Photo Credit: Baltimore Sun
Today, the Maryland Democratic Party is honored to commemorate Pride Month. The Party is a proud ally of the LGBTQ+ community, and is fighting to pass policies to further empower LGBTQ+ youth, address remaining social inequities, and build a more inclusive society for all Marylanders.
Maryland is home to over 197,000 LGBTQ+ adults, and is also the birthplace of two (in)famous, legendary figures within the LGBTQ+ community whose names conjure camp, notoriety, and the avant-garde. Filmmaker John Waters and actor and drag queen Divine were both born in Baltimore, and rose to national fame through their transgressive cult films in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Maryland Democrats proudly led the fight for marriage equality during the administration of Governor Martin O’Malley, and thanks to their efforts, Maryland became the first state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote in 2012. Since then, Maryland Democrats have continued to advance LGBTQ+ rights in recent years. In 2018, Democrats passed a ban on conversion therapy on minors, and this year passed bills to allow minors access to a breakthrough drug that prevents HIV, and allow Marylanders to identify as a third gender option on driver’s licenses without needing to prove their legal gender.
However, despite the progress made, the Party recognizes the need to resist Republican efforts to turn back the clock on social progress. The Party opposes Trump’s transgender military ban, state and local “bathroom-bans”, and employment and housing discrimination based on one’s sexual orientation–all of which are civil rights violations.
Additionally, much work remains to address pressing disparities in health outcomes, social inequities, and institutional discrimination for the LGBTQ+ community. LGBTQ+ youth are at greater risk for depression, anxiety, and suicidal behaviors compared to heterosexual youth. They also represent up to 40% of all young people who are homeless, most commonly as a result of family conflict over their sexual orientation or gender identity. Those who identify as transgender also face many hardships. Trans women of color are more likely to be violently attacked and murdered. And in addition to suffering mistreatment, harassment, and violence in every aspect of life, trans individuals are also nearly twice as likely to be living in poverty, and three times more likely to be unemployed, compared to the US population. And finally, at least 1 in 5 LGBTQ+ people report experiencing discrimination while applying for jobs. These disparities must be addressed with smart, progressive policies that provide adequate funding and access to health-related and living assistance programs for LGBTQ+ communities and provide protections against institutional discrimination on account of sexual orientation or gender identity.
The Maryland General Assembly is also proudly home to LGBTQ+ legislators who have been fighting to pass progressive legislation for all Marylanders, including Delegate Gabriel Acevero, Delegate Luke Clippinger, Delegate Bonnie Cullison, Delegate Anne Kaiser, Delegate Maggie McIntosh, Senator Mary L. Washington, former Delegate Meagan Simonaire, former Delegate Peter Murphy, former Senator and gubernatorial candidate Richard Madaleno and former Delegate and gubernatorial candidate Heather Mizeur.
Following this announcement, Maryland Democratic Party Chair Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings released the following statement:
“As we commemorate Pride Month, the Maryland Democratic Party will continue to support policies that benefit and expand protections for Maryland’s LGBTQ+ community and will be a vocal advocate for all LGBTQ+ people in America.
While we celebrate the progress made, the disparities in health outcomes, social inequities, and institutional discrimination remain pressing obstacles to equality for the LGBTQ+ community. Ultimately, Democrats must continue leading the fight to create a more inclusive society for all Marylanders and all Americans.”