Best Non-Profit: Free State Justice

231 E. Baltimore St. #1100, (410) 625-5428,

This year, FreeState Legal and Equality Maryland merged to form Free State Justice and become, in their words, an even more "unified advocacy organization that seeks to improve the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer ('LGBTQ') Marylanders," especially those with low incomes. This also possibly saved Equality Maryland, which had been slowly reducing its scope due to budget issues. And although this is referred to as a merger, that almost feels too corporate—this feels more like a team-up or joining of forces, you know? And it comes at a crucial moment for LGBTQ rights in the country and in Maryland, where marriage equality and the transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination laws provide hope for the future but are nevertheless countered by ridiculous bathroom bill talk and a DOJ report documenting harassment of those in the LGBTQ community by police.

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