TODAY: Mayors Against LGBT Discrimination Take Questions on LGBT EqualityBy Adam Polaski • April 7, 2017 • 2:44 pm
Today, Friday, April 7, five mayors who are members of Mayors Against LGBT Discrimination are taking questions as part of Tumblr’s IssueTime series.
Users can submit questions to the mayors all day today – and on Tuesday, answers will be published.
These five mayors are participating, representing just a bit of the diversity and range of support the Mayors Against LGBT Discrimination coalition holds:
- Mayor Ed Lee • San Francisco, CA: The first Chinese-American mayor in the history of San Francisco, Edwin M. Lee is proud to represent a city famous for its creative spirit, open and welcoming residents, and long tradition of pursuing creative solutions for the challenges of today. Mayor Lee is one of the founding members of Mayors Against Discrimination (MAD), a coalition of city leaders that applies political and economic pressure to stop discriminatory laws from spreading in the United States. In 2016, Mayor Lee appointed Theresa Sparks as the Mayor’s Senior Advisor on Transgender Initiatives, becoming the first city in the nation to have a position dedicated to advancing the rights of and creating policies for the transgender community. Mayor Lee has advocated for affordable housing options for LGBTQ seniors, including the largest LGBTQ-focused community home in the country. Prior to joining the City government, Mayor Lee worked for the Asian Law Caucus, fighting for the rights of immigrants and tenants facing racism and eviction.
- Mayor Jess Herbst • New Hope, TX: Jess Herbst is the mayor of New Hope, Texas and the first openly transgender mayor in Texas history. A lifelong Texan, Herbst has called New Hope her home for nearly 20 years and served on town council for several years, beginning in 2003. Before her time in public service, Mayor Herbst worked in personal computing and image processing as Vice President of Electro Communication Systems, receiving a nomination for the Smithsonian Technical Excellence Award for the PALCAT system. She publicly announced that she is transgender in January 2017 following a long journey of self-realization and is a proud member of Mayors Against LGBT Discrimination.
- Mayor John Dennis • West Lafayette, IN: Mayor Dennis was born in Japan and moved to West Lafayette with his family as a young child, where he was raised and educated. Upon graduation from Indiana State University, where he received his bachelor and master degrees, Mayor Dennis worked for a period of time in California, where he met his wife Mary. The couple then relocated to Ireland, where they resided for two years, and where their daughter Michelle was born. Mayor Dennis, upon his return to West Lafayette, joined the Lafayette Police Department, staying with LPD for 23 years, retiring as Deputy Chief of Police.
- Mayor Jorge Elorza • Providence, RI: Mayor Jorge O. Elorza was born in Providence and grew up in the city’s West End. After graduating from Classical High School, he earned his bachelor’s degree from URI and worked as an auditor on Wall Street. He received his Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School in 2003. Elorza returned to Providence and worked as an attorney for RI Legal Services. In 2005, he became faculty at RWU Law School where he litigated public interest cases and co-founded the Latino Policy Institute. In 2010, Elorza was appointed to the Providence Housing Court, where he served until 2013. Elorza was elected as Providence’s 38th Mayor and took office in 2015. Elorza is focused on turning Providence around by creating economic opportunity for all, public services that work for everyone and innovative, ethical City government. From developing Providence’s waterfront, to his plan to eliminate the blight of abandoned properties, Mayor Elorza is ensuring Providence is positioned to succeed.
- Mayor William Peduto • Pittsburgh, PA: William Peduto was elected to the office of Mayor of the City of Pittsburgh in the General Election on November 5, 2013, and took office as Pittsburgh’s 60th Mayor in January of 2014. As Mayor, Peduto continues to champion the protection and enhancement of Pittsburgh’s new reputation – maintaining fiscal responsibility, establishing community based development plans, embracing innovative solutions, becoming a leader in green initiatives, and ensuring that Pittsburgh is an inclusive and welcoming place for all. Peduto has been an ally and supporter of the LGBT community for many years. Long before he was elected Mayor, Peduto fought for fairness and equality for same sex couples and he continues to be a strong supporter of legislation and policies that provide equal protection under the law for all people. As a Councilman, Peduto helped create the City of Pittsburgh’s Domestic Partner law, designed to allow same-sex couples to share health benefits, and one of his first orders of business as Mayor was to sign on to the Mayors for Freedom to Marry campaign and Why Marriage Matters Pennsylvania. As Mayor, Peduto has formed an LGBTQIA+ Task Force, created the position of LGBTQIA+ Liaison within the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, been an active member of Mayors Against LGBT Discrimination, and celebrated marriage equality following the SCOTUS decision on same sex marriage by uniting 19 same sex couples during a group wedding ceremony during Pittsburgh PRIDE.
Mayors Against LGBT Discrimination is a bipartisan coalition of municipal leaders dedicated to securing inclusive nondiscrimination protections for all, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals, at all levels of government. We recognize the special role mayors play in protecting the rights and safety of residents and in advancing policies that move our communities and our country forward. Mayors Against LGBT Discrimination is a program of Freedom for All Americans, the bipartisan campaign to win comprehensive LGBT non-discrimination protections nationwide.