SERVING THE COMMUNITY SINCE 1979
MARYLAND’S LGBT COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER JULY 8 - JULY 21, 2011 VOLUME XXXIII, NUMBER 13 WWW.BALTIMOREGAYLIFE.COM
ACTION AND SUPPORT IN
n Chazz Palminteri speaks to Gay Life n “Living Proof” of LGBT youth n One beach’s shady side
k.d. lang PERFORMS AT BSO ONE NIGHT ONLY
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BALTIMORE’S GAY LIFE NEWSPAPER
Thu, July 14 8 pm at the Meyerhoff
Grammy award-winning artist k.d. lang comes to the Meyerhoff stage for one night only! k.d. lang and The Siss Boom Bang will be performing an incredible evening of music spanning her entire career, including the classic “Constant Craving,” her award-winning interpretation of “Hallelujah” and songs from their new album, Sing it Loud. You will not want to miss this event! Note: The BSO does not perform on this program.
Supporting Sponsor: CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield
410.783.8000 | BSOmusic.org/summer WWW.BALTIMOREGAYLIFE.COM
www.kdlang.com VOLUME 33, NUMBER 13 PAGE 3
aryland is a constantly evolving, occasionally disappointing, but always interesting state when it comes to issues affecting the LGBT community. One of the more challenging aspects of our community is in fact how we all face different issues: we are a diverse community and individually we have different concerns, different priorities, and different ideas about how to move forward.
Maryland’s transgender community is a microcosm of diversity—not only in terms of race, gender, and personal stories of transition, but also with respect to the different groups right here in our area that can provide guidance, acceptance, information, and understanding to transmen and transwomen, as well as their partners and allies. While transgender Marylanders face obstacles I can only begin to understand, I feel proud knowing that there are several groups within the GLCCB alone that are here to support them. I hope that these resources reach everyone in need. I’m very excited about this issue of Gay Life not only because we explore this crucial topic (p.12), but also because we highlight some of Baltimore’s brushes with celebrity: Read Chazz Palminteri’s interview (p.5), learn about k. d. lang’s upcoming show (p.6), meet some of Baltimore’s youngest filmmakers (p.9), and find out what you can expect from Catherine Pancake and Mickey Mahoney (p.17). Thanks for picking us up!
18 Out Front
PAGE 5 DINING OUT: Chazz Palminteri on acting, playing gay characters, and his new Baltimore Restaurant. By John Cullen and Marty Shayt
PAGE 17 SPOTLIGHT: Disrupting Homonormativity with Mickey Mahoney & Catherine Pancake: Creative Alliance Screening
PAGE 6 MUSIC: Singer/songwriter k.d. lang comes to the BSO for one night only. By Rose D’Longcroi PAGE 8 FILM: “Living Proof” shows the positive side of being an LGBT youth. By Rachel Roth
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After Hours PAGE 18 BSCENE: It Gets Better, Baltimore. By Jay W White Party at Club Hippo and Project Shalem’s HIV/AIDS Testing. By Samatra Johnson
PAGE 10 NATIONAL & INTERNATIONAL NEWS: By Rex Wockner with Bill Kelley
First Person PAGE 16 SPEAKING OUT: The shady side of P-Town and the universal challenge for black lesbians. By Rev. Irene Monroe
ON THE COVER
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By Terri Solomon
Transgender Support and Advocacy Groups Enrich Our Community.
k.d. lang at the BSO. Photos courtesy of The Fun Star.
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Gay Life is a publication of the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Baltimore. Gay Life is published every other Friday in Baltimore, Maryland, with distribution throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. Copyright 2011. 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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Contributors John Cullen, Rose D’Longcroi, Bill Kelley, Rev. Irene Monroe, Rachel Roth, Marty Shayt, Terri Solomon, Rex Wockner Photographers: Samatra Johnson, Jay W Photos Newspaper Committee: Trevor Ankeny, Bud Beecher, Kelly D. McClain, Terri Solomon
BALTIMORE’S GAY LIFE NEWSPAPER
outfront DINING OUT left to right: John Cullen, Chazz Palminteri, Marty Shayt
Chazz Palminteri on acting, playing gay characters, and his new Baltimore Restaurant BY JOHN CULLEN AND MARTY SHAYT
Chazz Palminteri may be best known for his roles in “The Bronx Tale,” “Bullets Over Broadway,” and “The Usual Suspects,” but Baltimoreans will soon know him as the owner of Harbor East’s new restaurant, Chazz: A Bronx Original. In town to promote this new authentic Italian restaurant, Palminteri recently sat down with Gay Life restaurant reviewers John Cullen and Marty Shayt, and opened up about acting and playing gay characters, like Shorty, Jay’s golfing buddy in the hit gay-friendly sitcom, “Modern Family.” GL: You’re far more known for your serious roles. How did you get involved in the “Modern Family” episode? CP: Well they called me, Ed O’Neill, who I know, and he spoke to the producers and they were looking for a guy to play a gay guy that wasn’t overtly gay… I loved that I said because not every gay man is effeminate like people think. I didn’t want to play effeminate because I just thought it was a stereotype, you know? ... So I said great. I said but we have this thing where we’re not sure he’s gay, but is he gay? But he’s not—but is he? I said we can have a running gag with that throughout the whole piece and it might be funny. They liked that idea, and it was just great. GL: It worked fantastically, and it was the ambiguity— CP: The ambiguity that made it so great. And then he went: “Hey where’d you get that haircut? Hey I like that…” You know what I mean? I always wanted to play a gay guy who WWW.BALTIMOREGAYLIFE.COM
wasn’t overtly gay, because I knew those guys from my neighborhood in the Bronx. A couple of guys were gay and when I heard I was like, “He’s gay? No kidding!” I didn’t know he was gay because he was a tough guy. The guy was a legitimate tough guy and I couldn’t get over it, and I always found that fascinating. So when I see a movie or something when they play someone who’s overtly gay, I go: Play it more real, you know? Be honest... I did an episode of “The Fanelli Boys” years ago and I play this guy—not a similar character but he was on the football team, he was a tough guy and he was gay… I just knew when you play against that and you play it real, it can be very, very funny. GL: Is there any chance that character will make a reappearance at some point? CP: I would love to. And we talked about it and they said if they could, they’ll find a way they could bring him back. But you know I would love to go back and do it because I would love to do that character… I thought it’s a very well-written show. … I love comedy, but I get cast in a lot of these heavy roles, which is fine too. But I love when I get the chance to do comedy. …I’ve done a lot of movies—55 or 60 movies—but I did that “Married with Children” and just everybody saw it and everybody loves it and I like that, you know? I like that. n DETAILS: Chazz: A Bronx Original. 1415 Aliceanna St. 410.522.5511. ChazzBronxOriginal.com Check back for a Dining Out review! VOLUME 33, NUMBER 13 PAGE 5
Photos courtesy The Fun Star
Performs at BSO One Night Only BY ROSE D’LONGCROI
If there was a handbook passed out when every woman embraced her sexuality, k.d lang would have a chapter of her own. This four-time Grammy-Award winner has been active on the music front before Lady Gaga heard of Madonna. k.d. lang is one of the most critically acclaimed vocal artists still active and in high demand on today’s music scene. And with her latest offering taking her and her new band on a multi-country tour, it is evident that she is far from done with the world. In 1983, the Canadian performer stepped onto the music scene with her now former band and released “A Truly Western Experience.” Were it not for the country musings of beloved Patsy Cline, the past twenty five years of k.d. lang-ness may have never seen the light of day. It was Cline’s music that inspired lang to form a tribute band with The Reclines, and with that entrance, lang found her calling. With The Reclines in her quiver, she started her long creative journey of merging her country foundation with a nearly folkalternative flavor into the easy
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listening, soul thumping music she continues to create today. The international success of “Crying,” a soul tearing duet with Roy Orbison, made Warner Brothers perk up and say “Welcome to America.” While on the Warner Brothers label, lang established herself as the “the best singer of her generation” in the eyes of the great Tony Bennett. And throughout the 90’s, lang made listeners sit up and pay beg for her lyrically delightful bouquet of mind ravishing singles and spine tingling covers. Toes still curl when her ground breaking “Constant Craving” strokes along their ears and her cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” has captured emotional fervor at its poignant peak. With her hotel linen crisp vocals, lang staked her claim on the 90’s with no less than ten singles immortalized in various silver screen moments. As lang staked her claim, she took a career risk and admitted her sexual orientation to The Advocate stating that she feared losing her place in the spotlight because of who she wants to share her life with.
BALTIMORE’S GAY LIFE NEWSPAPER
Photos courtesy The Fun Star
Fabulous A legendary home. Spectacular gardens. And you’re invited.
Thankfully, the audiences took the high road and continued to enjoy the rich tones and mesmerizing breath control that makes her music timeless.
Now with her band, the Siss Boom Bang, k.d. lang is ushering in the second decade with her unique offerings in the form of “Sing it Loud.”
And for one night only, this dynamic star will grace the Myerhoff stage as she tours North America for the summer. This rare evening will consist of a review of her famous hits and a selection from her latest album. It is not often Charm City listeners can hear her warm timbre in the elegant halls of the Myerhoff.” Devoted fans and blushing newbies would be wise to treat themselves to this amazing show. n DETAILS: k.d. lang and the Siss Boom Bang. Thursday, July 14, 8pm. $38-75. Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St. BSOMusic.org
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Throughout the 2000’s lang took the time to lay a rich foundation in her audience’s palate by covering classics such as “La Vie en Rose” with Tony Bennett on their “A Wonderful World” collaboration album and devote time to her activism with PETA and various HIV/AIDS campaigns. But lang did not say goodbye to the first decade of the new millennia without gifting her faithful fan base with a 2008 release of “Watershed.”
“Sing it Loud” was released on the April 12 to the eager U.S. audience after sating their lust with her first collection of greatest hits released in 2010. This new album is the first she has made with a band since her freshmen release with the Reclines. Critics armed with their pre-release mp3s flooded the internet with their reviews, citing lang’s vocals as, “sultry… [and] filled with genuine sensuality.” Sing it Loud is an “organic collaboration” that augments lang’s masterful vocal control.
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“Living Proof” Shows the Positive Side of Being an LGBT Youth BY RACHEL ROTH
Every story has a hero. “Living Proof,” a documentary directed by LGBTQ youth activists Erin Davies and Kalima Young, has 14. Eight years in the making, the film chronicles what Davies calls a creative approach to therapy. For six months in 2003, 12 LGBTQ youth between the ages of 15 and 22, brainstormed and wrote about their lives and experiences using theater exercises as a catalyst for their work. Together, under the guidance of Davies and Young, they compiled their efforts into a play. Davies and Young filmed everything. “If you create art with one person, it’s really intense,” Davies said. “Imagine creating art with 13 [other] people and going through this huge six-month process.” Prior to the project, Davies and Young were already working with LGBTQ youth in Baltimore. Together, with the aid of the teenagers, they provided sensitivity training to faculty and staff members in the Baltimore City Public School system. The response to the kids sharing their personal experiences as LGBTQ youth was hugely positive. “We educated so many from them just telling their stories,” Davies explained. “It was kind of the next natural progression to put this play together based on their real-life stories.” Davies and Young were tired of hearing the adverse aspects of being young and being gay. For Davies in particular, who worked for Chase Brexton doing youth outreach, the message she was spreading was one of “doom.” “In the different workshops I would lead, I would always be talking about the negative statistics,” said Davies. “If you’re a young person, and you hear all of these negative PAGE 8 • JUNE 8 - JULY 21, 2011
BALTIMORE’S GAY LIFE NEWSPAPER
things about yourself and you don’t see something to counter that, I think it [creates] a serious outlook, something bleak,” she continues. After two years of consistently talking to youth about suicide, depression, and HIV, Young and Davies decided something needed to be done to counteract the image of LGBTQ youth. They rallied some of the youth they were working with, had an open call for anyone who was interested, and [in February 2003], “Living Proof” was born. The thrust of the project—and the message Davies and Young hope to convey—is one of hope. For Davies, it is about showcasing young people, who happen to be gay, living welladjusted, confident, successful lives. “It is something you don’t see very often,” she explains. She and Young believed that putting together a play based on the real-life experiences of the youth involved would be a good way to showcase all of the positive aspects of the lives of LGBTQ youth. Using Joseph Campbell’s book “The Hero’s Journey” as a guide, Davies and Young implored the young artists to discover how each was a hero in his or her own life. Davies describes an exercise where the kids had to “think of themselves as not themselves.” Everyone was given a camera and instructed to create a self-portrait WWW.BALTIMOREGAYLIFE.COM
without including their image. Once the photos were developed, the kids were divided into two groups and given pictures not their own. They then had to write, direct, and perform a skit inspired by the image. It was the first time many of them ever acted, and Davies said it was a profound experience for the kids. “You’re sitting in the [audience] watching your peers who have created something directly out of something you created,” she said. The play ended up being a huge success. After its three-day Baltimore run at the Theater Project in June 2003, the show hit the road. It was featured at the national Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN) conference in Washington, D.C. The play was also showcased in Syracuse for the Cultural Workers National Peace Calendar for pride month in 2005. “Living Proof” makes its Baltimore debut on Friday, July 22 at the Patterson. Both Davies and Young will be in attendance along with those who starred in the original play. There will be a discussion following the film with Davis and Young and the cast. n DETAILS: “Living Proof” (2011, 52 min) screening and discussion. Friday, July 22, 6pm. $5-10. Creative Alliance at the Patterson, 3134 Eastern Ave. CreativeAlliance.org.
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Find Out! While you Wait
Free confidential or anonymous HIV testing. Call– 410-638-3060 Harford County Health Department 1 North Main St. Bel Air, Md 21014 VOLUME 33, NUMBER 13 PAGE 9
New York Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage New York state legalized same-sex marriage June 24. The Senate passed the bill 33-29 at 10:29 p.m. and Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed it into law less than 90 minutes later. Same-sex couples can begin marrying July 24.
“This state, when it is at its finest, is a beacon of justice,” Cuomo said. Twenty-nine of the Senate’s 30 Democrats voted for the bill, along with four of the body’s 32 Republicans. Some activists said New York’s legalization of same-sex marriage marks the end of the road for the anti-same-sex-marriage movement, which took away gay people’s right to marry in California in 2008 and in Maine in 2009, removed from the bench Iowa Supreme Court justices who legalized same-sex marriage there, and persuaded a majority of U.S. states to ban same-sex marriage by law or in their constitutions. “It’s a turning point,” said longtime New York City activist Corey Johnson. “This is a significant and tremendous loss for NOM (the anti-gay activist group National Organization for Marriage). In many ways, it takes the wind out of their sails.” The White House issued a tepid statement saying: “The states should determine for themselves how best to uphold the rights of their own citizens. The process in New York worked just as it should. ... The president has long believed that gay and lesbian couples deserve the same rights and legal protections as straight couples.” President Barack Obama has refused to come out in support of same-sex couples’ right to marry, saying he prefers “civil unions.” He has said, however, that his views on same-sex marriage are “evolving.” In New York City, at least 1,000 people took to the streets in celebration outside the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village. New York has no way for voters to undo laws or amend the state constitution. The only ways to re-ban same-sex marriage in New York would be to pass a repeal measure through the Legislature or call a constitutional convention. Both possibilities are extremely unlikely.
GLAAD Head and 8 Board Members Quit
The board of directors of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation accepted the resignation of the organization’s president, Jarrett Barrios, on June 23. At the same time, eight board members resigned. Barrios had been under fire from gay bloggers and journalists for sending a letter to the Federal Communications Commission supporting the merger of AT&T and T-Mobile as a good thing for LGBT people. AT&T is a donor to GLAAD. He also took fire for an evolving story about a letter GLAAD had sent to the FCC last year that took AT&T’s side in opposing the FCC’s pending “Net neutrality” rules. After GLAAD initially led some people to think that the anti-Net-neutrality letter had been a forgery, it
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Chinese filmmakers at the fifth Beijing Queer Film Festival. From left: Zhang Ruoxi, Guan Shengsheng, Meng Nuo, Moxie Peng, Zhu Yi, Yang Qijun.
Beijing Queer Film Festival Goes Guerrilla
The fifth Beijing Queer Film Festival wrapped up June 19 after five days of guerrilla-style screenings around the city. Three days before the opening, the authorities ordered the festival canceled and threatened “harsh consequences” if the order was disobeyed. Organizers quickly lined up alternate screening locations in bars and coffeehouses, and implemented “strict safety measures surrounding the publication of screening times and places ... to stay out of the hands of the authorities for the duration of the festival,” they said. More than 500 people, including 23 Chinese and foreign queer filmmakers, attended. Thirty films were shown, and many of the filmmakers held talks and discussions.
UN Adopts First LGBT Rights Resolution
The United Nations on June 17 adopted its first-ever resolution in support of LGBT human rights. The vote in the Human Rights Council was 23-19 with 3 abstentions. “That we are celebrating the passage of a U.N. resolution about human rights violations on the basis of sexual orientation is remarkable; however, the fact that gender identity is explicitly named truly makes this pivotal moment one to rejoice in,” said Justus Eisfeld, co-director of Global Action for Trans Equality.
LGBT people took to the streets for gay pride June 18 in Sofia, Bulgaria; Zagreb, Croatia; and Budapest, Hungary. About 1,000 marched in Sofia, and 2,000 marched in Zagreb and Budapest. All three parades were heavily protected by police because of violence in previous years or threats from extremists this year. In Budapest, 50 participants who had come on a bus from Austria were detained by police for two hours, and two of the individuals were arrested and held overnight.
Serbian Gay Magazine Launched
The Gay Lesbian Info Center in Belgrade, Serbia, has launched a 64-page, full-color magazine called Optimism. The first issue looks at the legislative and legal situation of LGBT Serbians, concluding that gays and lesbians have legal protection only when they are single. Gay couples and transgender people are not recognized under law, the editors said. GLIC seeks funding to keep the magazine in print. The editors can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via gayecho.com.
Find complete news stories at BaltimoreGayLife.com/news.
Lambda Sues Oregon Over Trans Operation
Lambda Legal filed suit against Oregon on June 21 on behalf of a state employee who was denied insurance coverage in connection with his being transgender. Alec Esquivel, 41, a clerk for the Oregon Court of Appeals, was advised by his doctor to have a hysterectomy as part of his treatment for gender-identity disorder. But his insurer refused to pay because it does not cover transition-related health care. Lambda’s lawsuit against the state government and the Public Employees’ Benefit Board argues that Oregon law prohibits employers from denying insurance coverage on the basis of gender identity.
LGBTs March in Former Eastern Bloc
NATIONAL & INTERNATIONAL NEWS PROVIDED BY REX WOCKNER WITH BILL KELLEY
was revealed that GLAAD had sent the letter and that the wording had come from AT&T.
C B A
BALTIMORE’S GAY LIFE NEWSPAPER
VOLUME 33, NUMBER 13 PAGE 11
TRANSGENDER SUPPORT AND ADVOCACY GROUPS ENRICH OUR
BY TERRI SOLOMON
ith the whirlwind of the last Maryland General Assembly still settling, Gay Life
wanted to examine the various transgender
Sandy Rawls, founder of TransUnited and host of The B-More Trans Show on Comcast Public Access Television Channel 75.
support and advocacy groups available to our community. The founders, facilitators, and board members have a diversity of backgrounds, beliefs, goals, and strategies. But these dedicated men and women share one central theme:— transgender organizations “have to work together to move forward.”
Trans-United develops “healthy community relationships” Trans-United was founded by Sandy Rawls in 2007. Members of the support group started meeting at her house and discussed “anything from pantyhose to sex reassignment surgery” as well as “ways our community could seek equality as transgender people,” said Rawls. “I saw the need for this group because I was homeless at one time, and I realized there were not many resources for trans people. Also, I wanted to educate the community about who trans people are, and establish healthy community relationships,” she said. From its humble beginnings, Trans-United has grown to provide GED tutoring; referrals to attorneys for transgender legal needs; and violent acts support, including assisting victims of domestic violence with relocation resources, and a working relationship with the State’s Attorney’s office to obtain data on hate crimes. Rawls describes the organization, mainly focused on the needs of Baltimore city and county residents, as “a buffer between the resource and the client to increase public relations and decrease discrimination.” The self-described “icon” views the variety of other transgender advocacy groups as “being inspired by our work. At the end of the day, there is so much to be done. Trans-United can’t do it all. We need to find out who PAGE 12 • JUNE 8 - JULY 21, 2011
will do legal issues? Who will do housing? Who will do education and training? All groups should come together and take on one or two issues.” In the next legislative session, Rawls “hopes to team up with Gender Rights Maryland and go to Annapolis to testify” when the time comes for personal transgender stories to be told. And while legislation is important, she believes “legislation doesn’t solve discrimination. Good working relationships and knowing people stops discrimination.” According to Rawls, even with civil rights legislation, “black people still didn’t get equality until affirmative action.” She views a similar affirmative action move, where companies are required to hire transgender individuals, as a win-win situation: people who work with transgender individuals will get to know them and “see that they are o.k.,” while it gets “transgender individuals pulling themselves up by their bootstraps and working.” Regardless of the legislation that is brought forward in the next Maryland General Assembly, Sandy Rawls is certain of at least one thing—“It’s going to be a real good story.” BALTIMORE’S GAY LIFE NEWSPAPER
TransMaryland “gives a voice to the transgender community” Jenna Fischetti, founder of the grassroots organization TransMaryland, began the peer group in 2009 to “provide a portal to information for members of the Maryland community.” Fischetti, a GIG [Gender Identity Group] support group moderator at the time, wanted to form a group focused on educating the straight community on transgender issues, and “giving a voice to the transgender community.” According to Fischetti, TransMaryland provided this transgender voice most recently in its stated
a public service announcement about what it means to be transgender, and continuing to grow with the input of new members in the future. And Fischetti’s ultimate goal? “To stop adding names on the Transgender Day of Remembrance,” she said.
Gender Rights Maryland sets sights on legislative goal Gender Rights Maryland is the new kid on the block. Its June 23 launch party was a “meet and greet with lots of energy and excitement,” said Alex
receiving top priority, Hickcox has his work cut out for him as well. “Getting our organization tuned into how we can better help our community will be a continual and constantly evolving process. It will take a concerted effort to build up the education and outreach component. I think I’m going to be attending a lot of meetings,” he said. “We’re building a house, and we need the foundation,” said Brackett, referencing the legislation that is the organization’s focus. “We need basic human rights for transgender individuals that are not guaranteed in our modern society, such as going to a fast-food restaurant and enjoying a hamburger.”
Photo by Bruce Weller
Sharon Brackett, board chair of Gender Rights Maryland Inc. People support group opposition to HB 235, a bill which she stated received “no input from the transgender community” in its decision to “strip public accommodations from it.” TransMaryland “conveyed what we felt—through blogs, social media such as Facebook and Twitter, and an equality march in front of the D.C. Supreme Court to show that we would fight for a complete bill.” “It’s very encouraging to watch an entire community get its own voice and start to assert itself where it had never done this before,” she said. “I’m most proud of those individuals who took ownership of their own voice. They took a stand, one way or the other, whether they supported or didn’t support the bill.”
Sarah Tooley, facilitator for the GLCCB’s Partners of Trans People support group
Hickcox, board chair of the Gender Rights Maryland Foundation. “There was a good overwhelming response, with people asking—What can we do? How can we get involved?” The organization is comprised of two non-profits: a 501(c)3 corporation, Gender Rights Maryland Foundation, focusing on education, outreach, advocacy, and information; and a 501(c)4, Gender Rights Maryland Inc., focusing on political and legislative concerns.
Fischetti characterized TransMaryland as “a mechanism for people to engage” and debate key issues. The group is loosely organized, in keeping with its grassroots origins, but will begin to hold public informational sessions in the next month to discuss “forming something more substantial.”
Sharon Brackett, board chair of Gender Rights Maryland Inc., reiterates the stated mission of the group: “to see the passage of a comprehensive gender identity anti-discrimination bill by the end of the 2012 legislative session.” Brackett has been organizing the newly formed corporation, working on recruiting board members, developing the website, and making sure Gender Rights Maryland has the necessary financial and people resources.
TransMaryland has expressed interest in creating
Although legislation and political goals are
“Our vision is that Gender Rights Maryland will grow into something big and positive,” said Hickcox. “As a team of community members and allies, we all ultimately determine what this organization looks like as it moves forward.”
Gender Identity Groups provide safe space for transgender individuals Elaine Horton has been involved with the Gender Identity Group (GIG) at the GLCCB (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center of Baltimore and Central Maryland) for several years. She’s one of four moderators for both GIG, “a support group for anyone who is transgender, gender queer, or varies from traditional gender expression,” and its MTF [Male-to-Female] subgroup, Tran*quility, focused on issues specific to transwomen. Continued on page 14 VOLUME 33, NUMBER 13 PAGE 13
Alex Hickcox, board chair of the Gender Rights Maryland Foundation
and encouraging people to share, although no one has to.” He tries to keep the atmosphere respectful, and “maintain a welcoming atmosphere for a diverse group of attendees.” “It gives me an opportunity to meet a lot of people, to keep my pulse on the community, and to reach out to others I might not have reached out to on a personal level,” said Asa. He acknowledges that people come to the group for a variety of reasons: “Some are seeking support; some to support others; and some to socialize. Some folks just want a safe space to be a transguy.” Whatever brings members to its doors, the Baltimore Trans-Masculine Alliance, as well as Tran*quility and the Gender Identity Group, provide much needed encouragement to the local transgender community. Horton credits friends from the groups with helping her survive a divorce and a challenging work situation when she transitioned in September 2008 (“a lifetime ago!”).
Support Groups TRANS-UNITED
“Some of my best friends came out of the group,” said Brackett. “We are all trans in some way. It’s an interesting glue that binds us together.”
443.447.3238 FusionPartnerships.Wordpress.com/ Sponsored-Projects/Trans-United
Partners of Trans People addresses needs of significant others
TRANSMARYLAND 410.TMD.8001 TransMaryland.org
GENDER RIGHTS MARYLAND P.O. Box 818 Laurel, MD 20725 443.574.4763 GenderRightsMaryland.org
GENDER IDENTITY GROUP GIG@GLCCB.org
GLASS BALTIMORE GIassBaltimore.org
BALTIMORE TRANS-MASCULINE ALLIANCE BTMA@GLCCB.org
PARTNERS OF TRANS PEOPLE PTP@GLCCB.org
PAGE 14 • JUNE 8 - JULY 21, 2011
“This group became home for me,” said Sharon Brackett, who has moderated both GIG and Tran*quility in the past. “I transitioned in this group with their support. I didn’t need to explain myself because they already understood. We leave burdens behind here. It’s very cathartic.” Horton describes the function of both GIG and Tran*quility as peer-to-peer support, with discussion centered on transgender issues, answering questions, and learning how to contact the right doctors and therapists. She tries to make the space welcoming by not allowing one person to dominate the meeting. “We feel it’s a safe environment,” Horton said. “Members can come in ‘drab’ [the street clothes of their birth gender] and change in the restroom if they don’t feel comfortable leaving the house as the gender with which they identify.” She finds it rewarding to watch new attendees eventually become comfortable and begin to arrive dressed as their gender identity. “There are new people arriving all the time,” said Brackett. “They need to have some role models, like I did when I got there. I want people to say—Sharon made it, and I can too.” The Baltimore Trans-Masculine Alliance (BTMA), another subgroup within GIG, is focused on the issues of persons on the trans-masculine spectrum (FTM, Genderqueer, and those identifying within the realm of trans-masculine experience). According to moderator Asa, the group grew out of a need for transmen to have a space to discuss their issues specific to trans-masculine identity and transition process. Asa is currently “looking to include other people’s energy, ideas, and talents in BTMA, by having members and guest speakers enlighten the group on subjects of interest. Our last meeting featured a discussion of stand and pee devices.” It’s not all business though—members are encouraged to participate in online networking and social interaction outside the group’s monthly meeting. Asa echoes Horton’s emphasis on making each group a safe space, “keeping things talked about in the room between people in the room,
Sarah Tooley has been affiliated with Partners of Trans People (PTP) since January 2010, when she revived the defunct GLCCB-sponsored group. Tooley came seeking emotional support, connections with other partners of transgender men and women, and a space to share her story. “I was in a long-term relationship with a transgender individual about to start testosterone,” said Tooley. “I had supportive friends, queer and trans community, but I needed to connect with people who had been with their partners through transitions, and I wasn’t finding them.” PTP is “a safe space to share a variety of experiences, from loss and sadness to joy and comedy,” according to Tooley. “Our transgender partners are excited to embody their true gender, but are also feeling anxiety and fear. The partner is often the primary support, and we need support too. It’s a challenging time for many couples.” Complicated personal concerns range from entering the gay or transgender community for the first time, evolving attraction and sexual chemistry, legal status of the relationship, financial strains, and coming out to colleagues, neighbors, friends and family. Tooley emphasizes that the group’s purpose is to “lean on each other and learn how to better address our needs,” as supporting a transitioning partner can leave little focus on self-care. She views the wide spectrum of sexual orientation, age, race, and geographic area as one of the unexpected benefits of the group. “I went seeking a community I could relate to, and found such a diverse group of individuals out there,” said Tooley. PTP has lower attendance numbers than the other Gender Identity Groups at the Center. The group has discussed changing the name to Significant Others, Friends, Family and Allies (or SOFFA) to reflect all people who care deeply about a transgender individual. “We are hoping that a name change will open the group up to not just partners of trans persons, but to all people with significant relationships to a transgender individual, whether it is a child, parent, spouse, or colleague,” said Tooley. n BALTIMORE’S GAY LIFE NEWSPAPER
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Provincetown Is Not Safe for Black Lesbians
THE GAY-FRIENDLY BEACH TOWN SHOWS ITS SHADY SIDE BY REV. IRENE MONROE
t the tip of Cape Cod is the LGBTQ-friendly haven Provincetown, fondly called P-town, and known as the best LGBTQ summer resort on the east coast. Of late, more lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people of color (POC) have not only begun vacationing in P-town, but have also begun holding POC events. For the past several years now, the “Women of Color Weekend” brings hundreds of us LBT sisters of color to P-town from all across the country. And it is the one time of the year many of us make the journey to P-town, anticipating that we will feel safe enough, for a few days, to let down our guard. But the sexual and homophobic harassment many of us LBT sisters endure from many of our heterosexual brothers of African descent back home in our communities, or imported from one of the Caribbean Islands has, too, become an inescapably reality at P-town. “A few years back I sent a letter about this very subject...and I received an email from the Provincetown Chamber of Commerce, instructing me to get in touch with them and the police if this happens again...well, it has happened again and again,” Ife Franklin of Roxbury, Mass. wrote me. Franklin and her wife were at “Women of Color Weekend 2011,” and she and several sisters of color were continually harassed. WWW.BALTIMOREGAYLIFE.COM
“AT SOME POINT SOME MAN IS GOING TO TAKE IT TO THE NEXT PHASE... MY FEAR IS THAT THE ‘CAT CALLING’ WILL TURN INTO GROPING...GRABBING... RAPE, AND/OR DEATH...”
“Now I will take ownership...I have not called the police or contacted the town Chamber. Why? Well, here is where this gets a little sticky for me... So, if I call and say ’there are some Black men harassing me’ will they round up ALL of the Black men? Even the ones that have done nothing wrong?” Issues of race, gender identity, and sexual orientation trigger a particular type of violence against people of color that cannot afford to go unreported. Not reporting what is going on with LGBTQ people of color not only subjects us to constant violence that goes unchecked, but it also puts the larger queer culture at risk. Continued on page 16 VOLUME 33, NUMBER 13 PAGE 15
firstperson SPEAKING OUT Continued from page 15
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In the now defunct Boston LGBTQ newspaper, In Newsweekly, Will Coons in 2007 expressed in his “Letter to the Editor” his distress with the harassment. “I’m well aware of the white man’s burden and the need to be open and sensitive to historical injustices, but the flip side works as well: are these Jamaican men sensitive to, aware of, and respectful of the gay men who vacation here? My impression over the past ten years is that most of them are not and I distinctly feel uncomfortable in their presence.”
On the morning of May 11, 2003, Shakia Gun, 15, was stabbed to death when she and her girlfriends rebuffed the sexual overtures of two AfricanAmerican men by disclosing to them that their disinterest was simply because they were all lesbians. Incensed that they had been rebuffed—and by lesbians no less—the two assailants reportedly jumped out of their car and got into a scuffle with the girls. Stabbed by one of the men, Gun dropped to the ground and died shortly after arriving at University Hospital in Newark.
The lack of reporting about these types of harassment and assaults from LGBTQ people of color is for two reasons—both dealing with race.
A groundbreaking study released in July 2010 titled “Black Lesbians Matter” examined the unique experiences, perspectives, and priorities of the Black LBT community. This report reveals that LBT women of African descent are among the most vulnerable in our society and need advocacy in the areas of financial security, healthcare, access to education, marriage equality, and physical safety.
The first reason is the “politics of silence” in LGBTQ communities of color to openly report these kinds of attacks unless it results in death. With being openly queer and often estranged if not alienated from our communities of color, reporting attacks against us by other people of color can make victims viewed as “race traitors.” And because of the “politics of silence” that run rampant in our LGBTQ communities of color, we end up colluding in the violence against us.
“Has there been ANY training or introduction for these ’workers’ educating them that they are in a mostly Gay culture? That the women...Black women or otherwise...are off limits,” Franklin asked.
The second reason has a lot to do with law enforcers, newspaper reporters, and doctors who view the topic of violence and people of color as synonymous.
In using cheap and oftentimes exploited laborers, the shops that line P-town’s main drag, Commercial St., care little, if at all, about their workers’ cultural competency or our safety.
Franklin wrote, “As my friends were walking back to the car Saturday night, a car of four men slowed down and started hissing and asked my friend to come over to the car. She replied in a strong voice ‘I’m GAY, let it rest!!!’ I feel that this harassment is a time bomb about to explode. At some point some man is going to take it to the next phase...my fear is that the ‘cat calling’ will turn into groping...grabbing...rape, and/or death...Why? Because in their hearts we are just some ’batty gurls’ [Jamaican slang for homosexual].”
I have to agree with Coons when he wrote on 2007: “I can’t tell any local businesses how to run their operations. I can express my concerns, and I haven’t seen or heard of any overwhelming efforts to mitigate Jamaican male distain, distrust, and disgust towards gays and lesbians.”
While Franklin’s fears are not unfounded, Jamaicans, however, are not the only ones harassing us. Case in point is the murder of Shakia Gun of Newark, NJ.
Sadly, it’s now 2011, and nothing has changed. The issue here is our safety—physically and mentally—and that of ALL LGBTQ tourists. Provincetown’s Chamber of Commerce has a year before “Women of Color Weekend 2012.” And the problem can be easily remedied: Either by educating these men or not hiring them at all. Or, we can take our gay dollars and go elsewhere. n
LIKE SPEAKING OUT? READ MORE AT BALTIMOREGAYLIFE.COM PAGE 16 • JUNE 8 - JULY 21, 2011
BALTIMORE’S GAY LIFE NEWSPAPER
The Apple Scruffs: Belvedere Square’s Outdoor Concert Series presents the Beatles tribute band. Plus indulge in gourmet food and drinks. FREE. 6-9pm. Belvedere Ave. between 500 and 600 blocks BelvedereSquare.com EMAIL YOUR EVENT INFO TO CALENDAR@BALTIMOREGAYLIFE.COM
Saturday July 9 Baltimore Frontrunners: Running/walking club for LGBT individuals and friends. Assemble 8:45am, run 9am. Reassemble for brunch 10am. Panera Bread, 3600 Boston St. BaltimoreFrontrunners.org
SPOTLIGHT Disrupting Homonormativity with Mickey Mahoney & Catherine Pancake The Creative Alliance welcomes Baltimorean Catherine Pancake and Chicago filmmaker Mickey Mahoney to premiere the first episode of the sexy webseries “Traverse City” (2009, 30 min)—the story of a transgender man’s initial visit to meet his girlfriend’s parents. Also showing is Mahoney’s experimental narrative, “The Undergrad” (2003, 39 min.), a gender-twisting parody of “The Graduate.” Pancake, founder of the Charm City Kitty Club, High Zero Fest, and Transmodern Festival, offers her experimental film sonata, “Trilogy” (9 min.). She and sound artist Ayako Kataoka will provide interactive, improvised sound. For more information, trailers, and clips visit MickeyRayMahoney.com.
EVENT INFO Mickey Mahoney & Catherine Pancake ￼ $5-10, Friday, July 22, 9pm • The Patterson, 3134 Eastern Ave.
DATEBOOK Friday July 8 M.F.A. in Studio Art Thesis Exhibition Reception @ MICA: Summer thesis exhibition featuring the work of 10 graduating artists. 6-8pm. FREE. Fox Building: Decker and Meyerhoff galleries and Bunting Center: Pinkard Gallery, 1303-1401 W. Mt. Royal Ave. Anthology I, A Short Film Collaboration Presented by Parallel Octave: It’s a music video! It’s a Greek chorus! Parallel Octavechorus records poems with live improvised music, and recently recruited eight filmmakers to shoot music videos. Followed by a live performance. 7pm. $5-10. Creative Alliance at The Patterson: 3134 Eastern Ave. CreativeAlliance.org Baltimore Playwrights Festival Presents: The Sculptress: The first Baltimore Playwrights Festival show, The Sculptress, by Marilyn Millstone. $12. Thru 7/31. Fells Point Corner Theatre, 251 S. Ann St. FPCT.org Swingin’ Swamis: Belvedere Square’s outdoor concert series is back with the smooth stylings of Jazz and Latin! Enjoy gourmet food and drinks from the restaurants and market at while listening to some of Baltimore’s hottest bands. FREE. 6-9pm. Thru 9/16. East Belvedere Ave.: between 500 and 600 blocks BelvedereSquare.com QFest: 12-day festival brings 86 filmmakers and actors from around the world and introduces them to the city’s LGBT, arts, and film communities. Thru July 18. Philadelphia, PA QFest.com. Eclipse! at Club Orpheus: Dance to a mesmerizing light show with video projectors, lasers and strobes. 9pm every Friday. 18+. Club Orpheus, 1003 E. Pratt St. ClubOrpheus.com WWW.BALTIMOREGAYLIFE.COM
Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo: Live the dream all over again with a certified 80’s Queen ready to pump out hit after hit of timeless musical glory. 6pm. $30-80. Pier Six Pavilion, 731 Eastern Ave. 410.659.1100 PierSixPavilion.com Reginald Cole in Concert and The Campbell Dance Experience: Featuring new works from their upcoming concert, Premiere, these Baltimore-based choreographers showcase their artistry and passion for dance. $15-20. 7pm. Thru 7/16. Baltimore Museum of Art, 10 Art Museum Dr. 202.957.5184
Saturday July 16
Second Saturdays in Station North: 10 venues showcase the variety of entertainment in this thriving arts district. FREE. 410.962.7075, firstname.lastname@example.org. StationNorth.org.
Baltimore Frontrunners: Running/walking club for LGBT individuals and friends. Assemble 8:45am, run 9am. Reassemble for brunch 10am. Panera Bread, 3600 Boston St. BaltimoreFrontrunners.org
East Coast Burlesque All-Stars: Gilded Lily Burlesque, joins New York City’s award-winning Dangerous Curves Ahead: Burlesque on the Go-Go, for an utterly HOT summer evening. 8pm. $10-15. The Patterson, 3134 Eastern Ave. CreativeAlliance.org
Gilded Lily Burlesque: Just this side of scandalous, performers celebrate feminine beauty, wit, power, sexuality, and freedom. 7 & 10pm. $20. Rams Head On Stage, 33 West St. Annapolis RamsHeadOnStage.com
Sunday July 10
Sunday July 17
“The Great American Songbook of Jazz Standards”: Sue Matthews’ love of interpreting the American Songbook will be apparent to all who attend this performance. Germano’s Trattoria, 300 S. High St. GermanosTrattoria.com
Tuesday July 12 Howard County PFLAG Monthly Meeting: Support group Q&A for parents of LGBT children. 7:30pm. FREE. Owen Brown Interfaith Center, 7246 Cradlerock Way, Columbia 443.280.9047 PFLAGmd.org
Drop Three: Sketch and Comedy Improv: Equal parts “Saturday Night Live” and “Who’s Line Is It Anyway.” $12-15. 7pm. Spotlighters Theatre, 817 St. Paul St. Spotlighters.org PFLAG Westminster-Carroll County Monthly General Meeting: Discuss how the chapter is meeting its mission. Confidential and open to the public. FREE. 5pm. St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, Bond & Green Sts, Westminster PFLGWCC.org
Monday July 18
Chesapeake Squares Open House: All-inclusive square dancing club offers introductory open houses. Tuesdays. 8pm. FREE. Waxter Center, Cathedral & Eager St. ChesapeakeSquares.org
PFLAG Howard County Parent Forum: Support group Q&A for parents of LGBT children. 7:30pm. FREE. Owen Brown Interfaith Center, 7246 Cradlerock Way, Columbia 443.280.9047 PFLAGmd.org
Rainbow Youth Alliance of Howard County: A support group for LGBTQ youth and allies. 7:30pm. email@example.com
Wednesday July 20
Wednesday July 13 Armand Ntep: Part of the Strathmore Free Outdoor Summer Concert Series, Ntep adds African beats and traditional Lihongo dance from his native country, Cameroon, to jazz, salsa, and hiphop. 7pm. FREE. Gudelsky Concert Gazebo, 5301 Tuckerman Ln., N. Bethesda. Strathmore.org
Thursday July 14 Exposed: An Artscape Network exhibition: What makes us vulnerable? This unique group of interdisciplinary artists reacts to the overwhelming and highly fragile state of their psyche. Noon8pm. FREE. Thru 7/30. Creative Alliance at The Patterson, 3134 Eastern Ave. CreativeAlliance.org FOOD = ART: A monthly seated dinner series to support Baltimore’s culinary artists featuring a local artist and their inspired menu in the new Marquee Lounge. Cocktails 6:30pm, dinner 7:30pm. $50. The Patterson, 3134 Eastern Ave. FoodEqualsArt.com
Andes Manta: Part of the Strathmore Free Outdoor Summer Concert Series, the four brothers perform true South American music, drawing on more than 35 instruments and centuries of tradition. FREE. 7pm. Gudelsky Concert Gazebo, 5301 Tuckerman Ln., N. Bethesda. Strathmore.org
Thursday July 21 Regina Williams: Acoustic singer/songwriter performs at Joe Squared. FREE. 6:30pm. Joe Squared, 133 W. North Ave. ReinaWilliams.com Night Out at the Kastles: Professional tennis game against the Philadelphia Freedoms includes lesbian Rennae Stubbs. LGBT tennis club Capital Tennis Association partners with Team DC for this event. $12. 7pm. Kastles Stadium at the Wharf, 800 Water St. SW Washington, DC Capital-Tennis.org or TeamDC.org “Gay: Accept Me If You Love Me”: One of Peru’s best known producing companies presents their first US production. $45. 7:30pm. Thru July 31. DC Jewish Community Center, 1529 16th St. NW, Washington, DC SpotlightComunicaciones.com
Cosmetic Podiatry Seminar: An informational seminar on cosmetic podiatry. FREE. 6:30pm. Cosmetic Surgery Center of Maryland, 8322 Bellona Ave. Ste 300, Towson, 410.568.8808 CSCMD.com
LUSH: Quickly becoming the hottest LGBTQ Night in town, with insane drink specials, premiere DJs, and sexy bartenders. $5-10. 21+. Every 3rd Thursday of the month. Mist, 124 Market Place. MistBaltimore.com
“Self, Inc.” by J-F Bibeau: Francis Elfman is a jaded company accountant who tries to survive the CEO’s wild policies of conformity by secretly building a time machine. 8pm. Thru July 31. College of Notre Dame, 4701 N. Charles St. 410-710-8166 OriginalPlays.com/tmc
Friday July 22
k. d. lang: Singer and songwriter k.d. lang and her band the Siss Boom Bang will performs at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony for one night only on the heels of her highly anticipated release of Sing it Loud, lang’s first studio album since 2008. 8pm. $38-$75. Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St. BSOmusic.org
Hairspray: The ultimate Baltimore musical based on John Waters’ hit movie comes to Cockpit at Essex Community College. $1820. Thru 8/2. Community College of Baltimore County Essex, Mainstage Theater, 7201 Rossville Blvd. ccbcmd.edu/cockpit Living Proof: (See article p. 8) $5-10. 6pm. The Patterson, 3134 Eastern Ave. CreativeAlliance.org
Friday July 15
Brian McKnight: Multi-platinum, Grammy-nominated singer performs new songs from his upcoming album, “Just Me.” $2868. 8pm. Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Ln, North Bethesda Strathmore.org
Artscape 2011: America’s largest arts festival kicks off its 30th annual celebration of the arts. FREE. Noon-10pm. Thru 7/17. Mt. Vernon. Artscape.org
Late Night w/ Mickey Mahoney & Catherine Pancake: (See article above) $5-10. 9pm. The Patterson, 3134 Eastern Ave. CreativeAlliance.org
M.A. in Community Arts Exhibition: This exhibition features community-informed art works by students in the graduating class of 2011. FREE. 10am-5pm. Thru 7/30. MICA, Fox Building: Fox 3 Gallery, 1303 W. Mount Royal Ave. MICA.edu
For additional details and more events, please visit the Gay Life calendar online at BaltimoreGayLife.com/Events Compiled by Rachel Roth VOLUME 33, NUMBER 13 PAGE 17
White Party at Club Hippo with Whitney Mixter & Rode Garcia of “The Real L Word”
The Den’s “It Gets Better, Baltimore” Screening at the GLCCB
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Project Shalem’s HIV/AIDS Testing, St Matthew’s Methodist Church PHOTOS BY SAMATRA JOHNSON
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