Q: Do you consider yourself to be an LGBTQ ally? Why/why not?
Yes. Our Delegate should be ally and advocate for every voice in our community. Being an LGBTQ ally, in particular, means listening to and elevating the many ways in which our laws and institutions still marginalize people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. We’ve made lots of progress on LGBTQ rights nationwide, but so much remains to be done, especially here in Virginia.
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?
I think it’s important that we recognize when LGBTQ people are especially vulnerable members of already vulnerable communities. Everyone deserves quality schools, housing, and health care, but we can’t assume that LGBTQ residents will get the same access without proactive effort. We know that LGBTQ families, children, patients, and customers routinely face discrimination in both public and private services. In Virginia, it’s still legal to hire and fire workers based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. Landlords can still discriminate against potential tenants, too. If elected, I would work to enact legal protections against discrimination. I’d also support proactive programming to ensure public services address the particular needs of LGBTQ clients. We won’t get quality services “for all” if we act like one way fits all.
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 haven’t been trained and would be grateful to receive training.
Q: What else do you want the local LGBTQ community to know about you?
I think it’s critical that Delegates empower constituents as effective advocates. Often the hardest part about securing rights for any vulnerable group is getting their stories and voices heard. I’d be eager to support our local LGBTQ community in coordinating with allied groups across Virginia so we can collectively build the strongest voice for legislative action in Richmond. I’m a big believer that elected officials and community advocates should work together, not just to design the appropriate policies but to rally the political momentum it takes to get them passed.