A transgender woman could make history if she wins the New York City Council seat vacated by U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres (D) following his election to Congress last year.
Earlier this month, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called the special election for Torres’ old seat, representing the Bronx-based 15th District, for Tuesday, Mar. 23. But candidates for the seat began announcing their intentions as early as last fall, when Torres, the Democratic nominee in the most Democratic-leaning congressional district in the nation, appeared poised to win his election.
One of those running is Elisa Crespo, who serves as the Education Liaison for the office of Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. She is a longtime progressive activist and community advocate who first became known for organizing against tuition hikes at City University of New York while she was a student. She has also been involved in pro-union and pro-LGBTQ activism.
Crespo, who is the first LGBTQ woman of color to seek office in the Bronx, would also be the first out transgender lawmaker on the Council if elected. She recently told LGBTQ Nation in an interview that she would prioritize the needs of low-income New Yorkers, those reliant on social services, and communities of color if elected.
“It’s time for us to elect people with political courage,” Crespo said, “and who will center our most vulnerable and our low-income communities of color and reverse the policies that have hurt people who have the least access to capital.”
She is particularly concerned about increasing employment opportunities for her would-be constituents, as some neighborhoods in the 15th District have unemployment rates as high as 25%, particularly in light of the shutdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
To combat those high rates, she suggests that the city create a “public option” for employment, where it would provide city jobs to anyone not successful in obtaining private employment. She has said she would pay for the program by reallocating nearly $11 billion that has been earmarked to build four new jails in the city. She also supports a progressive income tax with increased taxes on higher-income earners.
Crespo has been endorsed by the LGBTQ Victory Fund, a national organization whose mission is to help elect out LGBTQ people to political office, based on the belief that increased representation will better help people address issues impacting the LGBTQ community.
Although she is running as a Democrat, Crespo identifies as a progressive, saying she was inspired by Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign and his focus on economic justice issues. She is also a member of the Bronx chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, which would place her on the left flank of the City Council if elected.
It’s that commitment to economic justice, informed by her own life experiences, that prompted one of her former campaign rivals, Julian Sepúlveda, to endorse Crespo after he decided to suspend his own campaign, as reported by the Norwood News.
“Supporting Elisa was an easy decision,” Sepúlveda said in a video posted to his now-deleted Twitter account. “She is a Bronxite and a Latina, who was raised by a working-class mother. Her lived experience is rooted in the complex struggles that many in our community live day-to-day.”
She has also been endorsed by State Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) and Marti Allen-Cummings, a nonbinary candidate running for Manhattan’s 7th City Council district.
Already, Crespo has been attacked for having been arrested in 2012 for engaging in survival sex work, with the right-wing New York Post referring to her in a headline as an “ex-prostitute.” The story sparked a backlash on social media against the newspaper, with many calling it a “smear piece” that played upon negative stereotypes of transgender people. But she remains undeterred.
“I’m not sulking, she told the LGBTQ magazine Them. “I have been through far worse things in life than a slimy news article. If anything, it gave me more fuel, and I’m more fired up to work harder for the people in my district.”
By Rudy Malcom on November 22, 2021
A gay British doctor might lose his job after using his Twitter account to defend trans rights.
Dr. Adrian Harrop currently works as a general practitioner in Liverpool, as well as for CMAGIC, a service set up by England’s National Health Service to provide medical support for trans people.
However, between 2018 and 2019 Harrop became increasingly vocal about transgender rights on his Twitter account -- including pushing back against misinformation and transphobia -- leading to "hundreds" of complaints to the General Medical Council, Vice reports.
The 34-year-old now faces a three-week tribunal that could result in Harrop being suspended or barred from practicing medicine.
The Biden administration has approved a request by Colorado officials to modify their state's health exchange under the Affordable Care Act to require private health insurers to cover transition-related care for transgender patients.
The change, which will take effect on Jan. 1, 2023, would mark the first time the federal government has approved a requirement for individual and small-group health plans to cover medical treatments for transgender patients. Colorado already requires its state Medicaid program to cover the costs of transition-related care for low-income residents.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, accompanied by Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and other officials, announced the policy in Denver last week. Under the new policy, insurers will no longer be able to refuse to cover treatments that have been deemed medically necessary by a patient's medical provider by claiming such procedures are "elective" or "cosmetic."
By Rudy Malcom on October 21, 2021
Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Rachel Levine has made history for the second time this year, becoming the first openly transgender four-star officer in all eight of the uniformed services, just months after becoming the first transgender person to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate by a federal office.
On Tuesday, Levine was sworn in as a four-star admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. She is also the first woman four-star admiral in the PHSCC, which aims to preserve and foster the health and safety of the general public.
Levine, who is the nation’s highest-ranking openly trans official, said she is “humbled to serve” in a statement from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
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