Article by: Connie D’Agostino
This past March was the final Queer Qrush, an all-inclusive LGBTQ+ dance party held monthly at the Ottobar in Hampden. In recent months the event has been subject to attack in the media by Julia Beck, a former member of Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh’s LGBT Commission. Beck has publicly accused the event and its sponsors of being, “explicitly lesbian-exclusionary” but those working the event told the Eye that Beck’s comments are exaggerated and untrue.
“She says that we are somehow excluding lesbians — just take a look around. We’re not denying anyone,” said Olivia Heinz, a bartender working at the last Queer Qrush.
Beck has repeatedly cited a Facebook post made by Queer Qrush organizers during last year’s Pride as evidence of the event barring lesbians. The end of the post reads, “TERFs will be hung[sic] by their necks,” TERFs being an acronym for Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists, a term used to describe feminists who do not recognize transgender identities, particularly those of transwomen.
While undeniably inflammatory, Heinz told the Eye that the post was not meant to be taken as a literal threat and that, according to Heinz, organizers were only trying to condemn views they believe are “archaic”. The original Facebook post has since been changed, but still states that TERFs are unwelcome to the event.
Beck’s accusations come in the wake of her removal from her post on the city’s LGBT Commission last year. In January, she spoke publicly about her removal on a panel at The Heritage Foundation, a think-tank for conservative public policy. She said she was removed from the commission for, “stating biological facts” that transwomen are not women and refusing to acknowledge the gender identities of her fellow members in the commission.
Since then, Beck has appeared on Fox News with Tucker Carlson, appearing to have found in conservative audiences the sympathy that is denied to her by liberals who dismiss her views as transphobic. When Carlson asked what the Baltimore LGBT Commission’s rationale was for removing her from the commission, Beck replied that “frankly there was no case made,” by commission members. It appears as though Beck is unable to discern why an organization made to foster inclusivity would condemn someone with exclusionary beliefs.
Queer Qrush attendees told the Eye that organizers had moved on from the contention with Beck and that they were ending the event after three-years so they could begin new projects. Undoubtedly, the only condition for entry into any future LGBTQ+ all-inclusive events will be non-exclusionary beliefs.