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Equality Maryland endorses Anthony Brown for governor

Heather Mizeur describes endorsement as a “puzzling choice”



Heather Mizeur, Delman Coates, Montgomery County, Silver Spring, Maryland, Maryland House of Delegates, Democratic Party, gay news, Washington Blade

Heather Mizeur, Delman Coates, Montgomery County, Silver Spring, Maryland, Maryland House of Delegates, Democratic Party, gay news, Washington Blade

Heather Mizeur on Dec. 23 questioned why Equality Maryland endorsed Anthony Brown for governor. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Maryland’s largest LGBT advocacy organization on Monday announced it has endorsed Lieutenant Gov. Anthony Brown for governor in an apparent snub of lesbian state Del. Heather Mizeur (D-Montgomery) who is seeking the same office.

“We are proud to put our support behind the Brown/Ulman ticket for governor and lieutenant governor,” said Equality Maryland Executive Director Carrie Evans in a statement. “After meeting with the three declared Democratic candidates, we believe that Anthony Brown and [Howard County Executive] Ken Ulman will be the most effective governor and lieutenant governor for Equality Maryland’s issues and for the citizens of Maryland.”

Brown stressed his ticket’s ongoing support of marriage rights for same-sex couples and other LGBT-specific issues in a statement after Equality Maryland announced it’s endorsement.

“We’ve made great progress over the past seven years, achieving marriage equality and strengthening domestic violence services for LGBT residents, while working to ban discrimination based on gender identity,” he said. “Ken Ulman and I are committed to maintaining Maryland’s position on the right side of history at the forefront of the fight for equality, and we support all Marylanders and their families.”

Mizeur described the Brown endorsement as a “puzzling choice” in a statement.

“No one in this race has done more for the LGBT community than the Mizeur-Coates ticket,” she told the Washington Blade. “I’m not sure what more we could have done to earn their support.”

Evans defended her organization’s decision to endorse Brown — and not Mizeur.

“I suppose any candidate that doesn’t get an endorsement feels snubbed,” Evans told the Blade. “Equality Maryland is confident the Brown/Ulman administration will provide the leadership Equality Maryland needs in our next governor and has the relationships we need to move LGBT issues forward in our state.”

Brown will face off against Mizeur and Attorney General Doug Gansler in June’s Democratic primary.

Gansler in 2008 became the first statewide official to back marriage rights for same-sex couples in Maryland when he testified in support of the issue during a state Senate committee hearing. Both he and his running mate, state Del. Jolene Ivey (D-Prince George’s), and Mizeur are among the elected officials who attended Equality Maryland’s 25th anniversary brunch in Baltimore in October.

EMILY’s List earlier this month announced it would encourage its members to contribute to Mizeur’s campaign.

The Montgomery County Democrat in November tapped Rev. Delman Coates of Mount Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton as her running mate. Coates in February 2012 emerged as one of Maryland’s most prominent same-sex marriage supporters after testifying in support of a bill that would allow gays and lesbians to legally marry in the state.

Mizeur would become the country’s first elected openly gay governor if voters elect her to succeed Gov. Martin O’Malley.

Equality Maryland also announced it has endorsed state Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-Montgomery County) and state Del. Luke Clippinger (D-Baltimore City). The statewide LGBT advocacy group said in a press release that it’s political action committee will announce at least one more round of endorsements in the coming months.

“Equality Maryland’s PAC has worked since 2006 to help elect individuals who will fight for LGBT equality,” said Equality Maryland PAC Chair Tim Williams. “it is remarkable that seven years later, we have come to a point where all three Democratic candidates for governor are enthusiastically supportive of LGBT issues.”

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  1. Anonymous

    December 23, 2013 at 10:59 pm

    Oh please! Why would attendance at a luncheon in any way determine support for a candidate for Governor? In ANY statewide polling, where is Delegate Mizeur polling? (Wash Post Oct. 17, 2013 – 5%, Gonzales Research Oct. 2013 – 5%). Is she a viable candidate? I am a 56 year old married gay man who would LOVE to see an LGBT person in a position of leadership such as Governor. However, I am also pragmatic enough to want to support a candidate(s) who are viable and can win. Delegate Mizeur has a big problem with name recognition. I applaud her desire to run for Governor.

  2. Dottie O'Neill

    December 24, 2013 at 12:42 am

    Here we are fighting politics as usual and find Equality Maryland snubbing the only candidate who represents the major of Marylanders who struggle to solve the problems of social injustice. As a straight couple, we are appalled and sickened by the LGBT community kissing ass out of fear that Heather will lose. We all lose if we do not rid this state of special interest. If you did not know this, it continues to exist beyond your wildest dreams. The good news is the endorsements are from the big boys/girls at the top who are too busy making money and hopefully their underlings may find the time and energy to vote for a new Maryland.

  3. Chris Chocolatebearcub Capers

    December 24, 2013 at 6:15 am

    Gansler is going to win this anyway! He has the name recognition and he is a BIG SUPPORTER of the LGBTQ Community!

  4. Dana LaRocca

    December 24, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    He's got the 18-21 year old party boy vote. Grown ups will vote for Heather.

  5. John Clark

    December 24, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    Maybe she's done a lot for the LG (and bisexuals in same sex couples) but she hasn't done enough T work to call that statement completely factual.

    • Reality

      December 27, 2013 at 4:07 pm

      ““No one in this race has done more for the LGBT community than the Mizeur-Coates ticket,” she told the Washington Blade”

      In 1998, Elizabeth Birch said the same thing about the relationship between her organization and trans rights.

      Fifteen years later, its still not true.

      Just sayin’….

  6. Rob

    December 26, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Del Mizeur really jumped the shark naming the baptist minister her running mate…I think Equality Maryland is just acknowledging that she’s not a viable candidate. Gansler might have a right to be p/o’ed, but not Mizeur. She should retire gracefully ASAP.

  7. Anonymous

    January 1, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    It is an odd choice. A P.C. choice would be more accurate.

  8. Anonymous

    January 1, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    Heather is the fastest to raise taxes in MD. No more thank you!

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Comings & Goings

Nathanson takes role at Outright Action



Rikki Nathanson

The Comings & Goings column is about sharing the professional successes of our community. We want to recognize those landing new jobs, new clients for their business, joining boards of organizations and other achievements. Please share your successes with us at: [email protected] 

The Comings & Goings column also invites LGBTQ+ college students to share their successes with us. If you have been elected to a student government position, gotten an exciting internship, or are graduating and beginning your career with a great job, let us know so we can share your success. 

Congratulations to Rikki Nathanson on her new position as Senior Advisor – Global Trans Program with OutRight Action International in New York. Nathanson will be based in D.C.  

 “I am absolutely thrilled to be taking on this new role as Senior Advisor in OutRight’s Global Trans Program,” said Nathanson. “I have finally found the perfect fit for me: as a trans woman who has been fighting for equality not only for myself, but for others globally, this position is not only a job, it’s intrinsically part of who I am. So, what better way to live, nurture and grow myself.” 

Nathanson will be working closely with all program staff to ensure a cohesive and intentional approach to gender issues throughout OutRight’s programs, including its approach to gender ideology movements. She will lead new initiatives on gender advocacy and policy change, focused but not limited to legal gender recognition and anti-discrimination legislation and policies.

Prior to this Nathanson was director of housing programs at Casa Ruby in D.C. She has also held a number of other positions including: founder/executive director of Trans Research, Education, Advocacy & Training (TREAT), Zimbabwe; chairperson Southern Africa Trans Forum, SATF, Cape Town, South Africa; executive director, Ricochet Modeling Agency, Zimbabwe; and company secretary for Dunlop Zimbabwe Limited, Zimbabwe. 

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SMYAL Director Shakir to step down Dec. 31

Board to launch Executive Search beginning in January



SMYAL Executive Director Sultan Shakir addresses the crowd at the 2021 Fall Brunch. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Sultan Shakir, who has served as executive director of D.C.’s LGBTQ youth advocacy organization SMYAL since August 2014, announced on Friday that he will be stepping down from his position effective Dec. 31.

In a Dec. 3 announcement, SMYAL said details of Shakir’s future career plans would be announced in the coming weeks.

“While we are sad to see Sultan leave, we wish him nothing but the same success in his new endeavor as he had at SMYAL,” said Rob Cogorno, SMYAL’s board chair. “His leadership and vision enabled SMYAL to expand greatly needed services to LGBTQ youth in the DC metro area throughout his tenure,” Cogorno said.

“I am immensely proud of the work we have been able to accomplish together in my time at SMYAL,” Shakir said in a statement released by SMYAL. “SMYAL has been an integral and vital resource in the DMV community for over 37 years, and while we have come a long way in combating homophobia, transphobia, racism, sexual health stigma, homelessness, violence against the LGBTQ community, and oppression, we have a long way to go,” he said.

“This work has never been about one person,” said Shakir. “SMYAL was founded by our community and we’re still around because of our community,” he said. “I leave knowing that the commitment and passion of the SMYAL Board, staff, volunteers, and youth leaders have created a solid foundation from which our work will continue to grow until LGBTQ youth no longer need us.”

The SMYAL statement says that under Shakir’s tenure, SMYAL, which stands for Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders, expanded its programs and services for LGBTQ youth. Among other things, in 2017 SMYAL opened its first of several housing facilities for homeless LGBTQ youth that include culturally competent case management, education and employment assistance.

“The Youth Housing Program now comprises five programmatic models that serve a combined 61 youth residents,” the statement says.

It points out that also under Shakir’s leadership, SMYAL expanded the age range of the youth its programs serve under a new Little SMYALs program, which welcomes LGBTQ youth ages 6-12. And earlier in 2021 under Shakir’s guidance, SMYAL began a new Clinical Services Department “which provides affirming and accessible mental health counseling,” the statement says.

“The SMYAL Board of Directors will officially launch an Executive Search beginning in January 2022 and expects to have named a new Executive Director by summer 2022,” the statement says. It says the board will soon name an interim executive director to work with SMYAL’s Deputy Executive Director, Jorge Membreno, and the organization’s leadership team to oversee the day-to-day activities until a new executive director is named.

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Rainbow History Project to honor LGBTQ ‘Pioneers’

Virtual celebration to take place on Dec. 9



David Mariner, gay news, Washington Blade
David Mariner (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

D.C.’s Rainbow History Project says it will honor and recognize 12 individuals and one organization by designating them as Community Pioneers “for their diverse contributions to the Washington-area LGBTQ community” at a Dec. 9 virtual celebration.

“Rainbow History Project is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to collecting, preserving and sharing the LGBT history of metropolitan Washington, D.C.,” the group says in a statement announcing the event. “The Pioneers awards recognize diverse community leaders for their roles as organizational founders, innovators, advocates and volunteers,” the statement says.

“The Pioneers celebration will be held virtually and is designed with special features that reproduce the feeling of attending in-person, such as live streaming and video chatting with other attendees and Pioneers before and after the core awards programing,” according to the statement.

“Celebrating our Community Pioneers has been a cherished tradition since Rainbow History Project’s founding 21 years ago,” said Rob Berger, the organization’s chairperson. “It’s always an inspiring event, and we are happy that our virtual platform will still allow participants to meet and talk with the Pioneers,” Berger said in the statement.

The virtual event is free and open to the public, the statement says. Organizers released this link for those interested in attending, saying a short registration process may require registering in advance. 

Remo Conference

Following is the list of Community Pioneers scheduled to be honored at the Dec. 9 event as released by Rainbow History Project along with the project’s description of their backgrounds.

Arlington Gay and Lesbian Alliance, a local group that since its founding has addressed equal rights issues for LGBTQ Virginians from a state and local perspective.

– Eboné F. Bell, founder and editor-in-chief of Tagg Magazine and Tagg Communication LLC.

Bart Forbes, founding member of “Gay Fairfax,” a pioneering television newsmagazine program in Northern Virginia.

– Ellen Kahan, youth and family advocate, president of Rainbow Families, former director of the Lesbian Services Program at Whitman-Walker Health, and currently senior director of programs and partnerships at the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.

– Theodore Kirkland (deceased), a co-founder of D.C. Black Pride in 1991, member of the Gay Liberation Front and Skyline Faggots, active community health volunteer and advocate.

– Paul Marengo, community leader through LGBTQ organizations including Reel Affirmations, Cherry Fund, and Pride celebrations for youth, Latino, Black and Transgender communities.

– David Mariner, executive director of CAMP Rehoboth, and former executive director of the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community.

– Mark Meinke founder longtime chair, Rainbow History Project, and co-founder of Rainbow Heritage Network, a national organization for the recognition and preservation of sites, history and heritage associated with sexual and gender minorities.

– Michael “Micci” Sainte Andress, artist, health educator and advocate and an early leader in bringing African Americans into HIV/AIDS clinical trials.

– Boden Sandstrom, founder and owner of Woman Sound (later City Sound), the first all-woman sound company, which makes LGBTQ rights rallies and the women’s music scene possible.

Casse Culver (deceased), nationally acclaimed D.C. lesbian feminist singer-songwriter, and partner of Boden Sandstrom, whose followers said her love songs and feminist lyrics moved audiences from foot stomping to silent reflection.  

Alan Sharpe, playwright, director and co-founder of the African American Collective Theater in Washington, D.C., in 1976, which now focuses on LGBTQ life and culture in the Black community.

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