The Pride Center of Maryland was established in 1977. Being the third oldest sexual and gender minority (SGM) center in the nation, we started from a culture of grass roots action to uplift and advocate for the SGM community. Some of our accomplishments include:
(1) The PCOM hosts the largest sexual and gender minority cultural event in the state of Maryland. The PCOM has hosted Pride for over 40 years. While this event stands to bring tens of thousands of people to the Baltimore area it also does a lot in the area of raising awareness around SGM issues and gives us a large scale platform for advocacy and action. For instance, currently the highest number of HIV/AIDS testing in Baltimore takes place during Pride. As a result the PCOM has become a major catalyst in increasing the number of people in this region to get tested. In addition to getting tested people are linked with medical care on this day.
(2) Peer navigation: We have peer navigators that connect 75 to 100 people to services quarterly. Our peer navigators use a holistic approach that addresses every part of the person in order to get folks linked to medical care and more importantly to allow folks to stay on their prescribed medical care. Our Peer navigators address issues from job placement to housing and everything else in between. Additionally our peer navigators are folks who represent the actual community that we serve.
(3) Part of our mission is creating a safe space for the SGM community. We have a Center that is accessible 7 days a week. Our center is open to the community to access our direct services and to also access community led programs. We have about 40 programs a month that include services for women, trans people, men, youth, arts and culture, recovery services and case management. We do not charge for the space. We provide this space for free so that safe and affirming spaces remain accessible for the SGM community