More photos from Dallas delegates to the Democratic Convention

—  David Taffet

Transgender activist to speak at Democratic National Convention

 

Sarah McBride scheduled to deliver historic speech on Thursday

 

MICHAEL K. LAVERS | Washington Blade
Courtesy National Gay Media Association

 

McBride.SarahPHILADELPHIA — Sarah McBride this week will become the first openly transgender person to speak at a major party convention.

McBride — who is the national press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign Foundation — is scheduled to speak at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday, July 28. She is slated to take the main stage inside the Wells Fargo Center alongside U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., who co-chairs the Congressional LGBT Caucus.

“I’m honored for this opportunity to share my story and to be the first transgender person to speak at a major party convention,” McBride said in an HRC press release. “People must understand that even as we face daily harassment, tragic violence and an onslaught of anti-LGBTQ political attacks across the country, we are real people merely seeking to be treated with the dignity and respect every person deserves.

“I’m so proud to stand with the LGBT Caucus and speak out in support of Hillary Clinton, because we know she stands with us,” she added.

McBride is a former staffer at the Center for American Progress. The American University graduate who is from Wilmington, Del., also played a leading role in securing passage of bills that added gender identity to Delaware’s anti-discrimination and hate crimes laws in 2013.

“Sarah’s personal story and unending commitment to LGBT rights makes her an invaluable voice to have in the conversation,” said U.S. Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif., co-chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, in a statement. “We look forward to working with her to make full legal and social equality a reality.”

McBride is scheduled to speak at the Democratic National Convention a week after Donald Trump formally accepted the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in Cleveland.

Delegates to the Republican National Convention last week approved a party platform that, among other things, opposes the use of federal funds to ensure trans people can use bathrooms consistent with their gender identity.

Caitlyn Jenner on July 20 criticized North Carolina’s controversial House Bill 2 — which bans people from using bathrooms in public buildings that are consistent with their gender identity and prohibits local municipalities from enacting LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances — during her appearance at an event the American Unity Fund held at Cleveland’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

 

—  Tammye Nash

Former Houston Mayor Annise Parker named co-chair of DNC’s LGBT Advisory Board

Houston-Mayor-Annise-ParkerThe Democratic National Committee has appointed former Houston Mayor Annise Parker and HIV/AIDS and LGBT activist the Rev. José M. Román co-chairs of the party’s new LGBT Advisory Board.

The board, which is open to LGBT Democrats from all states, will work to advance LGBT equality by prioritizing community concerns and electing LGBT and ally Democrats across the country.

“The LGBT community has made huge strides the past 7 years under Democratic leadership, but with few exceptions the Republican Party continues to fight against equality at every turn,” Parker said in a statement.

In 2009, Parker became the first out LGBT person elected mayor of a major American city. She served for three terms until being term-limited. She was previously a city council member and city controller.

It’s crucial that LGBT voters elect Democrats, Parker said in a statement.

“During the fight to pass the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance in my own city, the despicable depiction of transgender people showed us how far our opponents will go to stop progress on protecting the rights of LGBT Americans,” Parker said.

HERO, the city’s comprehensive nondiscrimination ordinance, was repealed last November after a yearlong battle with its opponents, who include many Republican lawmakers.

“The DNC’s LGBT Advisory Board will give us new opportunities to elevate local battles like HERO and to share strategies across communities about way to organize and win. I look forward to using the lessons learned in Houston to help lead this effort,” Parker added.

Her co-chair, the Rev. José Miguel Románis, is a prominent LGBT and HIV/AIDS activist based in New York City who is credited for advocating for needle exchange programs in New York City and securing funding for HIV/AIDS research. He also served on the Board of Directors of Gay Men’s Health Crisis and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission.

“The diverse voices of the LGBT community have not always been represented in the national LGBT movement,” Román said. “This Advisory Board will help those voices be heard in the Party’s continuing efforts to advance LGBT rights. It will also help shine a light on LGBT Democratic candidates and the efforts of elected Democrats fighting for our community. I look forward to helping lead and shape this diverse body so that we can continue to fight for and protect the progress we have made.”

Board applications are still being accepted. Apply here.

—  James Russell

Sen. Bernie Sanders announces 2016 presidential campaign

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Sen. Bernie Sanders, I–Vermont.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I–Vermont, announced his campaign f0r the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination today, promising to run on a progressive economic platform.

The self-described democratic socialist is the second major Democrat to announce his candidacy following former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. A two-term senator, he is currently the longest serving independent in Congress and caucuses with the Democrats.

Sanders may be the answer for progressive Democrats who have long been skeptical of Clinton, the former senator, first lady and a 2008 presidential candidate and presumed frontrunner.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Sanders said he’ll campaign on progress economic and taxation policy, campaign finance reform, against a hawkish U.S. foreign policy. He also cited his opposition to free-trade agreements and vote against the Keystone XL oil pipeline to distinguish himself as independent alternative who could appeal to Democrats, Republicans and other independents.

“So to me, the question is whose views come closer to representing the vast majority of working people in this country,” Sanders said. “And you know what? I think my views do.”

While Sanders is looking to nudge Clinton the the left on these issues, LGBT issues, like same-sex marriage, employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression, were not mentioned in the interview. But Sanders has long been an advocate for the LGBT community throughout his fourteen years in Congress, first as a House member and now as a senator.

—  James Russell

Rep. Louie Gohmert loses bid for House Speaker

Louie GohmertOn Sunday (Jan. 4), Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, announced his intention to challenge Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, for House Speaker.

“After the November elections gave Republicans control of the Senate, voters made clear they wanted change,” he said in a statement. There have been numerous examples of problematic Republican leadership, but we were hopeful our leaders got the voters’ message. However, after our Speaker forced through the CRomnibus [the spending bill] by passing it with Democratic votes and without time to read it, it seemed clear that we needed new leadership. There had been much discussion.”

Today (Jan. 6), the first day of the new Congress, the raucous Tea Party Republican lost to Boehner. A last minute challenger, Rep. Dan Webster, R-Florida, even received more votes than Gohmert, 12-3.

Five candidates were formally nominated, including Boehner, Tea Party Republican Reps. Ted Yoho and Dan Webster, both of Florida, and former Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-California.

Boehner was expected to easily be re-nominated despite the challenges from the right-wing of his party. He was elected by a slim margin in January 2013 after a failed attempt by a faction of his caucus. At least 12 Democrats were attending former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo’s funeral, Politico noted, while others did not show up at all. Every absent Democrat lowered the threshold for the Ohio Republican’s re-election.

Four Democrats also bucked their party’s leadership and voted for a candidate other than Pelosi.

The Washington Post has a full list of defectors on both sides of the aisle here.

If you’re an avid Dallas Voice reader, you probably know all about Gohmert; a search of our archives alone yields 22 mentions. He’s well-known for his conspiracy theories and opposition to LGBT legislation. He called ENDA “a continuation of the Obama administration’s ‘war on religion.'” He was among the first inductees in HRC’s Hall of Shame last year and is a frequent recipient of the Advocate’s Phobie Awards.

Openly bisexual Rep. Krysten Sinema, D-Arizona, and one of the four Democrats to not vote for Pelosi, spoke for all of us when she did this:

—  James Russell

Tarrant for Hillary hosts Ready for Hillary bus and rally

Posted on 18 Dec 2014 at 12:34pm
Tarrant for Hillary, a group of Tarrant County residents urging former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to run for president in 2016, hosted the touring Ready for Hillary bus yesterday (Wednesday, Dec. 17) at Cowtown Diner, 305 Main Street, in Fort Worth. Local elected officials including Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth, Justice of the Peace Sergio de Leon, Fort Worth City Councilman Sal Espino and Haltom City Councilwoman Stephanie Davenport, spoke in support of a potential Clinton run.

Know your rights; make your vote count

U.S. Rep Eddie Bernice Johnson

U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson

By Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson

Special Contributor

 

Unlike any other time in American history, it is important for all eligible citizens to exercise their right to vote on Nov. 4.

Recently, there has been significant dialogue regarding which party will control the House and the Senate in Washington. These conversations highlight a very real point: This election is critical to the future of minorities and middle-class Americans.

Voter engagement is crucial.

In minority communities, there is a common misconception that voter turnout is only important during presidential elections. But adhering to this school of thought could result in more than a decade of financial and political oppression.

It is not enough to see massive voter turnout in 2016; the same level of voter turnout must occur on Nov. 4.

Since the election of President Barack Obama, America’s first African-American president, the Republican Party has become the “Obstructionist” Party. During the current Congress, the GOP has done everything in its power to ensure the ineffective operation of our federal government. For example, in 2013 the Republican Party caused a government shutdown.

Now, with the help of the U.S.  Supreme Court, the Obstructionist Party has shifted its efforts to implementing new voter ID laws and unconstitutional “poll taxes” that block the votes of approximately 600,000 eligible voters in Texas.

The new Texas voter ID law lists state driver’s licenses, voter identification certificates, state ID cards, concealed gun permits, military IDs, citizenship certificates and passports as the only forms of permissible voter identification.

Student ID cards, issued by the state’s colleges and universities, and other forms of government identification, including a voter registration card, are not acceptable forms of ID under the law.

The ability to utilize concealed gun licenses as a form of acceptable voter identification highlights the reality that these new laws were created to favor a specific demographic, while disenfranchising others. Why would a state deliberately violate the civil rights of millions of its residents?

Research shows that if African-Americans and Latinos successfully turned out to vote, many so-called red states would become blue.

A Congress controlled by Democrats would guarantee a minimum wage of $10.10 an hour. This would occur during the first 100 days of a new Congress.

Additionally, increased access to early childhood education would become a reality, and the Equal Pay Act, which ensures that women earn the same wages as their male counterparts, would go into effect.

But none of these vital changes will occur without proper voter education and participation.

To be prepared for the Nov. 4 election, I encourage all voters to prepare themselves by visiting www.sos.state.tx.us to confirm their registration status. Voters can also visit www.votetexasgov to learn their correct polling places, and know their rights.

Do not allow yourself to be denied your right to vote based on technicalities. Educate yourself and vote on Nov. 4 to strengthen our democracy.

U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson represents Texas’ 30th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives. She is a longtime ally of the LGBT community.

—  Tammye Nash

Only seven Texans receive perfect score in HRC Congressional scorecard

TexasThe Human Rights Campaign today, Oct. 9 released its Congressional Scorecard measuring support for LGBT equality in the 113th Congress. Only seven of Texas’ 38-member delegation received perfect scores, even as results show record gains in support for LGBT equality.

Members of Congress were scored based on their votes and co-sponsorships of pieces of legislation that are key indicators of support for LGBT equality, and for the first time ever, their public support for marriage equality, according to a statement provided by HRC.

“We stand at a critical juncture in our fight for full LGBT equality,” said Chad Griffin, president of HRC. “While we’ve made tremendous progress in gaining support from our elected officials in Congress, we certainly still have much to accomplish.”

His statement could not be more true, especially within the Texas delegation.

Of Texas’ 36 House representatives and two senators, only seven House Democrats received a 100 percent score. They are Reps. Al Green, Beto O’Rourke, Sheila Jackson Lee, Joaquin Castro and Lloyd Doggett, along with Eddie Bernice Johnson of Dallas and Marc Veasey of Fort Worth.

Other Texas Democrats had mixed scores: Rubén Hinojosa, 89 percent; Pete Gallego, Henry Cuellar and Gene Green, 68 percent; Filemon Vela, 84 percent. Gallego represents the only congressional swing district in Texas.

In the Republican camp, five Republicans received 30 percent: Louie Gohmert (no, really), Ted Poe, John Culberson, Pete Olson and Steve Stockman, who lost a primary challenge to Sen. John Cornyn earlier this year. Cornyn, by the way, scored zero while his colleague in the Senate, Sen. Ted Cruz, scored 20 percent.

To the North Texans looking at this list, unless you live in Johnson or Veasey’s district, your congressperson scored zero. A difference of 100 percent — 100 percent.

No other member of the local delegation even got brownie points for saying “gay.” That includes: Reps. Joe Barton, Michael Burgess, Kay Granger, Ralph Hall, Jeb Hensarling, Sam Johnson, Kenny Marchant, Pete Sessions and Roger Williams.

(Don’t know who represents you? Click here and type in your info.)

Want to change that? Early voting begins Monday, Oct. 20 and runs through Friday, Oct. 31. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 4.

—  James Russell

Wendy Davis works the phones, rallies supporters

LGBT activist Patti Fink was among the Dallas area Democrats who turned out Monday night for a rally for Wendy Davis and a phone bank for the Democratic slate of candidates. She graciously shared some of her photos with Dallas Voice.

—  Tammye Nash

Bipartisan bill would protect global LGBT rights

Rep. John Tierney introduced a bipartisan bill to protect LGBT people worldwide.

Rep. John Tierney introduced a bipartisan bill to protect LGBT people worldwide.

A bill recently introduced by a bipartisan group of representatives in Congress would protect and advance the global rights of LGBT people if passed.

Reps. John F. Tierney, D-M.A., Chris Gibson, R-N.Y., and Richard, R-N.Y., introduced the International Human Rights Defense Act Wednesday, July 16. Sen. Edward Markey, D-M.A., introduced the bill in the Senate on June 3.

If passed, the bill would direct the Department of State to prioritize protecting LGBT people worldwide. The bill would require the department to develop a strategy to promote and protect LGBT rights worldwide and also appoint a “Special Envoy on the Human Rights of LGBT People” to oversee the strategy.

According to American Jewish World Service, a chief proponent of the bill, 77 countries jail people for having same-sex relations. Five of those countries allow LGBT people to be put to death.

“Defending the rights of LGBT people worldwide is crucial, as many governments are passing punitive laws and sanctioning acts of hate against LGBT people,” said Ruth Messinger, president of AJWS. “As American Jews, we are members of a minority whose rights have been trampled in the past, and we understand fully that neither nor our government can stand by as the rights of vulnerable minorities are trampled in other parts of the world.”

—  James Russell