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About

The Howard County LGBTQ+ Workgroup was established on November 1, 2019. County Executive Calvin Ball signed an Executive Order to create an LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer+) Workgroup to promote the shared community values of diversity and civility. The Workgroup partnered with county agencies, non-profit organizations, and other community groups to facilitate an environment of inclusion, communication, understanding, and respect throughout Howard County.

The LGBTQ+ Workgroup held quarterly meetings that were open to the public and provided a yearly report to the County Executive that addressed and identified current and emerging issues that affect the LGBTQ+ community, and ended on April 1, 2021.

In October 2022, the County Executive and County Council voted to establish a permanent LGBTQIA+ Commission to continue the much-needed work of equity, inclusion, communication, understanding, and respect for all gender and sexual identities. The purpose of this Commission is to advance policy and systemic change for all persons who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Non-binary, and other capacities along the LGBTQIA+ spectrum. The Commission is made up of 17 voting members and will seek out 2 non-voting student members in the new year. They meet bi-monthly as of January 12, 2023.

To contact the Howard County LGBTQIA+ Commission, you can send an email to LGBTQIA@howardcountymd.gov

Commission Information

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Commissioners

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Brian Bailey - Term Expires: 11/06/2026

Ash Baker - Term Expires: 11/06/2026

Sue Bryant - Term Expires: 10/31/2024

Nancy Campbell - Term Expires: In Process of Appointment for Grassroots

Danielle DuPuis - Ex-Officio: Howard County Public School System

Saad Facchine - Term Expires: 10/31/2025

Bob Ford - Term Expires: 10/31/2025

Juls Gilliam - Term Expires: 10/31/2025

Morgan Gingles - Term Expires: In the Process of Reappointment

Chris Hefty - Term Expires: 10/31/2024

Faye Liberatore - Term Expires: 10/31/2025

Beck Rainbow Lynn Seckler - Term Expires: 11/06/2026

Becki Vivrette - Term Expires: 10/31/2025

Joseph Whalen - Ex-Officio: Howard Community College

Student Commissioner: Samantha Magness - Term Expires: 06/30/2024

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LGBTQIA+ Commission Staff

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  • Yolanda F. Sonnier, OHRE Administrator
  • Liv Alanis Myers, Executive Secretary
  • Marla Moore, Recording Secretary
  • Joanna Chen, Recording Secretary 
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2024 Meeting Schedule

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The LGBTQIA+ Commission will meet on the 2nd Thursday bi-monthly at 6:30 p.m. at 9830 Patuxent Woods Dr., Columbia, MD 21046.

  • January 11, 2024
  • March 14, 2024
  • May 09, 2024
  • July 11, 2024
  • September 12, 2024
  • November 14, 2024

Meeting Agendas & Minutes

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2023

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December 06, 2023 - Special Meeting to Elect Officers & Adopt Rules of Procedure

November 13, 2023 - Special Meeting to Vote on Letters of Recommendation to County Executive

November 9, 2023

September 14, 2023

September 12, 2023 - OHRE Commission Gathering

August 10, 2023 - Special Meeting on Budget

July 13, 2023

May 11, 2023

March 9, 2023

January 12, 2023

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2024

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November 14, 2024

  • Agenda
  • Minutes

September 12, 2024

  • Agenda
  • Minutes

July 11, 2024

  • Agenda
  • Minutes

May 09, 2024

April 04, 2024 - Special Commission Meeting (7:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.)

March 25, 2024 - Special Commission Meeting  (5:15p.m. to 5:30p.m.)

March 14, 2024

February 08, 2024 - Special Commission Meeting

January 11, 2024

January 07, 2024 - LGBTQIA+ Commission Planning Retreat

Workgroup Information

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LGBTQIA+ Press Conference

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June 22, 2022
Howard County Executive Ball Proposes County’s First Permanent LGBTQIA+ Commission to Advance Equity and Inclusion.

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Calvin Ball at podium

 

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Yolanda speaks
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Commissioners

 

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Love is Love

At a press conference held on June 22, 2022, Executive Ball unveiled the plan for a permanent LGBTQIA+ Commission, which will require the approval of the Howard County Council. The new Commission would follow the work of an LGBTQ+ Workgroup launched in 2019 by County Executive Ball that provided recommendations on best practices and improvements to support the LGBTQ+ community. “We will always support and affirm our LGBTQ+ community and need to take action in the face of increased attacks on gay and transgender equality across the country,” said Ball. “Howard County can be a beacon and a model on how to uplift all our residents, and how to be inclusive and welcoming to everyone.”

Building off the work and recommendations already made by the LGBTQ+ Workgroup, the commission will be made up of at least 13 members of the gay and transgender communities and/or are representatives of regional LGBTQ+ organizations. The commission will also submit an annual report to the County Council and County Executive. Legislation for the commission is expected to be filed in July.

The commission will have the following responsibilities:

  • Support efforts to organize, educate, and mobilize the LGBTQIA+ community through coalition building and coordination with allied individuals, groups, and organizations;
  • Identify best practices to affirm members of the gay and transgender community;
  • Recommend initiatives to support LGBTQIA+ families and children; and
  • Advise the County on policy and programs that impact our gay and transgender community, and on how to improve outcomes for underserved and at-risk members of the LGBTQIA+ population.
  • Support, plan, and execute events, like PRIDE, to celebrate and affirm the community.

OHRE Administrator Yolanda F. Sonnier served as the emcee of the press conference. There were inspiring remarks from Howard County Executive Calvin Ball; the Honorable Byron E. McFarlane, Register of Wills; Bob Ford, a Member of Howard County's Human Rights Commission; a former member of the LGBTQ+ Workgroup; Jumel Howard, Chapter President of the PFLAG Columbia-Howard County, MD and a former member of the LGBTQ+ Workgroup; and community member Becki Weiss Vivrette.

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Workgroup Members

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  • Maya Carey, HopeWorks of Howard County
  • Max Crownover, PFLAG Columbia-Howard
  • Debb Dunn, Chase Brexton
  • Robert Fontaine, Community Member
  • Robert Ford, Human Rights Commission
  • Dr. Juls Gilliam, Community Member
  • Jumel Howard, PFLAG Columbia-Howard County
  • Andrew Kanicki, Community Member
  • Akbi Khan, Community Member
  • Vanita Leatherwood, HopeWorks of Howard County
  • Faye M. Liberatore, Community Member
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Howard County Government Staff

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  • Yolanda F. Sonnier, OHRE Administrator
  • Claudia M. Allen, OHRE Outreach Supervisor
  • Kimberly Pruim, Director of Constituent Services and Community Partnerships

Resources and Publications

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LGBTQIA+ Pride Zine

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Designed by the LGBTQIA+ Commission's 2022-2023 Vice Chair, Ash Baker (they/them), “Your Guide to the Symbols of Pride: A Pride Zine” provides information about the history of the pride flag, an explanation of the letters comprising the acronym LGBTQIA+, and images of each of the pride flags.

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Pride Month 2024 Activities

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Pride Month 2024 Activities

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Understanding Pronouns

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2024 Trans Day of Visibility Program

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Add description.

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Draft of LGBTQIA + Commission Rules of Procedure

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Draft of LGBTQIA Commission Rules of Procedure

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