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Gay marriage opponent working for Shallal campaign

Leo Alexander backed by anti-gay groups in 2010 mayoral race



Andy Shallal, Busboys and Poets, District of Columbia, Democratic Party, gay news, Washington Blade

Democratic mayoral candidate Andy Shallal’s campaign has paid $4,000 to an official who ran for D.C. mayor in 2010 on a platform supporting a voter referendum to overturn the city’s same-sex marriage law. (Photo by Laela25; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

A candidate who ran for D.C. mayor in 2010 on a platform supporting a voter referendum to overturn the city’s same-sex marriage law was paid $4,000 in December as a consultant to Democratic mayoral candidate Andy Shallal, according to campaign finance records.

Records filed with the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance on Jan. 31 identify the consultant as 2010 mayoral candidate and former TV news anchor Leo Alexander.

In his run for mayor, Alexander’s campaign received at least $1,950 from the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and was backed by Bishop Harry Jackson, the Maryland minister who led the unsuccessful campaign to repeal the city’s marriage equality law.

Alexander received less than 1 percent of the vote in the September 2010 Democratic primary, far behind then City Council Chair Vincent Gray, who won the primary and then Mayor Adrian Fenty, came in second place behind Gray.

Shallal has expressed strong support for LGBT rights, including same-sex marriage. As owner of the local Busboys and Poets restaurant chain, Shallal has hosted LGBT events at his restaurants.

Shallal campaign spokesperson Dwight Kirk told the Washington City Paper that Alexander met with Shallal before joining the campaign and promised that he changed his mind and that his positions “evolved” on the same-sex marriage issue since his 2010 campaign.

But City Paper columnist Will Sommer, who was the first to report Alexander’s connection with the Shallal campaign, said in a posting on Thursday that Alexander wouldn’t tell him whether his positions on gay marriage changed.

News of Alexander’s involvement in the Shallal campaign comes two weeks after news surfaced that an advocate for a voter referendum on the D.C. marriage equality law in 2010 was working as a paid consultant in January for Gray’s re-election campaign.

Ward 5 Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Bob King, who was paid by the anti-gay NOM in 2010, is currently being paid to help the Gray campaign arrange logistics to drive senior citizens to the polls for the April 1 primary. Gray campaign chair Chuck Thies said King has no role in policy making issues and now accepts the marriage equality statute as the “law of the land.”

Alexander and Kirk couldn’t immediately be reached for comment by the Blade.

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  1. brian

    February 22, 2014 at 11:49 am


    There really IS something worse than anti-gay marriage bigots working in mayoral campaigns…

    Vincent Gray has a anti-LGBT police chief working as the top cop of this city. Gray’s Chief of Police is now using her high office to DEMONSTRATE to MPD’s chain-of-command how police favoritism to anti-LGBT politicians (and by inference, anti-LGBT police bias) will be rewarded by the mayor’s MPD bosses.

    Last Thursday night, Cathy Lanier honored virulent anti-gay marriage foes, Ward 5 area ANC Commissioners Carolyn Steptoe and Debbie Steiner with OFFICIAL MPD Police Awards.

    FWIW, Debbie Steiner is now in her second stint as a DC PUBLIC OFFICIAL (ANC Commissioner, Edgewood), having ran in 2006 for Ward 5 Councilmember.

    In 2010, just months after Marriage Equality became the law in DC, then MPD-5DCAC Treaurer, Debbie Steiner made public, demonizing attacks on gay-marriage on the Ward 5 Yahoo! listserv.

    At the time, even Chief Lanier denounced and distanced MPD from Steiner’s “homophobic comments” in a public statement. But this week, despite no known public retraction by Steiner of her 2010 homophobic comments, Lanier presented Steiner with her “Chief of Police Special Award.”

    “Special” indeed.

    Also FYI, Carolyn Steptoe ran for Council in 2006, too, as a losing Statehood Green candidate. Still, excepting winner Harry Thomas, Jr., Steptoe garnered more votes for Ward 5 Council than any other candidate in 2006.

    Carolyn Steptoe is also a *CURRENT* ANC Commissioner in Ward 5. In other words, Steptoe is a longstanding *DC PUBLIC OFFICIAL*, a very activist politician, just like Steiner.
    But get this…
    Carolyn Steptoe is also *CURRENTLY* running to unseat Ward 5’s incumbent LGBT civil rights champion, Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie.

    So despite Carolyn Steptoe’s very active, OFFICIAL political status, Gray’s top cop (a Ward 5 resident herself, mind you) recognized no problem at all in publicly honoring a fiercely anti-gay politician with MPD’s prestigious “Citizen of the Year Award.”

    How many people live in DC city now? Out of what– 650,000? ‘Citizen of the Year’? For a public OFFICIAL of DC GOVERNMENT? A politician’s politician? And virulently anti-LGBT at that?

    Apparently, so blind to elementary government ethics is Gray’s Administration that neither the mayor nor our police chief understand a simple rule for maintaining public trust our city’s MPD…

    Every police department must remain scrupulously NON-POLITICAL and NON-PARTISAN in ALL aspects of its official policing functions.

    One does not have to be a professional ethicist to understand why that is a fundamental maxim of urban policing best practices.

    Police corruption is just as wrongful — whether its motive is money and/or material gain, or the trappings of political power and influence.

    For shame, Mr. Mayor! You owe the LGBT community of DC an apology for the apparent hypocrisy and unethical police practices going on in your 2014 campaign– and in your increasingly politicized police department.

    We simply can not tolerate the appearance of anti-LGBT police bias anywhere within MPD’s ranks– especially from its leadership.

    COUNCIL should also act immediately to prevent the use of MPD for political favoritism, influence and corrupt practices by this and any other future chief of police.

    The trust of DC citizens in THEIR police department and the honor of dedicated, rank and file police officers deserve no less.

  2. Peter Rosenstein

    February 24, 2014 at 8:58 am

    I don’t know the background of why these awards were given but I do know that Cathy Lanier in not anti-gay. While she and I have not always agreed she has done a great job as Chief. I don’t know why these awards were given to these people and what they are for but I will ask which the first commenter hasn’t bothered to do. There is a reason the chief is the most popular Chief this city has ever had and that is becasue she has been fair and done a great job.

    As for the Mayor Vince Gray has been the best friend the LGBT community has ever had in the Mayor’s office. He supports the LGBT community because he really cares and has fought his whole life for everyone’s civil and human rights including his own. He is one of the main reasons we have Marriage-equality in the District and he has worked closely with the Transgender community to make sure they are treated equally and fairly in our city.

  3. brian

    February 24, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    You see how Gray speaks with forked tongue to DC’s LGBT community? Likewise to the entire city regarding Gray’s & Lanier’s very selective release of crime stats.

    How do I put this gently, but honestly? OK. Got it.

    They’re simple LYING to us, Peter. Apparently to Gray supporters, too.

    When you compare apples to apples…
    — DC is now the FIFTH MOST DANGEROUS city for crime above 500,000 population.
    — Only Philly, Memphis, Baltimore and Detroit were worse than DC.
    — Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Columbus, OK City, Houston, San Antonio, Seattle, Charlotte, Portland, LA, San Jose, NYC, San Diego and El Paso– and a lot more– were all among the cities SAFER THAN DC in 2013.

    Don’t let Gray and Lanier get away with lying to you about their “great” crime record. It is in fact, WAAY below average. Just GOOGLE…

    “Safest and Most Dangerous U.S. Cities 2013 infoplease”
    As to Gray and Lanier being the best mayor and chief for DC’s LGBTs— that’s just laughable, too.

    Everyone can see that Gray and Lanier are more than happy to quietly curry favor with the city’s most virulent opponents to Marriage Equality and LGBT families’ interests.

    Gray is unethically using his now-corrupt police department management at its HIGHEST levels to manipulate Council elections, while hawking Police Service awards like common carnival barkers. For shame!

    It is an ongoing ethical embarrassment to our city. Who does not get that– irrespective of political party and belief?

    It is also an embarrassment to a formerly great police department, whose non-political, quiet professionalism was once comparable to PDs in New York and London. This is about good government– and simple common sense when it comes to police ethics, too.

    BTW, not only did former MPD Police Chief Charles Ramsey set up a robust, award-winning GLLU unit for DC’s LGBT community. He also established a Metropolitan Police Department Sworn Law Enforcement Officer Code of Ethics– which Gray and his police chief are now trampling upon.

    Peter, I’m glad you at least admitted you don’t know the virulent anti-gay/ anti-Marriage Equality record and/or statements of MPD’s awardees– which Lanier’s political policing team went out of their way to choose. Here’s a hint. GLAA just gave Steptoe a MINUS TWO (-2) rating in her run to unseat pro-LGBT champion Kenyan McDuffie for Ward 5 Council.

    FYI, virulent anti-gay Commissioner Steptoe was a surprise, last-minute choice, too. Steptoe was so giddy she wrote publicly (on MPD’s own listserv, of course) that it was a “Valentine’s present” from MPD.

    This is intentional, despicable high-level anti-LGBT political favoritism exercised by DC’s police department. That’s added to Lanier’s and Gray’s constant assaults on GLLU’s core unit. Read…

    Hey, there’s simply not enough space here to cover what you Gray supporters don’t know of Gray’s 2014 shadow campaign. But for sure, you can probably count on a lot more shoes dropping in MPD’s crowded tenement of anti-LGBT bias.

    That’s a dangerous public safety by-product– compliments of Gray and Lanier.

    PS — Peter, I voted for Gray last time. And Fenty before him. When are we LGBT Democrats going to recognize that we’re being used and lied to?

  4. W Johnston-Murphy

    February 26, 2014 at 7:00 am

    There is a small thing in this country called freedom. People are allowed to have different opinions and the have the freedom and the right to express those opinions. Freedom really is the ability to defend to the death another’s right to express an opinion diametrically opposed to your own. The louder you scream for everyone who is opposed to your way of thinking, the closer you become to a dictatorship. That is not what this country is about, at least it used to be.

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Comings & Goings



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



(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



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


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.

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,

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.

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