Jeri Hughes, a local transgender activist and longtime member of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, the city’s largest LGBT political organization, has entered the contest to become the club’s next president.
Hughes’s candidacy pits her against Angela Peoples, Stein’s current vice president for legislative and political affairs. Last month, Peoples announced she and current President Martin Garcia would run as part of the same candidate slate for each other’s seats. Last year, Peoples and Garcia were part of a three-member insurgent slate mobilized several new Stein Club members to topple sitting President Lateefah Williams and two other members of her slate in a surprise upset.
This year’s elections will be held at the club’s November meeting. A date for that meeting has not yet been announced.
Hughes says she’s entered the race at the urging of several friends and Stein members.
”My first reaction was ‘No,”’ she says, noting both her age – ”I’m an old woman” – and that she’s on the job hunt after her place of employment, Transgender Health Empowerment, abruptly closed its doors due to financial problems. ”But a couple of people encouraged me to step up, and so I’m running.”
”I was honored when they asked me, because I think very highly of the Stein Club,” says Hughes.
Hughes is known primarily for her advocacy efforts on behalf of transgender inmates in the D.C. Jail and her tenacity in pushing elected officials to provide more employment opportunities for transgender individuals.
Hughes says her past advocacy for LGBT causes makes her qualified to run the club and get things accomplished. Describing herself as a ”fighter,” Hughes argues that her experience holding specific people accountable would be an asset to the club.
”That’s the only way you get anything done in this city,” she says. ”You come down with a to-do list and you get a commitment from individual people to take action and do something by a certain date.”
”If nothing else, it will be a good experience,” Hughes says of her campaign. ”If I don’t win, it’s no big deal to me, personally. If I do win, I’m going to put in a lot of effort to continue to create change and move the community forward.”