Entries from: August 2013

Pocan seeks protections for homeless LGBT youth

pocanU.S. Reps. Mark Pocan (who is openly gay) and Gwen Moore, both Wisconsin Democrats, last week introduced legislation that would bar homeless shelters that receive federal funds from discriminating against LGBT youth, and require them to gain competency in serving their unique needs.

“Homelessness is one of the most pressing matters affecting LGBT youth,” Pocan told the Washington Blade. “Young people in the LGBT community are disproportionately at-risk for homelessness, often as a result of the rejection, discrimination, or violence they face simply for being themselves.”

Katie Miller, a former Victory Congressional Intern who is now a researcher at the Center for American Progress, wrote in June about four pieces of legislation Congress could enact this year to combat LGBT youth homelessness.

Chicago City Council gets first lesbian alderman

deb mellIllinois State Rep. Deb Mell has been chosen to succeed her father as an alderman on the Chicago City Council, according to the Chicago Tribune. Mell, who will represent the 33rd Ward, will be the first out lesbian to serve on the council. Two out gay men currently serve as aldermen.

Mell was chosen by Mayor Rahm Emanuel with the help of a five-person panel he appointed to review applicants for the post. The seat is being vacated by Richard Mell, who was first elected to it in 1975.

“Deb brings a strong legislative and voting record and a unique level of experience to the role, which separated her from other candidates for the position, and will allow her to immediately able make a strong impact on behalf of the residents of the 33rd ward. She is a proven legislator and will be a great addition to the City Council,” said Emanuel, who also noted that her appointment would break glass ceilings for out women.

Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and Institute, congratulated Mell, saying, “Deb’s appointment gives Chicago another strong voice for the city’s LGBT community, and a real fighter for the people of the 33rd Ward.”

Mell married her wife, Christin Baker, in Iowa in 2011.

Young LGBT leaders spend the summer on Capitol Hill

vic class 2013 editThe Gay & Lesbian Victory Institute is proud to announce the sixth class of the Victory Congressional Internship, a selective leadership program that brings outstanding LGBT undergraduates to Washington, D.C., for a unique experience on Capitol Hill.

Already here for six of their eight weeks-long session on the Capitol Hill, our interns have been hard at work attending hearings, hill staffer briefings and leadership development trainings in the Victory Office.

Notably, two of our interns in the Senate attended the historic Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee mark-up and bi-partisan supported passage of a transgender-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act. On Fridays, interns have been participating in trainings with LGBT movement leaders and professionals on a variety of topics, ranging from messaging on LGBT issues with the group Third Way to a policy briefings and discussion about immigration reform with the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

Interns have even had an opportunity to hear from Sandra Stier, one of the plaintiffs in the U.S. Supreme Court challenge to the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8, Hollingsworth v. Perry.

The Summer 2013 Victory Congressional Interns are:

Shelby Wiltz

Office of Representative Gwen Moore

Shelby is a rising senior at James Madison University where she is studying Social Justice. She is an executive member of Madison Equality, JMU’s LGBTQ student organization and she recently co-founded a queer community youth support group called Shenandoah Valley YES! Alliance. This upcoming academic year she will instruct a one-credit course on diversity at JMU.

Grainne Griffiths

Office of Representative Kyrsten Sinema

Grianne is currently a senior at Tufts University where she is studying Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies and Philosophy. She has served on the Tufts Senate for the past three years, representing Tufts’ queer and feminist communities, and she is an active member of numerous intersectional social justice organizations on camps including Students Acting for Gender Equality and the Coalition Against Religious Exclusion.

Denzel McCampbell

Office of Representative Gary Peters

Denzel is a senior at Michigan State University where he is studying Political Science and Genderal Management. Previously, Denzel has led MSU’s group dedicated to exploring the intersection of race and sexuality. Denzel is also one of the vice-presidents of ASMSU, MSU’s student government association, where he has helped implement gender neutral housing and a preferred name policy focused on the LGBT community. In the past, Denzel has worked on campaigns for the Michigan State House of Representatives and spent time within the legislature as a legislative intern.

Harvey Luna

Office of Senator Mark Kirk

Harvey is a rising senior at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX, where he is studying Political Science and Economics. As co-president of Spectrum and a Senator in SMU’s student government, Harvey has worked to create greater change for LGBT issues on campus. In recognition of his efforts, Harvey has been awarded the Harvey Milk Award and the Activist in Action Award at his university.

Ashley Burnside

Office of Representative Dan Kildee

Ashley is a rising sophomore at the University of Michigan where she is studying Social Theory and Practice with a minor in Community Action and Social Change. Ashley is a chair of the LGBT issues Commission at the University of Michigan and has lobbied with many state representatives about creating more inclusive anti-bullying and anti-discrimination policies in Michigan schools. Ashley has also helped developed an original script as part of a statewide platform to portray stories and statistics of the harassment and isolation faced by LGBTQ people.

Andrew Sun

Office of Representative Patrick Murphy

Andrew is a rising senior at the University of Florida where he is studying Political Science. At UF, Andrew has worked on gender inclusive housing efforts, served as the LGBTQ Student Affairs Director for his student government, and worked as Senior Ambassador in UF’s APIA Affairs Office. In the past, he has also interned at the Department of Transportation’s Departmental Office of Civil Rights as an OCA National Intern and in the regional office of Senator Bill Nelson.

Mindy Wu

Office of Senator Tammy Baldwin

Mindy is a rising senior at the University of Maryland – College Park, where she is studying History, Sociology, and LGBT Studies. On campus, Mindy is the convener for the Peer Leadership Council and a member of the Gender Neutral Housing Taskforce. Previously, she interned at the Human Rights Campaign and with her campus’s Multicultural Involvement and Community Advocacy Office.

Gay Seattle mayoral candidate in campaign ad with partner

Openly gay Washington State Sen. Ed Murray, a candidate for mayor of Seattle, has released a campaign TV ad touting his leading role in passing a marriage equality bill, and featuring a shot of him walking with his husband-to-be, Michael Shiosaki.  The two plan to marry in August.

“Our family believed that we could make a difference.  When I realized I was gay I thought I’d never have that chance, but Seattle is a special place,” Murray says in the ad.

Murray faces a crowded primary field on August 6, with the top two vote-getters heading to a general election in November.

Learn more about Ed Murray here.

Seattle Times endorses gay candidate for mayor

murray shiosakiOpenly gay state Sen. Ed Murray is the Seattle Times’ choice in the upcoming mayoral election, according to an editorial published Friday.  The

“Murray’s experience is stellar,” the editors wrote, noting his budget-writing expertise. “His impressive political skills were on display in his two-decade campaign to win equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual and [transgender] people. It is an incremental campaign, requiring patience, discipline and persuasion of less like-minded colleagues. Murray inched Washington, step by step, toward November’s voter approval of same-sex marriage.”

Murray, who is backed by the Victory Fund, has served in the Washington state legislature since 1995. He is to be married to his longtime partner, Michael Shiosaki, on August 10, four days after the mayoral primary.

This Sunday, July 21, Murray will speak at the Victory Fund Champagne Brunch in Seattle.  For more information or to purchase tickets, go here.

Photo:  Kelly O/The Stranger