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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

GLAA Questionnaire for DC Candidates

The DC Gay and Lesbian Activist Alliance scores some local candidates in some local races using the questionnaire below.

Here are the questions and answers for our candidates.  

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Bruce Majors, Libertarian for Mayor

PUBLIC HEALTH 

1. Will you act to ensure that the District provides transgender-inclusive health insurance to all 
D.C. Government employees, to include coverage for sex affirmation surgery (also known as sex 
reassignment surgery)? 

As Mayor I will seek to increase all options for how District government employees can choose to use their own healthcare dollars, including increasing insurance options and reducing barriers to entry for insurance companies.  I would oppose attempts by any level of government to tell D.C. government employees (or anyone else) what treatments or procedures they can pursue.  I would not allow the government to define which reconstructive or cosmetic options are approved and which not, but would instead respect consumer sovereignty.

2. Will you submit budgets that target funds to address health disparities in the LGBT 
population, including in mental health and substance abuse treatment? 

I would ensure that funds budgeted for any area do not exclude or discriminate against any population.  I would seek to allow each individual more choice in how they use the funds budgeted.

3. Describe steps you will take to improve performance at the HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD, and 
TB Administration (HAHSTA), including in HIV prevention, HIV/AIDS surveillance, and 
mental health services. 

I would seek to end the "War on Drugs" and incarceration of those using drugs, so that more people could come out into the open and seek treatment for addiction as needed, in part to reduce HIV transmission from needle sharing and in part to reduce HIV transmission from risky behavior undertaken while using drugs.

I also believe the Mayor and his or her surrogates and staff should regularly address affected populations, including students, about HIV and other STD transmission and prevention.

JUDICIARY AND PUBLIC SAFETY 

4. Will you require the Metropolitan Police Department's gathering and analysis of crime 
statistics to ensure greater comprehensiveness and objectivity, including on LGBT-related hate 
crimes and intimate partner violence? 

I do believe these statistics should be collected, and additionally statistics on bullying and types of bullying should be collected, by school and type of school (public, charter, parochial, private).

I also favor ending exclusive dependence on the MPD for protection -- I favor removing barriers to legal gun ownership for LGBT people who do not have criminal records or other issues, especially those who have reasonable concerns about gay bashing in areas where the live or work.  I think an LGBT group in D.C. should teach them responsible firearms storage, ownership and use and how to obtain a license and choose a firearm.  Barriers to non-governmental groups establishing shooting ranges and clubs inside D.C. for training should be removed.

5. What will you do to provide alternatives to incarceration for marginalized and at-risk 
populations like homeless youth and transgender people who resort to sex work for survival? 

I would legalize all drug use, decriminalize all drug production and exchange, free all those incarcerated for selling or using drugs, and expunge all criminal records related to these activities.  I would similarly decriminalize all "sex work," free those incarcerated for being "sex workers," and expunge criminal records related to these activities.

I would not create or fund special government programs targeted at these people, whose activities I would make no concern of the state.  I would also ensure that they were treated like everyone else when accessing any government program available to others.

6. Will you budget funds to hire qualified trainers to provide LGBT-inclusive cultural 
competency training to all police officers, including in the handling of intimate partner violence? 

I would ensure that the Metropolitan Police Department adequately trained its officers in all aspects of DC's diverse populations and advertised job openings to and hired from all DC population groups.

Beyond that I favor removing barriers to legal gun ownership for LGBT people who do not have criminal records or other issues, especially those who have reasonable concerns about gay bashing in areas where they live or work.  I think an LGBT group in D.C. should teach them responsible firearms storage, ownership and use and how to obtain a license and choose a firearm.  Barriers to non-governmental groups establishing shooting ranges and clubs inside D.C. for training should be removed.

HUMAN RIGHTS 

7. Will you require that anyone you appoint as Director of the Office of Human Rights have 
professional training and experience in civil rights law enforcement? 

I would ensure that both the Director and the staff of any DC agency dealing with human rights have a commitment to human rights, individual freedom and civil liberties and a background and expertise to perform the job effectively.

8. Will you renew, enforce and update as necessary the Mayoral Order mandating explicit 
inclusion of every class protected under the D.C. Human Rights Act in all D.C. government 
agency nondiscrimination statements?

I would ensure that the DC government obey its own laws and treat all people equally without discrimination.

9. Given the limited results from trans-inclusive Project Empowerment training, will you 
establish a project at the Department of Employment Services to increase government hiring 
from under-represented populations, and will you hire trans persons in your own office?

I would conduct a study of D.C. government agencies, including the Metro system and the public school system, to see if there are patterns of extreme over- or under-representation in hiring, and if so if there are problems with nepotism or discrimination in any particular agencies.

YOUTH AND SENIORS 

10. Will you act to ensure improved services and treatment for LGBT homeless youth and 
seniors, including expanding transitional housing and emergency shelter space?  

I would  transfer title to unused D.C. properties (e.g. closed schools) to non-profits, including those working in this area, and allow them to sell off some of the assets to refurbish as needed or help run the programs.

CONSUMERS AND BUSINESSES 

11. Will you support strengthening Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) reforms by eliminating 
license protests filed by citizens associations and ad hoc groups, requiring stakeholders to 
participate in the community process provided by the Advisory Neighborhood Commission?

I would eliminate the ABC and liquor licensing.  If McDonald's wants to serve wine as it does abroad, it should be free to sell it and D.C. residents should be free to buy it, just as if they were in Quebec or Paris.

12. Do you pledge to find a suitably located space for The DC Center when the Reeves Center 
closes? 

I would transfer title to closed or unused D.C. government properties to non-profit groups like the DC Center and allow them to function independently.  I do not favor a government controlled or managed gay community center, where the government or an incumbent administration will attempt to define the gay community.  Many other cities have managed to create and sustain gay community centers in the voluntary sector, and many of them have lower average incomes than D.C. and a smaller gay population than D.C.  Among other problems, as with all government property, a state-approved gay community center will encourage and politicize conflicts over who gets to use spaces, resources, or programs.  I think religious gay groups and anti-religious gay groups, radical feminist lesbians and transgender groups, and other parts of the gay community who have contradictory ideas about social issues should not be pitted against each other as protesters are on public sidewalks or parents are in public schools, but instead should be allowed to each freely associate and disassociate as they choose.

Your record is part of your rating. Please list any actions that you have taken that may 
help illustrate your record on behalf of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. 

I have been openly gay in DC since 1980.  In the early 80s my activism consisted mainly of working on libertarian causes and anti-draft registration causes, and very publicly kissing my then lover at airport terminals, when, in pre-TSA days, you could accompany a loved one right up to the door of the plane.  We also had a joint checking account and used a hyphenated last name on it, because again, in those pre-Patriot Act days, you could just do that, free of government restrictions.

In the late 80s, when I was both a staff and a graduate student at Georgetown University, and it was fighting over whether to legitimize its undergraduate gay student group, I conceived and started, with two other graduate students I recruited, a Gay and Lesbian Lunch Group for Staff, Faculty and Graduate Students.  It was a time when there were many news stories about self-segregated lunch tables in American high schools.  We produced clever flyers, usually depicting some famous person the average person did not realize was gay (Greta Garbo, Jodie Foster, etc.) announcing that there would be a gay lunch table in the Leavey Center and put them up all over campus.  Then we'd all pick a table and have lunch together bi-weekly.

In the early and mid 90s I attended a variety of DC gay group meetings, including GLAA, GLOV, Asians and Friends, the Lesbian Power Breakfast, the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, and the Potomac Executive Network.

In the mid and late 90s I became a regular attendee and eventually for a number of years a fairly major sponsor of Reel Affirmations, D.C.'s Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. (if you check any program from the years 1999-2007 you can see my listing as a sponsor, for anyone not old enough to remember.)

In the late 1990s and early 2000s I became a member of the Human Rights Campaign Fund's Federal Club and donated  to HRC at a silent auction, winning a spot as an extra on "Will and Grace."  I also donated lesser amounts to other groups like the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund.  From 2000 to 2002 I donated through the Gay and Lesbian Interests section of the DNC and gay and lesbian bundlers  to the Democratic Party, including Howard Dean, Al Gore, and John Kerry.  I also gave smaller amounts to Jim Kolbe and Log Cabin Republicans.  (You can find most of my donations at OpenSecrets.Org by doing a search at http://www.opensecrets.org/indivs/search.php?name=majors&state=DC&zip)

Last year I published an essay in support of gay marriage in the online magazine Doublethink, published by America's Future Foundation, a group that networks young free market oriented interns and professionals in DC and other cities (http://americasfuture.org/doublethink/2013/06/a-guide-to-the-marriage-debate/)

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