June 4, 2018 at 10:07 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Bisexual Md. House of Delegates candidate hopes to make history

Mila Johns would be the first openly bisexual person elected to the Maryland General Assembly if she were to win her race for the state House of Delegates. (Photo courtesy of Mila Johns)

A Maryland House of Delegates candidate is hoping to become the first openly bisexual person elected to the state’s General Assembly.

Mila Johns would represent House District 18, which includes Chevy Chase and North Kensington.

The LGBTQ Victory Fund last month endorsed Johns. She told the Washington Blade on May 29 during a telephone interview that she “would be thrilled” if she were to become the first out bisexual person elected to the General Assembly.

“More than anything it’s just a sad commentary that it’s 2018 and I would be the first,” she said. “I’ve never hidden it, but I’ve never particularly stressed it. It’s another part of my identity.”

Johns added she is “really thrilled” to receive the Victory Fund’s endorsement.

“It opens up a conversation about the bi erasure issue,” she said.

Health care, education among Johns’ top priorities

Johns, who lives in Chevy Chase with her husband and their 11-year-old daughter, previously worked at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses. She told the Blade she had accepted a position to vet Syrian refugees, but she declined the offer after President Trump’s election.

“I sent an email saying I’m sorry, I can’t take this job,” said Johns.

Johns told the Blade she decided to run for the House of Delegates to protect Marylanders’ access to health care.

She said she lost her insurance when she was 20-years-old because of a pre-existing condition. Johns added she became pregnant less than six months later and was able to get coverage through Maryland Medicaid.

Johns said she went into preterm labor when she was six months pregnant. She told the Blade she was able to receive the emergency medical care “necessary to stop that and continue the pregnancy only because of my access to Maryland’s Medicaid program for uninsured pregnant women.”

“It saved my daughter’s life,” said Johns. “The first thing the Trump administration tried to do was attack health care and gut the Affordable Care Act. That to me was just unconscionable.”

Johns said expanding education funding and tackling climate change are among her other top priorities if she were elected.

She told the Blade she supports the legalization of marijuana for recreational use in Maryland as a way to increase school funding. Johns also supports a “death with dignity” law, which would allow terminally ill people to take their own lives with the assistance of a doctor, in Maryland that would be similar to the one that Oregon adopted in 1997.

“Death with dignity is something I believe very strongly in,” she said.

Johns is not the only candidate who would make history in Maryland if they are elected this year.

Gabriel Acevero, who is running to represent House District 39 in the House of Delegates, would be the first openly gay man of Afro-Latino descent elected to the General Assembly.

Gender Rights Maryland Executive Director Dana Beyer would be the first openly transgender state senator in the country if she were to win her race for the Maryland Senate. State Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-Montgomery County), who fended off a challenge from Beyer in 2014, could become the country’s first openly gay state governor if he were to defeat Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in November.

State Del. Meagan Simonaire (R-Anne Arundel County) in a speech she gave on the floor of the state House came out as bisexual and disclosed her parents, including state Sen. Bryan Simonaire (R-Anne Arundel County), recommended she undergo conversion therapy. Meagan Simonaire is not running for re-election.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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