Wall of White Men at 11 & 1/2 West Chase Street

Wall of White Men at 11 & 1/2 West Chase StreetIt was time to bid vacation a mini-farewell and get back to work today, so that’s what I did, most of it from the comfort of my air conditioned apartment, because that’s just the kind of lucky duck I am. But then it was time to get out, and I hopped on the bike and headed to Federal Hill to meet A. for gossip and work–reading for her, administrative this and thats for me. The ride was hot and sweaty and pedestrians seemed to have it out for me, stepping off the curb and right into my path more than once. I used my outside voice to encourage their sharing with me the Inner Harbor loop and thought to myself, everyone needs to learn how to share, not just the drivers. A couple hours of work later and I was headed back toward Mount Vernon for a meeting at the offices of Baltimore Heritage. I love this group, and I mean love. The folks who run the place are nerds of the highest caliber, and E. has a nose for social justice and a heart for bicycling. They put on wonderful tours and just do really good work. We met in the conference room on the second floor, home of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). This was a meeting of LGBT public history folks, and they were working on a tour of Mount Vernon, a place with a strong queer past and present. Folks at the meeting reminded each other about not forgetting The Lesbians or Black Pride, whether or not to include a stop at the old bathhouses or if that history’s too stigmatizing (“We left Wyman Park’s cruising history out of the last tour, and somebody brought it up–people will know about bathhouses,” and concerns were expressed about the length of a tour in a hilly neighborhood for those who would experience it as an insurmountable challenge. I wondered if the “LGBT” title was really appropriate if we weren’t going to talk about “B” or “T” and offered to take a site for research purposes, because it sure looked like the group could use another lady; I don’t know, but I’m guessing S. gets tired having to fight every fight all by herself. The meeting ended right on time so P. could make his tennis game, and we all gathered our things with a promise to meet again in two weeks. We had spent our one hour meeting surrounded by pictures of AIA royalty, and it was creepy—a wall of white men, I thought to myself, before noticing the few women and people of color that managed to get on the wall in the last several years. Identity politics was certainly in this house, and that was plenty to think about, again. And then I got back on my bike and headed up the hill to home. It was a very, very good day to get some things done, and I still got to ride my bike.

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