'Baltimore Sun' Launches New LGBT Section

5.15.2013

By Andrew Belonsky

'Gay Matters' will cover all things lavender.

With same-sex marriage legal in Maryland for nearly six months, the Baltimore Sun announced today that they're creating a new online section called "Gay Matters," which will cover the ever-evolving political and cultural climate of LGBT rights in Maryland and America.

While this all sounds new-fangled and revolutionary, editors Kevin Rector and Michael Gold insist the Sun has quite a history of covering gay politics, and Maryland, the editors found, has a history of embracing equality.

For example, police in 1955 raided a gay bar called the Pepper Hill Club. Rather than chastising the openly gay people, at that point in time an aberration, Baltimore residents lambasted the police for targeting gay people.

"The scope [of the raid] was certainly shocking: six police wagons had to make 24 trips to shuttle all the arrested to the nearby police station.

"Most compelling to me, though, was the fact that the police vice squad members who were responsible for the raid were criticized by politicians, judges and even their own police commissioner for the indiscriminate nature of their wholesale arrests of everyone at the bar -- city folk and out-of-towners alike. The police commissioner issued what amounted to a mea culpa. A law was passed the next year banning such raids.

"What wasn't criticized or apologized for, of course, was the fact that the vice squad's targeting of the bar was, in fact, anything but indiscriminate. They had gone after the men who'd kissed men, after all.

"That the outcome was a ban on these types of raids, which allowed gay Baltimore residents to gather more openly than ever, is just the sort of poetic twist I relish as a reader and writer."

The image above, taken from the Sun's archive, shows a night at the Pepper Hill Club. Apparently even nights out from six decades ago aren't beyond social media's reach.

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