The celebration was held around the Washington Monument in Mount Vernon and organized by the Gay Community Center of Baltimore, the first political activist group for gay people in the city.
699 Washington Place, 410-962-5070, mvpconservancy.org/the-monument
Six years after Stonewall launched the movement, Baltimore had its first Pride rally in 1975. The celebration was held around the Washington Monument in Mount Vernon and organized by the Gay Community Center of Baltimore, the first political activist group for gay people in the city.
(Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun)
The Pride Center of Maryland
2530 N. Charles St., third floor, 443-873-0369, pridecentermd.org <br> Formerly named the Gay Community Center of Baltimore, this organization has been advocating on behalf of sexual and gender minorities in Baltimore and Central Maryland for 45 years. The first political activist group for gay people in Baltimore City shifted its priorities in 2020, following the Black Lives Matter protests, to more proactively support LGBTQ people of color. On Oct. 11, the center will host a 15th birthday party for Baltimore Black Pride.
2530 N. Charles St., third floor, 443-873-0369, pridecentermd.org
Formerly named the Gay Community Center of Baltimore, this organization has been advocating on behalf of sexual and gender minorities in Baltimore and Central Maryland for 45 years. The first political activist group for gay people in Baltimore City shifted its priorities in 2020, following the Black Lives Matter protests, to more proactively support LGBTQ people of color. On Oct. 11, the center will host a 15th birthday party for Baltimore Black Pride.
(Sequinta Hill, director of programs for the Maryland Pride Center)
Chase Brexton Health Care
1111 N. Charles St., 410-837-2050, chasebrexton.org <br> Founded in the Mount Vernon neighborhood in 1978, Chase Brexton Health Care began as a volunteer-run clinic that specialized in gay men’s health. The organization took off during the HIV and AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, when it was in the front lines against the disease. Since then, the clinic has expanded into full primary care services, creating a center for LGBTQ health equity and hosting support groups for LGBTQ and trans people in transition.
1111 N. Charles St., 410-837-2050, chasebrexton.org
Founded in the Mount Vernon neighborhood in 1978, Chase Brexton Health Care began as a volunteer-run clinic that specialized in gay men’s health. The organization took off during the HIV and AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, when it was in the front lines against the disease. Since then, the clinic has expanded into full primary care services, creating a center for LGBTQ health equity and hosting support groups for LGBTQ and trans people in transition.
(Jerry Jackson/Baltimore Sun)
Divine’s Grave
Prospect Hill Cemetery, 701 York Rd., Towson <br> When RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Symone came to Baltimore in June to perform during Pride Month-related events, the star paid homage to actor/drag queen legend Divine of ”Pink Flamingos” and “Hairspray” movie fame. That meant making a trip to the grave of the iconic star at Prospect Hill Cemetery in Towson. The site attracts a number of visitors throughout the year, according to the photos people post on social media from the drag mecca. The gravestone is marked with the celebrity’s birth name: Harris Glenn Milstead.
Prospect Hill Cemetery, 701 York Rd., Towson
When RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Symone came to Baltimore in June to perform during Pride Month-related events, the star paid homage to actor/drag queen legend Divine of ”Pink Flamingos” and “Hairspray” movie fame. That meant making a trip to the grave of the iconic star at Prospect Hill Cemetery in Towson. The site attracts a number of visitors throughout the year, according to the photos people post on social media from the drag mecca. The gravestone is marked with the celebrity’s birth name: Harris Glenn Milstead.
(Sam Friedman / Patuxent Publishing)
14. Grand Central
1001 N. Charles St. <br> The longtime gay bar, and club, which launched in the early 1990s and expanded through the absorption of an adjoining country-western bar, was sold in 2019. It closed in 2020 after a COVID-19 violation. Since then, the structure has been demolished and a new mixed-used residence is under construction. Former general manager Marc Hayes is scheduled to open Central, a gay bar and restaurant just a few blocks away, later this year.
1001 N. Charles St.
The longtime gay bar, and club, which launched in the early 1990s and expanded through the absorption of an adjoining country-western bar, was sold in 2019. It closed in 2020 after a COVID-19 violation. Since then, the structure has been demolished and a new mixed-used residence is under construction. Former general manager Marc Hayes is scheduled to open Central, a gay bar and restaurant just a few blocks away, later this year.
(Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun)
The Baltimore Eagle
2022 N. Charles St., 443-759-8228, baltimoreeagle.com <br> The once-popular bar that catered to the leather community has been re-imagined a couple of times into its current iteration, a more inclusive LGBTQ bar that hosts events such as “Pose” watch parties and drag shows. A slate of Pride Month events — including a performance by “RuPaul’s Drag Race” alum Plastique Tiara — may bode well for the future of the establishment. On Tuesday, the Baltimore Eagle will host a Black Pride kickoff party.
2022 N. Charles St., 443-759-8228, baltimoreeagle.com
The once-popular bar that catered to the leather community has been re-imagined a couple of times into its current iteration, a more inclusive LGBTQ bar that hosts events such as “Pose” watch parties and drag shows. A slate of Pride Month events — including a performance by “RuPaul’s Drag Race” alum Plastique Tiara — may bode well for the future of the establishment. On Tuesday, the Baltimore Eagle will host a Black Pride kickoff party.
(Barbara Haddock Taylor / Baltimore Sun)
Creative Alliance
3134 Eastern Ave., 410-276-1651, creativealliance.org <br> Home to the Baltimore Drag Awards and Rainbow Film Festival, this art venue in Highlandtown supports and promotes Baltimore artists. Founded in 1995, the venue hosts exhibits, music performances and recurring events like Tianquiztli, an outdoor market for Latin American artists.
3134 Eastern Ave., 410-276-1651, creativealliance.org
Home to the Baltimore Drag Awards and Rainbow Film Festival, this art venue in Highlandtown supports and promotes Baltimore artists. Founded in 1995, the venue hosts exhibits, music performances and recurring events like Tianquiztli, an outdoor market for Latin American artists.
(Kim Hairston/Baltimore Sun)
Coconuts Café
311 W. Madison St. <br> The lesbian bar closed in 2009 shortly after a woman was shot and killed and two others were injured outside the establishment following an altercation on the dance floor. When it closed, it was one of the city’s last places centered around the lesbian community. Now 311 West Madison A.V.E., a restaurant and bar known for its lemon pepper wings and personable bartenders, occupies the space.
311 W. Madison St.
The lesbian bar closed in 2009 shortly after a woman was shot and killed and two others were injured outside the establishment following an altercation on the dance floor. When it closed, it was one of the city’s last places centered around the lesbian community. Now 311 West Madison A.V.E., a restaurant and bar known for its lemon pepper wings and personable bartenders, occupies the space.
The Crown
1910 N. Charles St., second floor, 410-625-4848, thecrownbaltimore.tumblr.com <br> The Crown is a gay-friendly bar and art venue in Charles North. With karaoke nights, DJ shows and Korean BBQ, this no-frills bar is a popular landmark for Baltimore’s club music scene. Offered virtually during the pandemic, Version, a dance party event for Queer people, was formerly held in-person every second Saturday of the month.
1910 N. Charles St., second floor, 410-625-4848, thecrownbaltimore.tumblr.com
The Crown is a gay-friendly bar and art venue in Charles North. With karaoke nights, DJ shows and Korean BBQ, this no-frills bar is a popular landmark for Baltimore’s club music scene. Offered virtually during the pandemic, Version, a dance party event for Queer people, was formerly held in-person every second Saturday of the month.
(Amy Davis / Baltimore Sun)
Johns Hopkins Center for Transgender Health
600 N. Wolfe Street, Carnegie 136, 443-287-7161, hopkinsmedicine.org/center-transgender-health <br> Started in 2016, the Center has about 50 clinicians involved in transgender health care and has interacted with over 2,800 patients. They offer gender affirmation surgery and nonsurgical services across such fields as dermatology, fertility and voice therapy. Clinical Program Director Paula M. Neira was the first transgender Navy veteran to have her name corrected on her discharge paperwork by order of the Navy.
600 N. Wolfe Street, Carnegie 136, 443-287-7161, hopkinsmedicine.org/center-transgender-health
Started in 2016, the Center has about 50 clinicians involved in transgender health care and has interacted with over 2,800 patients. They offer gender affirmation surgery and nonsurgical services across such fields as dermatology, fertility and voice therapy. Clinical Program Director Paula M. Neira was the first transgender Navy veteran to have her name corrected on her discharge paperwork by order of the Navy.
(Kim Hairston/Baltimore Sun)
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