Connect with us

Local

ELECTION ROUNDUP: Va. elects first openly gay senator

Ebbin wins big; gay S.F. mayoral candidate trails

Published

on

Adam Ebbin

Adam Ebbin (Photo courtesy Adam Ebbin)

Democrat Adam Ebbin, a gay man who has served in the Virginia House of Delegates since 2004, won election on Tuesday to the Virginia Senate, becoming the state’s first openly gay senator.

Ebbin defeated Republican challenger and political newcomer Timothy McGhee by a margin of 64 percent to 35 percent. He ran in a district with a solid Democratic majority that includes parts of Alexandria, Arlington and Fairfax counties.

“I am honored by the trust the voters have showed in me,” Ebbin said in a statement. “During the campaign, I listened to the voters’ concerns and will work on behalf of the values we all share: improving our public schools, expanding our transit system and cleaning up Virginia’s environment. I will make sure their voices are heard.”

Ebbin emerged as an outspoken advocate for LGBT equality during his tenure as the state’s only out gay member of the House of Delegates. He said one of his top priorities in the Senate will be to push legislation to ban job discrimination against state government employees because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

In a separate race, gay Republican Patrick Forrest lost his bid to unseat Virginia State Sen. Janet Howell (D-Reston), a longtime supporter of LGBT rights. Forrest, who had been endorsed by the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, was vying to become the first openly LGBT Republican to win election to a state legislature.

ALSO IN THE BLADE: GAY TAKOMA PARK MAYOR RE-ELECTED

He created a stir when he and his campaign accused the Howell campaign of using “gay baiting” tactics to discourage Republican voters from supporting him. His campaign identified a Democratic Party volunteer who admitted to a Forrest campaign worker that she told voters that Forrest was gay and would likely promote a “gay agenda” for the state’s public schools.

Howell said the party volunteer was not part of her campaign and was dismissed from her role as a party canvasser when Howell learned of the allegation. Gay Democrats backing Howell complained that the Forrest campaign and the Victory Fund were unfairly linking Howell to the gay baiting claim.

Terry Mansberger, chair of the Virginia Democratic Party’s LGBT Caucus, expressed concern that the Victory Fund’s support of Forrest was hurting LGBT rights efforts in the state because a win for Forrest and just one other Republican would lead to a GOP takeover of the State Senate.

LGBT Democratic activists pointed out that a solid majority of Senate Democrats support LGBT rights. They noted that most Senate Republicans and Republican candidates seeking Senate seats strongly oppose LGBT rights initiatives and, in some cases, have advocated for anti-gay laws, including a bill to prohibit gays from adopting children.

With the apparent loss of two other Democratic seats, Republicans were poised to win control of the Senate independently of Forrest’s race. Republicans control the House of Delegates.

Ebbin has said his efforts to push LGBT supportive bills and block anti-gay measures would be in jeopardy if the State Senate flips from Democratic to Republican control in the 2012 legislative session.

In another Virginia electoral contest, gay candidate Michael Sutphin appears to have won his race for a seat on the Blacksburg, Va., Town Council by a solid margin. With results in for nine out of the town’s 10 precincts as of early Wednesday morning, Sutphin came in second place in a race where five candidates were competing for three seats up for election.

Sutphin is poised to become the first known openly gay candidate to win election to public office in a part of the state outside Northern Virginia, which is a D.C. suburb.

In a hotly contested race on the other side of the country, gay former San Francisco Supervisor Bevan Dufty was in seventh place in his bid to become San Francisco’s first out gay mayor. In a mayoral contest with 16 candidates, Dufty won just 4.7 percent of the “first choice” vote and was trailing far behind frontrunner Ed Lee, the incumbent mayor, who had 31.4 percent of the “first choice” vote.

Under San Francisco’s “ranked choice” voting system, voters cast ballots for their first, second and third choice for mayor. If no candidate received at least 51 percent of the vote, the candidate with the least number of votes is eliminated and the city counts the second choice votes of that candidate. The process is repeated until a candidate obtains a 51 percent majority.

Second place candidate John Avalos had 18.7 percent of first choice votes and third place candidate, City Attorney Dennis Herrera, had 11.3 percent of the first choice vote. Herrera, a strong supporter of LGBT rights, had been considered Dufty’s strongest competitor for LGBT votes.

Dufty has said he expected the vote count to go to at least one or more rounds before someone emerged as the winner. He said he had a good shot at winning in a second or later round of vote counting.

But observers say Lee remains the strong favorite to win a later round due to his strong showing in the “first choice” vote.

ALSO FROM THE BLADE: LGBT ELECTION NIGHT VICTORIES FROM AROUND THE NATION 

Advertisement
FUND LGBTQ JOURNALISM
SIGN UP FOR E-BLAST

Virginia

Lawsuit seeks to force Virginia Beach schools to implement state guidelines for trans, nonbinary students

Va. Department of Education released new regulations in July

Published

on

(Bigstock photo)

Two parents in Virginia Beach have filed a lawsuit that seeks to force the city’s school district to implement the state’s new guidelines for transgender and nonbinary students.

NBC Washington on Friday reported Cooper and Kirk, a D.C.-based law firm, filed the lawsuit in Virginia Beach Circuit Court.

The Virginia Department of Education in July announced the new guidelines for which Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin asked. Arlington County Public Schools, Fairfax County Public Schools and Prince William County Schools are among the school districts that have refused to implement them. 

Continue Reading

Local

HME Consulting and Advocacy stands on frontline of LGBTQ policy

Heidi Ellis is a consultant who doesn’t take clients ‘not aligned with my mission’

Published

on

‘Even though I am a private consultant … my work is very much mission driven,’ says Heidi Ellis. (Photo courtesy of Ellis)

September is here, which means Congress and the D.C. Council return from their August recess and life for consultant Heidi Ellis quickly gets busy. 

Her days are filled with negotiating with Council members, phone calls with clients, and policy planning for advocacy groups. The organizations she represents are looking to her to help them push policy and she hopes to guide them to victory. 

Ellis’s company, HME Consulting and Advocacy, came after years of working in the public and private sectors as a consultant. In 2019, Ellis decided to shift her focus to work that stood at the center of the intersections in which she lives. She sought to figure out how she could better serve her community as a Black queer Latino woman. Ellis recognized that there was a niche for mission-driven consulting in the District. 

“I was sought out and recruited by a lot of organizations that wanted me and I took a beat, because I was like ‘Do I want to go back into a machine where even if I do effect change, I have to answer to someone?’”she said, in reference to consulting agencies that were in pursuit of her talent. Ultimately, she decided against continuing her work under another company. “By doing what I do, I have much more flexibility for one to say ‘Yes’ but also to say ‘No’.”

Although Ellis has considered going back to working in the corporate space, she still loves the flexibility of being able to be nimble as a private consultant. 

Although Ellis doesn’t work entirely in the advocacy space, her consulting clients still align with her personal values. She joked that she differs strongly from the stereotypical money-driven D.C. consultant who sports Brooks Brothers suits on K Street. 

“Even though I am a private consultant … my work is very much mission driven,” she said. “I don’t take any clients that are not aligned with my mission.”

Her mission is simple, Ellis is “committed to elevating issues that sit at the nexus of education, mental health, LGBTQ+ individuals, and people of color.”

“The more marginalized you are, the more you suffer from the failures of policy and the gaps of service,” she said. 

As a consultant in the advocacy space, Ellis does the behind-the-scenes work for organizations to help correct these policy failures and close the gaps. Whether she is facilitating training for companies to better understand how to serve their LGBTQ communities, or she is on the frontline of education policy changes –– Ellis aims to only do work that she is passionate about.

She said that the balance of her combined passion and level-headedness help her to build trusting relationships with her clients and in the end, “Get stuff  done.”

Since starting her organization, some of her proudest work has been done with the DC LGBTQ+ Budget Coalition. The coalition is made up of more than 30 organizations that aim to advocate for investments and policy changes that affect LGBTQ lives. As a leader of this coalition, her services include policy support, facilitation, training, initiative development and organizational redesign. Since she began leading the coalition, they have raised more than $5 million of investments in LGBTQ programs.

Later this fall, she will work with the DC LGBTQ+ Budget Coalition along with the ANC Rainbow Caucus to convene the first LGBTQ+ Housing Summit from Nov. 29-30.

“The one thing we all recognize is that housing is the common denominator of every other social affliction facing LGBTQ communities,” she said.  

At the summit they will focus on the barriers within the current housing system and explore revitalized approaches to dealing with the current housing market. To pre-register for the event, visit the LGBTQ+ Housing Summit website.

Continue Reading

Local

Comings & Goings

Former D.C. resident opens art gallery in San Francisco

Published

on

Jonathan Carver Moore

The Comings & Goings column is about sharing the professional successes of our community. We want to recognize those landing new jobs, new clients for their business, joining boards of organizations and other achievements. Please share your successes with us at: [email protected].

The Comings & Goings column also invites LGBTQ+ college students to share their successes with us. If you have been elected to a student government position, gotten an exciting internship, or are graduating and beginning your career with a great job, let us know so we can share your success.

Congratulations to Jonathan Carver Moore on opening his contemporary art gallery in San Francisco. The gallery specializes in working with emerging and established artists who are BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and women. As the only openly gay Black male-owned gallery in San Francisco, Moore is committed to amplifying the voices of the often-underrepresented artists through a Black queer lens. He said, “I want the gallery to be a place where the LGBTQ+ community and people of color walk inside and see themselves knowing that they belong. I want us to be able to collect work from and support underrepresented artists who are often overlooked, but add some much value to our culture.”

Moore is also the founder of ARTUCATED, a digital journal that helps share, spotlight, and educate people about marginalized artists. Previously he was director of Donor Relations, Partnerships & Programming Director with the Institute of Contemporary Art San Francisco. He was Communications Manager, Rosenberg Foundation; and Associate Director of Public Relations, Out & Equal, San Francisco Bay Area. 

Moore earned his bachelor’s in Sociology, Women’s Studies, from George Washington University in D.C.; and his master’s in Public Relations, Advertising and Applied Communications, also from George Washington University.

Congratulations also to Jim Bobick on having his paintings included in a permanent collection by Saks Fifth Avenue. He said, “I am thrilled Saks Fifth Avenue chose my art for its permanent collection. I have long been a customer of the store and an admirer of the fashion designers represented there. I am especially pleased to know my work is on public view in the Chevy Chase, Maryland store. Not only did I grow up in the area, for part of my education I attended art school nearby, where I had the good fortune of studying under the notable painter Allen Dester Carter of Washington, D.C., whose work is in the Smithsonian collection. My ties to the Washington area art scene and my love of Saks makes this professional moment especially important to me. I am grateful and honored the store chose my paintings for their collection.” 

He has had numerous exhibitions of his work, including: Gallery 101 Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (solo); Coral Springs Museum of Art, Coral Springs, Fla. (group); Studio B “Delicacies” Washington, D.C. (group); Columbia Art Center “Abstract Paintings” (solo); and Gallery 50 “Freestyle” (solo) Rehoboth Beach, Del. He has been written about in several publications including Michael Mills, Jim Bobick Creates Landscapes of the Mind at Gallery 101, New Times; Arterpillar South Florida Arts Blog; Stefan Braham, Eclectic Expressions, Coastal Style Magazine; Artist Looks Beyond the Temporal Beauty, Coast Press.

He earned his bachelor’s in Visual Arts, University of Maryland, College Park, Fine Art; and attended the Maryland College of Art and Design. 

Jim Bobick
Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Sign Up for Weekly E-Blast

Follow Us @washblade

Advertisement

Popular