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AUGUST 2015 BALTIMOREGAYLIFE.COM

THERE'S SOMETHING FISHY G O IN G ON AT GRAND CENTRAL EVERY SUNDAY

BALTIMORE 9 LGBT PHOTO BOOK

THE KNOT 11 TYING THEATRE REVIEW

RECAP OF 26 PHOTO BALTIMORE PRIDE


ALL ABOUT BALTIMORE. MORE APARTMENTS. MORE SERVICE. MORE CHARACTER. MORE PRIDE. Steadfastly committed to providing the ideal apartment living experience for ALL Baltimoreans. A diverse mix of 16 apartment communities in Baltimore City AND County — each with its own unique character and charm.

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GAY LIFE / AUGUST 2015

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IN THIS GAY LIFE

12

Photo by John Kardys.

Sunday Night Fish Fry

by MICHAEL HENNESSY & DANIEL J. CARBO

Departments LOCAL LIFE

National & International News

24

The W.O.E. Report

5

What's New at the Center: What a Party!

by Rachel Roth

by Wyatt O'Brian Evans

17

Baltimore Local News

by Paul Liller

by Steve Charing

HIGH LIFE

9 BALTIMOREGAYLIFE.COM

REAL LIFE

9 LGBT Baltimore Comes Out in Paperback by Louise Parker Kelley 10 Theatre Review: Tying the Knot at Fells Point Theatre by Timoth David Copney 11 Book Review: Oliver Bendorf's The Spectral Wilderness by Anthony Moll

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OUR LIFE 20 21

Crossing T's by Angela Wren Who is a Real Woman?

by Courtney Bedell Eckler

22 out-skirts by Danielle Ariano 23 Spiritual In-To-Me-I-See by Coach Maq ElĂŠ 23 Justin's HIV Journal

BETTER LIFE

25

An Update on Same-Sex Marriage and Personal Finance by Amanda Wooddell Wilhelm

SOCIAL LIFE

26

BScene: Baltimore Pride 2015

by John Kardys & Kristi Metzger

30 Datebook

by Rachel Roth

by Justin B. Terry-Smith

GAY LIFE / AUGUST 2015

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EDITOR’S LIFE

GLBT Community Center of Baltimore and Central Maryland Serving the LGBT Community of Maryland for 35 years

1000 Cathedral St. • Baltimore, MD 21201 • 410.777.8145 • GLCCB.org

Trans Programs

Women’s Programs

BALTIMORE TRANSMASCULINE ALLIANCE

SILHOUETTE

A support group for trans* men (FTM). 3rd Thursdays - 6:30pm BTMA@glccb.org

TRAN*QUILITY

A support group for trans* women (MTF), but anyone who varies from traditional gender expression is welcome. 4th Saturdays - 8pm Tranquility@glccb.org

Recovery ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS LGBTQ-centered AA recovery groups, welcoming to all. Thursdays - 8:00pm Saturdays - 6:30pm

NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS

Men’s Rap group for men in recovery. Sundays - 11:30am

Health & Wellness BEGINNERS’ YOGA

Gentle beginners’ yoga with instructor Tim Hurley, RYT. $9 Sundays - 3:30pm

HIV & STI TESTING

FREE and confidential testing from the Baltimore City Health Dept. and University of Maryland. Wednesdays - 5-8pm

HIV SUPPORT GROUP

2nd & 4th Saturday - 6-7:30pm

Youth & Young Adult Programs MIXED COMPANY

(QUEER YOUNG ADULT GROUP) A discussion, support, and social group for young adult LGBT-identified or questioning individuals and their allies. Tuesdays – 5:30pm Facebook.com/groups/ GLCCB.mixed.co

WHAT’S THE TEA?

Social group for LGBTQ youth ages 18-25

Saturdays – 4pm

SILhouette (Spiritually In-tuned Lesbians) is a spiritual community of women who love women desiring to discover, embrace and live as their spiritual-authentic self. 1st & 3rd Tuesdays - 7:30pm Meetup.com/silhouette

his month marks my two-year anniversary of becoming the editor of Gay Life. The past twenty-four months have definitely been a learning curve, and I’m tremendously proud of the content we’ve given to Baltimore’s LGBT community. I like to think of our lil’ ole magazine as a combination of lifestyle offerings and community prose. Indeed, over the past twelve months, we’ve tried to create a diverse set of voices from our community, while still delivering the local arts and entertainment coverage and news offerings you know and love. It’s a pretty good mix, but I’m looking to expand even more. Our publication is created, in large part, by community volunteers. That means countless writers, photographers and designers give their time and energy to create each month’s publication. It’s a herculean effort, and I’m incredibly thankful to everyone who contributes in getting Gay Life on the streets (and online!) each month. We are always looking for new voices and ways to improve our publication. Later this

A safe, confidential, and supportive space for LBTQ women of all colors. 2nd, 4th, & 5th Thursdays - 7:30pm WOC@glccb.org Meetup.com/Baltimore-LesbiansOf-Color

Men’s Programs THE MANKIND PROJECT (MKP)

Peer-support group that is open to men of diverse race, background, sexual, and gender expression who consciously and compassionately challenge, mentor, and model the type of growth that honors and celebrates the full-spectrum of the mature male. Wednesdays - 6:30pm Bmoi1000@gmail.com

Community Programs

month, I will be re-forming our magazine committee. I’d like to include as many different vantage points from the community as possible. If you’re interested in volunteering your time and talents to Gay Life, please email me at editor@baltimoregaylife, or call our offices at 410.777.8145. I look forward to hearing from you all!

Dan McEvily Editor

BOOK CLUB

A welcoming book club for LGBTQ individuals to discuss a selected reading. 3rd Monday - 7pm

Support

On the Cover The cast of Sunday Night Fish Fry Drag Show at Grand Central. Photos by John Kardys.

ADULT SURVIVORS OF CHILD ABUSE (ASCA)

Community based self-help support group designed specifically for adult survivors of neglect, physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse.

FACEBOOK.COM/GLCCB • TWITTER.COM/GLCCB • YOUTUBE.COM/THEGLCCB

Thursdays – 6:30pm ASCA-Baltimore@hotmail.com ASCA-baltimore.tumblr.com

Dan McEvily, Editor

GAYLIFE Read it. Live it.

For more information on our programs, please contact Danny Carbo at dcarbo@glccb.org

Love it.

2013

GAYLIFE Read it. Live it.

GAY LIFE / AUGUST 2015

T

SISTAHS OF PRIDE

The GLCCB is the publisher of Gay Life and the producer of Baltimore Pride

4

Happy August!

Love it.

1000 Cathedral St. Baltimore, MD 21201 410.777.8145 Phone 410.777.8135 Fax sales@baltimoregaylife.com www.baltimoregaylife.com

editor@baltimoregaylife.com

Cory Burgess, Art Director National Advertising Rep.

cory@coryburgess.com Rivendell Media, 212.242.6863

Contributors

Danielle Ariano, Daniel J. Carbo, Steve Charing, Timoth David Copney, Courtney Bedell Eckler, Coach Mac Elè, Wyatt O’Brian Evans, Michael Hennessy, Louise Parker Kelley, Paul Liller, Anthony Moll, Rachel Roth, Justin B. Terry Smith, Angela Wren, Amanda Wooddell Wilhelm

Photographers

John Kardys, Samatra Johnson, Asia Kenney, Kristi Metzger, Eric Randolph, Richelle Taylor, Jay W.

Gay Life is a publication of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center of Baltimore and Central Maryland (GLCCB). Gay Life is published monthly in Baltimore, Md., with distribution throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. Copyright 2015. All Rights Reserved. Gay Life is copyrighted and may not be reproduced without the expressed written consent of the publisher. Opinions expressed are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect those of Gay Life or its publisher.

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LOCAL LIFE

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fter all the hard work, stress, changes and heat, we made it through another Pride! I cannot express how thankful we at the GLCCB are for the support of the entire community during our 40th year of Baltimore Pride! The weekend showcased how far we’ve come, and also brought to light some of the areas that we still need to focus on. Please take your pride with you throughout the year, and keep in mind that we are strong when we are united! With Pride coming to an end, we are excited to announce some new and exciting things happening at the GLCCB! First, we have created a program called Helping Hands, with the help of some amazing young people in the YouthWorks program. The first phase of Helping Hands is already well underway, with the new Clothing Closet. We are accepting donations of clothing, shoes and toiletries so those who are in need can have clean clothes and basic supplies. We have already had some donations, and we will gladly accept more gently used items. Under Helping Hands, we are also collecting school supplies for the upcoming school year to help those less fortunate.

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Sometimes all it takes is a helping hand to boost someone out of a bad place. We are excited to announce that the LGBT Visitors Guide has been finished, and will be available soon. This guide showcases all the great places in Baltimore that LGBT travelers should visit. If you run into a traveler, please feel free to let them know some of your favorite places in the city! I want to close by highlighting some of the unsung heroes of Baltimore Pride. Dan McEvily, Danny Carbo, and Kevin Holt are staff members of the GLCCB and were instrumental in the success of the event. If it weren’t for all their late nights, hard work, sweat and tears, Pride would never have happened. If you see one of these three amazing people, please thank them! They are really the champions of the event, and the stars of the community. See You Soon In the neighborhood!

Paul Liller Deputy Director

GAY LIFE / AUGUST 2015

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GAY LIFE / AUGUST 2015

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We have pride all year round Each person is unique and so is your health. That’s why we proudly support Baltimore Pride. Visit kp.org/midatlantic to learn more.

Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States, Inc., 2101 East Jefferson St., Rockville, MD 20852 60352510_BaltPride_A_ad 7/24/15-9/7/15

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HORSESHOE BALTIMORE PROUD SUPPORTER OF BALTIMORE PRIDE

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GAY LIFE / AUGUST 2015

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HIGH LIFE

LGBT Baltimore Comes Out in Paperback by

LOUISE PARKER KELLEY

A

book of images of the history of LGBT Baltimore will be launched on August 26—the same day American women got the right to vote. You can buy it at Atomic Books, Red Emma’s, Barnes and Noble or on Amazon. That’s another victory for our community in Charm City: we are out in the city in paperback and full color. Our history book includes pictures that go back over 45 years; the cover price is $22.99; that works out to about 50¢ per year of liberation! Baltimore’s story is too big for one book. It’s just the first one about how we came out, got organized, fought for love and justice and took care of each other. It’s being published the same year that marriage equality became the law of the land, transgender people can serve openly in the military and that Martin Luther King III publicly praised the contributions of Bayard Rustin at the LOGO Trailblazer awards. The timing is exquisite. I was lucky—that’s the term I’m using now that it’s done—enough to be the editor, with crucial help from assistant editors Richard Oloizia (GLCCB alumnus) and Ben Blake of the University of Baltimore GLCCB Archives. Richard and a friend took photos of different important historical locations around the city, while Ben converted the images into the format Arcadia required. Louis Hughes helped me reach out

BALTIMOREGAYLIFE.COM

to the black gay community. Patrick Alexander, Arnie Vande Brake and Dan McEvily helped me find photos of milestone events. Couples trusted me with their wedding pictures. Rik Newton Treadway helped me get the captions right. Since we had plenty of pictures and artifacts in the Archives from GLCCB and the Gaypaper, I thought the biggest problem would be having too many photos—but then I found out that unlike the previous books on LGBT history Arcadia had published, this one would be predominantly in color. Yet 80% of the pictures in our Archives at UB were in black and white. The Pride Parade photos were an exception, and a welcome one. People who donated photos found pictures of their organizations featured in the parade, or at Pride Day or fundraisers. It was frustrating that some organizations never got back in touch with me, or had lost records or even been through fires. I urge people to look through the attic or in storage boxes for what/who’s missing, and send those pictures to UB. John Waters and Cheryl Parham Louis Hughes and Mardie Walker, Steve Charing, Janet Goldstein and Theresa Palomar, all helped complete this project. Thanks to Caitrin Cunngham, Gillian Nicol, Kris MacDonagh and those who toiled away at Arcadia Publishing in South Carolina, this

book got published. Yes, there are many good things about South Carolina, as the battle flag comes down the rainbow flag goes up! Thanks also go to Baltimore’s outrageous bisexual leaders, proud drag queens, openly

gay men, wise allies and fierce lesbian feminists who united to defeat bigotry. Mazeltov. We are invisible no more.

GAY LIFE / AUGUST 2015

9


HIGH LIFE THEATRE REVIEW

Tying the Knot T

ying the Knot is one of only three plays the acclaimed Baltimore Playwrights Festival is presenting this year. Dozens are submitted but only the best see the footlights. James Beller, the author of the play, is understandably excited and proud. His path to get to this point is a roadmap in a successful career, leading to his doing exactly what he wants to do. James is Bethesda-born and reared. Theatre wasn’t the most obvious outlet for the tall, athletic guy. But he grew up with a desire for the stage, both on it and behind the scenes. So he did what so many of his generation did. He did plays in high school and college, wrote plays in his spare time— and finished law school as a tax attorney. He got a job with a high-powered law firm and wrote when he could. Dabbled in directing and acted in local productions. And wrote. Met a nice guy, moved to a government job, made a home for himself and his partner (now husband, also an attorney), and wrote.

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GAY LIFE / AUGUST 2015

And seven years ago he chucked the cushy government job, put his law credentials on a shelf—and wrote. Good choice. Beller writes plays about gay people. He hopes that they’d be just as relevant and funny if they weren’t about gay people. But he writes about what he knows. While his characters may be gay, they’re people first, and he likes most when audiences recognize that. He’s no activist, beating his audiences over the head with The Gay Agenda. His eight full-length plays, for the most part, are more in the romantic comedy mode. Tying the Knot will be presented at Fells Point Corner Theatre, directed by Daniel Douek. Beller had an idea for a new twist on a classic theme: a mother (Arlene) who’s convinced that her son (Michael) is about to make the wrong choice in who to marry. The son wants to marry—wait for it—a girl. Michael’s engagement to this girl strikes her as just plain wrong. Mom loves the ex-boyfriend (David) and was sure Michael

by

TIMOTH DAVID COPNEY

would be with him forever. She’s determined to make that happen. Lance (Michael’s exonce removed), an elegant, sharp-tongued dandy thinks Michael is delusional. I don’t know how it all shakes out, but the premise is enough to make sure my butt will be in a seat to see it. As I’ve said in previous columns, Baltimore Playwrights’ Festival’s commitment to bringing great writing to light is one of the best things artistically our area offers. Fells Point Corner Theatre has never shied away from outré productions, and their commitment to supporting bourgeoning talent is second to none. James Beller and his husband, Chris, married in 2010, but they’ve been together for more than 17 years. From the beginning Chris has been supportive of James’ writing. It’s wonderful when an artist has that kind of support. Best wishes that all of Beller’s support network continues to let him share his gifts with us.

Brian Kraszewski as "Michael," Claire Malkie as "Server 2" and Nancy Blum as "Arlene" in Tying the Knot Photo by Shealyn Jae Photograpy

Tying the Knot August 14 – 23 • $15 Fridays & Saturdays 8pm Sundays 2pm Fells Point Corner Theatre 251 S. Ann St. FPCT.org

BALTIMOREGAYLIFE.COM


BOOK REVIEW

The Spectral Wilderness by

ANTHONY MOLL

W

hat does it mean to be a man? Those who have spelunked into the caves of gender or queer theory are likely to move toward the ideas of foundational theorist Judith Butler when asked such a question. For many others, the answer may be closer to what a parent (or a television depiction of a parent) taught them about masculinity. Yet the lives we live tend to be a bit more complicated than either of these origins; we tend to hash out masculinity as we go along, sometimes in healthy ways, sometimes destructive. Those of us who live as men, particularly queer men of every variety, learn that we often must reexamine and redefine what ‘man’ means.

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For me, this is the primary effect of Oliver Bendorf ’s The Spectral Wilderness, if not the heart of it. In the 36 poems that make up this first full-length collection from Bendorf (the winner of the Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize), readers are offered a complex and authentic account of how life’s routine is transmuted for a man changing and discovering the meaning of change at once. I hesitate to state the obvious fact that this collection explores the theme of transformation. (After all, the cover illustrates a literal metamorphosis.) This is a common subject in literature broadly, but particularly from writers who are transgender. Bendorf, a talented educator, poet and

artist, seems conscious of this throughout the book, but most apparently in the poem “The Doctor Told Me the Shots Would Make Me Spin Silk,” in which he presents a speaker’s medical transition into a spider (while simultaneously sketching a particular masculinity): “If I didn’t want to ask for directions, I could leave a trail/ of silk by which to find my way back….”

that question established definitions, narratives and norms. From the opening poem, “I Promised Her My Hands Wouldn’t Get Any Larger,” Bendorf colors in the outline of queer life in the poetic tradition of complicating the simple and simplifying the complex. In this poem, and in many throughout the collection, the poet presents a discussion about growth and the observation of growth, a conversation that continues through the final (gorgeous) lines of the book. Still, I would be selling this collection short to reduce it to a single theme. The poems are as much about transformation as they are about masculinity itself, about love and relationships, about the queer dream of running away to New England and sustaining oneself with hard, honest work. As such, the title of the collection seems to refer to both the literal wilderness and to the navigation of a new masculinity, one without clearly defined borders to be found either in its exploration or on maps. It asks, does the wilderness exist, or is it a construct built by approximations? What does it mean to be the wilderness? The Spectral Wilderness by Oliver Bendorf The Kent State University Press www.kentstateuniversitypress.com/ 2014/the-spectral-wilderness

The best poems in this collection are those

GAY LIFE / AUGUST 2015

11


SUNDAY FUNDAY AT

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altimore has a long history with drag. It’s the birthplace of Divine, regarded by many as the world’s first drag superstar (sorry RuPaul). It’s the home of Club Hippo, the iconic nightspot that has seen some of the most legendary drag performers strut across its storied stage. It’s a town of drag champions, where local performers have competed valiantly at every national drag pageant imaginable, having won Miss Gay America three times. Alas, despite its history as a town built by queens, many have bemoaned the death of the Baltimore drag scene. Earlier this year, Club Hippo announced it was closing its doors this fall after 43 years. Drag fans, who once flocked to nightclubs to see their local favorites, can now enjoy all things drag from the comfort of their homes with RuPaul’s Drag Race, a competition-style reality show featuring drag queens from across the country. People just won’t come out for a drag show in Baltimore anymore, cynics say. Enter Brooklyn Heights (government name: Ryan Butler), a born-and-bred Baltimorean who has risen up the ranks as one of Charm City’s most recognizable performers. Brooklyn has heard the naysayers and de-

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aka "Blowfi sh" (Bloated, P u ffy & Full of

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aka "JewelfiDazzling)

vish & (Energetic, La

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GAY LIFE / AUGUST 2015

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Hot Air)

cided to take matters into her own perfectly manicured hands by creating the Sunday Fish Fry Show, a weekly drag show featuring a recurring cast of 13 accomplished and polished queens. Brooklyn checked in with Gay Life in advance of the show’s August 16 launch to discuss those Baltimore drag death criticisms, the local drag scene and what audiences can expect each week at the Fish Fry. How did the idea for the Sunday Fish Fry Drag Show come into being? The drag scene in Baltimore is constantly changing and evolving. I wanted to come up with something new for audiences and performers to get excited about. One of the things that’s been absent in Baltimore for some time is a weekly drag show with a recurring, regular cast. Now is the right time to bring a fresh, new spin on a good ole’ fashioned drag show, and so the idea of the Sunday Night Fish Fry at Grand Central came into being. We’ve got 13 queens in the cast that represent all kinds of drag—glamour queens, camp queens, beauty queens, comedy queens—we’ve got something for everyone. Each week will feature a different theme. For example, our first show on August 16 will be “Switch-A-Bitch,” where each cast member will switch their music with another girl. Stupidity and hilarity are bound to ensue. I’m trying to keep the audience and cast on their toes and fully entertained. How did the name “Fish Fry” come about? In the drag community, “fishy” means very pretty, polished and put-together. That sort of represents what the show is all about, because all the girls are fishy in their own way. And a fish fry is a gathering in which people get together and bring a variety of seafood dishes. In a way, our fish fry is a gathering that brings together different types of drag.  How did you select the 13 cast members?

ON M IS A J l" DI N g) ic Ee JORka "Electrck & Strikin

a e, Sli Gard t n a (Av

BALTIMOREGAYLIFE.COM


GRAND CENTRAL'S NEW

DRAG SHOW

SEPHORA JAZMINE gelfish" aka "An ing) le & Shimmer (Ethereal, Agi

BY MICHAEL HENNESSY & DANIEL J. CARBO

There are two different casts, cast A and cast B, which include the top five contestants from Baltimore Drag Wars and other girls from all over the state [of Maryland]. Each girl is different in her own way and the casts were chosen to showcase a variety of drag. That’s something I’ve learned over the years that variety makes for a good drag show. There’s been some talk on social media of the “death of Baltimore drag”, what is your opinion on that? I don’t think Baltimore drag is dying. There are a couple of things to consider when you talk about the “death of Baltimore drag.” You have to take the lack of venues into account. There aren’t many places here in Baltimore where we can perform at, especially with Club Hippo, where so much drag has been performed at over the years, closing soon. Also, there are quite a few people in the community—drag performers and clubgoers alike—who don’t take pride in the art form as they did in the past. A lot of upand-coming performers don’t really put the energy and time into honing their craft. There’s also the massive popularity of television’s RuPaul’s Drag Race. People can now get their drag fix right in their living rooms. The queens from Drag Race become instant drag celebrities, and tour the country going to different clubs. For example, a regular drag show at Central or Club Hippo may only bring in 50 or 60 people, but when a Drag Race girl comes into town, you will get anywhere from 150-300 people. That’s why the Fish Fry is so important to Baltimore drag. For the first time in forever, there is going to be a drag show with insanely talented performers every single week,

so you know there is something great going on at Grand Central every Sunday. Any other special things folks can expect at the Sunday Night shows. Well, our Fish Fry show will go on through mid-September. Then, we will go on a hiatus to make room for the Baltimore Drag Battle Royale, which begins on Sept. 13. The Baltimore Drag Battle Royale will be a new weekly drag competition featuring 16 of Baltimore’s up-and-coming drag talents competing for a $1500 cash prize and a permanent slot in the Sunday Night Fish Fry. The twelve week competition is styled after RuPaul’s Drag Race. Each week contestants will compete in mini-challenges (example: take newspaper and duct-tape and make a dress in 15 minutes) and main-challenges (runway couture). At the end of each show, the audience will vote on the bottom two contestants, who will have to battle it out in a lip-sync duel.

ak

Sunday Night Fish Fry Drag Show Every Sunday, beginning Aug 16. Grand Central Nightclub 1001 N. Charles St. Doors at 6:30pm Show at 7:00pm 21+ • $5 cover Facebook.com/thesundayfishfry Goo.gl/2KKBsQ

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Any closing thoughts to leave our readers with about the Fish Fry and Battle Royale Drag Shows? I’m hoping that our weekly drag shenanigans will get people excited again for drag. Baltimore has such an amazing drag legacy, and I hope that our newest shows will get audiences interested in the art form again.

M'AR

BALTIMOREGAYLIFE.COM

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Photos by John Kardys (except Anastasia, Jalah & M'ara)

GAY LIFE / AUGUST 2015

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GAY LIFE / AUGUST 2015

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REAL LIFE ILLINOIS

RUSSIA KAZAKHSTAN

IOWA

ISRAEL

WASHINGTON

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KENYA

SENEGAL

National & International News 2015 particularly deadly for transgender women NATIONWIDE

K.c. Howard, a 66-year-old transgender woman from Fresno, Calif., was murdered on July 23, making her the eleventh transgender woman to be murdered this year. One day earlier, India Clarke, a 25-year-old African American trans woman, was found beaten to death outside Tampa. Tampa resident Keith Gaillard turned himself in to the Hillsborough County Sheriff ’s Office in connection with her murder. By comparison in all of 2014, 12 trans women were murdered. According to the Advocate, women of color are the predominant group of trans people facing fatal violence every year worldwide.

Boy Scouts change policy on gay leaders NATIONWIDE

The National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) voted to end the ban on allowing openly gay men to be scout

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GAY LIFE / AUGUST 2015

leaders and employees of the organization. Shortly after the announcement, Mormon Church leadership released a statement saying it was “deeply troubled” by the BSA’s decision and threatened to cut ties with the Boy Scouts. The church is the largest Boy Scout charter, and more about 20 percent of all scouts are Mormon, The Washington Post reported.

Dems., Reps., introduce religious liberty, civil rights bills WASHINGTON, D.C.

With marriage equality comes questions of religious liberty and civil rights, and a pair of bills are working their way through the legislature to address those questions. Both Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate are attempting to address the question of whether or not people or groups have the First Amendment right to express their beliefs about gay marriage by withholding services or employment or whether civil rights protections should be extended to gay and lesbian couples in the workplace and community.

Congressman Raul Labrador (R-ID) Republican and Senator Mike Lee of Utah coauthored the First Amendment Defense Act. The bill would prevent the federal government from taking “any discriminatory action” against anyone who acted “in accordance with his or her religious beliefs.” Conversely, the Equality Act—sponsored by Senators Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Cory Booker of New Jersey, and Representative David Cicilline of Rhode Island, all Democrats—would extend the protections of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to members of the LGBT community.

Seattle Mayor addresses hate crime uptick WASHINGTON

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray proposed a plan to make the city safer for LGBT residents. Some of the mayor’s action items were to improve services for LGBT youth, enact a law making all single restrooms in city buildings gender-neutral, and a public education campaign. The plan is in response to a 46 percent increase in LGBT-related hate crimes

by

RACHEL ROTH

this year. The mayor’s proposal is based on recommendations from an LGBTQ Task Force that was appointed in March.

NIU to offer gender-inclusive housing ILLINOIS

For the first time, some students at Northern Illinois University will have the option of living in LGBT housing on campus. The university will open a LGBT floor in one of the dorms this fall. Gender-inclusive housing is offered at 159 institutions of higher education, according to campuspride.org.

Gay man suing NYPD over violent beating at his home NEW YORK

A gay Staten Island man is suing the NYPD after four officers dragged him from his home last month and beat him while repeatedly yelling homophobic slurs. Louis Falcone, 31, told the New York Daily News that officers came to the house to investigate a noise complaint. A neighbor filmed the violent

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attack. Falcone is suing for violating his civil rights, and for the injuries he suffered.

Iowa to put up anti-marriage equality billboards IOWA

An Iowa couple is fighting back after losing their business for refusing to perform samesex marriages. After being sued for discrimination, Betty and Dick Odgaard, the owners of Iowa’s Gortz Haus Gallery—which features a restaurant, flower shop, and wedding venue—stopped offering all weddings so they could avoid marrying gays and lesbians. The Odgaards launched the non-profit God’s Original Design Ministry, which aims to defend “traditional” marriage and plans to place 1,000 “billboards from God” across the nation that decry marriage equality.

Obama Administration unveils updates to National HIV/AIDS Strategy WASHINGTON, D.C.

President Obama signed an Executive Order changing the current strategy for addressing the spread and prevention of HIV. The National HIV/AIDS Strategy is a 10-year plan that identifies a set of priorities and lists strategic action steps tied to measurable outcomes for moving the United States forward in addressing the domestic HIV epidemic. According to AIDS.gov, some of the goals include reducing new infections and increase access to care, as well as improve health outcomes for people living with HIV.

Obama lectures Kenyan president on gay rights KENYA

While visiting Kenya last month, President Obama criticized Kenyon President Uhuru Kenyatta for the country’s harsh anti-gay laws. Under Kenyan law, sexual activity between men is illegal and punishable with a maximum imprisonment of 14 years. CNN reported that President Obama equated legalized discrimination of gays to legalized racism in America and said “bad things can happen” when people are treated differently under the law. President Kenyatta said that while the U.S. and Kenya share many common values and goals, gay rights is not one of them.

6 stabbed in Jerusalem gay pride parade ISRAEL

Six people were stabbed during at Jerusalem’s Gay Pride Parade. Yishai Schlissel,

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an ultra-Orthodox extremist, was arrested. None of the injuries were life threatening, but one victim remains in the hospital in critical condition. As of press time, Schlissel had yet to be charged with a crime, but the court extended his arrest by 12 days while the investigation against him continues. According to The Huffington Post, Schlissel was convicted of a similar attack that wounded several people at a gay pride parade in Jerusalem in 2005. Schlissel had been released from prison just three weeks ago after serving his sentence.

Kazakhstan loses Olympic bid due to discrimination concerns KAZAKHSTAN

Kazakhstan lost its chance to host the 2022 Winter Olympics to Beijing—in large part due to the country’s treatment of LGBT citizens. While a proposed bill that would criminalize homosexuality was dropped in May in an effort to win the bid, LGBT Kazakhs live “in a climate of fear.” The Human Rights Watch issued a report saying that LGBT people in Kazakhstan face hostility and abuse, as well as a lack of sufficient response and support mechanisms.

Famous journalist convicted of homosexual acts SENEGAL

A well-known Senegalese journalist was sentenced to six months in prison for “acts of homosexuality,” which is illegal in this West African country. According to the Associated Press, magazine columnist Tamsir Jupiter Ndiaye was being chased by an angry mob and sought refuge in a Dakar police station. Ndiaye has several previous convictions and spent two years in jail for acts of homosexuality, illegal possession of arms and battery.

Russian LGBT activist fined RUSSIA

Yelena Klimova, founder of an online LGBT community for Russian teens, was fined for violating the Country’s anti-gay propaganda law. She was charged with spreading LGBT propaganda to minors via her website; Deti404 spread. She appealed a similar charge earlier in the year and will attempt to appeal this ruling as well.

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Baltimore Pride 2015 Block Party Photo by Bob Ford

Baltimore Local News Thousands Turned Out for Baltimore Pride Any concerns from the shift of dates for Baltimore Pride from its customary June event to the weekend of July 25-26 should be put to rest. Thousands descended upon Mount Vernon on a sun-baked Saturday to cheer on the Pride parade and celebrate at the block party. Baltimore Pride’s 40th Anniversary festivities had returned to the “gayborhood” following an unpopular move in 2014 to Mount Royal area. Pride is run by the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of Baltimore and Central Maryland (GLCCB). The new dates deep into July and a revised location for the annual parade as well as a new venue for the block party did not deter visitors from all over Maryland, D.C. and beyond to partake in the celebrations. “I like this set-up,” commented Andre from Baltimore. “Last year it was too spread out.” For many in Baltimore’s LGBT community, it was a bittersweet event as it marked the last time the Club Hippo would take part as it is scheduled to close its doors later in the year after over four decades. “This is my last Pride as owner of the Hippo,” said Chuck Bowers, who was selected to serve as the Grand Marshal at this year’s parade. “But it’s not my last Pride.” As has been the tradition, the High Heels Race preceded the parade, and the winner of this year’s event was Jay Day. The parade included a record 82 units and proceeded up Cathedral Street from Monument Street. It ended on Chase Street several blocks north. Marchers were flinging colorful beads, candy and other items at the crowds lining the parade route. A contingent from BlackOutPrideBmore including transgender activists led the parade under the banner #Baltimore-

by

STEVE CHARING

TRANSUPrising. They pointed out racism within the LGBT community and called attention to the lack of safety in Baltimore for transgender folks. Marchers also carried signs proclaiming Black Lives Matter. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Interim Police Commissioner Kevin Davis marched as did Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby. Other political figures included Representatives Donna Edwards and Chris Van Hollen who are seeking to succeed the retiring Sen. Barbara Mikulski. Local advocacy and health organizations participated, such as FreeState Legal, Chase Brexton Health Services, Johns Hopkins Medicine, PFLAG, ShipMates and C.O.M.M.A.N.D. leather groups plus drag and leather title holders from around the state, and a number of LGBTwelcoming churches. Bars past and present were represented including the Hippo; The Lodge from Boonsboro, Md.; and a sizable contingent standing on a flatbed from The Baltimore Eagle, which has been closed since 2012 but which supporters are hoping to re-open. There were various sports groups as well as banks and other LGBT-friendly businesses participating. Drums of Mass Destruction and D.C. Different Drummers provided the percussion beats along the route. “This parade is outstanding with more diversity and businesses,” said Tonya from Baltimore. Paul from Southern Maryland who is attending his first Baltimore Pride event agreed. “It’s entertaining, fun and energetic. People are happy and are having a good time.” Stacie from Greenbelt, Md. was on hand to support her gay son. “I like how everyone is getting along, no arguing, no fighting, and there’s unity.” The block party following the parade became so crowded it spilled onto sur-

GAY LIFE / AUGUST 2015

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REAL LIFE

rounding streets. Newly elected president of the GLCCB Board of Directors, Jabari Lyles, spoke from the main stage and emphasized the role of people of color in our successes. “We’re not free unless all of us are free,” he cautioned. Other speakers appeared on the stage to relate their experience as both black and LGBT and the oppression they had received. Headliners Cazwell, Ts Madison and Martha Wash and other performers entertained on the stage throughout the evening to a packed area. The Sunday event, more laid back than the frenetic block party, returned to Druid Hill Park after a one-year absence. A number of LGBT organizations and gay-friendly business had set up booths along the paths for people to peruse. Many performers appeared on the Main Stage and the Lady Lisa Memorial Drag Stage to entertain the masses. Popular country singer, Steve Grand was Sunday’s headliner. Paul Liller, the deputy director for the GLCCB and the person who oversaw Pride, was pleased with the weekend’s festivities. ”We at the GLCCB are very excited about how Pride 2015 went,” he said. “We feel it was a great way to honor 40 years of LGBT activism and civil rights.”

Batts Reached Out to LGBT Community Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake fired Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts on July 8 saying that he became a distraction. “Too many continue to die on our streets, including three just last night and one lost earlier today,” Rawlings-Blake said. “Families are tired of feeling this pain, and so am I....We need a change.” Batts, 54, who was hired on October 12, 2012, faced criticism, particularly from the Fraternal Order of Police and the city council, for his leadership during the riots that took place in Baltimore in April in the wake of the Freddie Gray death. In addition, he was assailed for the closing of some police stations to the public after 7 p.m. and for the spike of homicides in the city following the unrest in which the mayor described as an “utmost urgency.” One of Batts’ legacies, however, was that he sought reform within the Baltimore Police Department (BPD), and part of that effort was to reach out to the LGBT community. Following the high profile attack in East Baltimore on Kenni Shaw, a gay man, on Christmas night in 2012, a march and rally took place on January 5, 2013 at the site of the crime. Batts addressed the crowd and promised to set up an LGBT Advisory Council that would meet regularly with community members to discuss concerns. The 10-person council was comprised of representatives of the community as well as from the city and BPD including Batts. The council was eventually established in June 2013. On October 10, 2013, Batts and other members of the department held an open town hall

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meeting at the Waxter Center with members of the LGBT community. “We’re here to be open, we’re here to engage, we’re here to be part of the community — all parts of the community,” Batts said. He stated he grew up with a gay uncle, and the beating of Shaw became the catalyst to improve communication. Some of the issues addressed during the meeting included the handling of same-sex domestic violence situations between same-sex couples, the procedures in place to deal with profiling complaints, crime in the area and the success so far of the “Public Enemy No. 1” campaign. The police touted statistics indicating a decline in violent and property crime from the previous year. In addition, a pamphlet was handed out that featured a distinctive design including rainbowcolored silhouettes of police officers and provides information on topics such as, “I’m LGBT and my rights have been violated,” “What Are My Responsibilities?” “How Do I File a Complaint?” It also enumerates the rights of LGBT persons, offers advice for those stopped for questioning, and what an LGBT person should do if arrested. On the cover a statement reads, “All citizens regardless of race, religion, ancestry, age, sex, color, national origin, physical and mental disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression and minors have the right to expect courteous and respectful treatment from members of law enforcement agencies.” On April 14, 2014, Batts held another town hall at the Northwest District Community Action Center in Baltimore. Acknowledging that some members of the BPD are not as sensitive to LGBT issues as they should, he pledged to “add tools to the toolbox” to remedy the situation. He was referring to stepped-up training to “change the culture in the department.” Audience members brought up specific concerns, such as mistrust between the police and transgender residents, police response to domestic violence, need for policies that protect gender variant individuals when interacting with the police, dispatch policies, a reporting mechanism for negative interactions between the police and the community and fear of reprisals if such interactions are reported. On June 6, 2014, three days following the murder of a transgender woman, Kandy Hall, which remains unsolved along with other similar homicides to trans women, a meeting took place at the Chase Brexton Health Services building. Although Batts was not present, Then acting Captain J. Eric Kowalczyk, Director of the Media Relations Center, was the principal speaker, and he emphasized that changing the culture is a slow process. He said that with Commissioner Batts leading the department, there is a strong emphasis on gaining the trust and confidence of the community. A week after the news of Batts’ dismissal, Kowalczyk announced his departure from the

Bryanna Jenkins leading the march on July 24 Photo by Brian Gaither

BPD to form his own communications consulting firm. He was one of the first openly gay members of the Department, worked closely with Batts, and had acted as the LGBT liaison. “Commissioner Batts’ commitment to building a strong and respectful relationship with the LGBT community was astounding,” said Carrie Evans, former executive director of Equality Maryland and a co-chair of the LGBT Advisory Council. “The Council met monthly, including every other month with Commissioner Batts. The LGBT Advisory Council was very active. Every request we had for the Commissioner was met with enthusiasm and action. “In the almost two years of working with him, we proposed and delivered LGBT related training to all cadets; we helped write a general order for the BPD on LGBT terminology and best practices for police interaction with LGBT individuals; we were briefed every 60 days of the status of the murder investigations of transgender women in Baltimore; we helped the BPD increase its recruitment efforts in the LGBT community and we held several community meetings. The LGBT community could not have asked for a stronger ally. Commissioner Batts was the real deal.”

Trans Activists March, Rally to Raise Awareness A diverse crowd of around 100 trans activists took to the streets on July 24 to draw attention to the plight of transgender residents of Baltimore and in particular, those who are people of color. The march had been organized by Bryanna Jenkins, Founding Member and Director of the Baltimore Transgender Alliance, as well as leaders from other trans advocacy groups. Jenkins saw the event, Baltimore Trans Uprising, as an opportunity for the transgender community and allies in Baltimore City “to put a voice and face to our anguish from the various traumas we have experienced in this City and to demand accountability from the systems that our supposed to represent protect us.” The march originated on Charles Street and North Avenue and proceeded one mile down

to the Washington Monument Plaza for the rally on a hot late afternoon. The route was chosen to symbolically pass through the Old Goucher neighborhood where many African-American transgender women have been harassed, according to Monica Stevens, founder of trans support group Sistas of the T. A host of speakers addressed the crowd calling for action and solidarity. Frequent violence towards transgender people, police brutality and marginalization of the trans population were among the top concerns addressed. “The world is watching and our voices were heard,” said Jenkins in a Facebook post. “I want to give special thanks for all of the speakers who set the stage on fire and let the city know that we are a force to be reckoned with.” She points out that this event is just the beginning and further work and dedication will be required. There was a list of 14 demands issued at the rally. Jenkins requested additional donations at http://www.gofundme.com/bmoretransup to continue the work that is taking place in Baltimore City. She credited Merrick Moise, Dane Edidim, Roxanne Raven Storm, Danielle Revlon, Dionne Halsey, Tyler Vile, Monica Stevens, and Ken Jiretsu for their efforts in making the march and rally a success. “As we marched down St. Paul St. we chanted ‘Your Voice is Power! Silence Is Death!’ The #BaltimoreTRANSUprising attendees found their power, they are choosing to live, and the new narrative has begun,” Jenkins said. “I look for forward to continuing to create a new narrative of equality in Baltimore City that intentionally includes the Transgender residents of this City.” Merrick Moise, a volunteer leader with Black Trans Advocacy, agreed. “This is a very significant event in the history of Baltimore LGBT communities. Trans folks and our allies are saying we will no longer be ignored or seen as an addendum to someone’s agenda. We demand equal treatment and to be seen as human beings!” Off to a good start, a contingent from #BaltimoreTRANSUprising led off the Baltimore Pride parade the next day to loud cheers.

BALTIMOREGAYLIFE.COM


When the community works together, the community works A vibrant community depends on the participation of its members. The more diverse their backgrounds, experience and skills, the more unique their contributions to the community can be. Bank of America supports the GLCCB for celebrating individuality while supporting the common goals that bring progress to everyone. Visit us at bankofamerica.com/local Life’s better when we’re connected®

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GAY LIFE / AUGUST 2015

19


C R O S S I N G

So all this time you’ve been a lesbian trapped in a man’s body?!?

YEP! YEP!

I just don’t get it. I love being a guy and seen as strong and tough.

T's By ANGELA WREN

20

Does this mean from now on I’LL have to refer to you as “Miss” and “She?”

GAY LIFE / AUGUST 2015

That’s because you’re a guy and wired to think that way. I’m wired to think like a woman and conversely believe my virtues deserve acknowledgement.

Well, you still catch more flies than any man I ever met!

That’s because I’m a woman…

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OUR LIFE TRANSMISSIONS

Who is a Real Woman? by

COURTNEY BEDELL ECKLER

I

try to focus on the positive aspects of people and our world, but this time I’m going to take a moment to admonish those who tell others how to think and live. A transgender friend of mine told me recently I was not a “real” woman and we (transgender women) can never be real women. This, from a transgender woman? She took issue with the fact that I spend most of my life “stealth.” I feel my past is private and since I have always been a girl, even if part of the time I lived in a male role, for me being transgender mostly comes down to my body. And my body is my business alone, especially the private area most people seem to focus on. She said because I was not a real women I should proclaim to the world that I am transgender. She told me her power comes from being out and making it clear that she is transgender. That may be true for her. I tried to tell her that if this approach is what works for her life than she is doing the right thing. I said

We all need to accept and respect the immense diversity within our LGBT community and not presume to tell anyone else how to live! Nobody knows better than me what is right for me. And I define for myself what and who is real and not real. her journey and gender expression is part of her journey but not mine and that not everyone’s journey is the same. We need to respect the diversity even within our own subculture and that each of us defines and chooses our own journey we take through our lives. Last week at her house a cisgender friend of hers saw me hand the July issue of BGL with my Caitlyn Jenner column to my friend. He asked me why I was writing about transgender people. After a pregnant pause he said “No! You’re not trans! I know

BALTIMOREGAYLIFE.COM

three other trans-women and you’re not trans…I never would have known.” Later I asked him to please keep it to himself because it is personal and a private matter to me. He said he didn’t blame me because there is so much hate out there. He said at the warehouse where he works the guys say horrible, vulgar things about Caitlyn Jenner. I told him that was not my experience and it was more about being simply my own personal business and that I choose when and to whom I discuss my past. Later that night I emailed my trans friend and joked that I should have answered his query with, “no, I’m not trans, but I used to be 25 years ago.” That was when she emailed me back to tell me I was not a real woman, therefore I should tell everyone I am trans. My reaction was how dare she try to tell me or anyone who is “real” and not real? What defines this? I am hard pressed to see a difference between her and a fundamentalist Southern Baptist Minister who says transgender men and woman are not really women and can never be. There are beautiful tall XY female models with a condition called Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome. They would be born as male babies if they didn’t have the testosterone insensitivity. At puberty they do

not develop as girls and when tested they have male chromosomes. They are not considered transgender and are not disputed as to their female sex. So, are they not “real” women? The world of haute couture that enjoys their feminine beauty think so. And if the ability to make babies is the mark of real women, as some say, once she has a hysterectomy is she any less a woman? I have the same body of a woman who has had a hysterectomy—so why am I any less a woman than she? The truth is that each of us decides what is real for ourselves. Nobody walks in anyone else’s shoes nor has the experience of anyone else’s life, to be qualified to tell them what is right for them. My point is that we all need to accept and respect the immense diversity within our LGBT community and not presume to tell anyone else how to live! Nobody knows better than me what is right for me. And I define for myself what and who is real and not real. My friend grew up in the ‘60s and ‘70s and I feel she should know better. But then following my own advice maybe I don’t have the right to tell her to stop spreading her personal philosophy of how to be transgender. I can, however, tell her I don’t wish to hear it!

Courtney Bedell Eckler is the author of a Gay Life advice/insight column that covers all aspects of transgender life ranging from the practical aspects of transitioning, to employment, family, and social concerns. She hopes that, through the column, her insight, knowledge, and experience as a transgender woman will help others in their quest for wholeness. Have a question? Trying to solve a problem? Want some feedback? Let Courtney know about it by emailing advice@baltimoregaylife.com.

GAY LIFE / AUGUST 2015

21


OUR LIFE OUT-SKIRTS

Out of the Ether by DANIELLE ARIANO

I

Focus on what’s truly important to you. When your bank is dedicated to your financial well-being, you can spend more time on the things that matter most.

have this sunspot on my left cheek. I didn’t used to have it and then one day several years back, it appeared. Poof ! The first time I saw it, I leaned in toward the mirror to get a better look. Where did this thing come from, I wondered, but of course, I knew. It had come from countless days on the beach, from hours out on my surfboard when the waves were too good to get out of the water for the five minutes it would’ve taken to reapply lotion, from the year I spent building houses with Habitat in the hot Florida sun. I sighed. If only I had listened to my high school Spanish teacher, Sister Irene. I could still remember the day she’d delivered a lecture to our class after one of the girls in my class had come to school with a wickedly sunburned face. “You honey bunnies think that you’ll be young forever, you think that nothing bad can happen. Well let me tell you, honey bunnies, the sun is nothing to mess around with. Take it from me,” she’d said, pointing to a spot on her nose that looked shiny and wet. “You flop around in your little bikinis without a care in the world. I know. I used to do the same thing, but one day you’ll be sorry if you’re not careful.” Sister Irene was a slight woman who called everybody honey bunny—a perpetual source of eye rolling and laughter amongst my classmates. I’d sat in my desk wide-eyed—not because

of the warning she’d issued or even because to the strange spot on her face—but because I couldn’t imagine her flopping around in a little bikini. When I saw Sister Irene each day, she was always clad a nun’s habit similar to the one donned by Whoopi Goldberg in Sister Act. Thinking of her in a bikini was like thinking about the Grim Reaper wearing a Santa suit. On the day I first noticed the sunspot, I rubbed my finger over it, hoping that it would disappear. I couldn’t get over the fact that it seemed to have sprung up overnight, out of the ether, like a magician had pulled a rabbit right out of a hat, only the hat was my face and the rabbit was my sunspot. As I stood in the bathroom’s glaringly bright lights with my face inches from the mirror I knew there was no going back, no way to undo all of the days I’d spent out in the sun. I knew that this spot was going to be my lifelong companion and that there were probably more spots to come. The window of time during which I could have prevented this little blob from forming had been slammed shut during the previous decade, back when I still believed that turning thirty was the equivalent of mummification. Was this what people meant when they said that with age came wisdom? I sighed again, wishing there was someone to blame beside myself. I thought again about Sister Irene. It may have taken fifteen years, but the image of her flopping around in the sun in a tiny bikini didn’t seem so stunning or unbelievable anymore.

Stop in, call 800.SUNTRUST or visit suntrust.com.

SunTrust Bank, Member FDIC. ©2015 SunTrust Banks, Inc. SunTrust and How can we help you shine? are federally registered service marks of SunTrust Banks, Inc.

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GAY LIFE / AUGUST 2015

Danielle Ariano is a writer and cabinetmaker. Her work has been featured in North Dakota Quarterly and on Huffington Post and Baltimore Fishbowl. She lives in Lutherville, Md. with her wife and their three dogs. When she is not writing or building, you can usually find her at the beach surfing. Find out more at www.danielleariano.com or follow her on Twitter @dariano19.

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JUSTIN’S HIV JOURNAL

Fatherhood by JUSTIN B. TERRY-SMITH

SPIRITUAL IN-TO-ME-I-SEE (SPIRITUAL INTIMACY)

What's Your Story?! by COACH MAQ ELÉ

W

e all have a story—the circumstances that have transpired in our lives that have molded us into the people we are today. For those of us within the LGBTQ community that story more than likely includes our coming out journey and how we first accepted our own sexualities. For many of us this story is rooted in pain, hurt, loss or isolation that we experienced during our childhood such as abuse, the loss of a parent, or maybe even the loss of a childhood. Early on in my training to become a spiritual life coach, I began to realize that the pain I experienced during my childhood was inextricably linked to the work that I do in the world as a coach. It occurred to me that I no longer had to operate as a victim of the circumstances that plagued my childhood and that I could choose to become a victor instead. I chose to no longer share my story from a place of brokenness, but to share it from a place of love. I chose to share

what those experiences taught me about myself and about the world. I focused on who I had become and not who I was. And most importantly, I made peace with my past! I believe that the Universe has divinely set it up that one person’s story can be used to heal another from their story. I believe there are people that need to hear your story, are you willing to share it? And from which place would you be sharing your story? Are you sharing your story as a victim or as a victor? If you’re in a place where you have yet to make peace with your story, I invite you to seek professional support to process your emotions around it. There may be a little girl or boy who is waiting to hear all about how you overcame the pain or troubles in your past. You may be the only light they will ever see or the only memoir they ever read… think about it! BE-LOVED! ~Coach Maq

Coach Maq Elè is a certified Spiritual Life and the facilitator for the GLCCB group SILhouette (Spiritually In-Tuned Lesbians). For more information about Coach Maq and SILhouette please visit Maqele.com. To contact Coach Maq with your coaching questions email CoachMaq@baltimoregaylife.com.

T

his month, I am happy to announce that I’m a proud, gay, HIV-positive, black father of two—yes two—boys! My husband and I adopted our first son, Lundyn, a few years ago, and he just walked across the stage to receive his high school diploma that he so richly deserves and earned. He has done a great job. On Lundyn’s journey to self-discovery, he met a boy named Tavis from his prior high school. Well, lo and behold, Tavis found himself at our door. We couldn’t say anything publically about him until we solidified our family. Lundyn is now in online college with Ashworth College and is making strides. Tavis is in high school improving day by day. Both boys are amazing and make me proud. Of course being a parent isn’t always a fun time and having teens comes with so many different kinds challenges. My husband and I are staying strong and expect these two kids to come out even stronger than we are. Tavis and Lundyn are two very proud gay young men, and just as much as we are examples in their lives, they are examples for us to understand that no matter what age you are, you need to be proud of who you are, because generation after generation we are coming out of the closet younger and younger; our youth is key to our survival. My husband and I went to Baltimore Pride this year and noticed that the crowd was so much younger and livelier then years before, which makes me proud that this generation is a lot prouder than I was when I was their age.

We took Tavis to his first Pride Festival. He had a great time and can’t wait to go again next year. I’ve always been proud of being black, it took some time to be proud to be gay, and when I found out I was HIV positive I had to learn to be proud of knowing my status. But I will tell you that when I became a father twice over, there is no degree that could measure how proud I am to be a father. Being a father takes a lot of work and believe me it’s going to be a lifetime and I don’t mind at all. I think the world of both of my sons, but now I want them to think the world of themselves, which means not to be selfish, but to be proud. They may not understand it now but they will understand when they are older. All that I am and all that I do is for them. May whatever God if any, they worship bless them with pride forever and ever.

Justin B. Terry-Smith MPH is a noted HIV and gay civil rights activist and the creator of ‘Justin’s HIV Journal,” a popular blog in which he shares his trials and tribulations of living with HIV. A U.S. Air Force veteran, Justin resides in Laurel, Md. with his husband, Dr. Philip Terry-Smith and their son Lundyn. Presently Justin is working towards earning his Doctorate in Public Health. Visit his main Web site at www.justinbsmith. com. He welcomes your questions at jsmithco98@hotmail.com.

Photo by Don Harris, Don Harris Photographics, LLC © 2011. All Rights Reserved.

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GAY LIFE / AUGUST 2015

23


OUR LIFE THE W.O.E. REPORT

A 'Fog City' Milestone: San Fran Has Lowest Rates Ever of New HIV Cases/Deaths by

WYATT O’BRIAN EVANS

S

an Francisco has several nicknames, including “Fog City.” Another of those monikers, “The City that Knows How,” is quite appropriate: last year, the city recorded only 302 new HIV cases and 177 deaths of HIV-positive individuals. According to “SF Records All-Time Low in HIV Infections, Deaths,” written by Chris Roberts for the San Francisco Examiner, these numbers are the lowest in the city’s history of the epidemic, translating to a 17 percent drop from the previous year. That’s down from 371 and 209, respectively, in 2013. These infection rates are the lowest ever charted in San Francisco since the advent of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 1980’s. The article stated, “The most telling statistic may be this: since 2012, when the drug Truvada was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as an HIV/AIDS prevention drug, new infections have dropped by 30 percent in The City. “The success of Truvada-centered PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, is also proof positive for some public health officials that their goal of getting to zero new infections

is realistic and achievable. “In addition to increasing awareness and access to PrEP as a prevention tool, public health officials tout the wide availability of HIV/AIDS testing and rapid access to antiretroviral treatment via UC San Francisco as key to the significant drop in new infections.” All of this is part of the “Getting to Zero” campaign, which also has as its components the eradication of stigma and discrimination. Unfortunately though, new infection rates are rising among young people—particularly those of color. Dr. Susan Buchbinder, director of the city health department’s HIV prevention unit, continued, “’Specifically, black people have a lower survival rate than other ethnicities, and vulnerable populations like the poor or homeless have a tougher time entering and staying in treatment’.” The doctor added, “’We are on our way to zero’.” Though she cautioned, “’ But we still have a lot to do’.” Meanwhile, Supervisor Scott Wiener, who is openly gay and uses Truvada as an HIV-prevention measure, is upbeat. “’For a while, our infection rates were pretty stubborn’,” he explained. “’But we’ve made significant advances in getting people tested and quickly into treatment. All of that together creates a very strong atmosphere for reducing new infections’.”

Wyatt O’Brian Evans is a journalist, radio personality (“The Wyatt O’Brian Evans Show,” PapiChuloRADIO.com), instructor, advocate/ motivational speaker, and author of the new novel, Nothing Can Tear Us Apart—RAGE! (Gay/ethnic). You may visit Wyatt at his on line home, WyattEvans.com. Follow him at The Wyatt O’Brian Evans Official Fan Club on Facebook, and on Twitter at @MisterWOE.

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BETTER LIFE

An Update on Same-Sex Marriage and Personal Finance by

AMANDA WOODDELL WILHELM

O

ur society is built around the concept of marriage, but as we know, there should be no difference when it comes to sex. The right to personal choice regarding marriage is inherent in the concept of individual autonomy, which is a right provided and protected in our Constitution. Based on the recent Supreme Court ruling, same-sex marriage is no longer unconstitutional, and is allowed in every U.S. state. Same-sex couples can now enjoy the same marriage rights provided to oppositesex couples. However, as a same-sex couple now able to celebrate the union of marriage—and enjoy the full legal benefits of marriage—what bearing does this have on your financial plans? It is important to take the time to understand the effect and potential benefits now available. While the full impact is still unfolding, this most recent decision begins with

more simplified tax filings for those already married. Previously, couples could jointly file their Federal return, but needed to complete separate, single filings for states that did not recognize their marriage. Now, they can file joint state tax returns in any state. However, it may take some time for state tax authorities to finalize their regulations and issue guidance. Same-sex married couples will also be able to make unlimited gifts to each other without worrying about gift tax implications. And, in the case of the death of a spouse, these couples can leave property to each other without the survivor needing to pay estate taxes. While this has been in effect at the Federal level, couples were still faced with a hefty estate bill at the state level if they resided in a state that did not recognize their marriage. Again, this recent decision has addressed that issue. There is still much unfolding in the wake of this major Supreme Court decision. We will continue to provide updates in the column about new benefits that can help same-sex couples from a financial planning perspective.

Amanda Wooddell Wilhelm is a Manager with SC&H Financial Advisors, the Personal Financial Planning practice of SC&H Group, which is an audit, tax, and consulting firm based in Sparks, Md. To learn more about SC&H Group, visit www.scandh.com. Note: Securities offered through Triad Advisors, Inc. Member FINRA, SIPC. Investment Advisory Services offered through SC&H Financial Advisors, Inc. SC&H Financial Advisors, Inc. and Triad Advisors, Inc. are unaffiliated entities.

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SOCIAL LIFE BSCENE

Baltimore Pride 2015 Twilight on the Terrace at Gertrude's Restaurant by

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JOHN KARDYS

GAY LIFE / AUGUST 2015

BALTIMOREGAYLIFE.COM


BSCENE

Baltimore Pride 2015 Parade in Mt. Vernon by

JOHN KARDYS

BALTIMOREGAYLIFE.COM

GAY LIFE / AUGUST 2015

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SOCIAL LIFE BSCENE

Baltimore Pride 2015 Block Party Stage by

28

KRISTI METZGER

GAY LIFE / AUGUST 2015

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BSCENE

Baltimore Pride 2015 Festival Photo Booth by

JOHN KARDYS

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GAY LIFE / AUGUST 2015

29


SOCIAL LIFE

Datebook

by

RECURRING & ONGOING EVENTS

Sundays Baltimore Farmers’ Market & Bazaar Every Sunday 7am-Noon Jones Falls Expressway Holliday & Saratoga Sts. PromotionAndArts.com Dog Hikes with the Doctor First Sunday of the month 11am-Noon • $2 Baltimore Humane Society 1601 Nicodemus Rd. • Reisterstown BMoreHumane.org Metropolitan Community Church Services Every Sunday 9am and 11am MCC Baltimore • 401 W. Monument St MCCBaltimore.org League of Women Bowlers Every Sunday 4:30pm AMF Marlow Heights Lanes 4717 St. Barnabas Rd. • Temple Hill LeagueOfWomenBowlers2@verizon.net Rise Up, Honoring Women’s Spirituality Fourth Sundays 12:45-2:15pm First Unitarian Church of Baltimore 1 W. Hamilton St. FirstUnitarian.net Westminster PFLAG Monthly Mtg. Third Sundays 7pm St. Paul’s United Church of Christ 17 Bond St. • Westminster PFLAGWCC.org Heterosexual Friendly Gay Brunch First Sunday Frederick’s on Fleet • 2112 Fleet St. FredericksOnFleet.com ASGRA Monthly Trail Ride First Sundays 10:30am • $25-30 Piscataway Stables 10775 Piscataway Road • Clinton ASGRA.org Charm City Volleyball: Competitive Play Every Sunday 10am-1pm • $7 Volleyball House 5635 Furnace Ave. • Elkridge VolleyBaltimore.org Service of Worship First Sundays 10:30am First & Franklin • 210 West Madison St. FirstFranklin.org Service of Worship Every Sunday 10am Brown Memorial Park Avenue Presbyterian Church • 1316 Park Ave. BrownDowntown.org

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GAY LIFE / AUGUST 2015

RACHEL ROTH

Mondays Interfaith Fairness Coalition Mtg. Fourth Mondays 7:30pm Contact info@ifcmd.org to confirm meeting location IFCMD.info PFLAG Howard County Parent Forum Third Mondays 7:30pm Owen Brown Interfaith Center 7246 Cradlerock Way • Columbia PFLAGMD.org Senior Pride: Discussion Group for Women 55+ Monday evenings Chase Brexton Health Services Call 410-837-2050, ext. 2428 for details www.bit.ly/SeniorPride

Tuesdays Howard County PFLAG Monthly Mtg. Second Tuesdays 7:30pm Owen Brown Interfaith Center 7246 Cradlerock Way • Columbia PFLAGMD.org Karate-Dō (LGBT-friendly classes) Every Tuesday 5:30-7:30pm Johns Hopkins Homewood Campus Bob Remington — MDShoto@aol.com Csskshotokan.com Meditation Group Every Tuesday 6:15-7:45pm First Unitarian Church of Baltimore 1 W. Hamilton St. FirstUnitarian.net

Teen Program at JCC Second Tuesdays 6pm Owings Mills JCC 3506 Gwynnbrook Ave. JoinTeens.org Trans Parents Forum, Baltimore Co. Third Tuesdays 7-9:30pm Towson Unitarian Universalist Church 1710 Dulaney Valley Rd. PFLAGBaltimore.org

Wednesdays Charm City Volleyball: Social Play Every Wednesday 6:30-9:30pm • $3-30 Mt Royal Recreational Center 137 McMechen St. Living Well with HIV Support Group Every Wednesday 10:30am Institute of Human Virology 725 W. Lombard St. Jacques.umaryland.edu/support.html

Saturdays Baltimore Frontrunners Every Saturday 8:45am • Brunch 10am Panera Bread, 3600 Boston St. BaltimoreFrontrunners.org HOPE DC Monthly Brunch First Saturdays 11am Rosemary’s Thyme Bistro DC 1801 18th St. NW • Washington, D.C. HopeDCSocials-owner@yahoogroups.com In the Company of Women First Saturdays 10am-Noon First Unitarian Church of Baltimore 1 W Hamilton St. FirstUnitarian.net

DATEBOOK

Saturday, August 1

Spiritual Development with Rev. Sam Offer Every Wednesday 7pm Unity Fellowship Church of Baltimore 4007 Old York Rd. UFCB.org

9th Annual Baltimore Improv Festival A week of funny! • $8-55 • Thru Aug. 2 Theatre Project • 45 W. Preston St. BaltimoreImprovFestival.org

GEM: Gender Empowerment MD Every other Wednesday 7pm Equality Maryland • 1201 S. Sharp St. Owen@EqualityMaryland.org

Saturday Morning Yoga Enjoy an hour of zen every Saturday. FREE • 10-11am Center Plaza • 100 N. Charles St. CultureFly.org

Senior Pride: Discussion Group for Men 55+ Wednesday evenings. Chase Brexton Health Services Call 410-837-2050, ext. 2428 for details www.bit.ly/SeniorPride Support Group for Transgender Adults Third Wednesday 7:30pm Owen Brown Interfaith Center 7246 Cradlerock Way • Columbia hoctytransgroup@gmail.com

Sunday, August 2 Bluegreass in Baltimore Book Release Party w/Cris Jacobs & Patrick McAvinue, Caleb Stine, and Bluestone • $12-18 • 7pm Creative Alliance at The Patterson 3134 Eastern Ave. CreativeAlliance.org

PFLAG Baltimore Co. General Mtg. Fourth Tuesdays 7pm Towson Unitarian Universalist Church 1710 Dulaney Valley Rd. PFLAGBaltimore.org

Thursdays

Parents of Transgender Kids Fourth Tuesdays 7:30-9pm Owen Brown Interfaith Center 7246 Cradlerock Way • Columbia cvhyde@gmail.com PFLAGBaltimore.org

HIV Support: Substance Abuse & HIV Every Thursdays 2-3pm Institute of Human Virology 725 W. Lombard St. IHV.org

Wednesday, August 5

Rainbow Youth Alliance of Baltimore County 2nd & 4th Tuesdays 7-9pm Towson Unitarian Universalist Church 1710 Dulaney Valley Rd. RYABaltimoreCounty@gmail.com

Karate-Dō (LGBT-friendly classes) Every Thursday 5:30-7:30pm Johns Hopkins Homewood Campus Bob Remington — MDShoto@aol.com Csskshotokan.com

Gordon Lightfoot 50 Years on the Carefree Highway Tour. $35-85 • 6:30pm Pier Six Pavilion • 731 Eastern Ave. PierSixPavillion.com

Fridays

Thursday, August 6

HIV Support: Just Between US Every Friday 11am-Noon Institute of Human Virology 725 W. Lombard St. IHV.org

WTMD First Thursdays Concerts in the Park Rain or shine • FREE • 6:30-9:30pm Canton Waterfront Park • Boston St. WTMD.org

Rainbow Youth Alliance of Howard County 2nd & 4th Tuesdays 7:30pm Owen Brown Interfaith Center 7246 Cradlerock Way • Columbia 410.280.9047 rya_leaders@hotmail.com

Tuesday, August 3 S.I.N. and Sinners Say “hi” to the boys. Every Tuesday 9pm • No Cover Club Hippp • 1 W. Eager St. ClubHippo.com

BALTIMOREGAYLIFE.COM


Best of Baltimore Party Live music, magic, walking art and more! $85-175 • 6pm • 21+ Hippodrome Theatre • 12 N Eutaw St. BMag.co/BOB15 Hip Hop Night at Club Hippo Get your dance on every Thursday. Reduced cover before 11pm. Club Hippo • 1 W. Eager St. ClubHippo.com

Friday, August 7 Queens of the Crown Starring Aunye Iman Diamond, Jazmine Sephora, & more! • $7 • 10pm Club Hippo • 1 W. Eager St. ClubHippo.com Bronycon 9:30am • Thru Aug. 9 Baltimore Convention Center • 1 W. Pratt St. BronyCon.org Ms. Lauryn Hill w/Raury • $40-125 • 6pm Pier Six Pavilion • 731 Eastern Ave. PierSixPavillion.com

Wednesday, August 12

Friday, August 21

Yes & Toto One night only! • $36-85 • 5:30pm Pier Six Pavilion • 731 Eastern Ave. PierSixPavillion.com

Gladys Knight & The O’Jays See the legend. • $32-85 • 6pm Pier Six Pavilion • 731 Eastern Ave. PierSixPavillion.com

Friday, August 14

Saturday, August 22

Tying the Knot opens A mom her must convince her son to marry the right man. • $15 • 8pm • Thru Aug. 23 Fell's Point Corner Theater • 251 S. Ann St. FPCT.org

Season Auditions for Cohesion Theater Company Reserve a time slot. • 10am-1pm • Thru Aug. 26 Church on the Square • 1025 S. Potomac St. CohesionTheatre.org/Audition

Mark G. Meadows & Nikki Lerner: A Chorus of Action DC’s favorites come to town. • $12-18 • 8pm Creative Alliance at The Patterson 3134 Eastern Ave. CreativeAlliance.org

“Picnic Le Blanc” Baltimore-style White Party Picnic. $50-100 • 7pm Center Plaza • 222 N. Charles St.

Citizen Cope with Full Band Without art, we can’t cope. • $45 • 7pm Rams Head Live! • 20 Market Place RamsHeadLive.com

Levi & Leather Leather or Bear attire gets you a discount. Fridays 8pm. Grand Central • 1001 N. Charles St. CentralStationPub.com

Unexpected Places 4/ For Unexpected Aerials Feat. East & Eastern; A Clown Duet In Praise of Pizza • FREE • 10pm Creative Alliance at The Patterson 3134 Eastern Ave. CreativeAlliance.org

Saturday, August 8

Saturday, August 15

Dog Days Block Party Celebrate your pup & screen Best in Show. FREE • 6pm Creative Alliance at The Patterson 3134 Eastern Ave. CreativeAlliance.org

Hot In Herre: 2000’s Dance Party w/ DJ’s Will Eastman and Brian Billion. $15 • 9pm 9:30 Club • 815 V. St. N.W. Washington, DC 930.com

Unnatural Habitat A study of creatures by Aaron Martin and Jesse R Yu (J*RYU) • FREE • 8pm Art Whino Gallery 171 American Way • National Harbor, MD ArtWhino.com

Sunday, August 16

Antoine Charvours Presents the White Party An epic event! • $12-175 • 9pm Club Hippo • 1 W. Eager St. ClubHippo.com

Monday, August 10 T.J. Miller The Meticulously Ridiculous Tour. $20-25 • 7pm Rams Head Live! • 20 Market Place RamsHeadLive.com

Tuesday, August 11 Jim Gaffigan Contagious tour. • $50-80 • 7pm Pier Six Pavilion, 731 Eastern Ave. PierSixPavillion.com

BALTIMOREGAYLIFE.COM

Sunday Night Fish Fry Drag Show Weekly Drag Show! • $5 • Sundays 6:30pm Grand Central • 1001 N. Charles St. CentralStationPub.com

Tuesday, August 18 The Minority Filmmaker’s Showcase Short films presented by Reel Independent Women • $9-12 • 7pm. Creative Alliance at The Patterson 3134 Eastern Ave. CreativeAlliance.org

Thursday, August 20 Miranda Sings ‘Summer Camp’ International YouTube sensation performs live. • $74-93.50 • 7pm Hippodrome Theatre • 12 N. Eutaw St. France-MerrickPAC.com

Sunday, August 23 Sunday Night Fish Fry Drag Show Weekly Drag Show! • $5 • Sundays 6:30pm Grand Central • 1001 N. Charles St. CentralStationPub.com

Wednesday, August 26 Santana The Corazón Tour • $55-150 • 6pm Pier Six Pavilion • 731 Eastern Ave. PierSixPavillion.com

Friday, August 28 Gallagher’s Reunion Ladies Event Monthly • 9pm Club Hippo • 1 W. Eager St. ClubHippo.com The Goonies An interactive screening. • $7-12 • 7:30pm Creative Alliance at The Patterson 3134 Eastern Ave. CreativeAlliance.org

Saturday, August 29 Fall Back: Youth Fashion Show Benefiting The Bea Gaddy Family Centers and Movable Feast. • 6pm 29th Street Community Ctr. • E. 29th St. SOGAA.org Pics in the Park Feat. The Imitation Game. • FREE • 9pm Center Plaza • N. Charles & Fayette St. GoDownTownBaltimore.com

Sunday, August 30 Sunday Night Fish Fry Drag Show Weekly Drag Show! • $5 • Sundays 6:30pm Grand Central • 1001 N. Charles St. CentralStationPub.com

Melissa Etheridge This Is M.E. Solo Academy Award and Grammywinning artist Melissa Etheridge will take the stage at the Music Center at Strathmore in Bethesda, Md. to perform songs from her latest album, This is M.E., as well as career-defining hits like “Come to My Window,” “I’m the Only One,” and “I want to Come Over” on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015 at 8 p.m. Known for her iconic voice, profound lyrics, and riveting stage presence, Etheridge will share personal stories about her life and the inspiration behind some of her most beloved songs. This Is M.E., Etheridge’s 14th album, is an ambitious collection that features cross-genre collaborations that harken back to Brave and Crazy, while still maintaining her earnest, confessional approach to songwriting. Among the inventive rap, indie, R&B, and pop producers she worked with on the album are Jerrod Bettis (Adele, One Republic, Eric Hutchinson, Gavin DeGraw), Jon Levine (Nelly Furtado, K’Naan, Selena Gomez), JerryWonda (Grammy Awardwinning producer of the Fugees, Mary J. Blige, Akon), and Roccstar (Usher, Chris Brown).

Strathmore Presents Melissa Etheridge This is M.E. Solo

Wednesday, August 26 • 8pm Tickets $45–85 Music Center at Strathmore 5301 Tuckerman Lane North Bethesda, MD 20852 Strathmore.org 301.581.5100

GAY LIFE / AUGUST 2015

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Baltimore Gay Life August 2015  

Get to know the 13 queens in the new Sunday Night Fish Fry drag show at Grand Central. Then recall the fun you had at Baltimore Pride 2015 b...

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