The Rainbow Caucus of LGBTQ Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners submitted a letter on June 19 the Chairman Phil Mendelson. You can read the text of the letter copied below, or view the entire letter in its original format at the following link: RainbowCaucusLetter.pdf
The Honorable Phil Mendelson
Chairman, Council of the District of Columbia
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 504
Washington, DC 20004
19 June 2019
Dear Chairman Mendelson:
We write as DC’s highest-ranking LGBTQ elected officials charged with ensuring the best interest of the District of Columbia as a whole. While the DC Council contains many self-
professed LGBTQ allies, we have not had true representation on the Council since Councilmembers Catania and Graham left office. The Council’s silence on hate crimes and
transgender violence, its refusal to provide even $1 in increased funding for the Office of
Human Rights and Office of LGBTQ Affairs that 15 organizations advocated for, its failure
to address anti-LGBTQ discrimination and violence, and its lack of action to ensure that we
have safe and respectful housing and job opportunities for LGBTQ people of all ages – and
in particular trans women of color – deeply concerns and disgusts us.
We learned long ago that Silence = Death … and your silence and inaction is killing
members of our community or placing them in harm’s ways and hospital emergency rooms. We will not be complacent, we will not be silent, and we will hold every single
Councilmember accountable for their failures – both now and during election time.
LGBTQ people are suffering when they walk down the street, they are targets, and they are
dying from preventable causes. Recent instances include the brutal murders of Ashanti
Carmon and Zoe Spears – both transgender woman of color, the violent attack on Carl
Craven and Braden Brech outside of Nellie’s on U Street, NW, on June 16th, and three
people stabbed inside the Fireplace on P Street, NW, also on June 16th. Sadly, violence like
this is all too common in our community, and it is happening on your watch.
Furthermore, the Council continues to fail in its oversight role. There is institutional
disrespect and homophobia/transphobia throughout our District government agencies,
particularly toward transgender people. Yet you do nothing. Your silence condones this
Words of friendship and support no longer ring true. Both as elected officials and your
constituents, we call on you to act now. Money talks, and we need to hear a mighty roar
from the Council by securing a minimum of $5M in funding for the programs and agencies
that support our community and make us safe.
We look forward to your response and are committed to rolling up our sleeves to work
together until every last one of us can walk down the street in safety and dignity.
Kent C. Boese
Michael. D Shankle