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Bringing a new energy to the Council

I will focus on the issues, not the latest scandal

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Brianne Nadeau, Ward One, Democratic Party, gay news, Washington Blade
Brianne Nadeau, Ward One, Democratic Party, gay news, Washington Blade, Council

Brianne K. Nadeau (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

I am proud to live in a city with the most progressive laws and policies related to LGBT equality, fairness and inclusion in the United States. We have marriage equality, hate crimes protections and anti-discrimination statutes. But I know we can go even further, and with a new energy and ethical leadership on the Council, we will.

Our laws are meaningless without enforcement. It is incumbent upon our elected officials to hold the Office of Human Rights accountable for addressing every last human rights violation and complaint brought before it.

We must also ensure that insurance companies fully comply with non-discrimination sections of the Affordable Care Act. This includes ensuring that insurance policies cover the full range of transgender healthcare needs, without exclusion or unnecessary denials.

The District of Columbia should lead the nation in implementing the ACA’s mental health parity requirement. LGBT youth are more likely to attempt suicide. LGBT adults are more likely to experience psychological distress, which requires medication and access to mental health services. I will fight to increase funding for adult mental health services, as well as expand access to mental health services for our youth. This includes increasing availability of school counselors and psychologists, and expanding access to public mental health services for transitioning homeless LGBT youth and seniors.

Our outdated qualifying conditions for medical marijuana services must also be repealed. Medical marijuana usage is proven to provide relief for a wide range of conditions including mental health ailments like post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, anxiety, depression and others.

We need more LGBT representation on our government boards and commissions. Working with the mayor’s office, the LGBT community, and my Council colleagues, I pledge to identify and promote the nominations of qualified LGBT individuals to serve on our government boards and commissions. I am especially committed to ensuring transgender representation.

Overall reported instances of hate crime violence fell by 14 percent in 2013 compared to 2012. However violence based on gender identity or expression increased by 33 percent. Between the years 2007-2013, violence based on sexual orientation increased 58 percent while gender identity-based violence increased by 71 percent. Even more appalling is that 61 percent of all bias-related crimes in the District are targeted toward sexual minorities. Unfortunately, Ward 1 is home to the highest percentage of these crimes.

One of my top priorities is to reduce this senseless violence and address the cultural and structural problems underlying bias-related crime, including anti-bullying initiatives in our public schools, sensitivity training in the workplace and rebuilding the highly effective Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit. The GLLU was severely cut under the Fenty administration, languishes under our current mayor, and has been forgotten by Ward 1’s current Council member.

I have a proven record fighting for LGBT equality, fairness and inclusion, both through my work with Jews United for Justice on marriage equality, and through my role as an ANC commissioner. My record is a reflection of my core beliefs and an indication of how I plan to govern as the Ward 1 representative on the Council of the District of Columbia. I plan to use my power as the Ward 1 Council member to exercise effective oversight, not interference. With me as your Council member you will have an ethical voice whose focus is on the issues, not on managing the latest scandal.

Together, we will ensure that Ward 1, and District of Columbia are safe, inclusive, and welcoming communities for LGBT individuals from across the country and around the world. Early voting begins March 17, and I hope you will join our movement and support me with your vote in the April 1 Democratic primary.

Brianne K. Nadeau is a candidate for D.C. Council in Ward 1, who received a majority vote at the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club endorsement forum. She has served as an advisory neighborhood commissioner and a board member of Jews United for Justice. Reach her via briannefordc.com.

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1 Comment

  1. brian

    March 14, 2014 at 8:21 am

    ***************
    “I plan to use my power as the Ward 1 Council member to exercise effective oversight, not interference.” -Nadeau
    ***************
    Sorry, but that seems like a lot of doublespeak. Effective oversight of any police department REQUIRES interference by Council and independent offices. DC has a POOR record of ESTABLISHED, INDEPENDENT police oversight, unlike virtually every other jurisdiction, because of our long history without an elected mayor and council– a virtual top-down, military management model.

    Now MPD has become a political wing of Shadow Fraud Mayor Vince Gray. From MPD’s PIO to all of its 7 district listservs– and its ONE-WAY, phony-baloney “SLU” listserv for LGBTs and other minorities, MPD-HQ (Lanier, Groomes et al) manipulates police information and news to further the greater glory of Shadow Fraud Mayor Gray.

    — What will you do to stop MPD coverups of MPD hate crimes case status information?
    — Will you legislate to compel MPD to provide a simple case status lookup online (i.e., by case number, open or closed status, no. of arrests to date)?
    — Do you support term limits for police chiefs and assistant chiefs to prevent police power concentration/ inevitable systemic corruption (as U.S. term-limits FBI directors)?
    — What will you do to strengthen/ better enable in law DC’s independent OPC police complaints statistical compilation? Compel MPD cooperation with OPC?
    — What will you do to increase Council’s OPC oversight/powers-sharing with EOM?
    — What will you do to compel GLLU’s core unit remains intact except for declared police emergencies by EOM and subsequent Council oversight approval.
    — What will you do to assure MPD’s sworn force strength grows with DC’s expanding population?

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Opinions

The future of lesbian bars

Resolve to support our queer spaces in 2022

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lockdown zone, gay news, Washington Blade

This New Year, I hope you wish for more lesbian bars across the country. The story of lesbian bars in the U.S. has been slightly tragic of late: as of January 2021, there were only 15 clubs or bars dedicated to queer women across the country. 

That’s right—only 15. Across all 50 states. 

In Washington, D.C., my hometown, A League of Her Own stands out as the only lesbian bar in the city, dedicated to queer women. Located in Adams Morgan, A League of Her Own, also known as ALOHO, is a small mecca for queer ladies to pass through, socialize, and flirt. ALOHO is a chic gathering point for all queer folk, with posters of softball players dotting the walls and gender neutral signs lying about. 

Several years ago, another lesbian bar called Phase 1 existed in Southeast, where queer women could slam eight balls in pool games and engage in raunchy yet ever-so-hot jello wrestling competitions. 

Unfortunately, Phase 1 shut its doors in 2016. 

So what explains the closure of so many lesbian bars, while bars for gay men continue to flourish? Perhaps many queer women view gay bars as a space for their own as well, whereas gay men view lesbian bars as less of a place for them to socialize. 

Either way, we need to give support to lesbian bars now more than ever. Tokens of support can take many forms. 

For one, make sure to socialize in spaces dedicated to queer ladies. There are three lesbian bars in New York City: Cubbyhole (281 W. 12th St.), Gingers in Brooklyn (363 5th Ave.), and Henrietta Hudson (438 Hudson St.). Next time you visit the Big Apple, make sure to give these three spots some love. Maybe drag your experimenting bi friend to these locations. Or your pansexual roommate. 

Back in D.C., you can buy unisex shirts in A League of Her Own’s merchandise store, available online. 

Proceeds will go toward funding the bar, and making sure it stays afloat, especially during this COVID economy. 

Most of all, I hope you encourage your queer lady friends to keep on frequenting queer lady destinations. After all, there is only one thing that will keep lesbian bars afloat—and that is attendance. 

I, for one, will be frequenting many lesbian destinations this new year.  

Isaac Amend is a Yale graduate and participated in National Geographic’s ‘Gender Revolution’ documentary. He also is a member of the LGBT Democrats of Virginia, and contributes regularly to the Blade. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @isaacamend.

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Breaking barriers as an out trans ‘Jeopardy’ champion

Amy Schneider’s run inspires us all

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Amy Schneider (Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Television)

“When was the last time anybody said ‘wow!’” a friend asked me.

I couldn’t remember the last time anyone I know (including me) had any “Wow!” moments. Until I heard about trans woman and software engineering manager Amy Schneider’s 29-game winning streak on “Jeopardy.”

You wouldn’t think anything could dispel our COVID exhaustion and political divisiveness. Yet, news about a champion on “Jeopardy,” a quiz show that has been on TV since 1964, has broken through our gloom.

In our culture, there are few things that everyone loves. But, “Jeopardy” is beloved by many, from theater geeks to 80-year-old sports nuts. A progressive friend was over the moon when his brother was a “Jeopardy” contestant. A buddy, a hetero (non-Trump) Republican, is a “Jeopardy” fanatic and a gay librarian pal is a “Jeopardy” freak.

Many of us daydream about being on “Jeopardy.” But we know that we wouldn’t have a chance on this legendary quiz show with its deceptively simple format: You give the answer to the (often incredibly hard) clues in the form of a question. You have to have a strategic military commander’s and a world-class athlete’s coordination: so you can press the buzzer to answer the clue.

The game’s categories run the gamut from opera to mountain ranges. Most of us, mere mortals, would be lucky to know even one category in the first round of the game. Let alone in the “Double Jeopardy” round or the “Final Jeopardy” clue. I might jump on clues about Katharine Hepburn movies or M&Ms. But that would be it for me.

It’s exciting to watch a “Jeopardy” contestant become a long-running champion. You marvel at the player’s intelligence, endurance, and nerve. It’s thrilling when the contestant on a winning-streak is part of your community.

Many of us LGBTQ “Jeopardy” fans are thrilled by Schneider’s record-setting winning streak. As I write this, Schneider has won more than $1 million in 29 games of “Jeopardy.” She is the fifth millionaire in “Jeopardy” history, and only the fourth player to reach this milestone in the regular season. She has won more than any other female “Jeopardy” contestant.

Schneider, like so many of us, doesn’t want to be defined by her gender identity or sexuality. Schneider’s life is multi-faceted; she has many interests. Schneider lives with her girlfriend Genevieve. They have a cat named Meep.

Yet, Schneider doesn’t want to hide that she’s trans. On “Jeopardy,” Schneider brilliantly dealt with this dilemma. She didn’t make a big deal about being out. She just wore the trans Pride flag pin.

“It was something that I wanted to get out there and to show my pride in while not making it the focus of what I was doing there,” Schneider told the New York Times. “Because I was just there to answer trivia questions and win money.”

As a cisgender lesbian, I can’t speak to how Schneider’s record-setting “Jeopardy” streak feels to transgender people.

But, as a trans ally, I’m cheering for Schneider. Kudos for her bravery! At a time when many states are passing anti-trans laws, it takes guts to be out on TV and the Internet.

Few things are as mainstream as “Jeopardy.” I bet that many “Jeopardy” viewers who are frightened at the idea of trans people, will become more comfortable with transgender people after watching Schneider on the popular quiz show. Because folks on TV come into our living and bedrooms and we feel as if we know them after watching them for a while.

“Amy looks like everybody else,” my neighbor said when I told her Schneider was trans. “She doesn’t act odd. She’s not strange.”

Transgender people encounter violence and discrimination in everything from housing to health care to employment.

I know Schneider’s “Jeopardy” triumph won’t end transphobia. But her winning streak will go a long way toward jumpstarting a change in hearts and minds.

Kathi Wolfe, a writer and a poet, is a regular contributor to the Blade.

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SCARY: Tucker Carlson now the conscience of GOP

Cruz bows down, kisses ring of Fox host

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Tucker Carlson (Screen capture via Fox on YouTube)

The Republican Party has sunk to a new low, hard to do, when a sleazebag like Tucker Carlson is now their conscience. Seeing Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) groveling before him is laughable, disgusting, and frightening all at the same time. 

As reported in Rolling Stone, Cruz said, “We are approaching a solemn anniversary this week. It is an anniversary of a violent terrorist attack on the Capitol where we saw the men and women of law enforcement demonstrate incredible courage, incredible bravery, risk their lives to defend the men and women who serve in this Capitol.” Then “Cruz was lambasted by Tucker Carlson that night, prompting him to hop on Carlson’s show Thursday and beg for forgiveness. “The way I phrased things yesterday, it was sloppy and it was frankly dumb,” Cruz said before Carlson cut him off and said he didn’t believe him. Cruz took it up a notch, stammering through an absurd bit about how he wasn’t talking about the “patriots across the country supporting President Trump,” only those who assaulted police officers, and that he’s always described anyone who assaults a cop as a terrorist.

Carlson has made a career of being a pompous commentator. Interestingly he worked at CNN, PBS, and MSNBC, before finally landing at Fox in 2009. According to his Wikipedia page he went to Trinity College where he earned a bachelor’s degree and Carlson’s Trinity yearbook describes him as a member of the “Dan White Society,” an apparent reference to the American political assassin who murdered San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk. After college, Carlson tried to join the CIA, but his application was denied, after which he decided to pursue a career in journalism with the encouragement of his father, who advised him that “they’ll take anybody.” Reading this clearly raised my opinion of the CIA and based on what we see in some media today I agree with Carlson’s father on his view of journalism. 

When you have a moment of silence in the House of Representatives to honor those who lost their lives on Jan. 6 and only two Republicans show up, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and her father Dick Cheney, the former vice president, one understands the influence Carlson has on the GOP. The rest were afraid of being criticized on-air by him or lambasted by Trump. 

Dick Cheney remarked on the GOP, “It’s not a leadership that resembles any of the folks I knew when I was here for 10 years.” He spoke to ABC News saying, “I’m deeply disappointed we don’t have better leadership in the Republican Party to restore the Constitution.” 

There is a leadership void in the Republican Party today. Their so-called leaders are afraid to say what they think if it differs in any way from Trumpism or Carlson’s view of the world, which requires total fealty to Trump. He found a home on Fox where he can lie with impunity and have millions believe his lies. 

President Biden said, in what many think was the best speech of his presidency so far, these people are “holding a dagger to the neck of democracy.” He went on to say, “For the first time in our history, a president not just lost an election, he tried to prevent the peaceful transfer of power as a violent mob breached the Capitol.” 

Tucker Carlson and his ilk have never bothered to answer a question the president threw at them, which is how they can accept all their down ballot victories, governors, and members of Congress, which occurred on the same ballots, cast by the same people, on the same day, as those for president. Of course, Carlson has no need to make sense, tell the truth, or speak rationally because of his platform on Fox, which doesn’t require that.

My question is whether Carlson is as dumb as he makes himself sound or is he brilliant and this is all a big act? Either way the acolytes that follow Trump don’t seem to care and are bowing down to Carlson’s big audience. It’s as if he can tell any Republican senator or congressperson, or Republican candidate for those jobs, to just ‘bend over and take it’ and they do. All we can do is mourn for the GOP of Lincoln and Eisenhower. Non-Trumpers will have to work hard and speak out if they ever want to resurrect a GOP that can be respected.

Peter Rosenstein is a longtime LGBTQ rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.

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