Mark Thomas (May 31, 1959 – January 25, 2015)

A long-time Baltimore and Washington, D.C.- area DJ, Mark Thomas died Jan. 25. He was 55. The cause of death was not immediately available.

Thomas started his DJ career at The Hippo in 1980 and was a Baltimore and New York City resident when he died. Chuck Bowers, owner of the Hippo, fondly remembered giving Thomas his start. Chuck Bowers, owner of the Hippo, fondly remembers giving Thomas his start.

“He would listen carefully to the work of other DJs at the time, listen to the music and become the best DJ he can be,” said Bowers. “He was a handsome man, but his personality exceeded even that.” Bowers brought Thomas back to the Club Hippo for special events and last saw him during Pride 2014.

Thomas worked at various clubs in Rehoboth during those early years, including the Renegade and the Strand. Murray Archibald from Camp Rehoboth said, “From the Saint days, through the Strand years, and for twenty-five years of Sundance he was our music man.”

Thomas also played around the world in places like Mykonos, Greece and Sydney, Australia.

“I have known Mark since he was 19 years-old when I took him under my wing, some 36 years ago,” Lynda Dee, a Baltimore attorney and founder and President of AIDS Action Baltimore, said. “We have been the best of friends since that time. He was really more like a son to me. While I will never get over his loss, I am comforted by this sentiment which I received in a lovely sympathy card, ‘When I think of Mark, I remember all the people he made dance and be happy.’ What a beautiful legacy!”

Fellow DJ Jimmy P, a resident of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. added, “Mark was a down to earth and really fun guy. He was one of the Saint’s stable of hugely talented DJ’s. His favorite expression was ‘Doll’ this & that.

“Time and distance separated us but we reconnected through a music sharing group based in Fort Lauderdale and then through Facebook. I last chatted with him about two months ago. All I can say is: ‘Doll…you left your musical mark on many; you were a really great DJ, man and a good friend. Doll…you will be missed.’”

A Memorial Service for Mark will take place on his birthday, Sunday, May 31 at 4 p.m. It will be held at the City Café, 1001 Cathedral St., Baltimore, 21201 with music by Sean Novak. May 31 would have been Thomas’s 56th birthday.

Writing Workshops to be held at the GLCCB

The GLCCB will be hosting writing workshops on March 3 and March 10. Author Mike Warren will be leading the workshop sessions focusing on how to write and publish a book.

Warren, who has penned and self-published a number of novels, is the recipient of the Marilyn Brown/Slyce The Book Club King of Literature 2015 Award. Among his works are: A Private Affair, Sweet Swagger, Sir Yes Sir, Just Make Him Beautiful, Timing is Everything and The Cool in You.

“People will be surprised to learn that they can publish their own books and it doesn’t take a lot of money,” Warren said. “The only thing that a writer has to pay for to publish their own book is the fee for an editor to review and make corrections of their manuscript and a fee for a graphic artist to do their book cover, spine and back cover. It’s that easy.”

A Baltimore resident, Warren is the father of five grown children and has been in a loving relationship with his partner for five years.

The free workshops take place from 6 to 9 p.m. at the GLCCB’s third floor suite of the Waxter Center, 1000 Cathedral St., Baltimore 21201. For more information, call 410-777-8145.

Chase Brexton’s Sweeney to speak at Prime Timers meeting

Nate Sweeney, Executive Director of the LGBT Health Resource Center (LHRC) of Chase Brexton Health Care will be the guest speaker at the Prime Timers of Baltimore general monthly meeting on March 8. It will take place at 6 p.m. at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church at St. Paul & 20th Streets.

Sweeney, 36, a former caregiver and administrator for senior citizen rehabilitation and nursing communities, will describe the recently announced Chase Brexton LHRC. He will also head the implementation of SAGECAP (Services & Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Elders – Caring and Preparing) in Maryland.

SAGECAP aims to provide a welcoming community that helps caregivers navigate their own current and future needs by offering counseling, support groups, educational seminars, online resources, information about benefits and help for caregivers planning for their own future. The program is currently operating in Washington, D.C. and 17 states.

Also speaking at the meeting will be Bethany Henderson, Program Manager with SAGECAP.

“Health subjects are a major concern for older persons and gay men have special issues,” says Ralph Welsh, President of Prime Timers of Baltimore, a group of older gay or bisexual men (and younger men who admire mature men). “When Chase Brexton offers assistance in this area, it is important to be aware of what is available.”

For further information, call 410-252-7239, or contact Prime Timers at info@ptbalto.org

Valentine’s dance in Westminster highlights progress

Those attending the PFLAG-Westminster/Carroll County Valentine’s dance on a frigid February 15 felt a warm sense of accomplishment while enjoying the music, decorations, refreshments and prizes. For the second year in a row, the chapter was successful in requesting the public school system in Westminster to display fliers from the event throughout the middle and high schools in the city.

While this may not be viewed by some as a significant breakthrough, consider that Carroll County is among the more socially conservative jurisdictions in Maryland. For instance, the state upheld same-sex marriage in a referendum in 2012 by a 52-48 percent margin; Carroll County voters opposed it by 56 to 44 percent.

The flier provided information about the dance and advertises that both LGBTQ and straight allies are invited to attend. At PFLAG’s request, Carey Gaddis, Supervisor of Community and Media Relations in the Carroll County Public Schools system, asked the schools in an email to allow the flier to be displayed.

“The email was sent to principals in middle and high schools was very nice and supportive and basically directed the schools to allow these fliers to be left for distribution,” said Joy Fisher, the chapter’s new president.

“I think this is going to be a good year with the school board. There seems to be many allies in the group. This will be a slow and steady movement, but it is definitely a positive movement and it feels like we finally may have some folks who really hear us and understand the importance and need to support our LGBT children in the school system,” Fisher said.

B’More Proud LGBTIA Leadership Summit on tap for March 28

For the second time, UMBC will be hosting the annual B’More Proud LGBTIA Leadership Summit—a conference consisting of LGBTIA students from area colleges and universities and allies. This year’s theme is “Growing Out: Developing Self, Campus, Community.” These summits began in 2010.

The 2015 summit seeks to achieve the leadership, networking, and educational goals of the B’More Proud Collegiate Queer Coalition with a special focus on the development of stronger student leaders, organizations, campuses, and ultimately, the queer community of Metropolitan Baltimore.

This conference aims to engage participants in skill-building, experiential exposure, and knowledge-sharing networking opportunities to strengthen them as individuals. In doing so, individual participates may use these new skills, experiences, and connections to positively impact their respective institutions and the greater Baltimore community of which we are all a part.

The summit traditionally consists of guest speakers, a series of breakout sessions covering a wide array of subjects that involve queer leadership and relating to the theme for the current year’s summit; a resource area where LGBT and LGBT-friendly organizations and companies can provide information; and social activities that includes a dance. Meals are served thanks to sponsors from the private sector. In 2014, around 200 attended the summit at Johns Hopkins University.

This year’s summit takes place from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Commons at UMBC, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore 21250. The planners are seeking volunteers, breakout session presenters as well as registrants from the area colleges. For more information and to register, visit BMoreProud.org.

Gay Life March 2015

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