Friday, December 28, 2012

2012: The LGBT Year in Review



Gov. O'Malley signs marriage bill into law
The year 2012, as in the case of any year, had its ups and downs.  We saw historic struggles ending up with historic victories.  We saw heroes and villains aplenty.  We went through a rough and tumble expensive presidential election.  We witnessed triumphs and natural disasters.  And we ended up experiencing the effects of the horrific slaughter of innocent little kids and brave adults in Newtown during the heart of the Christmas season.
For the LGBT community, the quest for marriage equality in Maryland—putting gays and lesbians and their families on an equal footing with our heterosexual counterparts—was clearly the top story as chronicled in the events below.  The eight-year struggle, which at times seemed nearly impossible to attain, culminated in a decisive victory for equality.  For transgender rights, there were mixed results.
As we take a look back at this past year, we recognize that the marriage success isn’t the final chapter of the story but just the beginning as there is so much more work left to do.  But 2012 was a watershed year for our community, and amidst the horrors of the tragedies that beset humanity, we should celebrate our achievements and work towards making 2013 better than 2012.

JANUARY
.  Various leaders of Maryland’s transgender community met with Gary Maynard, the state’s Secretary of Public Safety and Correctional Services, in Towson to discuss improving the safety of transgender persons who are incarcerated.
.  As the 2012 Maryland General Assembly got underway, Del. Mary Washington introduced a bill in the House of Delegates taking effect in October that would criminalize harassment and bullying using electronic and social media including Facebook.

.  A statewide gender identity anti-discrimination bill was introduced in the Senate.

.  A bill to legalize same-sex marriage was introduced in both houses.

.  A bill introduced to the Baltimore County Council by Councilman Tom Quirk to protect county residents from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity passed.
.  The Maryland Corporate Council, a non-profit organization to promote networking among LGBT businesses and professionals, was launched in Baltimore.

.  The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Conference on Creating Change was held in Baltimore with NAACP president Benjamin Jealous as the keynote speaker with additional remarks made by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Mrs. Kate O’Malley.

.  An estimated 300 opponents of same-sex marriage—mostly clergy—gathered at Lawyers Mall in Annapolis to protest the marriage bill.

FEBRUARY

.  The LGBT community celebrated Black History Month.
.  The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down California’s Proposition 8—a ban on same-sex marriage—as unconstitutional.
Lobby Day

.  Governor O’Malley addressed the annual Lobby Day gathering of at least 500 at Lawyers Mall with the emphasis clearly on marriage equality.
.  The third annual Bmore Proud conference took place at UMBC whereby over 200 LGBT students and allies representing 10 Baltimore area colleges and universities participated with Del. Mary Washington as the keynote speaker.
.   New Jersey Governor Chris Christie vetoed a marriage equality bill passed by the state legislature.
.  The Maryland Senate and House of Delegates passed a measure that would legalize same-sex marriage in the state as celebratory emotions poured out through both chambers as the votes were announced.
.  The legislature failed to take up a gender identity anti-discrimination bill.
.  Seventeen year-old Trayvon Martin was gunned down in Sanford, FL by George Zimmerman prompting anger and protests from the LGBT community.

MARCH
.  The LGBT community celebrated Women’s History Month.
.  Governor Martin O’Malley signed the Civil Marriage Protection Act into law in front of hundreds of cheering supporters.
.    The Maryland Marriage Alliance, opponents of the marriage equality law, begins efforts to gather sufficient signatures to petition the law to referendum.
.   Dante Parrish was convicted of murdering gay 15 year–old Jason Mattison, Jr. and was sentenced in April to life without parole.
.  The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) names Chad Griffin as the new president whose tenure would take effect in June.
.  A “White Pride” group with anti-gay messaging had formed at Towson University and was met with protests and a student forum to discuss concerns.
.  Governor O’Malley spoke to 365 Catholics at a New Ways Ministry symposium in Baltimore where he touted the Civil Marriage Protection Act and promoted equality.
.  A New Jersey jury found Dharun Ravibach guilty in connection with the suicide of gay fellow Rutgers student Tyler Clementi and was sentenced  in May to 30 days in jail.
.  AIDS Action Baltimore celebrated its 25th anniversary with a gala at the Four Seasons Hotel in Baltimore.

.  HRC obtained a secret document from the National organization for Marriage which disclosed its strategy of driving a wedge between African-Americans and the LGBT community on marriage equality.

APRIL
.  An effort to secure enough signatures to kill the gender identity anti-discrimination law in Baltimore County through a referendum failed.
.  The semi-annual Gender EDGE Collective attracted a gathering at Red Emmas’s Bookstore Coffeehouse to help empower gender variant and queer individuals through art and creativity.
.  GLSEN-Baltimore sponsored the Students of Color Organizing Conference at the Sheraton Baltimore City Center.
.  President Obama criticized the Minnesota marriage amendment characterizing it as divisive and discriminatory.
.  Former Senator Rick Santorum, known for his anti-gay views, dropped out of the GOP primary leaving the field open for former governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney.
.  Baltimore Archbishop Designate William Lori publicly vowed he would work to overturn the law that would legalize same-sex marriage through referendum.
.  Marylanders for Marriage Equality announced that Josh Levin, a native of Chicago, would head up the campaign to defeat the expected referendum aimed at overturning the Civil marriage Protection Act.
.  Former Maryland governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. predicted in a column in the Baltimore Sun the marriage law would fail as a result of a prospective referendum.
.  The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has determined that job bias against employees on the basis of gender identity amounts to sex discrimination under existing law.
.  Retiring gay Congressman Barney Frank called Mitt Romney’s anti- gay views “despicable.”
.  Moveable Feast was recognized for its community service by receiving the first annual William Donald Schaefer Helping People Award.

MAY
.  The Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Baltimore started a comprehensive strategic planning process facilitated by Odette Ramos, president and CEO of Strategic Management Consulting, LLC.
.  Voters in North Carolina approved an anti-gay constitutional amendment that bans same-sex marriage.
.  The Den, which serves as a safe space for LGBTQ youth ages 13-24, opened at the GLCCB.
.  Three days following Vice President Joe Biden’s revelation on Meet the Press that he supports marriage equality President Obama completed his “evolution” and announced on ABC News that he thinks “same-sex couples should be able to get married.”
.  The Maryland Court of Appeals by a unanimous 7-0 vote ruled that same-sex couples legally married in other states and D.C. may obtain divorces in Maryland.
.  The NAACP issued a resolution supporting marriage equality.
.  Former Secretary of State Colin Powell voiced his support for marriage equality.
.  Opponents of same-sex marriage in Maryland surpassed the requisite number of signatures to place the law on the ballot in November for the voters to decide in a referendum.
.  TransPride drew nearly 150 to Southwest D.C. in the 6th annual event.
.  A U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California declared Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional for violating equal protection rights.
.  Over 50 marriage equality advocates from various PFLAG chapters in Maryland met in Columbia for a strategy briefing.
.  Rookie Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III was among a dozen NFL players who said they would welcome a gay teammate.

JUNE
.  DeSean Bowman, a young African-American gay man was killed in East Baltimore prompting a vigil with the Guardian Angels and LGBT leaders to take place in July.
.  President Obama proclaimed June Pride Month and included marriage equality in his proclamation.

.  Pride events took place throughout the world with Baltimore’s Pride featuring the traditional parade that was preceded by a high-heels race, block party and festival.
.  PFLAG Mom June Horner of Sykesville, Md. was selected to be the Baltimore Pride parade’s Grand Marshal.
.  Stefany Hoyer Hemmer, the daughter of Rep. Steny Hoyer, came out as lesbian.
.  The GLCCB announced that board president Trevor Ankeny has been replaced by Bud Beehler as part of a revamping of the Center’s leadership.
.  Mollie Olgin and Kristene Chapa, a lesbian couple, were shot in a Texas park.
.  The second annual Diversity Weekend took place in Westminster, Md.
.  Former Miss Phoenix (bar) Michael Joseph Root who performed as Michelle Rose passed away at his Ocean City home at the age of 46.
.  Marylanders for Marriage Equality—the group leading the effort to defend the marriage equality law—opened offices in Baltimore and Silver Spring and began hiring staff.
.  More than 20 statewide LGBT groups including Equality Maryland met with Administration officials at the White House on federal initiatives and policy changes that would benefit the LGBT community.
.  Exodus International, an ‘ex-gay’ group admits there is no ‘cure’ for being gay.

JULY
.  Washington County in Western Maryland began offering partnership benefits to employees who legally married their same-sex partner in other states and D.C.
.  Popular TV journalist Anderson Cooper came out in an email to blogger Andrew Sullivan that said, in part, “The fact is, I’m gay.”
.  The Club Hippo, Maryland’s largest gay bar, celebrated its 40th anniversary.
.  Barney Frank, the first openly gay sitting member of Congress, married his partner Jim Ready.
.  Fourth of July parades and events around the state featured advocates for marriage equality.
.   Attorney Aaron Merki was named executive director of Free State Legal Project, a Baltimore-based organization serving the legal needs of the low-income LGBT community.

.  The International AIDS Conference drew over 30,000 in D.C. with former President Clinton among the speakers.
.  Longtime Baltimore LGBT activist Lisa Polyak announced her resignation as chair of the Equality Maryland board of directors.
.  Many pro-marriage equality advocates were stunned to see people they knew including family members who were listed as those who signed the petition to place the marriage law on the ballot.
.  Sally Ride, the first female astronaut died from pancreatic cancer at the age of 61 left Tam O’Shaughnessy, her same-sex partner of 27 years, as her survivor. 

AUGUST
.  Gay rights activists staged a National same-sex kiss day at Chick-fil-A in response to the company’s CEO Dan Cathy’s opposition to same-sex marriage, the company’s donations to anti-marriage equality organizations, and to demonstrators who “appreciated” the chain.
.  The annual Chesapeake Pride festival took place at Mayo Beach in Anne Arundel County.
.  A gay man, Joseph Alexander “Alex” Ulrich, Jr., 40, was shot to death near the Belvedere Hotel and Lawrence R. Peterson, 56, was critically wounded in an apparent robbery attempt.  A suspect was apprehended three weeks later.
.  Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney selected Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, who opposes same-sex marriage, to be his running mate.
.  Light Brigade Maryland held its first of two dozen pro-marriage equality events at the Dulaney Valley Road Bridge over the Baltimore beltway.
.  The Republican platform includes a federal constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
. Todd Akin, who has a long anti-gay record in Congress and is running for U.S. Senate in Missouri, said a woman can resist pregnancy after a “legitimate rape.” 
.  Del Maggie McIntosh joined the Marylanders for Marriage Equality campaign to handle its strategic decision-making.
.  Del. Mary Washington, the first ever openly gay African-American legislator in Maryland, was awarded the David Bohnett LGBT Leadership Fellowship at the Harvard Kennedy School in Boston.
.  Anti-gay Delegate Emmett C. Burns, Jr. wrote a letter to Steve Bisciotti, the owner of the Baltimore Ravens, protesting linebacker Brandon Ayanbadejo’s support for marriage equality.

SEPTEMBER
.  Several openly gay delegates spoke before the Democratic National Convention, and marriage equality was included in the Party’s platform.
.  Governor O’Malley attended a star-studded fundraiser in New York to help defend Maryland’s marriage law in the referendum and later stated the campaign needs another $2 million.
.  Rev. Al Sharpton was among a group of prominent black clergy that urged Maryland voters to support the state’s same-sex marriage law while another group of pastors held a dueling news conference advocating for the law’s repeal.
.  Former Pittsburgh Pirates owner Kevin McClatchy who is the chairman of the nation’s third largest newspaper company has come out, saying he hopes it will spark change.
.  California Gov. Jerry Brown signed an executive order banning reparative therapy aimed at changing the sexual orientation of a minor from gay to straight.

OCTOBER
.  The LGBT community celebrated Gay History Month.
.  Entering its 10th year, Baltimore Black Pride held a week-long celebration of black LGBT life and culture with workshops, galas and spiritual services.
.  Keith “Ebony” Holt, Lea Gilmore, Dale Guy Madison and the community organization AIRS received Black Pride Awards.
.  Ravens center Matt Birk publicly expressed his opposition to same-sex marriage.
.  The Spotlighters Theatre marked its 50th anniversary with the presentation of Bus Stop.
.  A transgender student was suspended then reinstated after a fight with another student at Patapsco High School.
.  Julian Bond, the former chair and current Chairman Emeritus of the NAACP recorded an ad in the Baltimore and D.C. markets to present his support for the marriage law.
.  Hopkins alum Mayor Bloomberg donates $250,000 to Maryland marriage effort.
.  Former Senator Arlen Specter, a pro-LGBT rights advocate, died at the age of 82.
. Angela McCaskill was placed on leave by Gallaudet University from her job as a diversity officer after it was revealed she signed an anti-gay marriage petition.
.  Fox 45 News held town hall on marriage equality.
.  TV ads from Marylanders for Marriage Equality included Rev. Donte Hickman, Rev. Delman Coates and others to offset the Maryland Marriage Alliance ads.
.  Hurricane Sandy struck the East Coast wreaking havoc and causing billions of dollars in damage along the New Jersey shoreline and NYC.
.  Baltimore hosted the annual Out & Equal Workplace Advocates Summit at the Convention Center.

NOVEMBER
.  President Obama, the most pro-LGBT president in history was reelected to a second term.

.  Question 6 succeeded in Maryland by a 52-48 percent margin thereby upholding the marriage equality law and becoming the 7th state plus D.C. to legalize same-sex marriage.
.  Baltimore City, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Howard, Fredrick and Montgomery counties provided margin of victory.
.  Maine and Washington voters also supported marriage equality at the ballot box joining Maryland on Election Night.
.  Minnesota voters defeated an anti-gay marriage amendment to their Constitution.
.  Marriage advocates in Maryland celebrate historic victory with parties throughout the state.
. Pro-LGBT rights Democrat John Delaney ousted Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, a 20 year Congressman.
.  Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin was elected as the first open lesbian to the U.S. Senate was among a total of 6 openly gay candidates who were elected to Congress.
.  Openly gay Del. Heather Mizeur (D-Montgomery) considers a run for governor in 2014.
.  Stacie Laughton, a New Hampshire Democrat, became the first openly transgender person elected to a statewide office in the U.S.
.  The 14th annual International Transgender Day of Remembrance was observed at the First Unitarian Church of Baltimore.
.  Equality Maryland put forth their post-marriage agenda.
.  Marylanders for Marriage Equality raised nearly $6 million to defend the marriage law in the referendum.

DECEMBER
.  The LGBT Community observed World AIDS Day on the first.
.  Pennsylvania State Representative Mike Fleck, a Republican, came out as a gay man.
.  The American Psychiatric Association removed being transgender from its list of mental disorders.
.  The Supreme Court announced it would hear the cases on California’s Proposition 8 and a section of the Defense of Marriage Act.
.  Maryland began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples which can be effective as soon as Jan. 1, 2013.
.  Catholic University declines to recognize LGBT group.
.  Saba becomes first Caribbean island to legalize same-sex marriage.
.  Longtime pro-LGBT rights Democratic Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii died at the age of 88.
.  Twenty children and six adults were massacred in Newtown, CT prompting many LGBT folks to demand action on gun control legislation and improvements to the mental health system.
.  Sen. Barbara Mikulski was appointed as the first woman to chair the prestigious Senate Appropriations Committee.

.  Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich shifted his position on marriage for same-sex couples, urging Republicans to heed public opinion and move toward acceptance of the freedom to marry.

.  The Centers for Disease Control and Infection reported that the new HIV infection rate among young gay and bisexual men rose by 22 percent between 2008 and 2010.

.  Anti-gay Del. Donald H. Dwyer was charged in connection with a boating accident in August that sent several people to the hospital.

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