Tag: lawmaker

Nevada lawmaker comes out as pansexual in powerful floor speech

On the left: Sarah Peters, wearing a face mask, delivery a speech in the Assembly. On the right: A headshot of Sarah Peters

Sarah Peters, a member of the Nevada State Legislature, comes out as pan on the Assembly floor. (Screen capture via Twitter/Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

A Nevada lawmaker proudly came out as pansexual on the Assembly floor in a powerful speech Thursday (25 March) that celebrated the state’s triumphs in LGBT+ rights.

Assemblymember Sarah Peters spoke during LGBT+ Health Awareness Week as she reflected on the seismic leaps the state has made in queer rights.

The district 24 representative, which covers part of Washoe County, said: “In the past decade has made unprecedented progress in making a more equitable home for our LGBT and queer community.”

Peters recalled how the state has sought to ground LGBT+ rights in its constitution, yet noted how “LGBT+ people continue to encounter barriers and discrimination […] in daily life”, a reality that deeply negatively impacts queer people’s health.

As she applauded health officials and decision-makers in working to figure out how the pandemic has pelted the queer community, she stated: “Today, as a pansexual, cisgender woman, I stand out for equity and remind us to be inclusive in our LGBT+ community as we work to make Nevada a more equitable place.”

Pansexual assembly member: ‘Being celebrated for my queerness is weird’

After a video feed of Peters’ speech was shared on social media, the environmental engineer received an outpour of love and support from her followers.

“Being celebrated for my queerness is weird,” she admitted in a tweet.

“Being bisexual and pansexual comes with so much guilt and questioning. Am I queer enough? Am I gay enough?

“What if I end up heteronormative, am I straight? Y’all, we are all enough and worth celebrating!”

Silver State Equality, an LGBT+ advocacy group, commended Peters on coming out in a press release.

“Coming out is a personal journey for everyone,” said the group’s director, André Wade.

“We are so happy for assemblywoman Peters as she takes this courageous step and shares her identity with her colleagues and the world.

“In doing so, she’s sending a message to LGBT+ people everywhere — especially LGBT+ young people — that pansexual people belong everywhere, including in the Nevada Legislature.

“Silver State Equality is proud to join assemblywoman Peters’s colleagues in wishing her joy and happiness today, and we look forward to working together to create a world that is healthy, just and fully equal for all LGBTQ+ people.”

Lawmaker who resigned after declaring ‘d**ks are for chicks’ reelected

John Mandt Republican West Virginia anti-gay slurs

John Mandt. (JohnMandt4VW.com)

A West Virginia, US, lawmaker who resigned earlier this year after allegedly saying “silly faggots, dicks are for chicks!” has been reelected as a delegate.

John Mandt Jr withdrew from the race to join West Virginia House of Delegates, representing District 16, in October.

The 57-year-old withdrew after he reportedly wrote in a Facebook group chat called “The Right Stuff”, which included conservative state lawmakers and office candidates, a slew of anti-gay slurs. He also allegedly speculated about the sexuality of other elected officials.

However, Mandt’s name remained on the ballot, and he won the general election in November.

By a narrow margin of just 71 votes, Huntington locals reelected Mandt, throwing Republican leaders into a tense bind, AP reported.

LGBT+ legislators uneasy at having to work with John Mandt Jr. 

When Mandt Jr first resigned, Republican house speaker Roger Hanshaw issued a blunt repudiation of him, saying that bigotry has no place in the state.

But with his return to the chamber confirmed, Mandt sought to praise the very speaker who once slated him. In an email sent to the news wire, he said called Hanshaw “a great man and a phenomenal leader”.

“I’m looking forward to continuing my hard work in the legislature and along with my colleagues.”

A similarly squeaky approach will no doubt be deployed by Mandt’s fellow Republican officials, buoyed by a stronger statehouse majority thanks to West Virginia’s unfettered allegiance to Donald Trump.

For the withered Democratic officeholders, especially openly LGBT+ members of the state legislature, a sense of unease and fear.

“It hurts,” said delegate Cody Thompson, “I work with these people.

“In general, I’m very proud of a lot of things we can work together on for the betterment of the people of West Virginia, but when it comes down to seeing these comments, it’s really hard to work with those who, they may smile to my face and talk to me, but behind closed doors or in conversations with others they use homophobic slurs.”

California makes history with bisexual, Gen-Z, Asian-American lawmaker

Alex Lee

California has elected it’s first ever openly bisexual state lawmaker – 25-year-old Asian-American Alex Lee, who’s the youngest state legislator in eight decades.

Rising star Alex Lee made history in in Santa Clara County where he won the 25th District Assembly race by a landslide, receiving more than 72 per cent of the vote. His competitor, Republican Bob Brunton, took home just under 28 per cent.

He celebrated his hard-earned victory after a campaign where he had to take a part-time gig economy delivery job to make ends meet as he refused to accept corporate campaign money.

“I have the distinction and responsibility to be a lot of firsts in California,” Lee said after the result was announced.

“I’m the first openly bisexual state legislator in California, the youngest Asian-American state legislator and first Gen-Z state legislator. That is an immense responsibility to make sure that more young people and more progressives are elected after me to break and shatter those records.”

Alex Lee, who was endorsed by senator Bernie Sanders, already has years of experience with the state assembly having worked for five different lawmakers, either as an intern or a paid aide.

He was just 23 when he decided to run for office, and by his calculation has since knocked on 30,000 doors seeking voters’ support.

“I think voters were very encouraged that a young person like me has so much experience in policy making and governing,” he told CBS Local.

“I would run into folks when we were door-knocking who are 80 years old, who would say, ‘Our generation screwed it up so it’s time for you all to fix all these problems for us.’ And they said it in a very encouraging way.”

After years of working behind the scenes of politics while experiencing housing and financial insecurity, he now hopes he can be a force for change.

He was heavily involved in the Black Lives Matter protests back in June and was actually arrested after San Jose enforced a city-wide curfew.

“We were trying to explain what we were doing, we weren’t doing anything wrong,” he told ABC7 at the time, describing the “abrupt and aggressive” behaviour of the police as they zip-tied his wrists and threw him into the back of a wagon.

“I’m very frustrated that this curfew is being used as an excuse to suppress protestors and repress freedom of expression.”


GOP lawmaker resigns after extremely anti-LGBTQ messages leaked / LGBTQ Nation

Donald Trump Jr. and John Mandt Jr.

Donald Trump Jr. and John Mandt Jr.Photo: John Mandt Jr. campaign website

West Virginia Delegate John Mandt Jr. (R) resigned this past Saturday and suspended his campaign for reelection to the state legislature after anti-LGBTQ messages he sent to a Facebook chat group were leaked.

“Silly Faggot, Dicks are for chicks!!” Mandt allegedly wrote in the chat group “The Right Stuff,” which included conservative lawmakers in the state as well as candidates for office.

Related: West Virginia GOP legislator compares LGBTQ community to terrorists & the KKK

As screenshots of the messages were circulated on social media, Mandt denied making them in Facebook post on Saturday morning, saying he was “really hurt and very disappointed seeing fabricated posts circulating on social media.” That message has since been made private or deleted.

Later that same day, he had turned in a letter of resignation to West Virginia House Speaker Roger Hanshaw (R).

“I have enjoyed my time in public service and thank the people of the 16th District for the opportunity to represent them in the House,” Mandt said. “Right now, my focus and priority needs to be on my family and business, and feel it is best at this time to terminate my campaign and make room for other individuals to serve the state.”

Screenshots from the group only use first names and profile pictures to identify the participants. One of them was Jeffrey Ward, a candidate for city council in Huntington, and he confirmed the authenticity of the messages.

“At first this group spoke of issues in the community and occasionally had some locker-room humor,” Ward told the Huntington Herald-Dispatch, saying that he was personally invited to the group by Mandt. “However, the rhetoric from Delegate Mandt and several members shifted to personal attacks, sophomoric remarks and were not issue driven and were beneath the dignity of his office — as such, I left the group in March of this year.”

While Ward says that the messages were “beneath the dignity” of those in the group, screenshots show him asking if West Virginia Sen. Mitch Carmichael is “a homo.”

“probably Bi,” Mandt responded. “He can be a little feminine.”

Another person in the group said, “I don’t believe in bi, you either sleep with the same sex of [sic] you don’t.”

“He reminds me of a fag.”

Mandt then brings up two other state Republicans and says that they are sponsoring a “queer bill.” It is not clear what bill he was referring to.

In a different exchange, Mandt informed the group that he removed someone named “Bri” from the group – possibly his daughter Briana –  who said she “lost a lot of gay friends bc of me.”

“I thought she was strong,” Mandt said of the person who was removed. “That’s youth for you. She’s tired of defending me.”

“When family turns on me,” he continued, “they aren’t family.”

“It hurts,” said Del. Cody Thompson (D), one of the two out members of the state legislature. “I work with these people.”

“In general I’m very proud of a lot of things we can work together on for the betterment of the people of West Virginia, but when it comes down to seeing these comments, it’s really hard to work with those who, they may smile to my face and talk to me, but behind closed doors or in conversations with others they use homophobic slurs.”

Last year on a podcast, Mandt called LGBTQ people “the alphabet hate group.”

Gay lawmaker turned away from blood donation centre

Shevrin Jones Florida blood donation

A gay lawmaker and coronavirus survivor tried to donate plasma to help others – but he was turned away because of his sexuality.

Shevrin Jones, a Democratic member of the Florida House of Representatives, went to a blood drive on August 7 with his mother Bloneva Jones and his father Eric Jones.

The three decided to donate blood because they had recently recovered from COVID-19 and wanted to help others by donating their antibody-rich blood.

Writing on Twitter, Jones said: “I was blessed to get through COVID, and it’s only right that we bless someone else and give them a fighting chance to live also.

“It’s the right thing to do.”

Florida lawmaker Shevrin Jones was told he can’t donate blood because of his sexual orientation.

But Jones’ dreams were quickly shattered when he was turned away by OneBlood because of a government policy that requires queer men to practice celibacy for three months before donating blood.

After he was turned away, Shevrin wrote on Twitter that he was “disappointed” he could not donate blood because of his sexual orientation.

“I was ‘deferred’ for another time. The good news is, my mom, dad, brother and over 20 other people saved a life today!”

He added: “Too bad my blood plasma isn’t good enough.”

To make matters worse, the incident was later turned into a campaign tactic in an anonymous homophobic text campaign.

I was ‘deferred’ for another time. The good news is, my mom, dad, brother and over 20 other people saved a life today!

Jones, who is currently running to become Florida’s first Black gay senator, was shocked to discover that texts were sent out to voters in Senate District 35 last week saying he had been discriminated against for “homosexual contact”.

The text linked to a website set up where an article about his blood donation ban was copied word-for-word.

“It’s a shame that my opponents have stooped to this new low to try and win,” Jones told the Miami Herald

“Rather than running off the issues that matter to the voters of our community, they have chosen to lob desperate attacks based on antiquated, discriminatory FDA policy… Hate never wins.”

Experts have urged the United States to overturn its ‘scientifically outdated’ blood donation ban.

Gay and bisexual men have been banned from donating blood in the United States since the 1980s, when the AIDS epidemic was at its height.

The original ban prevented any man who had ever had sex with another man from donating blood for life – but it has been relaxed considerably since then.

Earlier this year, the food and drug administration (FDA) reduced the deferral period – meaning the amount of time a man must remain celibate before donating blood – from 12 months to three months.

But experts warn that it still does not go far enough. 

In April, more than 500 doctors and experts in the United States wrote to the FDA urging them to overturn the “scientifically outdated ban”.

“While the FDA’s recent decision to shorten the prohibition window to three months is a step in the right direction, it does not go far enough in reversing the unscientific ban,” the letter said.