BALTIMORE — The theme of the Twilight on the Terrace Pride kickoff event--unity through diversity-- the remix.
John Shields the longtime owner of Gertrude’s Chesapeake Kitchen was excited to host the event at his restaurant.
“We need to celebrate who we are, our diversity,” Shields said. “Where we’ve come from. I’m older, and I’m from Baltimore. I’ve seen the changes over the last 50 years, and it’s pretty amazing, so we have a lot to celebrate.”
The kickoff event is a fundraiser for the PRIDE Center of Maryland, adding funding to a historic half a million dollar grant to build a new central location for the more than 800 members of the LGBTQ Community they serve monthly. Merrick Moses, the Pride Center Board President, laid out what that new center would do.
“GED Classes, job programming, an expansive clothing closet pantry,” Moses said. “A drop-in center, perhaps even another medical clinic with an LGBTQ friendly provider.”
Pride started out as a protest for rights-- a fight that continues all over the country. The community is looking forward to a big win on the day of the parade, as Mayor Jack Young will sign the Gender Inclusive Single Occupancy Restroom Bill into Law.
Mimi Demissew, the Pride Center of Maryland Executive Director, is excited for growth in acceptance--but ready to go further.
“Easier access to health care, housing, safety in schools,” Demissew said. “There’s a lot of things that are still lacking in protecting our community. Also, harassment from police is high among certain parts of our community.”
Justine Sane, the King of Pride Baltimore, and the Queen Bambi Galore held court at the event, proud of who they are and the message they are giving to the future.
“One thing I’m very excited about tomorrow is, when we ride in the parade, my son is going to be actually riding with us,” Galore said. “It will be his second pride because he is two.”