April 28, 2011 at 11:45 am EST | by Staff reports
Equality Maryland names interim leader

Equality Maryland, in a statement released to the Blade, announced this week that Lynne Bowman would become the group’s new interim executive director effective May 2.

Bowman has served as director of programs and services for the Equality Federation, a national association of state LGBT groups. She is also a founder of Equality Ohio and most recently served as campaign manager for Ohio Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher’s U.S. Senate bid.

“During Lynne’s time with the Equality Federation and as executive director of Equality Ohio, Lynne consistently demonstrated strong, visionary leadership,” said Rebecca Isaacs, executive director of the Equality Federation in a statement.

Equality Maryland said it would now begin the search for a permanent executive director.

Bowman told the Blade that she is not in the running for the permanent director’s position. She said her appointment lasts until the end of August but can be extended if a new permanent director isn’t in place at that time.

“I will be assisting the board in conducting the search,” she said. “That’s something I’ve done a number of times in my background. So rather than focusing on trying to secure a job for myself, I’ll be focusing on stabilizing the organization and moving the agenda forward.”

She acknowledges that she has never worked with the Maryland Legislature before. But Bowman said she believes her background in working with legislators in other states and her experience in managing non-profit organizations will enable her to keep Equality Maryland on track in pushing its legislative goals in the eight months before the Maryland Legislature convenes its 2012 session in January.

“I think that every legislature or assembly is similar in that fact that they are different,” she said. “And it takes figuring out the personalities and some of the targets and the issues, which could be done, I would say, fairly easily by partnering with the people who are already there.”

Bowman added, “So I’m not going to come in and assume that I know anything or anyone without working with the folks who have been doing the work in the General Assembly. And it’s going to be very important for me to create those partnerships, get to know those personalities so that we can move the strategies forward and make sure that we’re ready.”

She plans to take steps to arrange meetings with members of the State Senate and House of Delegates – including the contingent of eight openly gay or lesbian legislators — as soon as she arrives for work next week, she said.

Bowman said she has considerable experience in fundraising and is looking forward to strengthening Equality Maryland’s donor base. But she said she hadn’t had a chance to examine the group’s finances in detail and could not determine, at least until she arrives on the job on Monday, whether it would be prudent to hire a new development director immediately or to do so at a later date.

“If I would say anything else at this point it would be that a strong state-based organization is critical to passing state based legislation” like the marriage equality and gender identity non-discrimination bills that came up but failed this year, she said.

“And regardless of the bumps and bruises that may have happened in the last couple of months, getting behind Equality Maryland and the coalition of groups – local, state and national organizations that are trying to pass legislation – is going to be critical if folks want to see things move forward,” she said.

“Equality Maryland is thrilled to have a nationally known and respected leader at the helm of the organization,” the group said in a joint statement to the Blade from Chuck Butler, board chair of Equality Maryland, and Patrick Wojahn, chair of the Equality Maryland Foundation.

The announcement follows the departure of former executive director Morgan Meneses-Sheets after a tumultuous tenure in which the Maryland Legislature failed to pass marriage equality and transgender non-discrimination measures. The board said her departure was a mutual decision, but Meneses-Sheets said last week that the decision was not hers.

  • This is an amazing choice for EqMD. I have worked with Lynne as a board member of the Equality Federation and beleive she is a great fit to help move Maryland forward.

  • Well then, I guess this blows EQMD’s “we don’t want any out of staters getting involved with our campaigns” right out of the water.

  • Were any trans people considered for this interim position?

    • Do you want it to be mandatory that a bisexual was considered for the position? What about gay men? As small as the trans community is, I should be asking what about mandatory consideration of Catholic Japanese gay men. The notion that a trans person has to be considered for every job opening at EQMD is absurd. It’s impossible to get anyone highly qualified to take on these jobs and you want us to limit ourselves to a group that is less than 1% of the population. Talk about putting agenda over sense.

      • All Kat did was ask. The reality is that EQMD is a civil rights organization that claims to represent two objectives, civil marriage and trans rights protections. That is the focus as of right now at least. The trans community my represent a small portion of the community but it is very under represented in terms of anti discrimination laws nation wide. Anti Discrimination Laws are Civil Rights Laws. EQMD is a LGBT Civil Rights Organization. While I get your point, a Catholic Japanese Gay Man currently has more protections than any single Transgender person in the state of maryland. Gender Identity discrimination effects a broader part of the LGBT community than most people realize. It should be a priority as the lack of these protections effect the lively hoods, housing, and far to often the personal safety of Transgender people.

        It amazes me that persons within a minority (I’m assuming you fall into the LGBT spectrum) can’t see the bigger picture and toss aside part of the community only because it represents 1% of the population. It’s advantageous for us to be in positions of decision making. The LGBT Civil Rights movement is making strides because folks are filling positions of power and making waves. Transfolks are trying to catch up, and sense EQMD takes trans money and asserts itself as a leader in the community for Trans Rights its perfectly fair to ask the question.

        That said I hear rumors that Lynne is a good advocate for trans folks.

      • Thank you for contributing to my dissertation.

  • Lynne comes highly recommended as a strong supporter of the trans community.

  • Since this is an interim position and they have plans to search for a new ED, why don’t you apply? The ED position is filled through an open announcement. You can only consider those who respond to the announcement. The last go around there was one trans applicant.

    • “You can only consider those who respond to the announcement.”

      I guess taking some initiative and recruiting would be too much trouble. Or do gay organizations only recruit siblings of crooked, homophobic Republican members of Congress?

    • Since this clearly an interim position, the LGBT community is on notice that they will be searching for a permanent ED to replace her when she leaves in four months. So now is the time for those with connections in the trans community to reach out to those who don’t peruse the LGBT classifieds and notify them of the opportunity.

  • Lynne will be a great Interim Executive Director for Equality Maryland. She has amazing nonprofit organizing skills, and will be able to strengthen the organization as it readies for its new permanent ED. She did amazing work getting Equality Ohio into a strong position.

  • “Of course there have been winter gales, and storms and fog and the like. But in all my experience, I have never been in any accident… or any sort worth speaking about. I have seen but one vessel in distress in all my years at sea. I never saw a wreck and never have been wrecked nor was I ever in any predicament that threatened to end in disaster of any sort. (E. J. Smith – 1907, Captain, RMS Titanic)

    Welcome aboard Lynne!

  • I hope the organization’s board won’t, yet again, sabotage this person’s success.

  • bowman regretted leaving equality ohio and continued to put her nose in the business there rather than passing the torch. no class! she tried to pick the meat off of the bones of the fisher campaign hoping that would lead to bigger and better. no luck there girl. i’ve heard horror stories of her partner brandishing her service revolver because she became drunk and angry at a board party they hosted at their home. and according to her old program director, she was caught in some pretty raunchy scenes with a business man on the security camera at the office. i try to give to all the state wide eqaulity organizations. sorry equality maryland, not getting anything from me after recycling this shit can.

  • Lynee Bowman is a vulture. She left Equality Ohio and regretted it. Refused to pass torch gracefully. Still kept her witch nose in the affairs there. Not a lot of class there. She thought she could ride Fisher’s coat tails to a cushy job. My partner and I give to all the state-wide eqaulity organizations. Sorry Equality Maryland, next 5 months you won’t be getting anything from us!

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