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November 11, 2011

UMBC Faculty Member Named Executive Director of Equality Maryland

Chelsea Haddaway Williams
UMBC Communications Manager

Carrie Evans, adjunct professor of gender and women’s studies, has been named the executive director of Equality Maryland, the state’s largest LGBT civil rights group.

“This is an organization that is like a dear friend to me … and the stakes are high, marriage is on the table, as well as the gender identity bill. We have a whole new board of tremendously accomplished people and I can hit the ground running — it’s full speed ahead,” Evans told the Washington Blade in a November 9 story.

Evans teaches an annual gender and women’s studies course on women and the law, which is cross listed with political science. In the course, she covers issues such as how to define “male” and “female,” the unique position of Native American women under the law and reproductive rights.

Evans said that teaching the class is especially exciting because the laws in these areas are constantly changing.

“My students always say that they love that I’m so passionate in my teaching,” Evans said. “Because of the work I’ve done in Washington, DC and Annapolis, I can provide real world examples.”

This spring, students will get to witness the legislative process through Evans as Equality Maryland works to pass two high-profile bills through the Maryland General Assembly: the legalization of same-sex marriage, and a law to ban discrimination based on gender identity and expression.

“The stars are aligned this year,” Evans told the Blade. “We have the votes in the Senate … and in the House the governor, along with a coalition of supporters, will work the House like it wasn’t worked last year.”

However, Evans is quick to point out that although she is working on behalf of a specific agenda, she welcomes dissenting opinions in her class.

“The discussions we have are fascinating, because I encourage people who don’t agree with me to come forward,” she said. “People feel comfortable having these conversations in a safe place.” She points out that students with different perspectives on these issues—such as international students and those in the military—offer insightful contributions to class discussions.

Evans’s affiliation with Equality Maryland has also been beneficial to UMBC, as she has brought members of the organization to the university’s Mosaic Culture and Diversity Center to discuss LGBT issues with students.

Posted by chelseah at November 11, 2011 1:41 PM