When Eric was nine years old, he lived with relatives due to his mother’s mental illness. He began to develop what people considered effeminate mannerisms. Neighborhood men would try to “macho him out” by beating him up.
Eric entered foster care at age 12, when his relatives would no longer keep him in their home. He was placed with a foster parent who had two children of her own and another foster child. The foster mother made it clear that he was not welcome there. He was bullied by the foster mother’s children, and the other foster youth. Instead of living in the foster home, he stayed wherever he could – with friends, with family, on the street. He came home on Fridays to get the $25 or $50 his mom would give him for the next week. To maintain the charade, Eric would be present when the caseworker came for a monthly visit.
Several dozen community members gathered on Saturday, August 17 at the Spiritual Empowerment Center in Charles Village to say “until we meet again” to send Mia Henderson home with dignity and to celebrate her life. Mia was a 26-year-old transgender woman, brutally murdered on July 16. Also honored at the service was 40-year-old Kandy Hall, another transgender woman who was viciously murdered a few weeks earlier on June 3. Hall was a hairdresser from Annapolis.
Responding to community insistence that the GLCCB’s board of directors becomes more open and transparent, the board on August 11 held their first public board meeting in years. Following a town hall meeting held in July that was at times contentious, the Center moved quickly to invite the public to the August board meeting and posted the invitation to the Center’s website Glccb.org. Past copies of tax forms 990 and previous board meeting minutes to the extent they were located were also posted online.
The Frederick Center, the leading organization for LGBTQ resources and advocacy in central Maryland, announced that its application for tax-exempt status under IRS regulations was officially approved last month. According to the approving letter, the effective date of the exemption is April 5, 2013, meaning all contributions to the Frederick Center since that date are tax-exempt.
Having heard a good amount of criticism at a GLCCB-held town hall meeting last month (see Community Members Confront GLCCB), the board of directors and staff of the GLCCB have immediately taken steps to increase transparency regarding the board’s business meetings and financial status. Using the organization’s website Glccb.org, the Center has posted the minutes of board meetings from 2010-2013 as well as displaying 990 tax forms for the past seven years. The GLCCB’s bylaws, strategic plan, application for board of directors and other job listings are also online.
On May 22, I stopped by The Quest Bar on Fleet Street in the Highlandtown section of Baltimore to check on a rumor I had heard. The word on the street was that this fun neighborhood gay bar was closing. When I arrived, I noticed a large zoning notice plastered on the front of the building. A public hearing was being held on June 3 at city hall for a permit to “consolidate/subdivide and construct ten three-story single-family dwellings with rooftop decks accessed from stair enclosures on these premises.” Not only was I sad to think that another of my watering holes was closing, but my club, The ShipMates, had an event scheduled there on July 13. I went inside to investigate. (And to have a few beers.)
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