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Levine loses Lt. guv and delegate races in Va. primary

Three other Va. LGBTQ delegates secure nomination for re-election

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Mark Levine, Democratic Party, Virginia, gay news, Washington Blade
Mark Levine lost his two races on Tuesday.

Virginia House of Delegates member Mark Levine (D-Alexandria) lost his bid to become the state’s first gay lieutenant governor on Tuesday by finishing in third place in the Democratic primary with 11.2 percent of the vote in a seven-candidate race.

In a development that surprised some political observers, Levine also lost his primary race for the Democratic nomination to keep his House of Delegates seat to Alexandria Vice Mayor Elizabeth Bennett-Parker by a margin of 59.3 percent to 40.6 percent of the vote.

Under Virginia’s election law, Levine was allowed to run for the two offices at the same time, enabling him to secure renomination for his delegate seat if he won the primary for that seat while losing his race for lieutenant governor.

Virginia Del. Hala Ayala (D-Prince William County) won the primary for the lieutenant governor’s race with 37.3 percent of the vote. She had been endorsed by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D), a strong LGBTQ rights supporter.

Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, another longtime supporter of LGBTQ rights, was the decisive winner in the Democratic primary for governor, finishing with 62.1 percent of the vote in a five-candidate race. Under Virginia’s constitution, governors cannot run for a second consecutive term but can run again after leaving office for four years. Northam also endorsed McAuliffe.

Levine, an attorney, has been an outspoken supporter of LGBTQ rights issues in the House of Delegates, where he has served since 2016. He currently holds the seat for the 45th District, which includes most of the City of Alexandria and parts of Arlington and Fairfax Counties.

Although he lost his bid for renomination for his delegate seat, Levine came in first place in Alexandria in his race for lieutenant governor, capturing 30 percent of the vote in that seven-candidate race.
Meanwhile, three other LGBTQ members of the House of Delegates, all Democrats, easily secured renomination for their seats and will be running in the November general election against Republican nominees.

However, in what may have been yet another surprise to some LGBTQ activists, gay Virginia State Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) endorsed Bennett-Parker over Levine in that House of Delegates race. Ebbin, who is not up for re-election this year, told the Washington Blade he considered Bennett-Parker an excellent candidate who is highly qualified to serve in the Virginia General Assembly.

Levine couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

The other LGBTQ candidates who won renomination include Danica Roem (D-Prince William County), who four years ago became the nation’s first transgender person to win election and to be seated in a U.S. state legislature. Roem was not challenged in the Democratic primary this year.

Similarly, gay House of Delegates member Mark Sickles (D-Fairfax County) was unchallenged in Tuesday’s primary, securing his nomination to run against a Republican in the November general election.

Lesbian Del. Dawn Adams (D-Richmond) did face an opponent in the Tuesday primary, which she won decisively by a margin of 61.1 percent to 38.8 percent against challenger Kyle Elliott.

In the hotly contested race for six at-large seats on the Alexandria City Council, 13 candidates, including two gay men, competed for the seats. One of the two gay candidates, Kirk McPike, who currently serves as chief of staff for gay U.S. Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.), won the nomination for one of the seats by finishing in 6th place with 7.2 percent of the vote.

Gay civic activist James Lewis, who serves as vice chair of the Alexandria Traffic and Parking Board, finished in 8th place with 5.9 percent of the vote, disqualifying him from being nominated for one of the six seats up for election.

Under election rules for the primary in the Alexandria City Council race, the highest six vote getters are declared the winners. The candidate who finished in first place, John Taylor Chapman, received just 12 percent of the vote.

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Sheila Alexander-Reid to step down as director of D.C. LGBTQ Affairs Office

Veteran community activist to take new job workplace bias consultant

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Mayor's Office of GLBT Affairs, Sheila Alexander-Reid, gay news, Washington Blade

Longtime LGBTQ community advocate Sheila Alexander-Reid, who has served since 2015 as director of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Affairs, is stepping down from her city job in mid-July.

Alexander-Reid told the Washington Blade she will take a few weeks of accumulated leave beginning June 15 to recuperate from follow-up knee surgery before officially leaving her current job to take on a new role as a private sector consultant in the area of workplace bias and diversity training.

She said will announce the name of the private sector company she will be joining as a senior vice president when she begins her new job in mid-July.

Among her duties at the Mayor’s LGBTQ Affairs Office has been to lead the office’s staff in providing LGBTQ related diversity or competency training for D.C. government employees at all city agencies.

According to the office’s website, other activities it carries out include connecting LGBTQ residents with city services they may need, advocating on behalf of programs and policies that benefit the lives of LGBTQ residents, providing grants to community-based organizations that serve the LGBTQ community and LGBTQ homeless youth; and host events that “enrich, promote, and bring together” the LGBTQ community in D.C.

“That work is always going to be part of who I am,” Alexander-Reid said. “But now I will be expanding on that work to look at racial equity and gender bias as well as LGBTQ bias,” she said. “I feel like I will be doing the same work but in a different format.”

Prior to starting her job at the mayor’s office, Alexander Reid served as Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at the Washington Blade, Director of Strategic Engagement at the Washington City Paper, and Founder and Executive Director of the D.C. based Women in the Life Association. She has also served as host of Inside Out, a local FM LGBTQ radio show.

Alexander-Reid noted that when she began work at the LGBTQ Affairs Office in late January 2015, less than a month after Bowser took office as mayor, the office consisted of two full-time employees, including her, with a budget of $209,000. In the current fiscal year 2021, the office now has four full-time employees and two additional detailed employees, from the Department of Health and Department of Human Services. The mayor is proposing a budget of $561,000 for the office for fiscal year 2022.

“I would be remiss if I didn’t say what a pleasure it has been to work for Mayor Bowser,” said Alexander-Reid. “I was excited to work for her and I don’t regret it for one second. “It’s been an amazing journey and I appreciate her having faith in me.”

She said she expects an interim director to be named to run the office in mid-July while a search is conducted for a permanent director.

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Attack on trans woman in D.C. laundromat captured in video

Police seek help from community in identifying suspects.

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(Screen capture via the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department's YouTube channel)

D.C. police on Thursday night released a dramatic video taken from a surveillance camera showing two women and a man repeatedly punching and shoving a transgender woman at a laundromat on Benning Road in Northeast Washington in an incident in which the victim was stabbed in the head.

Police, who have listed the Sunday, June 6, incident as a suspected anti-LGBTQ hate crime, are appealing to the community for help in identifying the three suspects, who are shown in the video attacking the trans woman before escaping in a black SUV while carrying laundry bags.

Detectives from the Metropolitan Police Department’s Sixth District obtained the video from a surveillance camera at the Capital Laundry Mat at 1653 Benning Road, N.E., according to a police report and a police statement released Thursday night.

The video shows that the suspects were accompanied by two young children. It shows one of the adult female suspects appearing to be dancing by herself in front of a row of washing machines seconds before the three suspects lunged at the victim and began punching her.

“One of the suspects brandished a knife and stabbed the victim,” the police statement says. “The suspects fled the scene in a vehicle. The victim was transported to a local hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries,” the statement says.

“Anyone who can identify these individuals, or vehicle, or has knowledge of this incident should take no action but call police at 202-727-9099 or text your tip to the Department’s TEXT TIP LINE at 50411,” the statement adds. It says the department’s Crime Solvers program offers a reward of up to $1,000 to anyone who provides information leading to the arrest and indictment of a person or persons responsible for a crime committed in D.C.

Police spokesperson Alaina Gertz told the Washington Blade that because the investigation is ongoing, police could not immediately disclose whether they know if the victim knew one or more of the attackers before the incident took place or what, if anything, prompted the suspects to attack the victim other than due to her status as a transgender person.

The video released by D.C. police can be accessed here:  https://youtu.be/7v8lthvUPcg

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Trans woman attacked, stabbed at D.C. laundromat

Police seeking three suspects

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shooting, DC Eagle, assault, hate crime, anti-gay attack, police discrimination, sex police, Sisson, gay news, Washington Blade

D.C. police are investigating a June 6 assault and stabbing of a transgender woman at a laundromat on Benning Road in Northeast Washington that a police incident report lists as a suspected anti-LGBT hate crime.

“On Sunday, June 6, 2021, MPD officers responded to a radio assignment for a stabbing at 1653 Benning Road, N.E.,” the report says. “Officers arrived on the scene with Victim 1 bleeding,” the report continues. “Victim 1 stated that they were stabbed in the head and assaulted by Suspect 1, Suspect 2, and Suspect 3,” according to the report.

The report, which lists the incident as an assault with a dangerous weapon, says officers provided first aid to the victim until an ambulance arrived and took the victim to a local hospital for medical treatment. The report does not disclose the victim’s gender identity or sexual orientation.

But D.C. transgender activists Earline Budd, an official with the LGBTQ supportive group HIPS, and Ruby Corado, founder and CEO of the LGBTQ community services center Casa Ruby, each said they learned that the victim is a transgender woman.

Corado said she has heard that the victim was recovering from her injuries and may have been released from the hospital where she was treated.

D.C.’s Fox 5 News reported details of the incident that were not in the police report obtained by the Washington Blade. According to Fox 5, the victim told D.C. police the assailants used anti-LGBTQ slurs during the attack and the assailants consisted of a man and two women who “beat her and stabbed her in the head.”

The police report obtained by the Blade from the police public information office does provide a description of the three suspects and does not state whether or not the victim knew them prior to the attack.

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