Responses of Jim Graham to GLAA 2006 Questionnaire
for DC Council Candidates
1. Will you support funding for mandatory gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) sensitivity and diversity training for all members of the Fire/EMS Department?
YES. THIS CONTINUES TO BE CLEARLY NEEDED, PARTICULARILY AS NEW OFFICERS ARE BROUGHT ON BOARD.
2. Will you call on the new Mayor to appoint a new Fire/EMS Department Chief who is committed to rooting out the Department’s deeply entrenched homophobia and transphobia?
YES, I ASUME THAT THERE WOULD BE SOME CHANGE IN THIS POSITION IN THE NEW ADMINISTRATION. I THINK WE HAVE COME SOME DISTANCE ON THESE ISSUES, BUT THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES AND WE NEED LEADERSHIP AT FIRE/EMS THAT IS COMMITTED TO THE PRINCIPLES OF HUMAN RIGHTS.
3. Will you support a budget for the Office of Police Complaints large enough to continue to avoid developing a backlog of cases?
THIS HAS BEEN AN ONGOING PROBLEM. I WOULD LIKE TO HAVE MORE INFORMATION ON THE MOVEMENT ON THIS BACKLOG IN THE PAST 4 YEARS. I AM ADVISED, THAT CONSIDERABLE PROGRESS HAS BEEN MADE. HOWEVER, JUSTICE DELAYED IS JUSTICE DENIED, AND THUS IF MORE FUNDING IS THE ANSWER, I WILL SUPPORT IT.
4. Will you oppose legislation creating so-called “prostitution-free zones,” which would give the police, who routinely assume that every transgendered person is a prostitute until proven otherwise, virtually unlimited power to harass our transgendered residents?
I WOULD LIKE TO HAVE MORE INFORMATION ON THIS. IT IS A NEW CONCEPT FOR ME.
AIDS and Public Health
5. Do you agree that the drive to make HIV testing routine among District residents should include funding for counseling and referrals to treatment facilities for those testing positive?
ABSOLUTELY. THIS IS SOMETHING THAT I THOUGHT WAS IN PLACE, IT CERTAINLY WAS IN THE COMPREHENSIVE PLAN WE HAD AT WHITMAN WALKER WHEN I WAS THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR. THAT IS ONE OF THE PRIMARY PURPOSES OF TESTING, NAMELY TO CONNECT THOSE WHO TEST POSITIVE INTO TREATMENT OPTIONS.
6. Are you committed to continuing and expanding the District’s condom distribution program?
OF COURSE, CONDOM AVAILABILITY AND DISTRIBUTION PLAYS AN OBVIOUSLY CRITICAL ROLE IN STOPPING THE SPREAD OF HIV. I AM PARTICULARILY INTERESTED IN WHAT IS HAPPENING IN THE DC SCHOOLS IN THIS REGARD. I THINK WE HAVE BEEN FAR SLOWER THAN WE SHOULD BE IN THE SCHOOL NURSE PROGRAM. AT ONE POINT, QUITE RECENTLY, THERE WERE VERY FEW CONDOMS DSITRIBUTED. JUST LAST WEEK, I CONVENED A MEETING IN MY OFFICE WITH ACTIVISTS FROM PFLAG AND SMYAL WITH SUPERINTENDENT JANEY AND DARLENE NIPPER TO DISCUSS PROGRAMS AIMED AT GLBTQ YOUTH. WE HAVE AGREED TO MEET AGAIN IN THE FALL. ONE SPECIFIC IDEA WHICH I AND OTHERS ADVANCED WAS THE NOTION OF A GLBTQ LIAISON ADVISING JANEY ON A FULLTIME BASIS. JANEY HAD A VERY POSITIVE RESPONSE, AND WE ARE GOING TO FOLLOW UP.
7. The District is being forced by the federal government to switch from a unique identifier system to a names reporting system for people testing positive for HIV. Will you support legislation to strengthen our medical privacy laws, such as by creating a private right of action for those whose confidentiality is violated by District government employees or contractors?
YES, I HAVE ALWAYS OPPOSED NAMES REPORTING. SINCE WE ARE BEING FORCED TO DO THIS, THEN IT MAKES SENSE TO STRENGTHEN THE MEDICAL PRIVACY LAWS. WE MUST INSURE THAT AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE DISCOURAGES PEOPLE FROM BEING TESTED. AND, THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS THAT THERE REMAINS ALL MANNER OF STIGMAS ASSOCIATED WITH THIS DISEASE.
8. Will you support a budget for the Office of Human Rights (OHR) large enough to allow it to reduce to 270 days the average gap between the time that a discrimination complaint is filed and the time OHR issues a finding of probable cause?
WHEN I HAD OVERSIGHT OF OHR, I EXPANDED THE BUDGET AND STRENGTHENED THE AGENCY. PLEASE SEE EXHIBIT ONE, BELOW.
9. Will you block ceremonial resolutions and otherwise decline to honor individuals or organizations that promote any sort of bigotry?
WELL I WANT MORE DETAILS ON THIS BEFORE I SAID “YES”. THERE ARE VARIOUS QUESTIONS I WOULD WANT ANSWERED AS TO DEFINITIONS. I WILL POINT OUT THAT, JUST RECENTLY AS A MEMBER OF THE WMATA/METRO BOARD, I SUCCESSFULLY CHALLENGED A FELLOW BAORD MEMBER WHO EQUATED BEING GAY WITH “SEXUAL DEVIANCE”. HE IS NO LONGER A MEMBER OF THE BOARD.
10. Are you committed to publicizing and enforcing the provisions of the D.C. Human Rights Act forbidding discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression?
YES, I AM THE AUTHOR OF THAT LEGISLATION.
Marriage and Family
11. Do you support legal recognition of marriages between partners of the same sex?
YES. I HAVE BEEN CONSISTENTLY IN FAVOR OF SAME SEX MARRIAGE. I HAVE PRESSED FOR THE ISSUANCE OF THE DRAFT OPINION OF THE DC ATTORNEY GENERAL ON RECOGNITION ON THE VALIDITY IN DC OF SAME SEX MARRIAGES LEGALLY CONDUCTED ELSEWHERE. SADLY, IT HAS STILL NOT BEEN ISSUED.
12. Will you support legislation in the District to continue expanding the existing domestic partnership program to include all relevant rights and responsibilities of marriage in D.C. law?
YES, WE HAVE DONE A GOOD JOB IN THIS REGARD. I WILL SUPPORT FURTHER EXPANSION. I AUTHORED THE LAW IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA EXTENDING THE PROTECTION OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS ACT TO DOMESTIC PARTNERS. SEE EXHIBIT #1 BELOW.
13. Will you support the legislative and/or regulatory changes necessary to ensure that the District recognizes civil unions, domestic partnerships and similar legal relationships established in other jurisdictions?
YES, I WILL CONTINUE TO DO SO ALTHOUGH I WOULD PREFER SAME SEX MARRIAGE.
Public Education and Youth
14. Do you oppose both federal and local voucher programs that fund students in religious schools that are beyond the protections of the D.C. Human Rights Act?
I OPPOSE SUCH VOUCHERS, GENERALLY. I WOULD FIND PARTICULARILY OBJECTIONABLE ANY VOIUCHER PROGRAM WHICH WAS CONTRARY TO THE DC HUMAN RIGHTS ACT.
15. Do you oppose the use of either federal or District taxpayer funds to promote “abstinence only until marriage” sex education that undermines safer-sex programs by discouraging the use of condoms and that effectively tells gay and lesbian students that they must remain celibate forever because they may not legally marry?
YES. SUCH PROGRAMS FLY IN THE FACE OF REALITY. WE ARE TOLD, FOR EXAMPLE, THAT SOME HUGE PERCENTAGE (PERHAPS AS HIGH AS 70%) OF HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS ENGAGE IN SEXUAL ACTIVITY. ABSTINENCE IS AN OPTION, AND A GOOD ONE, FOR THOSE WHO CHOSE IT. BUT WE MUST ALSO BE MINDFUL OF WHAT OUR STUDENTS ARE ACTUALLY DOING AND THE RISKS THEY ARE TAKING. IN ADDITION, THE IMPLICIT “ANTI-GAY” MESSAGES ARE NOT ACCEPTABLE.
Consumers and Businesses
16. Do you support the relocation of the many gay bars and businesses that were displaced by the new ballpark, even if local NIMBYs and homophobes oppose them?
AS CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE ON CONSUMER AND REGULATORY AFFAIRS, I HAVE TAKEN THE LEAD IN ASSURING THAT THIS HAPPENS. MOST RECENTLY, WE OBTAINED AN ABRA OPINION THAT CLEARS AWAY SEVERAL TECHNICAL YET CRITICAL OBSTACLES TO RELOCATION. IN JANUARY 2006, I CONVENED A PUBLIC HEARING ON A BILL I INTRODUCED ON THESE ISSUES….ALTHOUGH, AS IT TURNED OUT, SOME OF THE ZONING INFORMATION (FROM OP) UPON WHICH WE WERE RELYING PROVED INACCURATE. THIS HAS BEEN A CONTROVERSIAL ISSUE, BUT I HAVE STEPPED FORWARD TO SUPPORT THESE CLUBS. AND THEY NOW HAVE AN ABILITY TO RELOCATE WHICH THEY PREVIOUSLY DID NOT HAVE.
17. Will you support legislation to curb the abuses of NIMBYs who are now allowed to file an endless series of baseless complaints to harass or extort bars and restaurants?
I WOULD HAVE TO KNOW THE SPECIFICS OF THE LEGISLATION TO ANSWER THIS QUESTION. IF IT REFERS TO LIQUOR LICENSING, THE CURRENT LAW ATTEMPTS TO STRIKE A BALANCE BETWEEN THE INTERESTS OF THE BUSINESS, AND THAT OF THE NEIGHBRHOOD. I AM OPEN TO DISCUSSION ON THIS ISSUE. I HAVE BEEN VERY HELPFUL IN THE LICENSING OF BE BAR, AS THE OWNERS WILL TELL YOU, ALTHOUGH I STAY ALWAYS MINDFUL OF THE ADJUDICATORY RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE INDEPENDENT ABC BOARD.
18. Do you oppose the Youth Protection from Obscene Video Games Act (B16-0125), a clone of other laws that have consistently been struck down by the courts on constitutional grounds?
THIS LEGISLATION, ACCORDING TO AN OPINION ISSUED BY THE COUNCIL’S GENERAL COUNSEL, IS CONSTITUTIONAL IF IT APPLIES TO OBSENITY AND NOT VIOLENCE. IN CONSIDERING THE LEGISLATION ON ITS MERITS, WE ARE OF COURSE GUIDED BY THAT OPINION.
Your record is part of your rating. Please list any actions that you have taken that may help illustrate your record on behalf of gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgenders.
1981-1984, PRESIDENT, WHITMAN WALKER CLINIC
1984-1999, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WHITMAN WALKER CLINIC, IN WHERE I PLAYED A KEY ROLE IN DEVELOPING AND ESTABLISHING THE REGION’S RESPONSE TO THE AIDS EPIDEMIC. IN 1999, WHEN I LEFT WWC TO ASSUME MY COUNCIL SEAT, THE CLINIC HAD MORE THAN 270 FULLTIME EMPLOYEES; AN ANNUAL BUDGET OF $24 MILLION; SEVERAL THOUSAND VOLUNTEERS; FULLY FUNCTIONING SATELLITE OPERATIONS IN MARYLAND, VIRGINIA AND ANACOSTIA; AND CASH AND REAL ESTATE ASSETS WELL IN EXCESS $15 MILLION. THE CLINIC HAD A WELL DESERVED INTERNATIONAL AND NATIONAL REPUTATION FOR EXCELLENCE IN QUALITY MEDICAL AND OTHER CARE.
AMENDMENTS TO THE HUMAN RIGHTS ACT AUTHORED BY COUNCILMEMBER GRAHAM EITHER DURING HIS OHR OVERSIGHT TENURE OR THEREAFTER
D.C. LAW 13-313 “Technical Amendments Act of 2000”
· To amend the Human Rights Act of 1977 to revise the definition of "Office" to reflect the re-establishment of the Office; to amend the Fiscal Year 2000 Service Improvement and Budget Support Act of 1999 to restore rulemaking authority to the Office of Human Rights
D.C. LAW 14-114 “Housing Act of 2002”
- To amend the Human Rights Act of 1977 to add that housing assistance provided to the owner of a housing accommodation under section 8 of the United States Housing Act of 1937, either directly or through a tenant, shall be considered a source of income.
D.C. LAW 14-189 “Human Rights Amendment Act of 2002”
- To amend the Human Rights Act of 1977 to provide that harassment constitutes an unlawful discriminatory practice; to provide District of Columbia employees with the same rights as private citizens in choice of remedies; to prohibit the District government from engaging in unlawful discrimination in the provision of programs, services, benefits, or facilities to the public; and to provide that discriminatory practices engaged against a person based on his or her perceived membership in a protected class is unlawful.
D.C. LAW 15-216 “Commission on Human Rights Establishment Amendment Act of 2004”
- To amend the Human Rights Act of 1977 to establish the Commission as a statutory agency and to define the purpose, functions, composition, appointment, and organization of the Commission.
D.C. LAW 15-263 “Human Rights Genetic Information Amendment Act of 2004”
- To amend the Human Rights Act of 1977 to prohibit employment discrimination based on genetic information; to prohibit an employer, employment agency, or labor organization from requesting or requiring a genetic test of, or administering a genetic test to, an employee or applicant for employment or membership; to prohibit an employer, employment agency, or labor organization from seeking to obtain, obtaining, or using genetic information of an employee or applicant for employment; to provide an exemption that allows the use of genetic testing or information with the written and informed consent of the employee or applicant for employment to determine the existence of a bona fide occupational qualification, investigate a workers’ compensation or disability compensation claim, or determine an employee’s susceptibility or exposure to potentially toxic substances in the workplace; to prohibit health benefit plans and health insurers from using genetic information as a condition of eligibility or in setting premium rates; and to prohibit health benefit plans and health insurers from requesting or requiring genetic testing.
D.C. LAW 15-309 “Human Rights Domestic Partnership Protection Amendment Act of 2004”
- To amend the Human Rights Act of 1977 to extend the protection of the act to domestic partnerships.
D.C. LAW 16-58 "Human Rights Clarification Amendment Act of 2005"
- To amend the Human Rights Act of 1977 to make explicit the judicial application of the protections under the act to transgender individuals.