Beyer hopes to become firstout trans state legislator
By LOU CHIBBARO JR.email@example.com
Maryland has a chance of electing thenation’s highest number of out lesbian,gay or transgender people to a state leg-islature on Sept. 14, when nine such can-didates will be on the Democratic primaryballot for seats in the state’s GeneralAssembly.A tenth candidate, gay consultantByron Macfarlane, is running for the statepost of Register of Wills.Four of the nine General Assemblycandidates are incumbents who areexpected to win re-election, according tothe head of Equality Maryland, astatewide LGBT advocacy group.“It’s exciting that we have all theseLGBT candidates,” said MorganMeneses-Sheets, the group’s executivedirector. “They are talking about jobs andthe economy as well as LGBT issues.”Meneses-Sheets and others familiarwith the races say as many as four of theLGBT challengers have a shot at winning,which could raise the number of out LGBTmembers of the General Assembly – thestate legislative body that consists of theHouse of Delegates and Senate – fromfour to eight.One of the candidates hopeful of victo-ry is eye surgeon turned political activistDana Beyer of Montgomery County,whohas been endorsed by theWashington Post and the MontgomeryGazette for a District 18 seat in the Houseof Delegates.If she wins her primary race in the over-whelmingly Democratic district, Beyer isexpected to easily win in the Novembergeneral election, making her the nation’sfirst out transgender person to be electedto a state legislature.As a legislative adviser to a member ofthe Montgomery County Council and anoutspoken advocate for LGBT equality,Beyer’s status as a transgender womanhas been widely reported in the media forat least four years or longer.“It was a novel thing four years ago,”Beyer said. “Now, nobody cares. Now it’sabout my being a physician, surgeon,county staffer, advocate and activist. Andsomebody with a record who can getthings done and is willing to stand up andspeak clearly,” she said.“I think that matters more than anythingelse. The fact that I’m trans is not rele-vant.”In the Maryland General Assembly,most legislative districts include threeHouse of Delegate seats and one Senateseat. In District 18, Beyer and one otherchallenger are competing against threedelegate incumbents. The district includesthe areas of Chevy Chase, Kensington,Silver Spring and Wheaton.The incumbent senator in the district isRichard Madaleno, the first out gay per-son to win election to the MarylandGeneral Assembly. Madaleno, who alsoreceived endorsements from the Post andGazette, is expected to win election toanother term.The other incumbents consideredstrong favorites to win re-election to theHouse of Delegates are lesbians AnneKaiser of District 14, which includesDamascus, Olney, part of Silver Spring,and Burtonsville, among other areas inMontgomery County; Heather Mizeur ofDistrict 20, which includes Takoma Parkand part of Silver Spring; and MaggieMcIntosh of District 43, which includesnorth-central Baltimore and surroundingareas.Among the four challengers seekingseats in the General Assembly includegay trade association legislative directorTim Quinn, who is running for a stateSenate seat in District 37, which includesthe cities of Easton, Cambridge, andSalisbury. Lesbian civic activist and envi-ronmental group director MaryWashington of Baltimore is seeking aHouse of Delegates seat in District 43, thesame Baltimore area district thatMcIntosh represents.Gay Anne Arundel County AssistantState’s Attorney Luke Clippinger is run-ning for a House of Delegates seat inDistrict 46, which includes south andsoutheast Baltimore, including parts ofFederal Hill, Fells Point and PattersonPark.Lesbian teacher and NationalEducation Association Foundation officialBonnie Cullison is running for a House ofDelegates seat in District 19, whichincludes the Montgomery County jurisdic-tions of Gaithersburg, Aspen Hill,Wheaton and Olney.Macfarlane, who is running for theRegister of Wills position, is a resident ofHoward County and serves on the coun-ty’s Democratic Central Committee.
4 washingtonblade.com • september 10, 2010
FBI investigating ‘robocall’ attacks against Graham
Federal authorities are investigating at least two separate computer generatedphone messages initiated by an anonymous person or group that denounced gayD.C. Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) as being “immoral” and “wretched.”The phone messages, known as “robocalls,” were placed to homes of Ward 1residents on Sept. 4. They urged the residents not to vote for Graham in his re-election bid because, among other things, he helped pay for an abortion for thegirlfriend of a former member of his staff.“Paying to take a life is evil, especially when you weren’t even the parent,” oneof the phone messages said. “Jim Grahamn is wretched, immoral, and doesn’tdeserve to represent us. Let’s get a decent human being to fight for our children— not kill them.”The allegation apparently was based on a Washington City Paper story lastyear reporting that Graham loaned his former aide, Ted Loza, money to help payfor an abortion for his girlfriend. The City Paper said Graham confirmed the reportand said Loza repaid him. Graham later dismissed Loza after a grand jury indict-ed him on bribery charges related to the city’s taxicab industry. Graham has notbeen implicated in the taxicab bribery matter, which has been the subject of a fed-eral investigation.“We have turned over information about the calls to local and federal authori-ties, including the FBI and the Federal Communications Commission,” said ChuckTheis, a spokesperson for Graham’s election committee.Theis said the calls appear to be aimed at the sender’s opposition to abortion.The automated phone messages did not refer to Graham’s status as one of twoopenly gay members of the Council. The second of the two robocalls accusesGraham of having committed adul-tery with a woman, a claim thatTheis calls “ridiculous” as well as“outrageous.”Federal law prohibits robocallsthat don’t identify the individual ororganization initiating the calls.Theis said phone companies rou-tinely cooperate with local and fed-eral authorities to help trace thecalls and identify the vendor that theinitiator retains to transmit the calls.The vendor is required by law toreveal the call’s initiator to theauthorities.Graham’s two opponents in theSept. 14 Democratic primary andhis Republican opponent in theNovember general election haveeach said they had nothing to dowith the attack calls. GOP opponentMarc Morgan, who is gay, issued astatement calling the phone messages “a horrible political stunt” that’s unethical.“I have personally reached out to Council member Graham and assured himthat neither I nor anyone associated with my campaign was involved,” Morgansaid. “Furthermore, I will work with the Council member to identity the responsibleparties and assure they are due swift and necessary punishment.”
LOU CHIBBARO JR.
Catania opponent disqualified from ballot
A D.C. minister who was endorsed by the anti-gay National Organization forMarriage in his effort to oppose gay D.C. Council member David Catania (I-At-Large) in the city’s November election was disqualified from the race last week bythe D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics.In a statement, Anthony Motley told supporters the election board notified himthat he did not fulfill the requirements for placement on the ballot. The WashingtonPost reported that Motley failed to collect 3,000 valid petition signatures neededto appear on the ballot for a citywide, at-large race.Motley has said he supports LGBT equality in general but opposed legal recog-nition of same-sex marriage, a position that prompted same-sex marriage oppo-nents to back him over Catania, who wrote and became the lead sponsor of thecity’s same-sex marriage law.
LOU CHIBBARO JR.