About 50 people attended a reception at City Hall on June 12 in which Baltimore Mayor Catherine F. Pugh bestowed mayoral medallions upon leaders of the LGBTQ community. The event, which kicked off the final week before Baltimore Pride, was the first LGBTQ awards ceremony to take place at City Hall in connection with the annual celebration.
After preliminary introductions that included Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, the 2017 Queen of Pride Dee A. Diamond, and executive director of the Center for Black Equity Baltimore Carlton Smith, Pugh noted “42 years of rallying together” in displaying the mayor’s proclamation celebrating Pride month.
“The more we understand that that we have more in common than we are different, the better we will be,” Pugh said. “LGBT residents are invaluable to our city. How wonderful your contributions have been to our society.”
Pugh presented the medallions to the following:
Lillian Amaya, co-founder of IRIS (Individuality, Respect, Integrity, Sexuality), an organization that promotes unity among the various Baltimore Latino LGBTQ communities; Sgt. Kevin Bailey, a gay officer serving as the Baltimore Police Department’s LGBT liaison; Ian James, who works with STAR TRACK, an organization which seeks to improve the health of youth and young adults in the city and the state; and Del. Maggie McIntosh of Baltimore’s 43rd legislative district, the first openly LGBTQ member of the state legislature and who has been in the forefront of the movement to expand LGBTQ rights in Maryland.
In addition, medallions were given to: Mark McLaurin, the political director for SEIU Maryland and D.C. and is co-chair of Police Commissioner Davis’ LGBT Advisory Committee; Merrick Moise, the LGBTQ Community Liaison for the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office; Kenneth Morrison, co-executive director of the GLBT Community Center of Baltimore and Central Maryland (GLCCB); Ava Pipitone, executive director of the Baltimore Transgender Alliance, the only peer-run transgender advocacy organization in Baltimore; and Steve Ziger, who serves on several boards including the Baltimore Community Foundation where he is co-chair for the LGBTQ focus group.
“I am incredibly honored to receive this award,” Merrick Moise, the only transgender African-American man who was a delegate to the 2016 Democratic National Convention, told the Blade.
“The City of Baltimore is showing its commitment to our community. We have a long way to go but we are making strides,” he said.