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Ed’s Plan to Advance LGBTQ+ Equality

The moment we’re in now reminds us that we must fight for a society that embraces everyone for who they are and protects everyone who fears for their safety simply because of their identity. DC is in many ways a welcoming place to be LGBTQ+, and stands out as having a large share of people who openly identify as LGBT in the U.S., yet problems still exist for many in this community. Transgender residents, and especially transgender residents of color and transgender youth, face police harassment, job discrimination, homelessness, and hunger. Many LGBTQ+ seniors face isolation. And hate crimes are still all too common.

As Councilmember, Ed will:

Work against anti-LGBTQ+ bias and strengthen capacity to address hate crimes motivated by sex, gender identity or expression, and sexual orientation:
  • Anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes account for nearly half of all hate crimes reported in DC in 2018,1 and the majority of these crimes involved assaults—including assaults with dangerous weapons—followed by threats, robberies, and property damage.2

Ed supports providing resources to the Office of Human Rights to ensure the LGBTQ+ community will receive justice in employment, housing and government services.

Support transgender residents, especially our transgender youth experiencing homelessness and transgender residents with employment needs due to deep discrimination:
  • 38% of single youth experiencing homelessness identify as LGBTQ+.3
  • Nearly half (46%) of all trans persons living in Washington, DC earn below $10,000 a year, with trans communities of color experiencing even greater levels of poverty (57%).
  • In a test of discrimination, 48% of employers appeared to prefer at least one less-qualified applicant perceived as cisgender over a more-qualified applicant perceived as transgender. 33% of employers offered interviews to less-qualified applicants perceived as cisgender while not offering an interview to at least one of the more-qualified applicants perceived as transgender. And the applicant perceived as a transgender man who had prior work experience at a transgender advocacy organization experienced the highest individual rate of discrimination.4

Ed supports the current community-led initiative to create a workforce program dedicated to uplifting this community.

Support decriminalizing sex work, to protect the safety of sex workers:
  • After criminal penalties were removed in New Zealand, sex workers were more likely to report instances of violence.
  • Addressing sexual exchange as a public health matter improves connection to services, increases the ability to negotiate safer sex practices, and reduces the transmission of infectious diseases (HIV, STIs).
  • Most sex workers are not coerced or trafficked. However, sex workers are in the best position to identify who is being coerced or trafficked, and removing criminal penalties allows them to be full partners in efforts against exploitation.
  • After removing criminal penalties, New Zealand street-based sex workers were 61.9% more likely to refuse a client because they felt unsafe.5
  • In DC, one in five sex workers has been approached by police asking for sex.
  • 78% of DC sex workers surveyed said that when police approach them they fear violence, harassment, arrest, humiliation and other concerns.
  • Almost 80% of sex workers surveyed went to the police for help when needed but officers often refused to assist them or made the situation worse.6

Ed is committed to helping find a path forward to better protect this community and give them better access to resources.

Support the health and well-being of LGBTQ+ residents, including ending the HIV Epidemic, particularly east of the Anacostia River and destigmatizing Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP):
  • DC ranks 5th among all American cities in the number of new HIV infections and has the largest per capita number of adults diagnosed with HIV in the United States.
  • In 2018, of new HIV diagnoses among men who have sex with men (MSM) two-thirds were Black and one-eighth were white.7
  • Black and Hispanic MSM are significantly less likely than white MSM to be aware of PrEP, to have discussed PrEP with a health care provider, or to have used PrEP within the past year.8
  • In 2016, Mayor Bowser released the 90/90/90/50 Plan to End the HIV Epidemic in the District of Columbia by 2020. While there has been steady progress (see Table E1), this year’s report reflects the necessity to increase availability, accessibility, and acceptability of services.

Ed opposes the Mayor’s proposed FY21 Budget cut of $2.8 million to the HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD and TB Administration (HAHSTA) — and specifically a $2.9 million cut to Prevention and Intervention Services — and a $500,000 cut to HIV/AIDS support services. Ed supports dedicating new funding to local Harm Reduction programs and an LGBTQ+ Health Access Network.

Meet the unique needs of LGBTQ+ seniors, including housing, social isolation and food security:
  • Housing is not affordable for many older adults and elders with low and moderate incomes. Many LGBTQ/SGL (same gender loving) elders are poorer than their heterosexual counterparts, particularly those who live alone.
  • LGBTQ/SGL elders fear subtle and overt discrimination in medical and social services, retirement homes, and assisted and long-term care facilities.9

Ed will work to ensure there are dedicated housing vouchers for LGBTQ+ seniors and that discrimination is prevented in senior facilities, and that reports of discrimination are investigated and addressed.

Supplemental readings:

  1. Revised FY 2021 Budget Request on behalf of LGBTQ+ Organizations
  2. DCist Story on DC Trans Needs Assessment Report 
  3. 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey – Full report
  4. 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey –  Executive Summary
  5. 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey – D.C. specific
  6. The Williams Institute LGBT Data & Demographics – D.C. specific
  7. A REPORT OF THE NATIONAL TRANSGENDER DISCRIMINATION SURVEY – Full report
  8. Violence and Law Enforcement Interactions with LGBT People in the US – Fact Sheet (scholarly sources)
  9. LGBT POVERTY IN THE UNITED STATES A study of differences between sexual orientation and gender identity groups – Full report
  10. Sex Worker Advocacy Coalition: Briefing on Criminalization of Commercial Sex – Factsheet

Endnotes

  1. DC MPD Bias-Related Crimes (Hate Crimes) DataBias-Related Crimes (Hate Crimes) Data | mpdc
  2. Hate Crimes in D.C.- D.C. Policy Center (2019 Report)
  3. 2019 “Youth Count DC” – LGBTQ+ Youth experiencing homelessness
  4. DC OHR 2015 Report- Qualified and Transgender: A report on results of resume testing for employment discrimination based on gender identity. – Full report
  5. Sex Worker Advocacy Coalition: Briefing on Criminalization of Commercial Sex – Factsheet
  6. Move Along: Policing Sex Work in Washington, D.C. – A report by the Alliance for a Safe & Diverse DC, Washington, D.C – Full Report
  7. District of Columbia Department of Health HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD, and TB Administration (HAHSTA) Annual Epidemiology & Surveillance – Full  Report
  8. Racial/Ethnic Disparities in HIV Preexposure Prophylaxis Among Men Who Have Sex with Men — 23 Urban Areas, 2017 – CDC Report
  9. Understanding Issues Facing LGBT Older Adults – Full Report

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