February 26, 2020 at 12:17 pm EST | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Human Rights Office director resigns to run for at-large D.C. Council seat
Monica Palacio, gay news, Washington Blade, discrimination, bias
Former D.C. Office of Monica Palacio is running for D.C. Council. (Photo courtesy OHR)

Former D.C. Office of Human Rights Director Monica Palacio, who has been credited with adopting aggressive policies to fight discrimination targeting transgender women and LGBTQ people in general, announced on Feb. 20 her candidacy for an at-large D.C. Council seat.

Palacio, who became a candidate less than a month after stepping down from her position as OHR director, is running as an independent for the seat currently held by Council member David Grosso (I-At-Large). Grosso announced last year he would not run for re-election.

At least 12 other independent candidates are running for the seat. Under the city’s election law, the seat must go to a non-majority party candidate, which means a non-Democrat.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser named Michelle M. Garcia, director of the city’s Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants, to replace Palacio as OHR’s interim director, with Garcia designated to continue to serve as head of the Victim Services and Justice Grants office.

LGBTQ activists view the Office of Human Rights as among the most important city agencies working to protect the rights of LGBTQ people in its role of enforcing the city’s Human Rights Act. The act includes protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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