Policy Advocacy

FreeState works to improve the lives of all LGBTQ Marylanders through public policy initiatives.

Read more about our priority issue areas below or visit our legislative action center.

FreeState Justice’s work focuses on the following issue areas:

Police Interactions, Corrections, and Criminal Justice

While Baltimore City has been in the news for how its police disastrously deal with community members, the entire state has longstanding issues with how it handles people in the criminal justice system. LGBTQ individuals face extra – often dangerous – problems throughout the system.

Name and Gender Change for Transgender and Non-Binary Individuals

While our culture continues to evolve around transgender issues, major barriers like access to changing one’s name and gender on identity documents remain, putting transgender and non-binary people at risk for discrimination in jobs, housing, travel, and schools.

Enforcement of Anti-Discrimination Laws Regarding Access to Public Accommodations

Legal equality does not mean lived equality. All too often, transgender Marylanders are denied access to restrooms and locker rooms in places of public accommodation, despite having legal protections enshrined in state law that allow the use of restrooms consistent with one’s gender identity.

Family Law

Passage of marriage equality did not resolve a host of family law issues that continue to impact LGBTQ families in Maryland, such as parental rights and custody determinations. Moreover, unexplored areas of family law as they apply to LGBTQ families leave parents with a great deal of uncertainty about whether their parent-child relationships will be recognized.

Access to Quality, Affirming, and Inclusive Health Care

The Affordable Care Act went a long way to ensure that LGBTQ people had access to better care, but the law doesn’t guarantee that our community will receive access to care and work remains to ensure that LGBTQ people have access to quality, affordable, inclusive, and often life-saving health care.

Education and Youth Policy – including foster care, juvenile justice, and education

With increased access to information through the internet and social media, young people are coming out as LGBTQ or non-binary at much younger ages.  Even those fortunate enough to have the love and support of their parents and guardians may find their schools to be hostile and sometimes dangerous environments, particularly in more conservative parts of the state. LGBTQ youth in the foster care and juvenile justice systems are at special risk of harmful, dangerous, and even deadly situations.