Donna Price is running for the Albemarle County board of supervisors in the Scottsville district. Here’s her responses to our questions about LGBTQ issues. Don’t forget to vote in the Democratic primary June 11!
Q: Do you consider yourself to be an LGBTQ ally? Why/why not?
As a transgender woman I am actually a member of the LGBTQ Community. But, beyond being a member, I am also an ally. I have demonstrated this over the past number of years through presentations made and training courses conducted ranging from Continuing Legal Education (CLE) programs for attorneys, and seminars for Human Resources individuals on LGBTQ issues in the workplace; Seminars conducted at State (Equality Virginia’s TIES) and National transgender conferences; I have spoken to the entire first year Medical Students class at UVA in successive years about Transgender health issues; I am a member of the Equality Virginia Transgender Advocacy Speakers Bureau speaking to various faith groups around the state about being transgender; lobbied State and Federal Legislators on multiple occasions over the years about LGBTQ issues; made presentations to organizations as diverse as the Virginia Department of Corrections and the National LGBTQ Bar Association at its annual conference; and, tomorrow morning in fact (June 3rd) at my own expense, I will be traveling to Philadelphia, PA where I have been invited by the Navy to be the keynote speaker at the Naval Shipyard Philadelphia’s Annual Gay Pride event. In 2017 I was selected as an “OUT100” honoree representing Transgender Military Veterans. In 2020 I will be teaching a Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity course at the University of Richmond Law School.
LGBTQ issues, however, are only part of my lifetime of dedication to achieving Civil Rights for all groups, as exemplified in my membership in the NAACP and the National Organization for Women, as well as State and Federal lobbying efforts on behalf of the NAACP; Equality Virginia; NOW; ERA; anti-gerrymandering efforts; and environmental causes; to name but a few. I am also a member of the League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan organization focused on voter education.
Q: As an elected official, what role will you play or push your elected body to play in promoting the safety and wellness of LGBTQ people who are parents, children, homeless, of color, disabled, tourists, new to the area?
One of the most important aspects of governance is recognizing the impacts of privilege on all segments of society. Race, religion, wealth, place of birth, citizenship, education, psychological health, sexual orientation and gender identity are but some of the many factors that affect both the opportunities and the ability to achieve success by everyone; and, those who are different, those who are “the other” start off every situation behind those who enter the race with privilege. As an elected official IT IS MY RESPONSIBILITY to ensure that consideration is given in all policies and procedures; and, rules and regulations to eliminate explicit and implicit bias in actions in order to eliminate discrimination. Every government official, at every level, and in every department must be held accountable for their actions and bear responsibility commensurate with their authority. All manner and aspect of discrimination must be eliminated in order to ensure that the entirety of the population has confidence in equal treatment and equal protection under the law.
Q. Are you safe-space trained and, if not, are you willing to be and to push your fellow officials, staff, and partners to get trained, along with training in implicit bias and bystander training addressing race and gender issues that also affect members of the LGBTQ community?
I have previously completed safe-space training. As with all effective training, however, I – as well as others – need to undergo periodic refresher training to avoid complacency. In addition to my lifetime of public service, to include 25 years as Navy Judge Advocate, and as a church leader dealing with children, where similarly focused annual training was required regarding matters such as abuse of position and sexual harassment; I have also, more recently, undergone similar training as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Richmond Law School.
Q: What else do you want the local LGBTQ community to know about you?
I lead the charge, literally, for equal justice and equal protection for the LGBTQ community, among others. I have marched on Washington in the DC Gay Pride Parade. I have held the banner first brought out with the initial push for the Equal Rights Amendment during the most recent Women’s March in DC earlier this year; and carried the TransEquality banner in the June 2017 Equality March in DC.
I live my life openly and with pride as a Transgender woman. I do so because now I no longer have to fear losing my job and livelihood over an employer learning that I am transgender; and, because I now can live openly, I do so for all my brothers and sisters in the LGBTQ community who still must live in the shadows, fearful of losing their jobs, homes, and futures simply for living openly as who they are. I am free to be me and it is now my responsibility to help others to be free to live their lives in peace; to achieve the life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness of which Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence. But, let me be clear; I am not running for office as a transgender woman any more than I am running for office as a practicing Episcopalian or a Navy veteran. I am a candidate for office who happens to be transgender, just as I am a candidate for office who happens to be a practicing Episcopalian and a Navy veteran.