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Campaign seeks to gain more support for Va. anti-discrimination bill

SupportSB701.org is designed to increase support for measure to protect LGBT state employees from discrimination

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Adam Ebbin, Virginia, gay news, Washington Blade
Adam Ebbin, Virginia, gay news, Washington Blade

Gay state Sen. Adam Ebbin is a Senate Bill 710 co-sponsor (Photo courtesy of Adam Ebbin)

Equality Virginia and ProgressVA have launched an online campaign designed to increase support for a measure that would ban discrimination against LGBT state employees.

SupportSB701.org allows Virginians to sign petitions in support of Senate Bill 701 that state Sens. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) and Donald McEachin (D-Henrico) have co-sponsored. Equality Virginia and ProgressVA will then forward them to their respective legislators in Richmond.

“Employment and advancement should be solely dependent on job performance. No one should be subject to discrimination on the job, including sexual orientation or gender identity. Now is the time to move forward and protect our state workers,” McEachin said in a press release that announced the campaign. “All Virginians deserve equal opportunity, fairness and justice.”

James Parrish, executive director of Equality Virginia, told the Washington Blade on Tuesday his organization has already begun working to build additional support for the measure among Virginians and local businesses. Eighty percent of the state’s 25 largest private employers have added sexual orientation to their non-discrimination policies, while 60 percent of them also include gender identity and expression.

Eighteen of the 29 Virginia-based companies listed on the 2013 Human Rights Campaign Corporate Index include LGBT-specific protections in their non-discrimination policies.

“One of our priorities is working to create a Virginia that reflects our values, and that includes an open and affirming environment where every Virginian is supported and protected regardless of who they love,” Anna Scholl, executive director of ProgressVA, which supports a number of progressive causes, told the Blade. “That’s definitely a priority for us, and this was a great opportunity to partner with Equality Virginia who does fantastic work to help further build our working relationship but also to achieve some really tangible victories for members of our communities.”

The state Senate has passed bills similar to SB 701 twice, but they have stalled in the House of Delegates.

Parrish conceded the measure’s chances of passing in the House of Delegates once the 2013 legislative session begins in January are “very slim.” He said a vote on SB701 will allow Virginians to know where their legislators stand on the issue.

James Parrish, Equality Virginia, gay news, Washington Blade

James Parrish (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

“While we expect it to pass the Senate as it [has twice before,] the House will be challenging,” said Parrish. “It will also give voters a chance going into 2013 to hold delegates mean-spirited accountable who are out of touch with equality.”

Scholl had a similar outlook.

“It can often be difficult to tell what some of the ultra-conservative elements of the GOP are going to do down in Richmond,” she said. “There is wide support for this legislation across the commonwealth and it’s really a common sense bill to create the same protections for state employees that dozens of large employers across the commonwealth offer their own workers. And if we’re serious about making Virginia a place for workers, a place for employers and a job-friendly environment than we do everything we can to make sure that we are a lace that welcomes all potential employees and encourages them to devote their time and energy to make where we live a better place.”

Equality Virginia and ProgressVA unveiled the SupportSB701.org campaign four days before the release of statistics on the Transgender Day of Remembrance that indicate the majority of trans Virginians have suffered discrimination.

Eighty percent of Virginia respondents who took part in the 2011 report on trans-specific discrimination the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force released said they experienced harassment or mistreatment in the workplace: 22 percent said they lost their jobs, while 26 percent said their employers denied them a promotion.

Forty-four percent of respondents said prospective employers simply did not hire them.

Equality Virginia, the Coalition for Transgender Rights in Virginia, Richmond Transformers, Black Transmen, Inc., the Gender Expression Movement and Ladies of the Blue Ridge-Transgender Alliance participated in the survey.

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Transgender man murdered in Va.

EJ Boykin was shot outside Lynchburg store on June 14

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EJ Boykin (Photo courtesy of Facebook)

A transgender man was murdered in Lynchburg, Va., on June 14.

The News and Advance, a local newspaper, reported EJ Boykin, who was also known as Novaa Watson, was shot outside a Family Dollar store on the city’s Fort Avenue at around 6 p.m. Boykin passed away at Lynchburg General Hospital a short time later.

A spokesperson for the Lynchburg Police Department told the News and Advance the shooting may have been the result of a domestic dispute. Authorities added there is no evidence to currently suggest the shooting was a hate crime based on Boykin’s gender identity.

Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents reported Boykin was born and raised in Baltimore and was a student at Morgan State University. The blog said Boykin celebrated his 23rd Birthday on June 10, four days before his murder.

Tori Cooper, the director of community engagement for the Human Rights Campaign’s Transgender Justice Initiative, in a statement notes Boykin is the fifth Black trans person reported killed in 2021. HRC notes at least 29 trans or gender non-conforming people are known to have been murdered so far this year.

“The level of fatal violence we’ve recorded this year is higher than we’ve ever seen,” said Cooper. “All of these individuals deserved to live. We must strike at the roots of racism and transphobia, and continue to work toward justice and equality for trans and gender non-conforming people.”

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Comings & Goings

Jarvis lands lead consultant role at Meridian

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Ted Jarvis

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 Ted Jarvis on his new position as Lead Consultant with Meridian Compensation Partners, in D.C. He will work on executive compensation, governance research and development. When asked for a response to news of his new role, Jarvis told this story: “I was on the prowl for a new job, I contacted the CEO of Meridian, who worked closely with me during our years at Towers Perrin. After half an hour on the phone, he asked: ‘Send me a list of things you really like to do.’ I followed up with a list of activities that continually engage my interest. Within a few days he mailed me a job description that reiterated my list almost word-for-word. I feel truly blessed to have a job so aligned with what I enjoy doing. This is going to be great.”

Prior to working for Meridian, Jarvis worked as Managing Director with Main Data Group in D.C. and Wilton Manors, Fla. He has also worked as Global Director of Executive Compensation Data, Research & Publications, Mercer, in D.C.; principal with Willis Towers Watson; and as a research consultant with McKinsey & Company. Jarvis is a member of the Lotos Club (New York); a benefactor at Drew University (Morristown, N.J.). He funded two undergraduate prizes (Wettstein Drama Prize; Norton Wettstein and Jane Brown Memorial Prize for Outstanding Academic Achievement); a benefactor, Woodmere Art Museum (Philadelphia): funded William Joseph Coverley-Smith Prize, awarded annually at the Juried Art Competition; and a benefactor, St. Thomas’s Episcopal Church (Rochester, N.Y.).

Jarvis earned his MBA from The University of Chicago, Booth School of Business; his bachelor’s (cum laude); his Ph.D. (ABD) major in music history, literature and theory from NYU. He earned a Fulbright Scholarship to the University of Vienna.

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Nellie’s fires security firm after woman dragged down stairs

Pride weekend incident triggers protests, investigation by liquor agency

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Keisha Young was dragged down the stairs by her hair at Nellie’s. (Screen capture via Instagram)

Nellie’s Sports Bar, a gay bar in the city’s U Street commercial district, announced on Monday that it has dismissed a security company whose employee was captured on video dragging a Black woman down a flight of stairs inside the bar during the city’s Capital Pride celebration last Saturday.

The video of the male security employee dragging Nellie’s customer Keisha Young down the staircase and the brawl that erupted when other customers intervened has triggered expressions of concern by city officials and LGBTQ activists, including the local Black Lives Matter group that organized a protest outside Nellie’s on Sunday.

Young, who said she was injured during the incident, has said the security staffer mistakenly thought she was part of a group of customers who brought into the bar their own alcoholic beverages, which Nellie’s does not allow.

“Nellie’s Sports Bar has terminated, with immediate effect, the independent security vendor hired to protect our guests during Pride Week,” Nellie’s said in a statement released to the media.

“Our investigation into the matter is ongoing, and we will cooperate with any law enforcement investigation, however we do not need to wait for the investigation’s conclusion before we take decisive action,” the statement says. “We offer a heartfelt apology to all who witnessed the horrific events of this past weekend,” it says. “No matter what behavior occurred prior, nothing warrants mistreating and disrespecting one of our guests.”

The statement adds that Nellie’s will be closed this week “as we evaluate this regrettable situation.” It says all non-security staff will continue to be paid their regular wages during the temporary shutdown.

“In the interim, we will use this time to listen and understand what more we can do to create the safe and friendly atmosphere our guests have come to expect from Nellie’s Sports Bar over the past 14 years,” the statement says.

Brandon Burrell, an attorney representing Young, told D.C.’s Fox 5 News that Nellie’s had yet to offer an apology directly to Young. Fox 5 News reported on Monday that Young was considering filing a police report over the incident and a possible lawsuit against Nellie’s depending on how Nellie’s responds to Young’s concerns. 

A D.C. police spokesperson told the Washington Blade that Young had not contacted police to file a report about the incident as of early Monday.

The D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration, which issues liquor licenses to bars and restaurants, has opened an investigation into the Nellie’s incident, the agency confirmed to Fox 5 News.

The Capital Pride Alliance, the local group that organizes D.C.’s LGBTQ Pride events, including Saturday’s Pride Walk and Pridemobile Parade, issued a statement on Monday expressing concern over the Nellie’s incident.

“The Capital Pride Alliance condemns the reprehensible actions taken by Nellie’s staff over the weekend,” the statement says. “The incident resulted in Keisha Young being dragged by the hair down the stairs, which was a violent response to the trivial action of allegedly bringing into the bar a bottle of liquor,” the statement says.

“Capital Pride Alliance is committed to creating safe spaces for all,” says the statement. “We expect Nellie’s to take immediate, remedial action in response to this incident. Their response will impact the future of CPA’s relationship with Nellie’s.”

Nellie’s owner Doug Schantz couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser also expressed concern about the Nellie’s incident when asked about it by reporters at an event on Monday.

“Obviously, entrepreneurs enforce rules in their restaurants, but they’re not allowed to assault anybody,” the mayor said. “If that’s a matter for the Metropolitan Police Department, we’ll take it up.”

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