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Creating Change wraps up in Baltimore

3,000 LGBT activists attended one of the largest annual LGBT conferences in the nation



National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey addresses conference attendees. (Blade photo by Michael Key)

The 24th National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change, produced by the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, completed its five-day stay at the Baltimore Hilton on Jan. 29. Close to 3,000 attendees from all over the country attended the confab that included four plenary sessions, 12 day-long institutes and more than 260 workshops and seminars covering a wide swath of topics. These included immigration, politics, bisexuality, organizing, faith, family, HIV/AIDS, gender, aging and youth.

Five busloads of conference attendees headed to Washington to lobby members of Congress on day two. The conference officially opened later that evening with a welcoming address from Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who boasted that Baltimore is one of the leading cities in the U.S. when it comes to LGBT rights.

Katie O’Malley, the wife of Gov. Martin O’Malley and a sitting judge, caused a flap over her comment that those who opposed the bill last year were “cowards.”  The next day she apologized for her choice of words.

Benjamin Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP, was the keynote speaker. He addressed hundreds in the audience and spoke of the need for justice and equality for black as well as LGBT individuals. The weekend was emceed by comic and activist Kate Clinton.

Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey presented the state of the movement address. HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan discussed federal efforts to advance the rights and well-being of LGBT people and their families at HUD and beyond.  Gov. O’Malley spoke of his desire to secure marriage equality and gender identity protections. And actor/singer Wilson Cruz closed out the conference with Love, Child…, a musical performance.

“I think the 2012 Creating Change conference has been a spectacular success,” Sue Hyde, Creating Change director, told the Blade. “We have brought 3,000 people together here in Baltimore. Each and every one of them is going home with better skills, more confidence and more inner strength to do the work that they do every day. Here in Baltimore I have gotten so much feedback that this has been a real community-building project for folks across the country.”

(For more on Creating Change, see news and AE sections.)



Prince George’s County library system launches banned book club

First discussion to take place in Hyattsville on June 14



(Bigstock photo)

The Prince George’s County Memorial Library System has launched its Rock Banned Book Club.

The club will feature monthly discussions of the 13 top banned books from 2022, most of which focus on LGBTQ-specific themes. 

The club’s first discussion, which will take place at the Hyattsville Branch Library on June 14, will be on “Gender Queer: A Memoir” by Maia Kobabe. 

Kobabe’s memoir won the 2020 American Library Association Alex Award and recounts Kobabe’s exploration of gender identity and sexuality through adolescence and adulthood. According to the American Library Association, the book faced the most censorship challenges of any novel at 151.

“We’re seeing nationally the highest rate of challenges to books in libraries since the data has been collected by the American Library Association,” Nicholas Brown, acting co-chief executive officer of the library, said. “I think what happens with all of the discourse around book banning is that, oftentimes, not everyone participating in that discourse is actually taking the time to read the full works and discuss them and understand where the author might be coming from and whose stories are being reflected in these books.”

Along with the book club, the library system is hosting a Pride celebration at the Hyattsville branch on Saturday from 12 – 4 p.m. It will feature a panel discussion, vogue and runway workshops, free HIV testing and more. 

The library system will host its second annual Rainbow Festival on June 24 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Bowie Branch Library with family-friendly events like craft stations, story time and a live DJ. In April, the library system won a Top Innovator Award from the Urban Libraries Council for its banned books campaign.

“I think a lot of folks don’t always realize that your local public library is kind of the front line of democracy and we always have been,” Brown said. “Public libraries across the country are very united on this and if the right to read continues to be under threat like it’s been, it is not a good time for the state of our democracy.”

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District of Columbia

Bowser: No credible threats to D.C. Pride events

Mayor spoke with the Blade after flag-raising ceremony at the Wilson Building



D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser at the flag-raising of the Progress Pride flag at the Wilson Building in D.C. on June 1, 2023. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser on Thursday said authorities have not received any credible threats to upcoming Pride events.

“We don’t have any to report,” she told the Washington Blade.

“MPD is constantly working with all of our agencies to make sure we have safe special events and we’re going to keep going with our planning, like we do every year,” added Bowser. “There’s always a scan for any threats to the District.”

Bowser spoke with the Blade after she joined D.C. Council Chair Phil Mendelson, Council members Anita Bonds, Charles Allen, Kenyon McDuffie and Zachary Parker, D.C. Attorney General Brian Schwalb, D.C. Mayor’s LGBTQ Affairs Office Director Japer Bowles and other officials and activists in raising the Progress Pride flag in front of the Wilson Building.

The Blade last month reported D.C. police are investigating a bomb threat a Twitter user made against the annual District Pride concert that will take place at the Lincoln Theater on June 29. Bowles in a May 19 statement said his office reported the tweet, but further stressed that “no credible threat at this time has been made.”

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Moore issues Pride month proclamation

Governor on May 3 signed Trans Health Equity Act



Maryland Gov. Wes Moore (Public domain photo/Twitter)

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore on Thursday proclaimed June as Pride month in recognition of  “the contributions, resilience, courage and joy of LGBTQIA+ Marylanders,” according to a press release.

“In Maryland, we lead with love and inclusion. I want everyone in our LGBTQIA+ community to know that they deserve to be seen for who they are, and our administration will stand with them in the fight for equality and equity,” Moore said. “We need to elevate the stories, embrace the courage, and celebrate the humanity of our LGBTQIA+ community — and as long as I am governor, we will take the steps forward to protect and celebrate all Marylanders.”

Moore on March 31 became the first governor in Maryland history to recognize the Transgender Day of Visibility and last month he signed into law the Trans Health Equity Act into law, which requires Maryland Medicaid to provide coverage for gender-affirming care beginning next year.

“This month is a celebration of the beauty and uniqueness of the queer community, but it’s also a time to reaffirm our commitment to uplifting LGBTQIA+ Marylanders and continuing to fight against hatred, discrimination, and bigotry,” Lt. Gov. Aruna Miller said in the same press release that Moore’s office released. “LGBTQIA+ Marylanders deserve to be who they are, to live their pride — without fear or having to hide. This administration will always stand alongside and protect the rights of all Marylanders.”

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