Remembering Sheila Hixson

A fierce trailblazer and advocate

FreeState Justice offers condolences to the family and loved ones of former Maryland Delegate Sheila Hixson, who passed away earlier this week.

We are deeply saddened at the loss of this fierce advocate who pushed for equity within and outside the Maryland government. The former Chair of the House of Delegates Ways and Means Committee, Sheila was known as a trailblazer who used her platform to raise awareness for issues facing Maryland’s marginalized communities. Not only did she fight tirelessly to increase funding for education and protect the rights of Maryland students, but she was also one of the original pioneers of civil rights legislation in Maryland, securing protections for LGBTQ+ residents throughout the state in 2001. The effects of her tireless work on this issue are best summed up in a quote by former Maryland State Delegate and former Equality Maryland Board Member Richard Madaleno: “It’s not an overestimation to say that the Anti-Discrimination Law that passed in 2001 would have passed without Sheila Hixson. She was a hero that helped make the progress that we achieved possible.” A civil rights pioneer, a single mother of four, and a renowned feminist who strived to open up spaces for marginalized identities in Congress, we owe so much to former Delegate Hixson and her esteemed career.

Thank you, Sheila, for all you have done; we promise to continue your fight for equity and carry your fierce passion with us every day. Below is a message from FreeState Executive Director Phillip Westry on the impact Delegate Hixson had on LGBTQIA+ communities in Maryland:

“From the 2001 Anti-Discrimination Act to the Civil Marriage Protection Act, Delegate Hixson was there fighting for the rights of LGBTQIA+ Marylanders. She helped pave the way for the work that FreeState will continue to do for the community. She was a steadfast supporter of our community decades before it was easy to do so, even being the lone sponsor of pro-LGBTQIA+ legislation in the 1990s. FreeState Justice sends our deepest condolences to her family.”


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