With a record number of openly GLBT candidates, Sept. 12 offers an exciting primary for Maryland voters. Among these eight candidates is Dr. Dana Beyer, running to be one of suburban District 18's three delegates to the Maryland General Assembly. If she wins her seat, she'll be making history as Maryland's first openly transgender elected official. Worldwide, the club seems even more exclusive with just the tiniest handful of elected transgender officials.
While Lea Gilmore, political/campaign director of the Equality Maryland PAC, says she is particularly excited about Beyer's campaign, she reserves the same enthusiasm for Anthony McCarthy, who is running for delegate from Baltimore's 44th District.
''He's an African-American, gay preacher and journalist,'' says Gilmore, ticking through McCarthy's attributes. ''He was the youngest editor [in chief] of the AFRO-American newspapers here in Maryland. And he's viable. So is Beyer. They both have great chances of winning.''
Though she says she's excited about the 70-plus candidates Equality Maryland has endorsed for the 2006 elections, Gilmore says she's concentrating primarily one of their endorsed straight candidates. Mayor Martin O'Malley (D) of Baltimore City is, after all, running for the state's top office.
''We're really looking forward to the gubernatorial race, because that determines the tone of the state,'' Gilmore says. ''We're looking forward to supporting O'Malley. We believe the [Gov. Bob Ehrlich] administration is not always a friend to the [GLBT] community.''
Last year, for example, Ehrlich (R) vetoed legislation that would've created a statewide registry with limited benefits for unmarried couples.
Information on Equality Maryland and the state's primary election can be found at www.equalitymaryland.org.
Though Gilmore is focused on the November battle for the governor's mansion, she seems excited that the Sept. 12 may give her a boost of good news along the way.
''It's an exciting season, with a viable transgender candidate and the most LGBT candidates ever,'' she says. ''It's an exciting time, an important time. We want to make sure we have as many equality minded legislators as possible. We are confident we will. We're going to do our darnedest.''