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Already Ready for Hillary

LGBT activists join campaign to persuade Clinton to run in 2016

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Lisa Changadveja, Hillary Clinton, Ready for Hillary, gay news, Washington Blade
Lisa Changadveja, Hillary Clinton, Ready for Hillary, gay news, Washington Blade

Lisa Changadveja was named as Ready for Hillary’s LGBT Americans Director. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Ready for Hillary, an independent super PAC created to urge former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to run for president in 2016, made its first visible outreach to the LGBT community in October when it set up a booth at the annual LGBT Pride festival in Orlando, Fla.

In a development that Ready for Hillary’s leaders believe is indicative of the sentiment of the LGBT community, the booth was inundated throughout the day by more than 900 people who signed up to get involved with the organization and a possible Clinton presidential campaign.

“We’re here to encourage her to run in 2016 because she has the grassroots support behind her and she has the LGBT community behind her if and when she decides to run,” said Lisa Changadveja, who was named in September as Ready for Hillary’s LGBT Americans Director.

Changadveja organized the Hillary booth at the Orlando Pride festival. She said she and other Ready for Hillary staffers along with a corps of volunteers and student interns will set up booths at LGBT Pride festivals throughout the country next year.

Under her supervision, Changadveja said, Ready for Hillary will also have a presence at important LGBT conferences and events other than Pride festivals, including the upcoming annual Creating Change Conference in Houston, organized by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

The Ready for Hillary outreach to the LGBT community comes at a time when Democratic Party activists and big name party contributors, including entertainment industry figures in Hollywood, have been clamoring for Clinton to enter the 2016 presidential race.

Changadveja, 25, a native of Atlanta, has worked on political campaigns since finishing college. She joined Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2007, working on get-out-the-vote efforts in the Nevada Democratic caucus and the Ohio and Indiana Democratic primaries. She worked on campaigns for Democratic candidates and progressive advocacy groups through earlier this year, when she served as a campaign manager for a lesbian candidate for the Texas House of Representatives in the Houston area.

“In her new role, Lisa will harness the enthusiasm of Hillary supporters in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community who are encouraging Hillary to run,” according to a statement released by Ready Hillary.

Although she’ll be traveling across the country, Changadveja works out of the Ready for Hillary headquarters on the fifth floor of a high-rise office building in the Rosslyn section of Arlington, Va.

“We have about 30 staffers across the nation,” she said. “We have tons of interns and volunteers in our office daily,” she added, noting that many of the interns come from nearby Georgetown University and George Washington University.

In its mid-year finance report filed with the Federal Election Commission, the group reported receiving $1.25 million in contributions between Jan. 1 and June 30 of this year and spending $469,000 during that same period to carry out its mission. The report says the organization had $784,641 in cash on hand as of June 30.

The group has announced it adopted a self-imposed cap of $25,000 as the maximum donation from an individual while at the same time it has encouraged and welcomed small donations. According to an internal memo obtained by ABC News in July, Ready for Hillary executive director Adam Parkhomenko reported that 75 percent of all donations received by the group were for $25 or less.

Among the contributors listed on the organization’s FEC report were Andrew Tobias, the gay treasurer of the Democratic National Committee and longtime LGBT rights advocate; Hilary Rosen, the lesbian Democratic activist and businesswoman; and Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers who’s a lesbian and longtime LGBT rights advocate.

Gay rights attorney and political commentator Richard Socarides, who served as White House liaison to the LGBT community under President Bill Clinton, said he, too, wants Hillary Clinton to run in 2016.

“I hope she runs,” he said. “I’ve been helping Ready for Hillary informally. I think she would receive overwhelming support from the LGBT community. And it is richly deserved.”

Changadveja said most LGBT Democrats are familiar with Hillary Clinton’s record of support on LGBT issues beginning with her tenure as first lady and her role as a U.S. senator from New York through her stint as Secretary of State under the Obama administration.

For those not familiar with Clinton’s record, Changadveja is happy to fill them in.

“Hillary has been very active in the LGBT community and she’s been a longtime friend,” she said she tells potential supporters. In addition to Clinton’s support for LGBT rights legislation and marriage equality, her support for LGBT employees at the State Department, and her call as Secretary of State for equating LGBT rights with human rights, Changadveja adds a lesser known part of Clinton’s LGBT rights portfolio.

“She was the first first lady to march in a Gay Pride parade,” she said.

D.C. gay Democratic activist Peter Rosenstein, who backed Clinton in her unsuccessful presidential run in 2008, said he and many other LGBT Democrats in the D.C. area are excited about a Clinton run in 2016.

“They have over a million people who ‘liked’ them on Facebook,” Rosenstein said of the Ready for Hillary PAC.

D.C.-area supporters of Hillary Clinton are being invited to a “grassroots” fundraiser for Ready For Hillary scheduled for Dec. 12 at Look Lounge, a K Street, N.W. club. The admission price, Changadveja said, is $20.16, a figure the organization uses to encourage small donors.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Adrian Salsgiver

    November 23, 2013 at 5:56 am

    The Communist Gay Left may be ready for Hillary, but everybody else will not go along with a closet lesbian who is a no-good fascist. We will be chanting Monica! Monica! Monica!

  2. Rick Mangus

    November 25, 2013 at 3:08 am

    The country already tried one social experiment with electing Obama and look what happen, we don’t need another one from a flake who has four murders on her hand!

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National

Alarming numbers of Texas Trans kids in crisis over litany of anti-Trans bills

“Under the guise of protecting children- Texas legislators are directly harming thousands of transgender & nonbinary youth”

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LGBTQ youth protest anti-Trans bills at the Texas Capitol building (Photo Credit: Equality Texas)

NEW YORK – The Trevor Project received nearly 4,000 crisis contacts from transgender and nonbinary youth in Texas in 2021, with many directly stating that they are feeling stressed and considering suicide due to anti-trans laws being debated in their state.

This new data comes during a year when Texas lawmakers have proposed nearly 70 anti-LGBTQ bills, including more than 40 bills that specifically target transgender and nonbinary youth — far more than any other state.

The Texas State Senate passed its anti-trans sports ban SB3 this week, and the companion bill HB10 is now moving forward in the Texas House. 

Republican Texas Governor Abbott has prioritized SB 3 and called for a third consecutive special session of the legislature to consider this bill, which would ban transgender student-athletes from playing on sports teams consistent with their gender identity.

“The Trevor Project’s crisis counselors have been hearing from transgender and nonbinary youth in Texas who are scared and worried about anti-trans laws being debated in their state — and some have even expressed suicidal thoughts. This is a crisis. We urge Texas lawmakers to consider the weight of their words and actions — and to reject HB10/SB3,” said Amit Paley, CEO and Executive Director of The Trevor Project.

  • Between January 1 and August 30, 2021, The Trevor Project received more than 10,800 crisis contacts (calls, texts, and chats) from LGBTQ young people in Texas looking for support. More than 3,900 of those crisis contacts (36%) came from transgender or nonbinary youth.
  • Crisis contacts from LGBTQ young people in Texas seeking support have grown over 150% when compared to the same time period in 2020.
  • While this volume of crisis contacts can not be attributed to any one factor (or bill), a qualitative analysis of the crisis contacts found that:
  • Transgender and nonbinary youth in Texas have directly stated that they are feeling stressed, using self-harm, and considering suicide due to anti-LGBTQ laws being debated in their state.
  • Some transgender and nonbinary youth have expressed fear over losing access to sports that provide important acceptance in their lives.

“As a transgender young person in Texas, this new data from the Trevor Project is not surprising, but it’s nonetheless harrowing and alarming to see this representation of the detrimental impact Texas Lege is having on our community — especially our kids. Lawmakers and proponents of bills like SB3 and HB10 should be alarmed by these statistics, too,” Landon Richie a Trans youth activist and GenderCool Youth Leader from Houston told the Los Angeles Blade.

“Under the guise of protecting children and promoting fairness, Texas legislators are directly harming thousands of transgender and nonbinary youth, denying them the dignity, respect, and childhoods that they deserve. It’s never an exaggeration to say that the passage — and merely debate — of these bills will cost lives,”  Richie added.

National mental health organizations like The Trevor Project and state LGBTQ equality groups including Equality Texas and Transgender Education Network of Texas (TENT) are raising concerns about the impact of such legislation on the mental health and wellbeing of transgender and nonbinary youth.

The Trevor Project’s 2021 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health found that more than half (52%) of transgender and nonbinary youth seriously considered suicide in the past year and 1 in 5 attempted suicide. Further, Trevor released a new research brief earlier this month on LGBTQ youth participation in sports, which found that a majority of LGBTQ young people (nearly 66%) do not actively participate in sports — with many citing fear of bullying and discrimination as a key factor for not participating.

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/Help, or by texting START to 678678. 

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2nd largest school district in Utah bans Pride & BLM flags as ‘too political’

“We have to have a politically neutral classroom, and we’re going to educate the students in the best possible way that we can”

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Davis School District Offices in Farmington Utah (Photo Credit: Davis School District)

FARMINGTON, Ut. – Administrators this week in the Davis School District, which is Utah’s 2nd largest school district with 72,987 students, banned LGBTQ Pride and Black Lives Matter flags, saying they are ‘politically charged.’

According to the Salt Lake City Tribune, Davis Schools spokesperson Chris Williams told the paper; “No flags fly in our schools except for the flag of the United States of America.” Williams later walked that statement back adding a clarification that some of the Districts schools have flags from sports team or international countries which are considered “unrelated to politics.”

“What we’re doing is we’re following state law,” said Williams. “State law says that we have to have a classroom that’s politically neutral.”

Amanda Darrow, Director of Youth, Family, and Education at the Utah Pride Center in Salt Lake City, told multiple media outlets the school district is “politicizing the rainbow flag” which doesn’t belong on a political list.

“That flag for us is so much more,” said Darrow. “It is just telling us we’re included in the schools, we are being seen in the schools, and we belong in these schools.”

KUTV CBS2 News in Salt Lake City checked with the Utah State Board of Education. In an email, spokesman Mark Peterson said, “There is nothing in code that specifically defines a rainbow flag as a political statement so it would be up to district or charter school policies to make that determination.”

The local Utah chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union also weighed in saying in a statement;

Whether or not a school district has the legal ability to ban inclusive and supportive symbols from classrooms, it is bad policy for them to do so,” the advocacy organization said in a statement. “Utah schools have an obligation to ensure that all students, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identify, feel welcome inside a classroom. We urge school administrators and teachers to adopt policies that make all students feel safe and included.”

Williams insisted the policy is not meant to exclude anyone and that all students are loved and welcomed – they just want to keep politics out of school he told the Tribune and KUTV.

“We have to have a politically neutral classroom, and we’re going to educate the students in the best possible way that we can,” said Williams.

A Utah based veteran freelance journalist, writer, editor, and food photographer weighed in on Twitter highlighting the negative impact of the Davis Schools decision on its LGBTQ youth.

Davis County School District bans LGTBQ and BLM flags as ‘too political’

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Non-binary person reports assault by Proud Boys near Portland

‘They nearly killed me’

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Juniper Simonis (Photo by Mariah Harris)

It was a typical day for Juniper Simonis. The freelance ecologist decided to break from work for lunch at about 3 p.m. to take their service dog, Wallace, to the local dog park and grab a bite to eat.  

But a planned peaceful afternoon quickly turned ugly. Simonis says they survived a gang assault of about 30 perpetrators in Gresham, Ore., a suburb outside of Portland. The Oregon resident encountered the group for only minutes but suffered a concussion, sprained jaw, extensive car damage and verbal assaults, they said. 

“They nearly killed me,” they said.

Simonis said they turned into a parking lot to pick up lunch in Gresham, Ore., and stumbled upon a rally that included several members of the Proud Boys — a far-right, ultra-nationalist organization known for its anti-LGBTQ, anti-feminism and neo-fascist ideologies. 

There was a “Flag Ride” right-wing rally in a parking lot earlier that day. Simonis was under the impression the event had ended after checking reports on Twitter. After pulling into the lot, originally to look for lunch options, Simonis saw a large gathering still in the lot. 

Simonis decided to take pictures of what was happening to post online to warn others and was intentional in keeping their distance, they said. As Simonis was preparing to leave the area, they yelled from inside the car, “Fuck you, fascists, go home.” 

“I did not expect this to escalate into violence,” they said. 

The attack itself only lasted about three minutes, Simonis said. Simonis was quickly surrounded by several people and physically blocked from leaving the lot. People stepped in front of the parking lot exit, then a car was moved to barricade Simonis. People began to shout homophobic slurs at Simonis, they said. 

“I’m in serious trouble now and I know it,” they said. 

Simonis was then punched while inside their vehicle and was briefly knocked out. They regained consciousness a few seconds later, and a cinder block was thrown at the car and shattered the back window of their car inches away from their service dog, Wallace. 

Simonis got out of the car to assess the damage and make sure their service dog was safe. They quickly got back in their car and was able to leave the lot by maneuvering around the blocked exit, Simonis said. 

Wallace, Juniper Simonis’ service dog. (Photo by Mariah Harris)

Looking back at the photos and videos Simonis took before the assault, Simonis said they saw people looking into the camera and acknowledging them taking photos. 

“I honestly don’t know if I hadn’t said anything, that … things would have gone any different,” they said. 

Last year, Simonis was targeted and arrested by federal police in Portland during the tumultuous Black Lives Matter protests in the city. They were denied medical attention, misgendered, jumped and aggressively handcuffed while taken into custody. 

Simonis is still working through legal proceedings in a multi-plaintiff lawsuit. 

A witness to the event called the Gresham Police Department, which was only a few blocks away from the incident. But the call went to voicemail and the witness did not leave a message, Simonis said. 

Another witness called 911, Simonis said, which led to an officer calling Simonis about 45 minutes after the accident to take a report.   

In the police report obtained by the Blade, Simonis is consistently misgendered. Simonis’ sex is also listed as “unknown” in the report. The incident was labeled as vehicle vandalism. 

Simonis said the conversation with the officer was filled with victim-blaming and the officer wrote in the report that Simonis should avoid “approaching groups of this nature.”  

“At no point in this conversation does he treat me as an actual victim of a crime,” Simonis said.

The Gresham Police Department did not respond to a request for comment. 

Weeks after the assault, Simonis is struggling mentally and physically, they said. 

The concussion makes working on a computer virtually impossible because of light sensitivity and trouble focusing, Simonis said. The pain caused by the sprained jaw makes it difficult to focus, as well. 

Simonis is not able to begin physical therapy for their jaw until November because of long medical wait times, they said. The cost to repair the car damages will be about $8,000, as well, they said.  

The times where Simonis is able to focus are usually taken up by piecing together what happened that day, they said. 

“The part of my brain that I use for work has been hijacked functionally by the part of the brain that needed to know what happened to me,” they said. “There is such a painful need to understand what happened to me.”

Because of past traumatic events, like the experience of being in federal custody last year, Simonis said processing and living with the trauma is a bit easier to handle. But their ability to work will be forever changed yet again, they said. 

“I’m not able to work at the pace that I used to work at before I was assaulted by DHS. I’ll never be,” they said. “And this is just a further knockdown.” 

The trauma of the event has increased Simonis’ hyper-vigilance, as well. 

“Every time I hear a car go by, I’m double-checking,” they said. 

Even though Simonis has the tools to process and live with the immense trauma, they will never be the same person, they said. 

“They fucking changed my life forever. Point blank,” they said. “Not just mentally, but physically and physiologically. I can’t go back to where I was before. I’m lucky that I survived.”

Simonis has reported the attack to the FBI and is pursuing legal action with two specific goals in mind: to heal and to prevent similar crimes from happening.

“I am somebody who believes in abolishing the carceral system and the justice system as it exists and policing,” Simonis said. “But also a 37-year-old trans and disabled person who somehow managed to survive this long. And so naturally has become pragmatic about the world.”

Because of the reaction of the Gresham Police Department, Simonis did not want to work with local officers and instead went to the federal level. But because of the alleged assault by agents in Portland last year, this decision wasn’t easy for them.

Perpetrators in the assault threatened to call the police on Simonis,  even though Simonis did not commit a crime. Reporting the crime to the federal level is also a layer of protection, they said. 

“All of this is forcing my hand,” they said. There is no easy decision in the situation, they added. 

“We all know that crimes are underreported. We hear about it all the time,” they said. And there are reasons why people don’t report crimes and they’re totally understandable. A lot of victims are very concerned about what will happen if they break anonymity. In my situation, I’ve already broken anonymity.”

With recent arrests and crackdowns on the Proud Boys and other hate groups in the United States, Simonis is bracing for a long process. 

“This isn’t just going to go on a shelf,” they said. 

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