Responses of Harry Thomas, Jr. 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. Sensitivity and diversity training is extremely important.
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, if current the Chief is found to be derelict in his duties.
3. Will you support a budget for the Office of Police Complaints large enough to continue to avoid developing a backlog of cases?
Yes. Prompt response to complaints is important.
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?
No. However, I would support language in any such proposed legislation that would indicate its purpose does not include harassing transgendered persons.
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?
Yes. We have an AIDs epidemic in the District. One in 20 Districts residents is HIV positive. We must aggressively address this problem.
6. Are you committed to continuing and expanding the District’s condom distribution program?
Yes. Condoms can help prevent the spread of AIDs and other communicable diseases.
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?
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?
9. Will you block ceremonial resolutions and otherwise decline to honor individuals or organizations that promote any sort of bigotry?
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?
Marriage and Family
11. Do you support legal recognition of marriages between partners of the same sex?
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?
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?
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?
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. Safe sex education programs are important. Abstinence should also be included in the curriculum as a choice.
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?
Yes. I support the relocation of these establishments in areas zoned appropriately. They should not be relocated in neighborhoods but in the downtown business district or other types of commercially zoned districts.
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?
Yes, if current laws and regulations are not effective in this area.
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?
No. I would rather protect our youth even if the law may eventually be struck down by the courts.
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.
As part of my campaign, I have met with members of the GLBT community in Ward 5’s Bloomingdale community. The purpose was to listen to their concerns and issues, and let them know that I am supportive of the gay community in Ward 5, and welcome their involvement in shaping my council agenda.