Since arriving in Baltimore from Las Vegas in 2011, artist/sculptor Denise Duarte has made countless significant and impactful contributions to the Charm City’s LGBT community. In 2012, Duarte co-organized the GLCCB History Project, a multipart video series, which featured more than a dozen stories from LGBT Baltimoreans spanning five decades. Duarte also recently helped reinstate the local Baltimore chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW), which had been dormant for years. As a leader in capturing Baltimore’s LGBT history, Duarte is heading up the Gay Life archive project, inventorying and preserving every issue of Gay Life’s almost 35 year run. Duarte is presently working on a portable “Garden of Diversity” sculpture, the significance of which is to “reframe the dialogue regarding the true nature of sexuality and identity utilizing the botanical world as a metaphor.” As she explains: [I]n nature, reproduction and gender are varied and often fluid... An exploration of nature’s diversity will highlight the benefits of a poly-cultural existence for humanity.” Explore and participate at GardenOfDiversity.com.
As a member of the Maryland House of Delegates since 1992, Del. Maggie McIntosh has long been one of the loudest, strongest voices in Baltimore’s LGBT community. In 2012, Del. McIntosh, the first openly gay person in the Maryland General Assembly, played a critical role in Maryland becoming the first state in the U.S. to vote for recognizing same-sex marriage by popular vote through her tireless work advocating, campaigning and educating both fellow lawmakers and constituents on the Civil Marriage Protection Act. As Diane Stollenwerk noted in her nomination of Del. McIntosh for the Baltimore Sun’s “Marylander of the Year,” (for which she was a finalist), McIntosh serves as “the consummate ‘woman of the people’ who respects all and works tirelessly to ensure that such respect is woven into life for everyone living in Maryland.”
2012 proved to be another year in which Del. Mary Washington endlessly advocated for the rights of her LGBT constituents in the state Capitol. Washington, one of eight LGBT members of the Maryland General Assembly, worked tirelessly on the passage of the Civil Marriage Protection Act. Earlier in the year, she was awarded the David Bohnett LGBT Leadership Fellowship at the Kenny School in Boston. Not one to rest on the laurels of November’s marriage equality victory, Washington was the only elected official present at the vigil held in reaction to the attack and beating of Kenny Shaw, a gay man from East Baltimore, in late December. In her address to the crowd, she stated, “I am your delegate. When you knock us down we multiply.” Washington represents the 43rd district in the Maryland House of Delegates and is one of only two African-American lesbians to serve in a state legislature in the U.S.