A video with a funky backing track, a hip font, and promises of an “open,” “welcoming,” and “diverse” police force are all part of the Baltimore City Police Department’s new attempt to recruit more openly LGBT (lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender) — which they for some reason refer to as GLBT — officers to the force. The department released the video during Baltimore Pride, and even set up a table to recruit Pride parade-goers.
When gay marriage is debated, it’s often considered more or less hypothetically — Should one have the right to marry another of the same sex? But to think of it this way obscures the reality that gay men and women are already committing to one another indefinitely, sharing resources, and raising children. The more relevant — and urgent — question is Should gay families be considered families?
That urgency is underscored by a new study from the Williams Institute that used 2010 U.S. Census data to determine that in six major population hubs across the country at least 20 percent of same-sex couples are raising children, the Baltimore-Towson area among them. Of course, here in Maryland, gay marriage is technically a settled question. Not so for the other five major metropolitan areas, all of which fall within states that have constitutional bans on gay marriage.
So congratulations, Maryland, for recognizing all the families in our state. Michigan, Virginia, Tennessee, Texas, Utah — let’s get a move on!
A documentary about Baltimore’s favorite drag queen, Divine, (nee Harris Glenn Milstead) is making quite a splash at South by Southwest this week, the New York Times reports. Filmmaker Jeffrey Schwarz tells The Times that the movie about the John Waters muse focuses on his “celebration of the outsider and renegade in all of us.” The movie has been a standout in a large field of documentaries at the festival about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender icons.
Divine, who died in 1988, grew up in Lutherville and went to Towson High, where he was a member of the class of 1963. In describing his Baltimore County upbringing, Divine once said, “I was an only child in, I guess, your upper middle-class American family. I was probably your American spoiled brat.”
Read “Looking Divine at South by Southwest” at The New York Times.
Johns Hopkins publishes OUTList, a list of all the out lesbian/gay/bi/transgender students, staff, and faculty. The University of Maryland makes employees’ same-sex partners eligible for benefits. But according to a national ranking of universities, not all Baltimore-area schools are created equal when it comes to creating a LGBT-friendly campus. The LGBT-Friendly Campus Climate Index allots participating universities between zero (yike!) and five (hooray!) stars. Here’s how local schools measure up:
Forget San Francisco and Provincetown; gay singles who are pining to settle down with a partner and children should head to Baltimore, according to a recent poll by online dating site Chemistry.com.
In 1994, an electrical engineering student at UCLA published the first OUTList, a two-page spread in the school’s daily newspaper that listed the names of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students, faculty, and staff. The idea caught on, and campuses around the country now publish OUTLists, generally coinciding with National Coming Out Day (October 11).
This year, Johns Hopkins joins the trend. The school’s OUTList, scheduled for online publishing on October 11, “was created to increase the visibility of the LGBT community at Johns Hopkins and to serve as a source of mentors and informal networking for members of the Johns Hopkins LGBT community” and also “to serve as a tool for recruiting and retaining the most talented people, to foster a culture in which everyone feels that their contributions are valued, and as another example of the university’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.”
And while they’re a few decades behind, all is forgiven because they’re hosting a reception! Details here.
L-Word actress Leisha Hailey kissed her girlfriend on a Southwest flight from Baltimore to St. Louis… and promptly got kicked off the plane for it. Now, Hailey has taken to Twitter to call for a boycott of the airline, while Southwest is claiming that Hailey’s behavior was excessive, and that other passengers were complaining. The airline wrote on its website that the actress was approached “based solely on behavior and not gender.”
But Hailey — perhaps taking a cue from Alice, the fiery character she played on the long-running Showtime drama — says that she’s been discriminated against, and has called for a Southwest boycott. She claims that the flight attendant told her that Southwest was a family airline… and Hailey reacted by getting “verbally upset.” She issued a statement on Tuesday, calling for airline bosses to issue an apology.
Things could get even trickier, because Southwest is the official airline of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. Hailey’s statement continues, “We want to live in a society where if your loved one leans over to give you an innocent kiss on an airplane it’s not labeled as ‘excessive or not family oriented’ by a corporation and its employees. We find it very disturbing that the same airline who lauds itself as being LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) friendly has twisted an upsetting incident that happened into our behavior being ‘too excessive’.”
Apparently the U.S. Census Bureau miscounted. In August, the agency reported roughly 17,000 same sex couples living in Maryland. Now, according to an article in The Sun, they’ve revised the number to 12,500.
The bureau claims that the discrepancy is due to human error in recording information onto the forms, particularly in the “name” and “sex” fields.
But even the lower, revised statistic shows a 78 percent increase in gay couples living Maryland since the 2000 census. According to demographer Gary Gates, much of that statistical increase can be credited to gay couples being more willing to disclose their sexuality in 2010 than they were ten years prior.