Visit Baltimore launches new resource to forge welcoming vibes for LGBTQ+ community

Visit Baltimore has launched a new resource directed towards fostering welcoming environments for the LGBTQ+ community.
Visit Baltimore has launched a new resource directed towards fostering welcoming environments for the LGBTQ+ community.

BALTIMORE, Md. Visit Baltimore has launched a new resource geared towards the LGBTQ+ community as part of its Warm Welcome Program to education the hospitality industry and other organizations on fostering an inclusive environment.

The new resource features a 30-minute video conversation with experts from the Pride Center of Maryland, Tramour Wilson and Amber Vanhorn-Bailey, about cultural awareness, the assumption of pronouns and misgendering, guest-association stereotypes, and how businesses can become more inclusive through representation, imagery, and community partnerships.

“As we strive to create a welcoming environment for a diverse array of travelers, we want to ensure Baltimore’s hospitality community recognizes the importance of being inclusive of the LGBTQ+ and same-gender loving community,” said Al Hutchinson, president/CEO of Visit Baltimore. “It is up to us to remain educated about the constant changes happening in these communities and how they affect the success and respect of both our local community and visitors alike; not just during the month of June, but all year long.”

The Visit Baltimore Warm Welcome program aims to establish the city as a top destination for all people, regardless of race, gender identity, nationality, ethnicity, or disability. The program encourages local hotels, restaurants, attractions, and other businesses to sign an online pledge committing to train their staff and stakeholders to use supportive, affirming language; inspire proactive allyship; encourage productive dialogue about race, accessibility, and bias; and foster active listening and learning. Upon signing the pledge, participants receive a link to a training toolkit created specifically for the tourism and hospitality community in Baltimore.

Once an organization completes the training with their entire staff, Visit Baltimore will provide a Warm Welcome kit including a window cling and other display items to show visitors they are seen and respected in that place of business. In addition to the LGBTQ+ module, businesses can find resources and training surrounding the topic of race and unconscious bias on the Warm Welcome platform, presented by Dr. Karsonya “Kaye” Wise Whitehead, Ph.D., founding director of The Karson Institute for Race, Peace & Social Justice on the campus of Loyola University Maryland; and an accessibility resource surrounding the topics of disability etiquette and inclusion presented by Melanie Hood-Wilson, owner of Melanie Hood-Wilson and Associates, and director of special populations at the Community College of Baltimore County.

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