Looking Out: Black Pride events begin next week

The summer may have ended, but pride season in Baltimore has not.

The city's annual Baltimore Black Pride events kick off next week, including nights out on the town, parties for youth and cultural events. The week culminates on Sunday, Oct. 12 with a Fall Festival at Club Bunns on W. Lexington Avenue at 4 p.m.

This year's events are the first to be thrown by The Center for Black Equity - Baltimore, the new name taken up this year by Baltimore Black Pride, Inc. The change brings the organization, which has been working in Baltimore for more than a decade, under the umbrella of the national Center for Black Equity.

The pride events, which the group hosts each October, will retain the name of Black Pride. Other cities have similar pride series, which serve to honor the unique identities of black LGBT community members more directly than the larger Baltimore Pride events over the summer.

Carlton Smith, executive director and founder of the Baltimore center, said he is particularly excited after a year of change about all the opportunities for youth to participate in this year's events, from a STAR TRACK block party to a GLSEN Youth Summit.

"I'm really glad that youth are now ready to take part and celebrate who they are, and be safe and healthy," he said.

Some of the events this coming week are annual favorites, such as the Grown and Sexy Cultural Affair, which will be held at Metropolitan Community Chuch of Baltimore on W. Monument Street at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10. You'll need to purchase a ticket, and dress in "your best RAINBOW COLORS."

There will also be new events, including a History of Ballroom Culture panel discussion and vogue classes under the new "Speak Fire" series, organized by the Center for Black Equity and Free State Legal.

That event is at Chase Brexton Health Care on N. Charles Street at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 9.

You can check out the entire schedule of events here and you can check out the Center for Black Equity - Baltimore's new website here.

Elsewhere in LGBT news:

- The U.S. Supreme Court released a list of cases it will hear this term on Thursday, and none of the same-sex marriage cases before it were included. Here are the cases that were included. The next update will come next week.

- GLAAD has published its annual report on LGBT characters in TV for 2014, which found 32 of 813 prime time broadcast scripted series characters will be LGBT this year. That's 3.9 percent, an increase from last year's 3.3 percent but not as high as the record 4.4 percent in 2012. You can check out the entire report for yourself here. It's pretty interesting. Also, here is OUT's fall TV guide listing LGBT actors and LGBT characters.

- The Fairness for All Marylanders Act, which protects transgender residents of the state from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation, went into effect this week. Here's a quick "Know Your Rights" guide on the law from Equality Maryland and Free State Legal.

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