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Family of Black gay teen killed by Baltimore Police demanding answers

“I’m angry. I’m frustrated. I’m sad because Donnell was just so full of life, and for him to no longer be here is truly depressing for me”

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Donnell Rochester (Instagram)

BALTIMORE – The family of Donnell Rochester, an 18-year-old gay Black man who was shot and killed by Baltimore Police in February, are demanding that Mayor Brandon Scott and the City’s Police Commissioner Michael Harrison investigate the teenager’s shooting death and also meet with the family.

Tensions are running high over Rochester’s death which occurred on Feb. 19 in northeast Baltimore. According to NBC News affiliate, WBAL TV 11 News, BPD officers were on patrol when they found a car registered to Rochester. Officers got out of their car to try and stop the car Rochester was driving because of an open warrant out against him related to an armed carjacking case.

While police body camera video showed officers firing on the car, it’s unclear whether Rochester drove toward officers, as police said he did, or what led up to the officers firing their weapons.

One of the major points of contention for the family is, they allege, that in the aftermath of the shooting, Rochester was left cuffed and bleeding in the street before officers transported him to a local hospital where he died as a result of the gunshot injuries.

The bodycam footage released included footage of Rochester after he was shot.
(Screenshot/ Baltimore Police Dept.)

In the bodycam footage released by the Baltimore Police Department on Feb. 25, from the four officers involved in the incident, shows that two of the officers fired at Rochester’s vehicle.

Officers are seen getting out of their cars and approaching on either side of Rochester’s car. Another officer was also in front of the car. Police claim that Rochester drove forward toward an officer, and that’s when they opened fire.

(The video is graphic and age restricted LINK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIzZ6V-R0UQ)

In the portions of video showing the aftermath of the shooting, one officer asks; “Where are you hit at?” He then repeats the question as the other officers try to find the wound. Rochester has trouble responding to the officer: “Are you OK?” another officer asks. “No,” Rochester seems to say.

Last month, Morgan State University students, who organized the rally, along with nearly a hundred demonstrators gathered outside Baltimore’s City Hall demanding that the come out and speak with family members who have called for the arrest of the officers involved in the shooting.

 Markia Jackson, Rochester’s aunt, told local media that the family is disputing the police version of events. In an interview with WBAL TV11, Jackson said she watched the video and found her nephew made no attempt to drive at the officers, saying it was the officer who put themselves in front of the car and then fired.

“He was not trying to hit anyone. That officer tried to place himself in front of that car,” Jackson said.

Jackson said the officers failed to save Rochester and take him to a hospital immediately after the shooting.

“Donnell is still supposed to be here, probably just recuperating. They let him bleed out on that ground, telling him to ‘just breathe, bro, breathe, bro.’ How can you say that when he’s on the ground scared for his life?” Jackson said.

(Instagram)

Jackson also said the video shows how scared Rochester was and that he did not deserve to die.

“I’m angry. I’m frustrated. I’m sad because Donnell was just so full of life, and for him to no longer be here is truly, truly depressing for me. It’s truly depressing for me, it is,” Jackson said.

Jackson said they have not heard anything from the city on where the case stands since February.

11 News reported that 2 officers have been placed on administrative leave.

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Maryland

Trans workers struggle to find acceptance despite some progress

A 2021 McKinsey study found that more than half of transgender employees are not comfortable being out at work

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Beatrice Shumway says she has experienced discrimination in the workplace. (Photo courtesy of Beatrice Shumway)

BALTIMORE, MD. – At one of her first jobs after coming out as transgender, Beatrice Shumway remembers one thing: Her bosses rarely looked her in the eyes. 

In her job interview, she’d disclosed that she identifies as trans and uses she/they pronouns. However, being up front about her identity didn’t dissuade her bosses from dismissing the conversation whenever she brought it up. Shumway was dead named and misgendered throughout her time at that job. And although she had her pronouns emblazoned on pins and her hat, this stressful experience persisted. 

“I was told not to make a big deal out of it,” said Shumway, 27. “I was told that it was weirding customers out.”

A 2021 McKinsey study found that more than half of transgender employees are not comfortable being out at work. 

“People who identify as transgender feel far less supported in the workplace than their cisgender colleagues do,” said the study. “They report that it’s more difficult to understand workplace culture and benefits, and harder to get promoted. They also feel less supported by their managers.” 

This lack of support resulted in Shumway “always” being on the job hunt. She’d rank job opportunities based on their online presence and whether they had positive messaging during Pride month. Because of financial constraints, however, she’d often find herself working for companies with bigoted bosses. 

It wasn’t until she scored a job at a Lens Crafters that she found respect and her rights protected. There, whenever customers were nasty to her, her boss protected her. 

“When [things] would happen, my boss would say, ‘Go into the back right now, I’m not having you deal with this guy,’” she recalled. 

Andrew McCaskill, a career expert at LinkedIn, describes the jobs that trans workers take until they find a more inclusive place as “vehicles not destinations.”

“Everyone doesn’t have the luxury of passing up a job opportunity because of an unsafe environment,” he said. 

However, job seekers can find better options when using LinkedIn’s “values matching tool” that shows information about a company’s family formation benefits, queer-inclusive parental leave, gender transition guidelines, queer resource groups and where company executives have taken stances on certain topics. 

On the part of employers, McCaskill recommended that they provide empathy-based training sessions that make inclusion a personal incentive for both workers and employers. He added that sessions should also focus on the impact and consequences of bigotry in the workplace.

“It’s not about recruiting diverse talent,” he said. “It’s about exiting bad actors.”

What about legislation?

Despite the Supreme Court of the United States in 2020 affirming that the Civil Rights Act protects the LGBTQ community, and President Biden signing an executive order on his first day in office that protects LGBTQ federal workers from discrimination, efforts still persist to curtail LGBTQ workers’ rights.

In June, the Washington Blade reported that a federal judge had struck down a law signed by Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis that would have banned transgender residents from using Medicaid for gender affirming care. 

“It’s very hard to legislate acceptance,” said McCaskill.

For many, taking legal action in the face of discrimination isn’t an option either. Shumway said that she was discouraged by her negative interactions with human resource departments.

“I just don’t see a chance of winning,” she said.

However, she has a message for all employers.

“The trans agenda is not real. We don’t want any special treatment,” she said. “I’m not a trans woman. I’m a fucking human.”

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Pride flags pulled down, burned in suburban Washington D.C.

Police announced they are investigating as many as 10 incidents of hate related vandalism of LGBTQ Pride flags as well as Ukrainian flags

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Los Angeles Blade/MCPD graphic

SILVER SPRING, MD. – Montgomery County, Md., police announced they are investigating as many as 10 incidents of hate related vandalism of LGBTQ Pride flags as well as Ukrainian flags on residential streets in Silver Spring that occurred over a two-day period this week.

“The preliminary investigation has revealed that during the overnight hours of Tuesday, June 27, 2023, to Wednesday, June 28, 2023, several Pride and Ukrainian flags had been burned in the Mansfield Road, Wayne Place, Ellsworth Place, Greenbrier Drive, Pershing Drive and Deerfield Avenue neighborhoods,” according to a police statement.

“Investigators are asking for victims and/or homeowners with surveillance videos of possible suspects to call the police non-emergency number at 301-279-8000,” the statement says.

D.C.’s NBC 4 News reports that two men it identified as a couple, Mark Heare and Chris Middleton, said their home security video “shows someone covering his face while lighting the couple’s Pride flag on fire before running away laughing.”

(Screenshot/ WRC NBC 4 News)

NBC 4 News reported that burn marks were visible on the door frame where the couple’s flag was attached.

It also reported that at another home several blocks away one or more vandals attempted to burn a Pride flag on a pole before taking it down and etching the letters “USSR” on the flag.

The Montgomery County Council released a statement on June 28 denouncing the flag vandalism, which said a Black Trans Lives Matter flag was among the flags vandalized in Silver Spring during the past week.

“We are outraged by the numerous incidents of hate and anti-LGBTQ+ vandalism that occurred early this morning,” the statement says. “In Montgomery County, we believe in inclusion, compassion and diversity,” the statement continues.

“We stand together in forcefully denouncing acts of hate and violence in all forms, and we remain committed to protecting our LGBTQ+ neighbors and all those impacted from these awful acts,” the statement says, adding, “We must ensure everyone – including our LGBTQ+ community – is safe, seen and supported everywhere in Montgomery County.

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Maryland police arrest 3 in hate crimes against churches

Arrested in separate incidents police said were twin brothers Blake Krenzer, 19, and Brandon Krenzer, 19, and Jarren Alexander, 22

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Jarren Alexander, 22 Booking photo via ACPD: Blake Krenzer & Brandon Krenzer, 19, (twins) via Social Media

ANNAPOLIS, MD. – Authorities in Maryland announced Thursday that three persons had been taken into custody and charged with crimes against multiple churches in Anne Arundel County including vandalism and destruction of property. According to Maryland law, any property damage of a religious entity is considered a hate crime.

Anne Arundel County Deputy Police Chief Katie Roberts told reporters at a press conference on Thursday announcing the arrests, “Let me be very clear: there is no place for hate in our county,” she said adding; “We will not tolerate hateful acts of any kind towards our places of worship or any individuals in this county.” 

Screenshot/YouTube WBAL NBC 11 Baltimore, Maryland

Arrested in separate incidents Roberts said was twin brothers Blake Krenzer, 19, and Brandon Krenzer, 19, and Jarren Alexander, 22. Roberts noted that the department’s detectives and uniformed officers investigated as many as five incidences of vandalism at four churches in the County.

Alexander is alleged to have caused extensive damage to Fowler United Methodist Church (UMC), a historic Black church in Annapolis, on June 9. He also is being charged in connection with two additional incidents of vandalism at nearby St. Philip’s Episcopal Church that occurred after the hate crime at Fowler.

Blake Krenzer and Brandon Krenzer were charged in the vandalism/defacing of the Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ+ Pride signs at the Ark & Dove Presbyterian Church in Odenton in the early morning hours of June 14. That incident was captured on video surveillance footage which was released publicly.

Video surveillance footage courtesy of Anne Arundel County Police

In the video one of the Krenzers appears to be wearing a bandana with a confederate flag over his face. Another is wearing a shirt that says, “American Muscle,” with an American flag on it.

“Within 30 minutes of posting surveillance images on our social media, several community members came forward with tips that led to arrests in those cases,” Roberts told reporters. “These are amazing examples of community policing.”

Also speaking to reporters was the Pastor of Fowler UMC, Reverend Jerome Jones, who recounted the destruction of the more than 100 Bibles and hymnals that were destroyed, five televisions were smashed, and a large wooden cross was cracked on a pew.

“I have pastored since 2012, and I have never seen a church in such disarray and so much pain in a room,” said Jones. “Frederick Douglass once said, ‘If there is no struggle, there is no progress.’ But (we) have held on to our faith. Most of all, we never let go of hope.”

 

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Maryland governor signs order protecting trans health care 

“You deserve to live safely, openly and freely; and receive the gender-affirming care you need” said Lieutenant Gov. Aruna Miller

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Maryland Gov. Wes Moore on June 5, 2023, signs an executive order that protects gender-affirming health care in the state. (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

ANNAPOLIS – Maryland Gov. Wes Moore on Monday signed an executive order that protects gender-affirming health care in the state.

Moore signed the directive during a Pride month reception at Government House in Annapolis.

“In the state of Maryland, nobody should have to justify their own humanity,” said Moore. “This order is focused on ensuring Maryland is a safe place for gender affirming care, especially as other states take misguided and hateful steps to make gender affirming care cause for legal retribution. In Maryland, we are going to lead on this issue.”

“In signing this executive order, this administration is saying to all LGBTQIA+ Marylanders: You deserve to be your authentic selves — during Pride month and every month,” added Lieutenant Gov. Aruna Miller. “You deserve to live safely, openly and freely; and receive the gender-affirming care you need.”

Moore last month signed the Trans Health Equity Act, which requires Maryland’s Medicaid program to cover gender-affirming care. Moore on March 31 signed a proclamation that proclaimed the day as the International Transgender Day of Visibility in Maryland. 

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Maryland’s governor signs transgender rights law

The Trans Health Equity Act is one of the more than 100 measures that Moore signed during a ceremony that took place at the State Capitol

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Maryland Gov. Wes Moore on May 3, 2023, signed the Trans Health Equity Act into law. (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor/Facebook)

ANNAPOLIS – Maryland Gov. Wes Moore on Wednesday signed a bill that requires the state’s Medicaid program to cover gender-affirming treatment.

The Trans Health Equity Act is one of the more than 100 measures that Moore signed during a ceremony that took place at the State Capitol. Some of the other bills the governor signed focused on reproductive rights and marijuana.

“Another successful bill signing from (Gov. Wes Moore), (Lieutenant Gov. Aruna Miller), (Senate President Bill Ferguson) and (House Speaker Adrienne Jones),” tweeted state Sen. Mary Washington (D-Baltimore City), who introduced the Trans Health Equity Act in the Maryland Senate. “Today, the Trans Health Equity Act (SB460) was signed into law, protecting the rights of trans Marylanders and offering them equal opportunities.”

The Trans Health Equity Act is slated to take effect on Jan. 1.

Maryland lawmakers during this year’s legislation that ended last month passed a bill that will repeal the state’s Unnatural or Perverted Sexual Practices Act. Moore’s office has not announced when the governor will sign it.

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Maryland House of Delegates approves trans rights bill

The Trans Health Equity Act, passed by a 93-37 vote margin. The measure now goes before the Maryland Senate

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Md. state Sen. Mary Washington (D-Baltimore City) speaks at a press conference for the Trans Health Equity Act in Annapolis, Md., on Feb. 14, 2023. (Washington Blade photo by Linus Berggren)

ANNAPOLIS – The Maryland House of Delegates on Saturday approved a bill that would require the state’s Medicaid program to cover gender-affirming treatment for transgender people.

House Bill 283, or the Trans Health Equity Act, passed by a 93-37 vote margin. The measure now goes before the Maryland Senate.

“Proud that the MD House of Delegates passed the Trans Health Equity Act with such a strong majority,” tweeted state Del. Anne Kaiser (D-Montgomery County), who introduced HB 283.

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Foster parents need more vetting, training for LGBTQ children

It’s common for LGBTQ youth to stay quiet about their sexuality or identity or act out to disrupt a placement before they risk rejection

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About 30,000 children age out of foster care each year and 70 percent of those children wind up homeless. (Photo by motortion/Bigstock)

ROCKVILLE, Md. – About 30,000 children age out of foster care each year and 70 percent of those children wind up homeless. The majority of the homeless population under the age of 18 are LGBTQ youth, often who can’t find an inclusive home and enter group homes where more prevalent mental, sexual, and psychological abuse turns them to the streets.

When an LGBTQ child enters the foster care system, the pot of eligible homes becomes smaller, said Rob Scheer, the founder of Comfort Cases, a non-profit that supplies personal care items to youth entering the foster care system. 

“The first thing we think of as kids in our system when we realize that we are part of the LGBTQ+ family, is why am I damaged?” said Scheer, a gay man who experienced the foster care system as a child. “Why am I not given that open space to be free and be who I am?”

The average child in foster care moves from three to four homes before finding a long-term placement. This is often due to foster care agencies’ neglect to inform foster parents that a child is a part of the LGBTQ community. However, when foster parents are informed of the child’s identity, less movement occurs.

Even when children come out as being LGBTQ and the foster parents allow them to stay, some homes do so in order to receive a monthly stipend from the government or private foster agency, Scheer said. This puts children at risk of both direct and indirect mental abuse.

Indirect heterosexism that sends micro-messages of shame is extremely harmful to kids, according to Chloe Perez, the CEO of Hearts and Homes for Youth, a non-profit working with children with higher levels of need, such as therapy appointments for a mental health diagnosis. 

“We have had parents who have talked about, ‘Oh, you know, his frilly, girly, feminine ways,” said Perez. “Maybe they’re not saying I hate gay people…but it’s that subliminal messaging all the time that is equally detrimental.”

It’s common for LGBTQ children to either stay quiet about their sexuality or identity or act out to disrupt a placement before they risk rejection from the family.  

By age five or six, many children already experience rejection and the resulting trauma from multiple placements, Perez added. However, when foster parents know how to manage disruptive behaviors, there’s less risk of additional placement disruption.

But this requires specific vetting and training procedures for potential foster parents. 

Once potential foster parents complete all of the state’s criteria, Hearts and Homes for Youth provide an additional, extensive training program. Since some kids come into the non-profit’s care after 14 or 15 placements, this process includes trauma-response training that informs parents of a child’s possible emotional reactions.

If any foster parent says they don’t want to foster LGBTQ or BIPOC kids, Perez said they try to understand where the parents’ concern stems from to resolve the issue.

“[Whether it’s] cultural, age or based around religion…we have seen that sometimes just really having that in-depth conversation can help them shift,” said Perez. “If they’re not willing to do that, then that’s a no-go.”

Parents are often more direct when it comes to saying they won’t take an LGBTQ child as opposed to a child of color, Perez added, because people are more comfortable openly expressing their opinions about sexual orientation or identity than race, which is more commonly condemned.

If problems arise once a child is in a foster home, an agent conducts an at-home check-in to assess whether the foster parent needs to redo training. However, most issues after the placement are centered around parents’ discipline practices, such as smacking a child, rather than discrimination.

In the case that a foster home isn’t suitable, Hearts and Homes for Youth also offers five group homes and an independent living program for pregnant and parenting teen moms. 

However, the high rate of suicide among LGBTQ children in foster care continues to reflect the conditions for most LGBTQ kids beyond their care.

“What we need to do in society is step up our social responsibility and make sure that we are giving these kids everything that I give to my five children,” said Scheer. “Guidance, unconditional support, and unconditional love.”

For information on how to become a foster parent in D.C., visit cfsa.dc.gov/service/become-foster-or-adoptive-parent.

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Homophobic Proud Boys target Maryland drag queen story hour

The Loyalty Bookstore praised the Parasol Patrol members for preventing the Proud Boys from disrupting the drag book reading event

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The Loyalty Bookstore in Silver Spring, Md., on Feb. 18, 2023, hosted a drag queen story hour. (Photo Credit: Loyalty Bookstore/Twitter)

SILVER SPRING, Md. – Montgomery County Maryland police say they dispersed members of the far-right group Proud Boys and others confronting them on Saturday outside the Loyalty Bookstore in Silver Spring after members of the group staged a protest against a Drag Story Hour held at the bookstore.

D.C. drag performer Charlemagne Chateau was hosting the drag queen story hour, an event held in recent years in libraries and bookstores across the country in which a drag queen reads from children’s books to groups of children accompanied by their parents.

Photos and videos posted on social media show Proud Boys members wearing masks and holding signs outside the bookstore. NBC Washington reported that one of the signs said, “Proud Boys love children. Proud Boys hate pedophiles. Leave kids alone.”

WRC NBC 4 Washington noted that a separate group that provides support for drag queen story hour events called the Parasol Patrol was present during the protest and some of its members were kicked and had their feet stomped by the Proud Boys members. One of the Parasol Patrol members was punched in the face by a Proud Boys member, the TV news station reported.

In a Twitter posting, Loyalty Bookstore praised the Parasol Patrol members for preventing the Proud Boys from disrupting the drag book reading event.

“Yesterday afternoon Loyalty came under attack from hate groups who tried to force their way into our store during Drag Queen Story Hour with physical violence,” the bookstore’s posting says. “The incredible @parasolpatrol and the [Montgomery County] chapter of @Drag Story Hour did wonders to not only push back and hold the safe space, but to keep cheering and singing joyfully in the face of hate speech and disgusting threats,” the bookstore’s posting continues.

“Because of their efforts the children inside the store got to enjoy doing Hokey Pokey, hearing beautiful books read aloud,” the posting says.

In response to a request for comment by the Washington Blade, a spokesperson for Montgomery County police said police were not notified in advance that the drag queen story hour was taking place.

The spokesperson, Shiera Goff, said officers were dispatched to the bookstore about 1:05 p.m. on Saturday and observed a “confrontation between the two groups,” in referring to the Proud Boys and the Parasol Patrol.

“Police were called and dispersed the crowd,” she told the Blade in an email message. “No one was arrested and no reports of injuries.”

In a separate Twitter posting, Montgomery County Councilmember Kristin Mink (D-District 5) praised efforts to defend the event.

“Proud Boys showed up in Silver Spring and got violent today, trying to scare away families and children attending Drag Story Hour at Loyalty Books,” Mink said in her post. “But the community held a wall of safety and support. The kids had a great time and were none the wiser,” she wrote. “We will never back down.”

In a brief Facebook posting, drag performer Chateau said the Proud Boys confrontation was “not the kind of attention I wanted,” adding, “Thank you to the Parasol Patrol for keeping me and the families who were at the event safe.”

On its website, Drag Story Hour says following its founding in 2015 the organization has evolved into a national nonprofit global network of local organizations carrying out the mission of the original San Francisco-based group that started the reading by drag queens of books to kids in libraries, bookstores and schools.

“In spaces like this, kids are able to see people who defy rigid gender restrictions and imagine a world where everyone can be their authentic selves,” the organization says on its website.

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Wes Moore, first Black Governor of Maryland sworn in Wednesday

“We’re always going to fight to ensure Maryland’s a state open & welcome to all, regardless of who you are, regardless of who you love”

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Maryland Governor Wes Moore (Photo via Twitter)

ANNAPOLIS – Maryland’s new governor Wes Moore was sworn into office on Wednesday.

Moore, who defeated then-state Del. Dan Cox (R-Frederick County) last November, is Maryland’s first Black governor. Lieutenant Gov. Aruna Miller is the first woman of South Asian descent elected lieutenant governor in the country.

Moore and Miller will succeed Republicans Larry Hogan and Boyd Rutherford respectively. Oprah Winfrey is among those who attended Wednesday’s inauguration that took place at the State Capitol in Annapolis.

“In the state of Maryland, anything is possible,” said Moore in his inaugural speech. “Today is a celebration of our collective future.”

Moore during a pre-election interview with the Washington Blade expressed his support for LGBTQ rights.

“I care deeply about the LGBTQ+ community,” he said. “And we’re always going to fight to ensure that Maryland is a state that is open and welcome to all, regardless of who you are, regardless of who you love.”

Moore told the Blade that he will enforce the Inclusive Schools Act that, among other things, bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Maryland’s public schools. Moore in his inaugural speech specifically mentioned the need to protect the state’s LGBTQ students.

Moore last October told the Blade he will urge lawmakers to support the Trans Health Equity Act, which would expand coverage of gender-affirming health care for transgender Marylanders under the state’s Medicaid program.

Moore has appointed Anthony Woods, an openly gay U.S. Army veteran who was discharged under ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ in 2008, as head of the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs. 

“The thing that people will see is that this is not just a new thing to me,” Moore told the Blade. “We have a track record on working on these issues, whether it is the work I did on the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ whether it is the work I did when I was running one of the largest poverty-fighting organizations in the country, and supporting organizations that were supporting LGBTQ plus homeless youth.”

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Maryland gubernatorial candidate: Restrict transgender in schools

“We cannot have transgender indoctrination in kindergarten. That’s preposterous. That’s exactly what my opponent supports”

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Dan Cox and Wes Moore debate at Morgan State University in Baltimore on Oct. 12, 2022. (Screen capture via C-SPAN)

BALTIMORE – Republican Maryland gubernatorial candidate Dan Cox on Wednesday said there is “transgender indoctrination” in the state’s kindergartens.

“We’re not doing enough because too many times we exclude the parents from involvement,” said Cox in response to a question about support for LGBTQ students in Maryland schools during a debate against Democrat Wes Moore that Maryland Public Television hosted at Morgan State University in Baltimore. “I fought against a bill that would literally allow 12-year-olds to receive counseling without their parents even knowing. That’s wrong. We need to make sure parents are involved.”

“What I will do also is ensure that the indoctrination stops,” added Cox. “We cannot have transgender indoctrination in kindergarten. That’s preposterous. That’s exactly what my opponent supports. It’s on his website. I will stand against that and eradicate that from the curriculum and get back to world class learning.”

Cox also noted “Gender Queer: A Memoir,” a book that nonbinary author Maia Kobabe wrote, depicts “things that I cannot show you on television, it’s so disgusting.”

“We’re going to change that and say let’s get back to math, let’s get back to making sure that our kids know how to read and write,” said Cox.

Moore in response to the question said “many of the issues that we’re discussing are being addressed at the local level and it’s important for the state to understand that we’re a partner in that, but we don’t dictate to the local jurisdictions as to how their education processes work.”

“I have an 11-year-old daughter and an 8-year-old son,” said Moore. “All I ever want for my children is for them to be seen and for them to feel like they are being heard and I want the same thing for every child.”

Moore noted rates of homelessness are higher among LGBTQ youth in Maryland than for those who identify as heterosexual. He also pointed to a statistic that indicate 80 percent of transgender people in the state have considered suicide.

“I want to say to all of our LGBTQ youth and families: I see you and I hear you and all policies that will be made will be made in partnership because that is how we have to lead as a state, in partnership,” said Moore.

Cox, who represents District 4 in the Maryland House of Delegates, last October sought to amend an education bill that would restrict what he has described as “classroom indoctrination” around gender identity in kindergarten through third grade. The Trump-backed Republican, among other things, has also said he would ban transgender students from girls’ sports teams.

A poll the Washington Post and the University of Maryland released last week shows Cox is trailing Moore by 32 points.

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