By John Riley on October 23, 2020 @JRileyMW
GLAA, the LGBTQ political advocacy organization that pushes for pro-equality policies in D.C. government, upgraded five candidates who had previously received ratings of zero on GLAA’s election questionnaire.
“GLAA endeavors to have a fair ratings process each election cycle,” Bobbi Elaine Strang, the president of GLAA, said in an email. “As an all-volunteer organization we do our best to be timely in releasing our policy brief and questionnaire, which has been on our website since this spring. We sent out emails with a link to these documents after the Board of Elections released the candidate list to all candidates for whom we did not already possess a completed 2020 questionnaire based on the email addresses published by the B.O.E.”
But according to four of the five candidates, they did not receive the link to the questionnaire, or to GLAA’s policy brief, which serves as a “cheat sheet” for candidates in terms of GLAA’s legislative priorities.
“We are not sure why some candidates believe they were not sent the link,” Strang said. “We accepted their word and issued an extension and ratings for those candidates.”
A fifth candidate, Statehood-Green Party nominee Peter Bolton, who is running in the Ward 2 Council race, claimed to have sent responses to GLAA’s questionnaire on Aug. 24.
But according to Strang, GLAA was unable to find that questionnaire in its email. After Bolton provided an email receipt of the initial email, GLAA decided to upgrade his rating as well.
Independent Franklin Garcia, running for one of two At-Large seats on the Council, received a +8 rating (on a scale of -10 to +10) for agreeing to GLAA’s legislative priorities and for providing “detailed, substantive responses” to the questionnaire, according to a press release from GLAA.
Garcia also received record points for helping bring attention to the case of Bella Evangelista, a transgender woman who was killed, whose killer tried to use the “trans panic” defense to justify his actions.
Independent At-Large candidate Alexander Padro earned a +7 for his record as an ANC commissioner, and for his general agreement with most of GLAA’s priorities, although he argues in his questionnaire that he prefers full legalization of sex work, rather than decriminalization, which he thinks does not provide enough protections for sex workers.
Independent At-Large candidate Chander Jayaraman earned a +5 rating for agreeing with GLAA on most issues, but was vague on some substance and disagrees with GLAA’s work to decriminalize sex work.
See also: Robert White, Christina Henderson, Randy Downs and Monica Palacio top GLAA candidate ratings in D.C.
Ward 2 independent candidate Martín Miguel Fernández earned a +7 for his general agreement with GLAA on its chief priorities. He lost points for having a limited record on LGBTQ issues, but GLAA said in its rating write-up that “his background as a medical anthropologist leads GLAA to conclude that he has a solid grasp of our policy positions and the reasoning behind the positions.”
Bolton, the Statehood-Green candidate in Ward 2, agreed with GLAA on all issues and received a +4 for his questionnaire responses.
“Peter Bolton agrees with GLAA on all issues, but provided limited substance and occasionally strayed off topic in his responses. Candidate provided no details of his record on LGBTQ issues and GLAA could not confirm any record on LGBTQ issues,” GLAA said in its release.
The Bolton campaign responded to the rating in a press release, arguing that while a +4 was better than a zero rating, the campaign believes Bolton should have received a higher rating.
“I’m proud of my history of advocating for LGBTQ rights,” Bolton said in a statement. “One of the first things I got involved in when I moved to DC in 2010 was volunteering for the Capital Pride event in Ward 2. I worked under the supervision of event organizer Dane Austin.
“As a journalist and political analyst, I’ve consistently called out and criticized the hypocrisy of
politicians and policies in the U.S., the U.K., and around the world on LGBTQ rights. For example: In an October 2018 article about the religious right in the U.S., I argued: ‘Opposition to LGBT rights, meanwhile, is presented as a defence of “traditional marriage”; but it is actually about maintaining heterosexual, and especially male heterosexual, privilege in the economy, the workplace, the tax system, and wider society,'” he continued, providing evidence of other criticisms he made of anti-LGBTQ policies around the world.
“In addition to my published works, I’ve advocated for the community in other ways, such as donating to the Human Rights Campaign, and in my association with the Green Party, which has led on rights for LGBTQ persons and their families for two decades.”
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By John Riley on May 11, 2023 @JRileyMW
On Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration relaxed restrictions on blood donors to allow some men who have sex with men to donate -- a move that could increase the supply of available blood.
Since 2020, the FDA had imposed a categorical restriction on all men who have sex with men, prohibiting them from donating if they had engaged in sex in the past three months. That change -- necessitated by the need for plasma, especially from individuals who had been infected with but overcame COVID-19, as a treatment for infected individuals -- replaced a longer 12-month deferral period for men who have sex with men, which was imposed in 2015, supplanting a lifetime ban on gay or bisexual male donors.
By John Riley on May 5, 2023 @JRileyMW
A Republican congresswoman who has been all too happy to campaign against the transgender community was triggered after being dragged on Twitter by a right-wing troll who criticized her for wearing a tuxedo to the White House Correspondents' Dinner last weekend.
U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) unleashed a storm of tweets after the criticism, seeking to balance her "moderate" image -- carefully cultivated on mainstream media news outlets, in part due to occasional deviations from GOP orthodoxy on select issues -- with her conservative bona fides.
In those tweets, Mace also sought to push back against accusations of gender nonconformity -- which might hamper a future campaign in her Republican-leaning district -- by pointing out other women who have worn tuxedos in the past, while also arguing that her style of dress was a form of expressing her freedom to wear whatever she wants, as reported by LGBTQ Nation.
By John Riley on May 23, 2023 @JRileyMW
Two prominent national civil rights groups -- the NAACP and HRC -- have issued travel advisories to Florida over a spate of policies they say are hostile toward Black Americans, immigrants, people of color, and LGBTQ individuals.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People issued a travel advisory on Saturday, warning of the Sunshine State's charged political atmosphere and efforts by Gov. Ron DeSantis and allies "to erase Black history and to restrict diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in Florida schools."
"Florida is openly hostile toward African Americans, people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals," the advisory reads. "Before traveling to Florida, please understand that the state of Florida devalues and marginalizes the contributions of, and the challenges faced by, African Americans and other communities of color."
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