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Comings & Goings

Victory Fund, HRC name two top new leaders



Comings & Goings, gay news, Washington Blade
Comings & Goings, 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].

Ruben Gonzales, gay news, Washington Blade

Ruben Gonzales

Ruben J. Gonzales is now vice president of leadership initiatives at the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund and Institute. The Institute is dedicated to advancing LGBT equality by identifying, recruiting, training and supporting openly LGBT public officials as well as building a pipeline of LGBT leaders. Ruben oversees the organization’s international and domestic programs, including its congressional internship and fellowship programs, Presidential Appointments Project and candidate and campaign trainings. He will also focus on growing support for these programs from private foundations and corporations to expand the number of LGBT leaders reached.    

Prior to joining Victory this year, Ruben led all fundraising efforts at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. Ruben also previously served as the chief development officer at the United Cerebral Palsy, deputy vice president for resource development at the National Council of La Raza, director of development at the Urban Assembly, a school management organization based in New York City, and with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation as director of volunteer management. Ruben is also recognized as an expert on the role of Latinos in philanthropy and has been invited by the Association of Fundraising Professionals to present on this topic.

In 2013, Ruben was named by “Advocate” magazine as one of its Top 40 Under 40 for his leadership on behalf of LGBT Latinos. Ruben also serves on the board of directors of the Latin American Youth Center, which is headquartered in Columbia Heights. Ruben holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Santa Clara University. He is married to Joaquin Tamayo.

The Human Rights Campaign has named Jay Brown as the organization’s new communications director. HRC said, “Brown will serve as an organizational spokesperson and lead a team responsible for advocating for LGBT equality in the media as well as supporting and amplifying HRC programs.”

Jay Brown

Jay Brown

Brown currently serves as HRC’s director of research and public education, “where he has helped shape the organization’s approach to generating research and educational campaigns aimed at enhancing the lives of LGBT people,” according to a statement. In his new role he will work closely with senior vice president of communications and marketing Olivia Alair Dalton. According to Dalton, “Jay is an incredibly talented communicator who has also led an impressive career as an advocate. He has spent a decade working to ensure equality for LGBT people at every intersection of their identities and lives. There is no one better equipped to lead our talented communications team and ensure we are ready to meet the challenges ahead in the fight for full equality.”

Brown said, “I couldn’t be more excited to join the communications team at such a pivotal time in the movement for LGBT equality. We still have so many stories left to tell about who we are, and the obstacles that still stand in front of so many LGBT people, in the United States and around the world.”

Brown worked at HRC from 2000 to 2006 where he managed communication strategies around the defeat of the Federal Marriage Amendment, advancing understanding of transgender people, and building support for hate crimes prevention legislation and the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” among other issues.

According to the HRC website, “prior to working with HRC Jay held director positions at Reading Is Fundamental and Carnegie Mellon University, focusing on integrated marketing and online communications. Jay is an out trans man and lives in Maryland with his spouse, Kendra, and their two children.”


District of Columbia

Bowser’s highest-level adviser resigns after sexual harassment allegation

Female staffer accuses John Falcicchio of longstanding abuse



John Falcicchio (Screen capture via WUSA9)

Lawyers representing a D.C. government employee shook up the city’s political establishment on Monday when they announced that the employee filed a sexual harassment complaint against John Falcicchio, the now former D.C. Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development and Mayor Muriel Bowser’s longtime chief of staff.

The attorneys, Debra Katz and Kayla Morin, did not identify the city employee. 

The announcement by Katz and Morin in a press release came shortly after Mayor Bowser issued her own announcement at a news conference on the same day. The mayor confirmed that Falcicchio’s sudden resignation last Friday, March 17, followed her decision to launch an investigation into allegations against Falcicchio.    

But Bowser said issues surrounding her longtime adviser’s departure amounted to “a sensitive matter that includes privacy concerns” that prevented her from disclosing why she initiated the investigation and why Falcicchio abruptly resigned. 

She said the investigation was being conducted by the city’s Office of Legal Counsel, which is “following established policies and procedures” and that all relevant D.C. government staff members were fully cooperating with the investigation.

“I can also tell you that this investigation does not involve any allegations of improprieties related to business transactions,” Bowser told reporters attending the news conference, which was initially called to celebrate the completion of the city’s 9th Street, N.W. protected bike lane project and to discuss updates on the Capital Bikeshare program.

“I have every confidence in my new chief of staff, Lindsey Parker, and in our new Interim Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, Keith Anderson,” Bowser said at the news conference. “And I have immense confidence in the 37,000 employees of the D.C. government who will keep us moving forward,” she said.

Parker has served as the city’s chief technology officer since 2019 and as assistant city administrator since 2022. Anderson has served as director of the D.C. Department of General Services, which oversees the city’s buildings and properties.  

“We represent an employee of the District of Columbia who came forward to report serious allegations of sexual harassment by former Chief of Staff and Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development John Falcicchio,” the statement released by attorneys Katz and Morin says.

“It is our understanding that this behavior is longstanding, and our client is cooperating fully with the investigation, which Mayor Bowser initiated immediately,” the statement continues. “Our client is courageous. She came forward to ensure accountability and protect other women,” it says. “Given the gravity of our client’s allegations – which involve unwelcome advances and sexual contact – we ask the media to respect her privacy,” the statement says.

It concludes by encouraging “everyone affected” to contact Maia Ellis, the Associate Director of the Mayor’s Office of Legal Counsel, who’s leading the investigation, at [email protected].

Katz is a founding partner and Morin is an associate of the D.C. law firm Katz Banks Kumin, which specializes in sexual harassment law, whistleblower law, and employment law, according to a write-up on its website.

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Md. Senate approves transgender rights bill

Maryland House of Delegates passed similar measure on Saturday



Md. state Sen. Mary Washington (D-Baltimore City) speaks at a press conference for the Trans Health Equity Act on Feb. 14, 2023. (Washington Blade photo by Linus Berggren)

The Maryland Senate on Monday approved a bill that would require the state’s Medicaid program to cover gender-affirming treatment for transgender people.

Senate Bill 460 or the Trans Health Equity Act passed by a 31-15 vote margin. 

“Requiring, beginning on Jan. 1, 2023, the Maryland Medical Assistance Program to provide gender-affirming treatment in a nondiscriminatory manner; requiring that the gender-affirming treatment be assessed according to nondiscriminatory criteria that are consistent with current clinical standards; prohibiting the issuance of an adverse benefit determination related to gender-affirming treatment unless a certain experienced health care provider has reviewed and confirmed the appropriateness of the determination; etc,” reads a summary of the bill.

The Maryland House of Delegates on Saturday passed a similar measure.

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Md. House of Delegates approves transgender rights bill

State Medicaid program would be required to cover gender-affirming treatment



Md. state Sen. Mary Washington (D-Baltimore City) speaks at a press conference for the Trans Health Equity Act in Annapolis, Md., on Feb. 14, 2023. (Washington Blade photo by Linus Berggren)

The Maryland House of Delegates on Saturday approved a bill that would require the state’s Medicaid program to cover gender-affirming treatment for transgender people.

House Bill 283, or the Trans Health Equity Act, passed by a 93-37 vote margin. The measure now goes before the Maryland Senate.

“Proud that the MD House of Delegates passed the Trans Health Equity Act with such a strong majority,” tweeted state Del. Anne Kaiser (D-Montgomery County), who introduced HB 283.

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