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Gay New Yorker in tight race with GOP incumbent

Maloney seeks to oust Hayworth; race a ‘tossup’

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U.S. House candidate Sean Patrick Maloney

U.S. House candidate Sean Patrick Maloney (Blade photo by Michael Key)

Sean Patrick Maloney has ambitious goals for someone in a tight race seeking his first term in Congress. His priorities upon taking office would be “getting Congress working for people who need it working in their lives.”

“I think the most important thing right now is that too many voices aren’t being heard in Congress — the middle class, working people and people who care about equality, care about a future where we all count, we all work together,” Maloney said.

He’s seeking to unseat freshman Rep. Nan Hayworth (R-N.Y.) to represent New York’s 18th congressional district.

Maloney, who if elected would be the first openly gay member of Congress from New York, touted his previous work in Washington. He was a senior West Wing adviser in the Clinton administration and was first deputy secretary for former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer.

“I know my way around Washington, and I’ve spent years working on different types of policies and partnerships in people in state government, people in local government, with the private sector,” Maloney said. “And so, I think I bring a set of relationships to the job that is unique for a freshman member, and a degree of experience in how Washington works when it’s working well.”

While he acknowledged the importance of having a Democratic majority in the U.S. House that “cares about LGBT people,” Maloney said he sees an opportunity for passage of pro-LGBT legislation even if Republicans remain in power — provided what he called the “extreme wing” of the party isn’t in control.

Maloney said New York could serve as an example because marriage equality legislation was passed in a Republican-controlled Senate under the leadership of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The House candidate took credit for helping draft the New York marriage equality bill under the Spitzer administration, but said he wasn’t involved in the process of moving the law through in 2011.

“New York is the example,” Maloney said. “New York is where Democrats and Republicans have figured out how to work together on issues of LGBT equality. We don’t — look, you’ll never get everybody, but I do believe the day is coming when moderate voices, people who care about equality within the Republican Party will begin working with those of us who have been fighting for years on these issues.”

National LGBT groups are backing Maloney in pursuit of his U.S. House seat, including the Human Rights Campaign and the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund.

Michael Cole-Schwartz, a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, said his organization is working to help Maloney win.

“Sean Patrick Maloney is a wonderful candidate and will be a tremendous leader in the House,” Cole-Schwartz said. “HRC is committed to helping him win and we’re encouraging our members to support his campaign through our candidate fundraising tool at www.hrc.org/candidates.”

Maloney said he supports pro-LGBT legislation that Congress has yet to pass — including the Uniting American Families Act and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act — in addition to repeal of the Defense of the Marriage Act.

“I think a lot of us hope that the Supreme Court will establish as it did in the area of interracial marriage that denying equal marriage rights to same-sex couple is a violation of the federal Constitution as applied to the states, and so you’ll get a national constitution grounding for marriage,” Maloney said. “But Congress certainly has a role to play. We absolutely should repeal DOMA.”

Maloney also called on President Obama to revisit the idea of issuing an executive order that would bar federal contractors from discriminating in the workplace against LGBT people, saying the White House announcement in April that the order wouldn’t happen at this time “was a mistake.”

“I was disappointed that the White House made that decision,” Maloney said. “And I say that as someone who gives the president a great deal of credit for the position he took on marriage, which was historic, and for putting marriage equality front and center at the Democratic National Convention.”

Maloney lives in Cold Springs, N.Y. He has been with his partner, Randy Florke, a Realtor, since 1992 and they have three children: Jesús, Daley, and Essie. They also have homes in Sullivan County and New York City.

Rep. Nan Hayworth attends the 2012 Log Cabin annual dinner

Rep. Nan Hayworth attends the 2012 Log Cabin annual dinner (Blade photo by Michael Key)

The contest to represent New York’s 18th congressional district is tight. Polls in recent weeks have showed Maloney running even with Hayworth, or slightly behind. A Public Policy Polling survey published Sept. 21 found Maloney and Hayworth both receiving 43 percent of support, while 14 percent were undecided.

Jessica Taylor, a senior analyst for the Rothenberg Political Report, ranked the race as a “pure toss-up” because even though being an incumbent would give her an advantage, Hayworth won her seat in a good Republican year, and the district is generally Democratic and would probably see more Democratic turnout in the presidential election.

“I think it’s going to be a really close battle,” Taylor said. “Her first ad against Maloney hits him on how he just moved into the district. I think that could be an effective strategy, but also, this is not a new thing for New York — people first living in the city and moving out to the suburban areas.”

During the Blade interview, Maloney criticized Hayworth, calling her “one of the most extreme members of Congress” and saying she’s “out of step with her district” for supporting legislation put forward by House Republican leaders.

“She wants to end Medicare and give massive tax cuts to multi-millionaires like herself,” Maloney said. “She wants to defund Planned Parenthood. She wants to deny women access to contraception. … On issue after issue that is important to LGBT equality, that is important to the middle class that is important to women’s rights and women’s health, she has been an extreme conservative.”

But Hayworth has a fairly good record on LGBT issues during her first term in Congress. A member of the LGBT Equality Caucus, Hayworth voted against three amendments on the House floor that reaffirmed the Defense of Marriage Act. She’s also a co-sponsor of ENDA and the Domestic Partner Tax Parity Act, which would end the tax penalty by individuals who receive health insurance for their partners from their employers.

R. Clarke Cooper, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, praised Hayworth’s action on LGBT issues upon taking her House seat. The organization as of Tuesday hasn’t endorsed Hayworth.

“When Nan Hayworth came to Congress as a freshman in 2011, she quickly distinguished herself by becoming Deputy Majority Whip and joining the bi-partisan LGBT Equality Caucus,” Cooper said. “Her active presence among her peers in the House and within the House Republican leadership is critical to advancing equality, restoring fiscal discipline and maintaining a majority in the Congress.”

Will Hayworth at 2012 Log Cabin annual dinner

Will Hayworth (Blade photo by Michael Key)

Hayworth has a gay son, Will Hayworth, who lives in D.C. According to his website, he studied economics and computer science at Bard College and has experience as a research intern covering monetary policy at libertarian think-tank called the Cato Institute. He identifies as “a registered Republican with very, very libertarian leanings.”

But Maloney was unimpressed with Hayworth’s actions and called on her to articulate her position on marriage equality — which he said 60 percent of his district supports — and say whether she wants to repeal DOMA.

“It’s real simple,” Maloney said. “All she has to do is say she supports marriage equality and repeal of DOMA. She won’t. So, talk is cheap, procedural votes are cheap. When the rubber meets the road, she is not our friend. She is terrible on LGBT equality and I’ve been working on these issues for 20 years of my life. So, I would invite her to — and you should ask her — does she support marriage equality? Will she support the repeal of DOMA? She won’t. I will. That’s the choice.”

The Blade attempted to speak with the Republican lawmaker during the Log Cabin’s “Spirit of Lincoln” awards dinner in D.C. on Sept. 20 — which she attended with her son Will Hayworth — about her position on marriage equality and DOMA, but she refused to take questions. Requests to comment for this article weren’t returned by Hayworth’s campaign or her office.

Maloney said he’s aware Hayworth has a gay son. Asked whether that heightens the need for her to address her positions on LGBT issues, Maloney replied, “All that we have is her record, and she will not say that she supports marriage equality and she will not support the repeal of DOMA. Why she believes that, what she really believes, you’ll have to ask her. I’m not qualified to speak to anything other than what her record is as a member of Congress. And her record is terrible for the most important issue for our community: She is not our friend on marriage equality.”

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Florida House committee passes “Don’t Say Gay” bill

Equality Florida quickly condemned the measure

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The Florida State Capitol (Washington Blade photo by Yariel Valdés González)

The Republican majority Florida House Education and Employment Committee on Thursday passed House Bill 1557, the Parental Rights in Education bill, colloquially referred to as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill advancing the measure to the full House.

HB 1557 and its companion bill, Senate Bill 1834, would ban classroom discussions about sexual orientation and gender identity in schools, erasing LGBTQ identity, history, and culture — as well as LGBTQ students themselves.

The bill also has provisions that appear to undermine LGBTQ support in schools and include vague parental notification requirements which could effectively “out” LGBTQ-identifying students to their parents without their consent.

“The Trevor Project’s research has found that LGBTQ youth who learned about LGBTQ issues or people in classes at school had 23 percent lower odds of reporting a suicide attempt in the past year. This bill will erase young LGBTQ students across Florida, forcing many back into the closet by policing their identity and silencing important discussions about the issues they face,” said Sam Ames, director of advocacy and government affairs at the Trevor Project. “LGBTQ students deserve their history and experiences to be reflected in their education, just like their peers.”

In an email to the Los Angeles Blade, Brandon J. Wolf, the press secretary for Equality Florida noted; “Governor DeSantis’ march toward his own personal surveillance state continues. Today, the Don’t Say Gay bill, a piece of legislation to erase discussion of LGBTQ people from schools in Florida, passed its first committee and became another component of an agenda designed to police us in our classrooms, doctor’s offices, and workplaces. Make no mistake — LGBTQ people are your neighbors, family members, and friends. We are a normal, healthy part of society and we will not be erased.”

The Trevor Project’s 2021 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health found that more than 42 percent of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender and non-binary youth.

According to a recent poll conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of The Trevor Project, 85 percent of transgender and non-binary youth — and two-thirds of all LGBTQ youth (66 percent) — say recent debates about state laws restricting the rights of transgender people have negatively impacted their mental health.

When asked about proposed legislation that would require schools to tell a student’s parent or guardian if they request to use a different name/pronoun or if they identify as LGBTQ at school, 56 percent of transgender and non-binary youth said it made them feel angry, 47 percent felt nervous and/or scared, 45 percent felt stressed, and more than 1 in 3 felt sad.

If you or someone you know needs help or support, the Trevor Project’s trained crisis counselors are available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386, via chat at TheTrevorProject.org/Get-Help, or by texting START to 678678. 

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NCAA adopts new policy amid fervor over transgender athletes

Sport-by-sport approach requires certain levels of testosterone

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NCAA, gay news, Washington Blade
The NCAA has adopted new policy amid a fervor over transgender athletes.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association has announced it has adopted new procedures on competition of transgender athletes, creating a “sport-by-sport” approach that also requires documentation of testosterone levels across the board amid a fervor of recently transitioned swimmers breaking records in women’s athletics.

The NCAA said in a statement its board of governors voted on Wednesday in support of the “sport-by-sport” approach, which the organization says “preserves opportunity for transgender student-athletes while balancing fairness, inclusion and safety for all who compete.”

Although the policy defers to the national governing bodies for individual sports, it also requires transgender athletes to document sport-specific testosterone levels beginning four weeks before their sport’s championship selections. The new policy, which consistent with rules for the U.S. Olympics, is effective 2022, although implementation is set to begin with the 2023-24 academic year, the organization says.

John DeGioia, chair of the NCAA board and Georgetown president, said in a statement the organization is “steadfast in our support of transgender student-athletes and the fostering of fairness across college sports.”

“It is important that NCAA member schools, conferences and college athletes compete in an inclusive, fair, safe and respectful environment and can move forward with a clear understanding of the new policy,” DeGioia said.

More specifically, starting with the 2022-23 academic year, transgender athletes will need to document sport-specific testosterone levels beginning four weeks before their sport’s championship selections, the organizational. These athletes, according to the NCAA, are also required to document testosterone levels four weeks before championship selections.

In terms of jurisdiction, the national governing bodies for individual sports are charged determines policies, which would be under ongoing review and recommendation by the NCAA, the organizational says. If there is no policy for a sport, that sport’s international federation policy or previously established International Olympics Committee policy criteria would be followed.

The NCAA adopts the policy amid controversy over University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas smashing records in women’s swimming. Thomas, which once competed as a man, smashed two national records and in the 1,650-yard freestyle placed 38 seconds ahead of closest competition. The new NCAA policy appears effectively to sideline Thomas, who has recently transitioned and unable to show consistent levels of testosterone.

Prior to the NCAA announcement, a coalition of 16 LGBTQ groups, including the Human Rights Campaign and Athlete Ally, this week sent to a letter to the collegiate organization, urging the organizations strengthen non-discrimination protections as opposed to weakening them. The new policy, however, appears to head in other direction, which the LGBTQ groups rejected in the letter.

“While decentralizing the NCAA and giving power to conferences and schools has its benefits, we are concerned that leaving the enforcement of non-discrimination protections to schools will create a patchwork of protections rather than a comprehensive policy that would protect all athletes, no matter where they play,” the letter says. “This would be similar to the patchwork of non-discrimination policies in states, where marginalized groups in some states or cities are protected while others are left behind by localities that opt not to enact inclusive policies.”

JoDee Winterhof, vice president of policy and political affairs for the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement after the NCAA announcement the new policy was effectively passing the buck.

“If the NCAA is committed to ensuring an environment of competition that is safe, healthy, and free from discrimination, they cannot dodge the question of how to ensure transgender athletes can participate safely,” Winterhof said. “That is precisely why we and a number of organizations across a wide spectrum of advocates are urging them to readopt and strengthen non-discrimination language in their constitution to ensure the Association is committed to enforcing the level playing field and inclusive policies they say their values require. Any policy language is only as effective as it is enforceable, and with states passing anti-transgender sports bans, any inclusive policy is under immediate threat. We are still reviewing the NCAA’s new policy on transgender inclusion and how it will impact each and every transgender athlete.”

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Transgender rights group’s Los Angeles office receives bomb threat

[email protected] Coalition evacuated

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(Public domain photo)

A bomb threat was phoned in Wednesday afternoon to the Wilshire Boulevard Koreatown offices of the [email protected] Coalition, Bamby Salcedo, the president and CEO of the non-profit organization told the Los Angeles Blade.

According to Salcedo, an unidentified male caller told the staff person who answered at approximately 3 p.m., while delivering the threat said; “You’re all going to die.” The staff immediately evacuated everyone from their offices and then contacted the Los Angeles Police Department for assistance.

Officers, specialists and detectives from the Rampart Division of the LAPD responded and swept the building. A spokesperson for the LAPD confirmed that the incident is under active investigation but would make no further comment.

On a Facebook post immediately after the incident the non-profit wrote; “To ensure the safety of our clients and staff members, we ask that you please NOT come to our office.”

In a follow-up post, Salcedo notified the organization and its clientele that the LAPD had given the all-clear and that their offices would resume normal operations Thursday at 9:00 a.m. PT.

“Thank you for your messages and concern for our staff and community,” Salcedo said.

“No amount of threats can stop us from our commitment to the TGI community,” she added.

The [email protected] Coalition was founded in 2009 by a group of transgender and gender non-conforming and intersex (TGI) immigrant women in Los Angeles as a grassroots response to address the specific needs of TGI Latino immigrants who live in the U.S.

Since then, the agency has become a nationally recognized organization with representation in 10 different states across the U.S. and provides direct services to TGI individuals in Los Angeles.

In 2015, the [email protected] Coalition identified the urgent need to provide direct services to empower TGI people in response to structural, institutional, and interpersonal violence, and the Center for Violence Prevention and Transgender Wellness was born.

Since then, the organization has secured funding from the state and local government sources as well as several private foundations and organizations to provide direct services to all TGI individuals in Los Angeles County.

The [email protected] Coalition’s primary focus is to change the landscape of access to services for TGI people and provide access to comprehensive resource and services that will improve the quality of life of TGI people.

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