As the Baltimore Pride parade winds down and the block party begins on Saturday afternoon, there will be a special area set aside specifically for LGBT youth. This area, which had previously been known as the Youth Zone, is now called Youth Pride and will take place beginning at 4 p.m. at Charles and Read Streets.
Youth Pride is co-sponsored by the GLBT Community Center of Baltimore (GLCCB) and STAR TRACK (Special Teens At-Risk Together Reaching Access, Care, & Knowledge) and is the culmination of other youth-focused events during the week leading up to Pride.
“Every year over the past six years, STAR TRACK has planned youth and young adult specific events during the week of Baltimore Pride, providing a safe space to connect, have a good time and celebrate our communities,” M. Blair Franklin, HIV prevention program manager at STAR TRACK, told the Blade. “This year events included a Gay Skate, our Annual Ball, and a panel discussion from the black and Latinx communities about the impact of the Orlando shootings at Pulse, and of course, Baltimore Youth Pride.”
STAR TRACK has been serving the Baltimore’s LGBTQ youth and young adults, ages 12 to 26, since 1989 by offering outreach, education and prevention services to youth, young adults, and their communities. Activities include health education programs, peer trainings, teen leadership events, prevention services (individual and group), health promotion campaigns, an HIV prevention hotline, free and anonymous HIV testing services, an interactive teen health website, and community mobilization.
“The STAR TRACK Adolescent Health Program at the University of Maryland Baltimore has worked with the LGBTQ community since its inception to provide safe and client-centered comprehensive healthcare to young people,” Jamal Hailey, director of programs, told the Blade. “STAR TRACK made a commitment long ago to keep the needs of the LGBTQ community at the forefront of our work and has consistently employed members from the community as a part of our efforts.”