It may feel like HIV/AIDS is under control but there are still pressing issues associated with the disease.
It’s a big reason why Monte Ephraim, a licensed certified social worker at the LGBT Health Resource Center in Baltimore, has been participating in AIDS Walk Baltimore since the late ‘80s.
AIDS Walk & Run Baltimore is Sunday, May 6 at the Maryland Zoo (1 Safari Pl., Baltimore). Put on each year by Chase Brexton, the agency hopes to raise about $150,000. Supporters can register for the walk or run, start a team, join an existing team or make a donation at events.chasebrexton.org or look for the event on Facebook. About 33 percent of the goal has been raised as of Blade press time this week.
Ephraim, a 60-year-old native Baltimore resident, is on a team that so far has raised $1,300 for the event. Last year nearly $100,000 was raised for HIV prevention, outreach and testing services. About 500 participate each year. The walk joins the Charm Ball gala, held in September, as one of two major Chase Brexton fundraisers for the year. All the money raised stays in the Baltimore area.
Ephraim works by day as manager of psychosocial services at the LGBT and Older Adult Programming and Services at Chase Brexton (this is its fourth year running the AIDS Walk) and facilitates the Long-Term HIV Survivor Group support group there as well.
Ephraim, a lesbian and LGBT activist for 40 years, has been married for 27 years to Leitner Winstead, a clothing designer. They live with two dogs and a cat in Mt. Washington.
Ephraim enjoys walking her dogs and “spending time on an exceptionally worn and lovely red sofa” in her free time.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I have been out for 40 years. I am not sure I could identify any one person. My struggle was unrealistically internal as every time I came out to family or friends, there was no change in the relationship. That is not always the case. I never lose sight of that.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
Ruth Ellis and Peppermint Patty
What’s Baltimore’s best nightspot, past or present?
Describe your dream wedding.
I had it — at City Hall in a room with Astroturf, a wire mesh canopy and a broom.
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
Animals. They exceed us in unconditional need and regard while too many exploit their vulnerability.
What historical outcome would you change?
There are several, but going with my visceral response and physiological discomfort when I read this question, albeit obvious, the last election.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
The Read Street Festival. An event and era of abundant pop culture.
On what do you insist?
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
I don’t Facebook or tweet. It is not because of a political or philosophical reason, it’s a generational gap for me. I have most of those conversations in my head and the majority live.
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
“An Unintentional and Fully Enjoyable Journey”
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
Let’s really be inclusive all the time and not wait for the next threat, crisis or injustice. There is enough of that to prompt the need daily.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
A wounded child or animal. More globally, an equitable world of kindness and tolerance.
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
Lesbians and rugby shirts; vertical stripes don’t work for me.
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
“Ma Vie en Rose” (1997)
What’s the most overrated social custom?
Electronic communication. Bring back the art of live conversation.
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
The trophy I covet most is my basketball coaching trophy earned for the most effort. I have no understanding or skills in basketball. While coaching, prompted out a lack of skilled, knowledgeable people, I advocated for half points if it was the wrong end of the court for the youth I worked with. They also spelled my name wrong making it even more priceless.
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
What I know at 60.