Connect with us

Local

D.C. Council holds hearing on hate crimes

D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier among those who testified

Published

on

Cathy Lanier, DC Metro Police, gay news, Washington Blade

D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier (Washington Blade photo by Strother Gaines)

D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier was among those who testified during a D.C. Council hearing on hate crimes and the Metropolitan Police Department’s response to them on Friday.

“As you know, my philosophy is that every member of the department is responsible for stopping crimes and fully addressing all members of the community in any matters relating to hate crimes,” she said. “With this in mind, I continue to emphasize… training and an understanding of the issues relating to hate crimes in the communities in the District that are most frequently affected by them.”

The Judiciary Committee hearing took place less than three days after Ali Jackson, Alvonica Jackson and Desmond Campbell allegedly stabbed a 16-year-old boy in what police have described as an anti-gay hate crime.

MPD statistics indicate that there were 43 reported bias-related crimes based on sexual orientation in 2011, compared to 35 in 2010. D.C. police reported that there were 11 bias-motivated crimes based on gender identity and expression in Washington in 2011, compared to 10 in 2010. MPD statistics further report that the number of reported anti-gay attacks in D.C. between January and May increased 60 percent over the same period last year.

“Washington remains the city with the highest rate of anti-LGBT violence in the nation, and the problem is only becoming worse,” noted Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence Chair A.J. Singletary during his testimony.

While activists have generally welcomed what they describe as the MPD’s improved outreach to LGBT Washingtonians and other marginalized groups over the last year, they maintain that victims of anti-LGBT bias attacks remain afraid to come forward. GLOV Vice Chair Hassan Naveed and others have previously stressed to the Blade that high profile incidents of police misconduct, such as the officers who refused to take a report of an anti-gay attack against five lesbians outside the Columbia Heights Metro station last July, can dissuade victims from going to the authorities.

Lanier stressed during her testimony that detectives who investigate crimes against people receive specialized training on LGBT-specific issues. She said that “issues relating to hate crimes or serving communities targeted by them” have been incorporated into scenario-based roll call trainings.

“In addition to all of ongoing internal initiatives to ensure high quality interactions with victims in the communities affected by hate crimes, we are constantly engaged with the community to foster open communication,” added Lanier.

D.C. LGBT Community Center board member Holly Goldmann stressed that MPD needs to include local organizations in developing a training program for its Special Liaison Unit and Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit officers. The Anti-Defamation League, the group that D.C. police has tapped to help bolster the department’s response to hate crimes, announced that it had invited the Human Rights Campaign, the National Center for Transgender Equality, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and two university professors to join the Hate Crimes Assessment Task Force.

Council members Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) and Phil Mendelson (D-At Large,) who chairs the Judiciary Committee, both expressed concern that D.C. groups are not represented on the panel. “[These are] great organizations involved, but that can be so much better enhanced by local groups who are really right there and extremely dedicated,” said Graham.

Council members David Catania (I-At Large) also attended the hearing. Jason Terry of the D.C. Trans Coalition and Rick Rosendall, vice president of political affairs of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, were among those who also testified.

Alvin Bethea read a letter on behalf of the mother of Deoni Jones, a trans woman who was stabbed to death at a Northeast bus stop in February. “This crime was no drug deal gone bad, no feud between rival street gangs, no attempted robber turned victim, no love triangle, no unpaid gambling debt, not even a petty dispute,” read Bethea as he became increasingly emotional. “No nothing but pure hatred.”

Advertisement
FUND LGBTQ JOURNALISM
SIGN UP FOR E-BLAST

Delaware

Delmarva Pride to feature drag, dancing, and more this weekend

Easton and Cambridge to host events

Published

on

A scene from Delmarva Pride. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The Delmarva Peninsula will hold its annual Pride celebration this weekend, including drag shows, a festival, and much more. 

The Delmarva Pride Center will put on the annual Pride celebration starting on Friday, June 14, and it will go until Sunday to celebrate queer love and acceptance in Delmarva.  

The weekend kicks off on Friday with a free legal clinic in partnership with FreeState Justice at the Academy Art Museum, 106 South St., Easton, Md. Free legal services including name and gender marker changes, criminal record expungements, and peace and protection orders are just some of the services being offered. For more information visit freestate-justice.org.

Then on Friday night, the third annual Pride Drag Show will be at the Avalon Theatre, 40 E Dover St., in Easton. Bring your cash as four drag queens and host Miranda Bryant put on the fundraising show, where 100% of ticket sales go to the Delmarva Pride Center. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and performance begins at 7 p.m. For tickets visit avalonfoundation.org.

On Saturday there will be the Pride festival from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at  S. Harrison and E. Dover Street, in Easton. This free community festival will include vendors, live performances, and more. 

Saturday night the party gets going as Delmarva Pride will host its 2024 Pride Dance. There will be a DJ and drinks available for purchase. This event is for 18 and up and will include a cash bar for anyone 21 and up. No tickets are required. 

To round out your Pride weekend, on Sunday the Delmarva Pride Brunch will be held at ArtBar 2.0, 420b Race St. in Cambridge, Md. Tickets include food, access to the mimosa bar, and a drag performance. Tickets are available here

Continue Reading

Baltimore

People of Pride: Five Marylanders making a difference in the LGBTQ+ community

Baltimore Pride is this weekend

Published

on

Jabari Lyles poses for a portrait in East Mount Vernon Place in Baltimore on June 10, 2024. (Photo by Jessica Gallagher/The Baltimore Banner)

By JOHN-JOHN WILLIAMS IV | One hosts movie nights, karaoke and other events that provide a safe space for LGBTQ people. Another has become a sounding board for customers at his gay bar dealing with pressures of the outside world. And a third beats the pavement to promote political awareness about LGBTQ issues.

These are just some of the things five Baltimoreans the Baltimore Banner is profiling in honor of Baltimore Pride Month are doing in the fight for visibility, support and acceptance of their peers.

The rest of this article can be found on the Baltimore Banner’s website.

Continue Reading

Delaware

Delaware’s Sussex Pride launches free statewide HIV, STI testing

Special program honors National HIV Testing Day on June 27

Published

on

Each year on June 27, people across the United States are encouraged to get tested for HIV. This year for Delawareans, it’s easier than ever.

Sussex Pride has partnered with STDCheck to offer free HIV and syphilis testing everywhere in Delaware. There are more than 20 locations across the state, making it simple to find a testing center.  

David Mariner, executive director of Sussex Pride, told the Blade, “We are thrilled with this new partnership with STDcheck. The ultimate goal is to empower individuals with knowledge about their HIV status, provide necessary support, and facilitate early intervention to improve health outcomes in our state.”

Finding a testing center, getting tested, and getting results is simple. Start by finding a lab near you using this link (https://www.stdcheck.com/std-test-center.php). Then call STDcheck at 800-456-2323 and request a free Sussex Pride HIV and/or syphilis test. Make sure to mention Sussex Pride in the call to get the test for free. Then schedule a time and get tested. 

“If you are HIV positive, the sooner you know, the better,” Mariner added. “Early and sustained treatment can help you live a long and healthy life. It can also help protect others.”

This special program is in honor of National HIV Testing Day, created in 1995 to highlight the lifesaving impact of HIV testing. HIV has historically had a disproportionate effect on the LGBTQ community. According to the CDC, 70% of all new cases of HIV in 2021 were among gay and bisexual men and other men who have sex with men.

The CDC’s theme for this year’s HIV testing day is “Level up your self-love: check your status.” The theme emphasizes, “valuing yourself, showing yourself compassion and respect, and honoring your health needs with self-love,” and the best way to do that is to test.

For more information on Sussex Pride’s testing program visit sussexpride.org/posts/testing/ and for more information on HIV visit CDC.gov/hiv.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Sign Up for Weekly E-Blast

Follow Us @washblade

Advertisement

Popular