AIDS protest in 1998, Montgomery County, MD. Photo from Montgomery History.

Panel Recap: Inclusive Public History & Preservation Planning: LGBTQ History in Montgomery County and Maryland

01/11/2021
By Meagan Baco

A collective of Maryland organizations and agencies have undertaken and completed a groundbreaking research document, the Maryland LGBTQ Historic Context Study – and is only the second state in the nation to do so. The report released in September 2020, illuminates Maryland LGBTQ history in rural, suburban, and urban locations, including sites associated with non-binary historical figures, leading “out” elected officials, strong community groups and popular gay bars, advocacy for AIDS treatment and marriage equality, and many other important sites. As hoped, the report has also already spurred local efforts to research and preserve specific properties – including two homes in Montgomery County associated with prominent LGBTQ Marylanders.

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Montgomery History invited members of the project team to host and record a live panel discussion focused on the importance of Montgomery County in Maryland LGBTQ history. Moreover, as a known haven for the Maryland LGBTQ community, panelists also spoke about the importance of bringing this history into current conversations about planning in Montgomery County, which is currently working on an update to its comprehensive plan.

The discussion took place the evening of October 7, 2021 via Zoom and Facebook Live and was well-attended by over 80 viewers – many of whom contributely greatly to the conversation with their comments and questions.

Preservation Maryland has been leading a statewide effort to research and preserve LGBTQ history in the Old Line State for several years and the project outcomes, including the latest report, are available to the public on our website.

ACCESS MARYLAND LGBTQ CONTEXT STUDY

MORE RECORDED WEBINARS

Panelists INCLUDE:

Meagan Baco
(they/them/theirs)
Director of Communications
Preservation Maryland

Meagan Baco is the Director of Communications at Preservation Maryland, one of the nation’s oldest and largest historic preservation non-profit organizations. Meagan leads the organization’s state and national communications including major programs, like the Campaign for Historic Trades and  PreserveCast. Additionally, they have managed diverse public history projects for the organization including about labor history, women’s suffrage and voting rights, and LGBTQ+ history. Meagan is an inaugural fellow of the ARCUS Preservation Leadership program and has completed the Baltimore Planning Academy. Previously, Meagan has held positions at Preservation Action and Clinton Brown Company Architecture. They earned an M.S. in Historic Preservation from Clemson University and the College of Charleston, and a B.A. in Environmental Design from SUNY Buffalo. Meagan lives in Baltimore with their partner and a growing collection of LEGO mini-figs and house plants.

Benjamin C. Egerman
(he/him/his)
Librarian
Enoch Pratt Free Library

Benjamin C. Egerman is an LGBTQ+ historian and librarian at Baltimore’s central Enoch Pratt Free Library. He has spoken on subjects related to local LGBTQ+ history to audiences at public libraries, for school groups, and LGBTQ+ community groups.  From 2018-2020, he worked with Preservation Maryland and Susan Ferentinos, PhD. to provide research and develop an interactive map for the Maryland LGBTQ Historic Context Study, and in 2020 started the Maryland Rainbow History Collection at the Enoch Pratt Free Library, a growing collection of oral histories with LGBTQ+ community elders and activists. He continues to be active in local LGBTQ+ history research, preservation, and education.

Rebeccah Ballo
(she/her/hers)
Supervisor
Montgomery County Historic Preservation Program

Rebeccah has been a preservation planner with local governments in the Washington DC Metro Region since 2003. She has been the supervisor for the Montgomery County Historic Preservation Program since 2018. Rebeccah has been working to document LGBTQ+ resources in her capacity as a preservation planner with local government for the past 5 years. Montgomery County is recognized as a regional leader in its progressive laws and policies protecting and affirming the rights of LGBTQ+ Marylanders. As part of the historic preservation program’s work tell the stories of LGBTQ+ people and places that significantly impacted our county’s development, the Historic Preservation Office is completing architectural survey and archival research of sites associated with LGBTQ+ communities and leaders in Montgomery County.

 

Meagan Baco · Director of Communications

Meagan Baco shares the stories of the Old Line State’s important history and unique places – and the people working to preserve it, through Preservation Maryland’s website and publications.

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