The Sexist

D.C. Mayoral Candidates Support Transgender Rights, But Don’t Really Take Them Seriously


On Wednesday, DC for Democracy hosted a pre-endorsement candidate forum for D.C.'s mayoral candidates. Here's the final question posed to the candidates: "Transgender people face some of the worst discrimination in the District, despite legal protections. As Mayor, the question to you is: Will you appoint the first transgender member of the human rights board?" Here's how Vince Gray, Mayor Adrian Fenty, and Leo Alexander chose to answer that question:

Vince Gray: "Yes. I think the District has made enormous strides, I was very proud to vote in favor of marriage equality in December; it became law on March 3rd in the District of Columbia and I think we had about 100 couples who were married in the District of Columbia. So I think we have a strong track record for observing human rights and equality here in the District of Columbia and that would simply be another way of demonstrating our committment."

Mayor Adrian Fenty: "Yes also. Let me just go back to the last question for one point . . . " [Proceeds to spend the rest of his time talking about the attorney general instead of transgender rights].

Leo Alexander: "I don't think he answered the question . . . OK, are we allowed to do rebuttal now since he was able to come back? . . . As far as their representation on the board, absolutely I support that. They should have been on the board, a member from that community, transgender community. Mr. Gray also mentioned his support on marriage equality here in Washington, D.C. and help moving that through council and getting the Mayor's signature. I understand that as being one of their proud achievements. My only issue with that is that I would have preferred a vote in the community. I think it's one thing to keep talking about being denied a vote on capitol hill but then we're turning right around and denying people in Washington D.C. an opportunity to vote on something as serious as this issue."

So, we had one candidate voice his support for a transgender appointee, and then spend the rest of his time talking about achieving gay rights in the District. Then, we had the current mayor voice his support for a transgender appointee, then spend the rest of his time talking about completely unrelated shit, even though he is Mayor right now and apparently has not appointed a transgender person to the commission yet. Then, we had another candidate voice his support for a transgender appointee, and then spend the rest of his time talking about how he thinks gay rights should be subject to a popular vote. Way to go team.

  • WER

    clearly they have no idea what's going on in transgender communities. and frankly i'm pretty surprised that question was even asked.

  • Manor

    Since our transgender population is maybe 1000 at best (right?) maybe they could discuss something that impact the 600,000 rest of us. Like crime.

  • Eli

    #1 - Trans people and gay people aren't the same thing.
    #2 - Fenty is an ass.
    #3 - The clapping pisses me off. People's civil rights shouldn't be up for popular vote.

  • Kait

    @Manor How do you know they didn't discuss crime? Are you opposed to trans people getting any consideration, ever? Even though trans people are winding up jobless and homeless, you think the time should be spent discussing something which is discussed all the time, everywhere?

  • Sadie-Ryanne

    Thanks for writing this, Amanda. Such disappointing answers! I didn't even know about this. Ugh.


    I have one word to write and that is "FREAKS".


    Where was Miss Earline Budd? She looks like a cousin of mine. LOL LOL

  • Astrid

    I was positively surprised that the question was asked, but negatively expecting these answers. Cis-privileged people (and I include myself here) often do not have a clue what is going on in the trans community, but that would be all the more reason to at least make it clear that you support their representation on a human rights board in more than just one word.

  • Brian

    Its important to note transgender activists and members of the commuinity have applied to be on this board and were not selected and have applied under the Fentry administration. A question should have been asked of Mayor Fenty of why was one not appointed of those who were nore than qualified to fill a seat.