April 1, 2010 | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Local news in brief

New GLLU officers welcomed at reception

More than one dozen recently designated affiliate members of the D.C. police’s Gay & Lesbian Liaison Unit were formally introduced March 25 during a reception at the D.C. Center.

Close to two dozen GLLU affiliate officers, who work out of the department’s seven police districts throughout the city, are part of Police Chief Cathy Lanier’s plan to expand and decentralize the unit.

“This is just the beginning,” said Assistant D.C. Police Chief Diane Groomes. “Chief Lanier would say this is a work in progress.”

Groomes said more officers have expressed an interest in joining the GLLU than any of the other special liaison units, including the Latino, Asian & Pacific Islander, and Deaf & Hard of Hearing units.

The reception was hosted by the D.C. Center; Gays & Lesbians Opposing Violence, a center project; and Rainbow Response, a local coalition that advocates for LGBT people victimized by domestic violence. GLLU officials have said that the largest percentage of calls the unit receives for assistance are related to domestic violence matters.

Kelly Pickard, GLOV’s co-chair, told the gathering that her group is hopeful that the expanded GLLU and its newly designated members will help local activists more aggressively combat anti-LGBT hate crimes. She noted that D.C. has the largest number of anti-LGBT hate crimes recorded among most U.S. cities.

“You are heroic in what you do, day and night,” she told officers at the reception.

Rainbow Response official June Crenshaw echoed Pickard’s sentiments, saying, “We depend on you.”

LOU CHIBBARO JR.

Equality Maryland staffer to focus on marriage

Equality Maryland announced March 25 the appointment of Aimee Martin as its field organizer for marriage equality.

A resident of Montgomery County, Martin joins Equality Maryland with experience in mobilizing support on behalf of legislative and electoral campaigns.

“Aimee has labored in the trenches in the recent battles in New Jersey, Maine and California,” said Morgan Meneses-Sheets, Equality Maryland’s executive director. “She has done the hard work of advancing marriage equality in some of the toughest circumstances. We are thrilled to have her join us as we ramp up our efforts to win marriage in the Free State.”

Martin’s initial tasks will include winning stronger support for Equality Maryland from straight allies and the religious community and training speakers to discuss issues related to partner recognition.

Martin’s appointment is effective April 12. Equality Maryland is planning a series of events to introduce Martin and Owen Smith, the group’s recently appointed field organizer for transgender equality issues, this summer.

STEVE CHARING/BALTIMORE OUTLoud

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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