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Pelosi unsure about path to ‘Don’t Ask’ repeal



U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters Thursday that she remains  uncertain about how lawmakers will address “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” this year, although she said inclusion of repeal as part of defense budget legislation would be an optimal vehicle for passage.

“As you probably are well aware, I have never supported ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ and look forward to a time soon when it will no longer be the policy,” she said in response to a Blade inquiry. “How we get from here to there –we’ll make those determinations as we go forward.”

Pelosi said there are a number of possible vehicles in which “people may want to speak out on this,” but said “the first one” that could be a possbility is the fiscal year 2011 defense authorization bill.

The defense budget legislation is pending before the House Armed Services Committee and could come to the House floor this month.

The speaker also sidestepped an inquiry on whether compromise legislation on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” would be necessary this year — such as a delayed implementation measure that Congress would pass now but that wouldn’t take effect until next year.

“Do you know what?” she said. “We’re going to take this one step at a time.”

The exchange between the Blade and Pelosi follows:

Blade: Madam Speaker, a question on don’t ask, don’t tell.  Do you think the House will take up the issue in an amendment to the defense authorization bill when it comes to the floor, and if so, will that vote be successful?

Speaker Pelosi. I’m sorry, I didn’t hear the beginning of your question.

Blade: Are you expecting the House to take up that issue as an amendment to the defense authorization bill?

Speaker Pelosi.  It depends on how we bring the defense authorization bill to the floor.  As you probably are well aware, I have never supported don’t ask, don’t tell, and look forward to a time soon when it will no longer be the policy.  How we get from here to there, we’ll make those determinations as we go forward.

Blade: Do you think it’s possible to pass outright repeal this year, or is some sort of compromise legislation necessary such as a delayed implementation bill?  And by that I mean a bill that Congress would pass now that wouldn’t take effect until next year?

Pelosi: Do you know what?  We’re going to take this one step at a time.  We have a number of vehicles where people may want to speak out on this, and the first one will be the defense authorization bill.  The chairman will bring that bill to the floor, and we’ll make some evaluations about how we go forward on that.

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District of Columbia

Pannell resigns in protest from Ward 8 Council member’s LGBT Commission

Says Trayon White has no out member of his staff



Phil Pannell resigned as a member of the Ward 8 LGBT Commission created by D.C. Council member Trayon White. (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Longtime D.C. LGBTQ rights activist Phil Pannell announced on May 6 that he has resigned as a member of the Ward 8 LGBT Commission created by D.C. Council member Trayon White (D-Ward 8) on grounds that White does not have an LGBTQ person on his Council staff.

White’s office has said the Council member created the commission to “focus on the specific needs of this community” in his role as a supporter of LGBTQ equality.

“For me, this is a major issue of inclusion, affirmative action and diversity,” Pannell said in an email message announcing his resignation. “I as a Black Gay man cannot in good conscience continue to be a member of my Councilmember’s LGBT Commission when he has no one from my community on his staff,” Pannell’s announcement message continues.

“This is hypocritical at best and structurally homophobic at worst,” he said. “I deeply resent and refuse to be used as anyone’s homosexual prop for any purposes. Therefore, I resign from the commission effective immediately.”

In response to a request by the Washington Blade for comment on Pannell’s resignation, Julia Jessie, White’s director of communications, said White’s Council office “follows all legal HR procedures and hires based on experience and skillset.” Jessie added, “As an employer, we do not discriminate or consider a person’s race, color, religion, or sex, including sexual orientation or gender identity, when making decisions about employment qualifications.”

According to Jessie, “We do, however, harvest a safe and inclusionary work environment where employees who wish to voluntarily disclose their sexual orientation of gender identity feel comfortable doing so.”

White’s office released a statement from the Ward 8 LGBT Commission’s chair, Marvin ‘Rahim’ Briggs, saying the commission “regretfully accepts” Pannell’s resignation.

“The Commission will continue to focus on and address issues affecting Ward 8 LGBTQ,” Briggs says in the statement. “We’ll continue to organize to promote acceptance of LGBTQ community diversity and to foster respect and appreciation for each member of the community residing in Ward 8.”

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District of Columbia

Two gay candidates disqualified from D.C. primary ballot

Republican, Libertarian activists withdraw from races



(Blade archive photo by Aram Vartian)

A member of the Capital Stonewall Democrats, D.C.’s largest LGBTQ local political group, mounted a successful challenge before the D.C. Board of Elections earlier this month that resulted in a gay Republican and a gay Libertarian Party activist withdrawing as candidates for public office in the city’s June 21 primary.

James Harnett, 24, a member of the Ward 2 Democratic Committee and a member of the staff of U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), filed challenges to the candidacy of gay Libertarian Party activist Bruce Majors, who was running unopposed in the June 21 primary for the office of both D.C. Delegate to the U.S. House and chair of the Libertarian Party of D.C.

The Board of Elections upheld Harnett’s challenge claiming that Majors failed to obtain a sufficient number of valid petition signatures needed to be placed on the ballot for both offices, according to elections board spokesperson Nicholas Jacobs. Majors withdrew his candidacy for both offices rather than contest the challenge.

The Board of Elections also upheld a challenge filed by Harnett against the candidacy of gay Republican and D.C. Log Cabin Republicans organization member Andrew Desser, who was running unopposed in the primary for the position of Ward 1 Chairperson of the D.C. Republican Committee.

Desser told the Blade he acknowledged that he fell short in obtaining the needed number of valid petition signatures and would not contest the challenge.

Harnett, who appeared to be acting on his own behalf and not representing the Capital Stonewall Democrats in his challenges to Majors and Desser before the election board, did not respond to the Blade’s request for comment.

Board of Elections records showed that he also successfully challenged six other candidates seeking ballot placement in the June 21 primary, one of whom, Lori Furstenberg, was running for mayor as a Republican and another, Corren Brown, was running for mayor as a Statehood-Green Party member.

The others Harnett mounted a successful challenge against were GOP candidates running for the Ward 2, Ward 4, and Ward 7 GOP Chairperson positions; and Leniqua ‘Dominique’ Jenkins, a Democrat running for the at-large D.C. Council seat, who was the only Democrat challenged by Harnett.

Harnett, a former ANC commissioner in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood, ran unsuccessfully in 2020 for the nonpartisan office of D.C. Board of Education for Ward 2. Among the candidates he ran against was gay education advocate Allister Chang, who won that race.

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En Espanol

La homosexualidad no es una enfermedad

Activistas en Honduras conmemoran el Día Internacional contra la Homofobia, la Transfobia y la Bifobia



(Foto cortesía de Leonela Paz/Reportar sin Miedo)

Reportar sin Miedo es el socio mediático del Washington Blade en Honduras. Esta nota salió en su sitio web el 16 de mayo.

SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras — El comité LGBTIQ+ del Valle de Sula conmemora el trigésimo segundo aniversario de la eliminación de la homosexualidad como enfermedad mental en la Clasificación Internacional de Enfermedades (CIE) por parte de la Organización Mundial de la Salud (OMS).

La OMS consideró que la homosexualidad debía de salir del apartado de enfermedades mentales, una lucha de años para las personas diversas. Una vergonzosa historia de patologización, institucionalización, “conversión” y esterilización finalmente se cerró.

Durante 22 años, este comité conformado por 13 organizaciones de sociedad civil ha promovido el reconocimiento y respeto de los derechos humanos de las personas de la diversidad sexual del Valle de Sula y Honduras.

Según el observatorio de la Red Lésbica Cattrachas, desde el 2009 hasta la fecha se contabilizan 410 muertes violentas de personas LGTBIQ+, con un índice de impunidad del 87 por ciento. Es por esta razón y teniendo en cuenta el marco del 17 de mayo, Día Internacional de la Lucha en contra de la Homolesbobitransfobia, que se llevarán a cabo algunas actividades en lugares estratégicos de la ciudad de San Pedro Sula para hacer visible esta causa.

“Esto nos ha asesinado”, dijo el presidente del comité LGTBIQ+, Osman Lara, haciendo referencia a todo el odio en contra de las personas de la diversidad sexual. 

Como principal actividad, izarán las banderas LGTBIQ+ y trans en la Plaza José Cecilio del Valle, localizada en la Ciudad de los Zorzales. Seguidamente, habrá una caminata por la primera calle de la capital industrial de Honduras, finalizando en el parque central, enfrente de la alcaldía sampedrana.

Las actividades contarán con la participación de líderes de la región, organizaciones defensoras de los derechos humanos, organismos internacionales, representantes de gobierno y corporación municipal. Todo esto con la finalidad de conseguir respuesta por todas las muertes violentas y para seguir luchando en contra de la homolesbobitransfobia en Honduras.

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