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Suspected gunman worked for DC gay center

FBI has man in custody after incident at Family Research Council HQ

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FRC, gay news, Washington Blade
FBI unit at Family Research Council headquarters, gay news, Washington Blade

The Family Research Council headquarters building in Washington D.C. was cordoned off by police and the FBI Wednesday. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The suspect apprehended Wednesday morning for the shooting of a security guard in the lobby of the headquarters of the Family Research Council, one of the nation’s leading anti-gay groups, worked as a volunteer for the DC Center for the LGBT Community.

“We’re as surprised as everyone else,” DC Center President Michael Sessa told the Blade Wednesday night. “He volunteered for us.”

The Associated Press reported that a law enforcement official identified the suspect as Floyd Corkins II, 28, of Herndon, Va. The AP was the first to report that Corkins worked as a volunteer for the D.C. Center, but it didn’t disclose how it learned of Corkins’ association with the Center.

Sessa said the Center conducted a background check on Corkins.

Police and the FBI said a suspect shot the security guard in the arm about 10:50 a.m. Wednesday in the building’s lobby at 801 G St., N.W., which is located about a block from the Verizon Center. The guard, who suffered a non-life-threatening wound, was taken to a hospital for treatment, a police spokesperson said.

D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier and FBI Washington Field Office Director James McJunkin told reporters at a news briefing outside the building that the FBI took a male suspect into custody in connection with the case and had not charged him as of Wednesday afternoon.

The Washington Post reported that police and the FBI said they had yet to determine a motive for the shooting.

“We don’t know enough about him or his circumstances to determine what his connection is to this group or his mental state or what he was doing or thinking of doing,” the Post quoted McJunkin as saying. “So we’re going to try to sort this all out, pull the evidence together, do all the interviews we can,” the Post quoted McJunkin as saying.

Fox News reported an unidentified source familiar with the incident said the suspect “made statements regarding [the Family Research Council’s] polices and then opened fire with a gun striking the security guard.”

“He always struck me as kind, gentle and unassuming young man,” the AP quoted Center director David Mariner as saying. “I’m very surprised that he could be involved in something like this.”

According to the Post, McJunkin said the FBI became involved because of the possibility that the incident could be classified as a federal crime. The Post reported that as of early Wednesday, it was not clear whether D.C. police or the FBI would take the lead in the investigation.

D.C. police spokesperson Araz Alali told the Blade that the FBI became involved because the building in which the shooting occurred was federally owned. But the U.S. General Services Administration, which administers federal buildings, couldn’t immediately be reached to confirm whether the federal government owns or has an interest in the building.

A flag bearing the name of the Family Research Council hangs over the front of the building. The words “Faith, Family, Freedom” are inscribed in the building’s façade.

The Family Research Council and its executive director, Tony Perkins, have long denounced homosexuality as immoral and have linked it to pedophilia. The group has lobbied Congress and state legislatures in opposition to virtually all LGBT rights legislation.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, a nationally recognized civil rights group, has included FRC on its list of “hate groups,” saying it so classified the group because of its use of false and misleading information to defame LGBT people in a way that harms the LGBT community.

R. Clarke Cooper, executive director of the national gay group Log Cabin Republicans, released a statement condemning the shooting.

“As fellow conservatives, Log Cabin Republicans are often in the same room with the Family Research Council,” Cooper said. “Though we rarely see eye to eye, we absolutely condemn the violence that occurred today,” Cooper said.

“Keeping in mind that at this time we know little about the shooter or his motives, whatever our political disagreements, in this country, we use ballots, not bullets, to address them. We offer prayers for the injured security guard, his family, and everybody at the FRC building, barely a fifteen minute walk away from Log Cabin Republicans national headquarters,” Cooper said. “In many ways, this is a reminder that we aren’t so far apart.”

An FRC spokesperson couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

The leaders of 40 LGBT advocacy organized issued a joint statement expressing sadness over the shooting incident at the Family Research Council building.

“Our hearts go out to the shooting victim, his family, and his co-workers,” the statement says. “The motivation and circumstances behind today’s tragedy are still unknown, but regardless of what emerges as the reason for this shooting, we utterly reject and condemn such violence. We wish for a swift and complete recovery for the victim of this terrible incident.”

Among those signing the statement were the heads of the Human Rights Campaign; National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays; National Center for Transgender Equality; and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, which released the statement on its letterhead. David Mariner, executive director of the D.C. LGBT Center, also signed the statement.

D.C. transgender activist Jeri Hughes said she, too, condemns the shooting incident at the FRC headquarters but asked why a half dozen or more FBI agents rushed to the scene of an incident that appeared to be a local law enforcement matter.

“I’d love to have the FBI investigate all the unsolved murders of the transgender women here in D.C. over the last several years,” Hughes said.

FBI spokesperson Jacqueline MaGuire told the Blade Wednesday night that the FBI and D.C. police were working with the U.S. Attorney’s office and an announcement would be made Thursday morning on a charge or charges expected to be filed against the suspect.

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Joel

    August 16, 2012 at 10:27 am

    As wrong as this was, I can’t help but think that the FRC should crack open their bible and read this little passage–“you reap what you sow.” What do you expect to happen when you spend all your time and financial resources sowing hate?

  2. AxelDC

    August 16, 2012 at 10:33 am

    I hope this poor guard recovers quickly.

  3. Kacer

    August 16, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    I have to say, as much as I do NOT condone the violence, it couldn’t have happened to a more appropriate group. All the gay bashing / woman bashing / race bashing they do, they are, as another poster commented “reaping what they have sewn”. But very much not happy at all about the guard being injured, but pleased it was not worse.

    • Jayson

      August 19, 2012 at 9:26 am

      Thank you for setting the movement back 20 years. You are truly a credit to idiocy.

  4. Pooter

    August 16, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    Did the cops eat the 15 chik-fil-a sammiches?

    • Jayson

      August 19, 2012 at 9:27 am

      I think they gave one to your mama, she was tired!

  5. Eugene

    August 16, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    Terrible thing to do. Some people would think this a hate crime. Guess straights are not the only ones that can be accused of hate crimes

    • Jayson

      August 19, 2012 at 9:28 am

      Yes, but it appears some believe they are OK, if targeted at the right people, just like the Klan thought is the South some years ago in the not too distant past. it’s good to see evolution working.

  6. brian

    August 17, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    *****
    D.C. transgender activist Jeri Hughes said she, too, condemns the shooting incident at the FRC headquarters but asked why a half dozen or more FBI agents rushed to the scene of an incident that appeared to be a local law enforcement matter.

    “I’d love to have the FBI investigate all the unsolved murders of the transgender women here in D.C. over the last several years,” Hughes said.
    *****

    What she said.

    • Jayson

      August 19, 2012 at 9:29 am

      APPLES/ORANGES.

  7. John Novak

    August 19, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    I am sorry but as a human and as a gay man I am ashamed of some of these comments. I see our response to this and to the Chik-Fil-A incident, in general to be shameful and one that goes against everything the gay rights movement stands for. We are for human rights. We want what everyone has. To state that somehow the FRC deserved it, just affirms what others say about a gay man who is beaten to death on the street for being gay. Shame on us and shame on those who are not as outraged by Conklin’s acts as they were when Matthew Shepard was left to die on the fence in Laramie, Wyoming. I don’t agree with the FRC on ANYTHING. I will never give them money and every time they are on one side of the aisle screaming that I should not have rights I will be on the other side screaming right back asserting that they are incorrect and that I should. But I would never ask them or expect them to stop screaming. First Amendment is FIRST for a reason. We will win the fight for equality despite the FRC and all those groups that try to keep us down. But we will never win if we keep cheering when something like this happens. When we cheer people who vandalize a Chik-Fil-A or when we say something like “you reap what you sow” all you are doing is perpetuating the hate. Why not direct your hate to educating those who do not understand we are just as entitled to get married as anyone else. We should never be fired for being gay. We should never be held down because we are gay. We should be given every right that everyone else has. An eye for an eye leaves everyone blind.

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Comings & Goings

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Troy Cline, gay news, Washington Blade
The 'Comings & Goings' column chronicles important life changes of Blade readers.

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. 

Shin Inouye, gay news, Washington Blade
Steven McCarty

Congratulations to Steven McCarty on being named president of the Kiwanis Club of Washington, D.C. He said, “I’m honored to be installed as the president of the Kiwanis Club of Washington, D.C. and to be able to shepherd our programs and volunteers to impact youth where they are needed most. Our club’s new partnership with SMYAL has already turned a portion of their Youth Center in Southeast D.C. into the first Clinical Services Department in the District that offers free and affirming mental healthcare to LGBTQ Youth. As an openly gay man, I’m proud to further our club’s mission with radical empathy and inclusion.” McCarty has also recently been awarded Kiwanis’ highest honor, the George Hixson award.

McCarty is a Technical Program Specialist at stac labs in D.C. He is also founder and campaign manager at Abolish Racism 2020. He worked as a Senior Customer Success Manager,  Crowdskout. He was a workplace equality intern at Human Rights Campaign and a summer fellow at Michigan State AFL-CIO, in Lansing, Mich. 

McCarty earned his bachelor’s in Political Science and Communications Studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Congratulations also to Shin Inouye on his appointment as Executive Vice President of Communications, The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and Human Rights, The Leadership Conference Education Fund. 

Wade Henderson, interim president and CEO of The Leadership Conference and The Education Fund said, “We are thrilled Shin Inouye will be taking on even greater responsibilities on our senior leadership team. His incredible talent and commitment to this organization and our work are truly outstanding, and his strategic leadership will no doubt continue moving us forward in the fight to protect and advance civil and human rights.”

Inouye has held a number of positions with the organization including Managing Director of Communications. Inouye also held a number of high-level positions in the Obama administration, including Press Secretary and Acting Senior Adviser for Intergovernmental and External Affairs, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; Adviser for Intergovernmental and External Affairs, Executive Office of the President; White House Office of Communications: Director of Specialty Media; and served as an authorized spokesperson for the Obama Inaugural Committee, with a focus on specialty media outlets, including LGBTQ, AAPI, Native American, Youth/College, Faith, and Jewish press. Prior to that Inouye was Communications Director in the Office of Congressman Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.) and has also worked for the ACLU and as a summer intern with the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan. 

Inouye received a number of honors including being named One of 25 “LGBTI next generation leaders to watch” by Out in National Security and the Atlantic Council; and One of “40 Asian American Pacific Islander National Security & Foreign Policy Next Generation Leaders” by New America and the Diversity in National Security Network.

Shin Inouye
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Youngkin reiterates opposition to marriage equality

Va. gubernatorial candidate says issue ‘legally acceptable’ in state

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(Photo courtesy of Twitter)

Glenn Youngkin in an interview with the Associated Press has reiterated his opposition to marriage rights for same-sex couples.

Youngkin—a Republican who is running against Democrat Terry McAuliffe to succeed Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam—said in an interview published on Friday that he feels “called to love everyone.” Youngkin then reiterated his opposition to marriage equality before he added it is “legally acceptable” in the state.

“I, as governor, will support that,” Youngkin told the AP.

McAuliffe was Virginia’s governor from 2014-2018.

Same-sex couples began to legally marry in Virginia a few months after McAuliffe took office.

McAuliffe in 2014 became the first governor of a Southern state to officiate a same-sex wedding. The lesbian couple who McAuliffe married recently appeared in one of his campaign ads.

McAuliffe on Friday criticized Youngkin. “As governor, I worked my heart out to keep Virginia open and welcoming to all,” said McAuliffe in a tweet. “This type of bigotry and intolerance has no place in our commonwealth.”

The anti-LGBTQ Family Research Council, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has categorized as an extremist group, earlier this month endorsed Youngkin, but Log Cabin Republicans are among the groups that have backed his campaign. The Human Rights Campaign in 2019 named Youngkin’s former company, the Carlyle Group, as a “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality” in its annual Corporate Equality Index.

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D.C. school board calls for LGBTQ-inclusive teaching standards

Sweeping resolution proposing content in curricula approved unanimously

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Gay State Board of Education member Allister Chang.

The D.C. State Board of Education voted unanimously on Oct. 20 to approve a resolution calling for LGBTQ+ Inclusive Education Standards for the city’s public schools that “reflect on the political, economic, social, cultural, and scientific contributions and experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.”

The two-page resolution, which was introduced by gay State Board of Education member Allister Chang, who represents Ward 2, cites national research showing that students who have access to LGBTQ+ curricula in their schools “are more likely to report lower frequency of bullying, lower levels of depression, more accepting peers, and greater feelings of safety in school.”

The resolution states that research also shows that multicultural education, including the teaching of LGBTQ topics, “helps prevent the formation of bias and prejudice and creates more democratic communities.”

LGBTQ rights advocates have long considered the local D.C. government through its mayor and City Council to be highly supportive of the LGBTQ community. But Chang and other supporters of the resolution approved by the board Wednesday night say their research shows that D.C. public schools, while supportive of LGBTQ students, are far behind the school systems in several other states in the inclusion of LGBTQ topics in school curricula.

As an example, supporters of the resolution point out that curriculum standards for social studies classes in the D.C. school system include only one mention of LGBTQ people in a teaching section related to victims of the Holocaust.   

Unlike most other cities and states, under current D.C. law, the school system is controlled by the mayor through the D.C. Department of Education, which is headed by a Deputy Mayor for Education and who, in turn and in consultation with the mayor, appoints a State Superintendent of Education who oversees the day-to-day operations of the schools.

Under a change in the education statute approved by the D.C. Council and signed by then-Mayor Adrian Fenty in 2007, the school board, which was renamed the State Board of Education, became a mostly advisory body on education matters with some statutory authority to approve education standards on which school curricula are based.

Thus, the resolution approved by the board on Wednesday “advises” and “recommends” that the State Superintendent of Education develop school curricula, guidance for teachers, and school-based leaders and staff “in providing LGBTQ+ inclusive lessons and practices in their classrooms.”

The resolution concludes by recommending that the State Superintendent of Education conduct a survey of students within two years after the Oct. 20 adoption of the resolution “to establish baseline data and to gain an understanding of the current experiences of LGBTQ+ students across the district and what all students know and understand about the contributions and experiences of LGBTQ+ people in the relevant subject areas.”

Chang and other members of the State Board of Education noted at the Oct. 20 meeting, which was virtual, that Will Beckerman, who graduated this year from D.C.’s School Without Walls High School, played an important role in conducting the research used to prepare the LGBTQ standards resolution and helped in the drafting of the resolution.

Chang noted that much of the background information used to draft the resolution came from Beckerman’s senior year school research paper and advocacy project that focuses on the topic of LGBTQ-inclusive education.

In comments supporting the resolution, Chang also spoke about how the very limited LGBTQ content he encountered during his high school days helped him accept himself as a gay youth.

“As a student myself, I don’t remember a single mention of any LGBTQ people in any of my classwork until I read Thomas Mann in my senior year in high school,” Chang said. “And in Death in Venice, this Nobel Prize winner touches upon his struggles with homosexuality but never actually names it explicitly,” Chang told fellow board members.

“And I remember holding on to this novella despite the self-hatred that’s woven throughout this story because it was the first time that I saw this aspect of my identity reflected in my class work,” he said. “My hope – and I think this hope comes true with this resolution tonight – is that future generations of LGBTQ students have more opportunities to see themselves reflected in their class work and to feel less isolated by their class work than I did growing up.”

It couldn’t immediately be determined whether D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser will endorse the school system changes proposed by the resolution approved by the State Board of Education.

The full text of the resolution follows:

State Board of Education Resolution

On LGBTQ+ Inclusive Education Standards

SR21-7

WHEREAS, the 2019 District of Columbia Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that lesbian, gay, and bisexual students make up 15.9 percent of high school students in the District and transgender students make up1.9 percent of District high school students;

WHEREAS, in the District, these students, in comparison to their heterosexual peers, experience double the rate of bullying on school property, report higher rates of being removed from class for disciplinary reasons, and are more than twice as likely to experience suicidal ideation;

WHEREAS, national data shows that lesbian, gay, and bisexual students are significantly more likely to receive grades of D or F than their heterosexual peers and were more likely to be truant;

WHEREAS, consistent research suggests that students with LGBTQ+ inclusive curricula in their schools are more likely to report lower frequency of bullying, lower levels of depression, more accepting peers, and greater feelings of safety in school—and this safety leads students to report higher attendance, higher GPAs, a greater sense of belonging in the school community, and higher educational aspirations;

WHEREAS, research shows that multicultural education helps prevent the formation of bias and prejudice and creates more democratic communities ; 

WHEREAS, the State Board of Education recognizes the need to have revised social studies standards that create “windows and mirrors” so students see themselves and people like them reflected in the content of standards and curriculum, as well as having the opportunity to learn about diverse people, cultures, places, and experiences unlike themselves—explicitly noting that the current standards emphasize the lives of presidents and other figures who held/hold power and under-represent or lack representation of people and groups like those identifying as LGBTQ+, and their respective histories;

WHEREAS, in the State Board of Education’s review and revision of the social studies standards, the State Board called upon the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) to “seek standards writers who reflect the demographics and experiences of District students and of the communities they are writing about” sharing a list of examples that included writers identifying as LGBTQ+;

WHEREAS, the State Board of Education is committed to ensuring students acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to be engaged global citizens in a diverse democratic society; and,

WHEREAS, the State Board of Education has a commitment to promote equity, introduce policies to reduce disparities between students, and create safe school environments for all students.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT, upon the next revision of any District of Columbia state education standards, the State Board of Education should adapt standards, when appropriate, that reflect on the political, economic, social, cultural, and scientific contributions and experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT, the State Board of Education advises the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) to provide guidance to teachers and school-based leaders and staff on creating inclusive lessons in science and English language arts (ELA) classes that align with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and Common Core ELA standards, respectively;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT, the State Board of Education recommends that the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) implement professional development for teachers and school-based leaders and staff to aid them in providing LGBTQ+ inclusive lessons and practices in their classrooms, such that that the professional development includes: workshops for local education agencies (LEAs) and teachers to draft curriculum related to LGBTQ+ topics in their subject areas, lessons on use of inclusive language in the classroom, lessons on ensuring LGBTQ+ students’ safety and confidentiality while maintaining respect for their name and pronouns, and mandatory diversity training related to the LGBTQ+ community; and,

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED THAT, the State Board of Education recommends that the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) survey students within two (2) years of adoption of this resolution to establish baseline date and to gain an understanding of the current experiences of LGBTQ+ students across the district and what all students know and understand about the contributions and experiences of LGBTQ+ people in the relevant subject areas.

https://osse.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/osse/publication/attachments/2019%20DC%20YRBS%20Report.pdf

Brikett, Michelle et al. “Sexual-orientation disparities in school: the meditational role of indicators of victimization in achievement and truancy because of feeling unsafe.” American Journal of Public Health vol. 104, 6 (2014): 1124-8. doi: 10.2105/AJHP.2013.301785

Kosciw, Joseph G., et al. “The 2019 National School Climate Survey: The Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Youth in Our Nation’s Schools.” GLSEN, GLSEN, 2020, glsen.org.

Camicia, Steven P. Critical Democratic Education and LGBTQ-Inclusive Curriculum: Opportunities and Constraints. Routledge Focus, 2016.

Camicia, Steven P. “Prejudice Reduction through Multicultural Education: Connecting Multiple Literatures.” Social Studies Research and Practice, vol. 2, no. 2, 2007, pp. 219–227.

socstrpr.org/files/Vol%25202/Issue%25202%2520-%2520Summer%25202007/Action%2520Research/2.2.6.pdf

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