National Lavender Green Caucus – Questionnaire for Presidential Candidates
1. Despite the 35% reduction in people without medical insurance (as of March 2015), due to the Affordable Care Act, those in the LGBTQIA community are still less likely than those in the general population to have medical insurance (and even those with medical insurance are less likely to have full access to healthcare such as psychological care, hormonal treatment, and surgical needs of the T* community.) How do you propose to address this discrepancy?
I support an expanded and improved Medicare for All universal healthcare system provided by a single public payer. The program would prohibit discrimination based on age, ability, gender or gender identification, sexual orientation, race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, political or other opinion, social origin, property, birth, or other status.
2. Do you support the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act (HR676), aka the single payer health care system, which will decouple healthcare from employment and marriage?
I did support the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act (H.R.676). Unfortunately, that bill has been replaced by “progressive” Democrats with H.R. 1384, the Medicare for All Act of 2019, which is not as good because it allows for-profit investor-owned health care facilities and takes two years to cover everybody instead of immediately.
I support immediate implementation of the Medicare for All concept, which is National Health Insurance to provide all medically necessary health services paid for by a single public payer. But I want to go further to build the public healthcare system out over the next decade into a community-controlled National Health Service. Hospitals and clinics will be publicly-owned. Healthcare providers will be salaried public employees. The healthcare system will be democratically governed by locally-elected health boards that federate and coordinate at the state and national levels. This model was proposed in the Josephine Butler United States Health Service Act between 1977 and 1998 by Rep. Ron Dellums and by his successor, Rep. Barbara Lee, from 1998 through 2010. It is time to bring it back. We can do better than publicly-funded but privately-delivered National Health Insurance.
The community-controlled National Health Service will provide democratic accountability that enables us to make an equitable and rational distribution of healthcare resources to serve all communities. It will provide better cost control than publicly-funded, privately-delivered National Health Insurance where the providers and drug companies seek to maximize their private income. It will provide better health care because salaried providers will be able to focus on patient care instead of maximizing income for themselves and/or their healthcare organizations by maximizing fees for service through running through lots of patients quickly and ordering unnecessary tests and procedures. I discuss this program in detail in Medicare for All as a Community-Controlled National Health Service.
3. One way to demonstrate inclusion is having more options on government documents than just “Male” and “Female”. Would you work to have this change implemented?
4. The website of The Intersex Society of North America notes their opposition to “genital ‘normalizing’ surgery” at birth for intersex persons. Do you support intersex people having right of fully informed consent for body self determination rather than having medical personnel and caregivers make these medical decisions?
Yes, because I support bodily autonomy and physical integrity as human rights.
5. How else would you improve healthcare access for the LGBTQIA community?
My Medicare for All program as a community-controlled National Health Service would provide a process for registering, investigating, and resolving complaints of discrimination. The program would cover all medically necessary services, explicitly including the psychological care, hormonal treatment, and surgical needs of transgender people.
6. What plan do you have for international issues regarding sexual orientation and gender identity or expression?
We need to start at home by rescinding Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the armed forces and Department of Defense funding of gender reassignment surgeries.
Trump’s ban on flying the rainbow flag at U.S embassies abroad should also be reversed.
Establish in the State Department a permanent Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTQIA Peoples.
The State Department’s annual human rights reports should continue reporting on violence and oppression of LGBTQIA people in other countries.
Increase funding through the State Department for the Global Equality Fund, a pooled fund with contributions from a number of governments that helps fund LGBTQIA equality efforts around the globe.
Direct all US agencies engaged abroad to:
- Oppose the criminalization by foreign governments of LGBTQIA status or conduct.
- Oppose discrimination, homophobia, transphobia, and intolerance against LGBTQIA people by foreign governments and private organizations.
- Protect LGBTQIA refugees and asylum seekers.
- Respond immediately to violations and threats to violate the human rights of LGBTQIA persons abroad.
- Enact the International Human Rights Defense Act (H.R. 1857; S. 861), which will establish as federal policy many of the polices described above.
7. The LGBT Equality Act essentially adds sexual orientation and gender identity to the current Civil Rights Act. Would you support the LGBT Equality Act? http://www.merkley.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/EqualityAct.pdf
8. Transgender people face discrimination in employment. The Transgender Economic Empowerment Initiative (TEEI) was the first initiative in the nation to help transgender people enter the workplace. Would you be willing to implement a federal initiative like the TEEI? http://www.teeisf.org/
Do you support the inclusion of transgender people in all federal non-discrimination and hate crime legislation?
9. Police have a long history in this country of harassment against marginalized groups. People of color, those with disabilities, those who are homeless, transgender people and others who go against mainstream gender norms, are stopped, questioned, arrested, convicted, and sentenced to prison, (and sometimes beaten, shot, or murdered) more often than people outside of those categories who have committed the same (usually minor) crimes or infractions (including simply being there). How would you propose ending this cycle of discrimination and violence? How would you change police training? What is the role of private prisons? What other changes would you make?
The federal government can help end the cycle of discrimination and violence by police agencies against LGBTQIA people in the following ways:
- Enact the End Racial and Religious Profiling Act (H.R. 4339; S. 2355), which would explicitly prohibit profiling on the basis of race, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity by federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.
- Enact a law requiring jails and prisons to respect the expressed gender of transgender, intersex, and gender nonconforming persons with individualized housing and program placements.
- Conduct Department of Justice investigations of police bias and abuse against LGBTQIA people.
- Provide Department of Justice LGBTQIA-inclusive anti-profiling and anti-bias policy guidelines and training for police departments.
- Enact a federal law to decriminalize sex work.
- Private prisons have no place in a public justice system. Profiting off incarceration generates lobbying and campaign financing for laws that promote mass incarceration. Private prisons should be outlawed.
Another change I would make is community control of the police. Review boards have failed to stem police brutality and killings. We need to bring the police directly under the control of elected police commissions that have the power to sanction police for abusing the rights of the people they are supposed to serve. My policy paper making the case for community control of the police includes ten federal policies to promote community control.
10. Children who identify (or appear to identify) as LGBTQIA are more likely to encounter discrimination and violence in school. Not just from fellow students but also from school staff and parents. They may be excluded from class or activities, they are more likely to get suspended or have other disciplinary actions taken against them, they may be kept from bathrooms or locker rooms, and they drop out of school at an increased rate. What steps would you take as President to stop school violence and to end discrimination against children who are LGBTQIA?
The president should use their public platform to set a tone of tolerance and equality for LGBTQIA people and children.
The federal Department of Education should have guidelines and incentives to promote age-appropriate state and local public school curricula that teach scientific knowledge, awareness, and sensitivity regarding sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. Regarding sex education, the curricula should expand understanding of LGBTQIA sexuality as a way to normalize the understanding of the spectrum of gender.
11. Please tell us a bit about the work you have done on these issues to date and work you plan to do once the presidential campaign is over.
I have long supported LGBTQIA people and movements.
I affirmed my sister when she came out as a lesbian in the early 1970s and have supported her activities in the LGBTQIA community, such as attending her performances as part of the Seattle Women’s Chorus. I have learned much about these issues from her.
I spoke out against the 2008 murder of LaTeisha Green, a transgender woman in Syracuse, and against the 2019 jury verdict that eventually acquitted the murderer who many people saw shoot LaTeisha with a shotgun as he shouted bigoted slurs at her.
In the aftermath of the LaTeisha Green murder, I campaigned for the inclusion in the City of Syracuse’s anti-discrimination laws of a transgender rights provision that prohibits discrimination based on a person’s “actual or perceived sex, or their gender identity or expression.” We won that reform in 2012.
In 2011 and 2013, I ran against the only city councilor who voted against that anti-discrimination provision, receiving 48% of the vote in 2011 and 40% in 2013.
I have campaigned for the release and pardon of Chelsea Manning before and after her transition. I have addressed her case in five statements I have released during the campaign. On what turned out to be the August day in 2013 when she announced her transition, I supported and gave tactical advice to a couple of Greens who unveiled a banner calling for her freedom inside the high school auditorium in which President Obama was giving a speech in Syracuse.
I recruited and assisted Serena “Rahzie” Seals in her run for that same council seat in 2017. Rahzie is the founder of BlackCuse Pride, which provides a safe space and advocacy for the black and people of color LGBTQIA community in the city of Syracuse. She is also a leader in Syracuse Black Lives Matter, an organizer for the Workers Center of Central New York, and a member of the state committee of the Green Party of New York.
After the campaign, I will continue to do this kind of support work.
12. How do you think the current GPUS LGBTQIA platform should be improved?
I support the current GPUS LGBTQIA platform in the section called “Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.”
However, I can conceive of likely scenarios where the Green Party should make an exception on the sixth point: “The Green Party will end all Federal military aid to national governments whose laws result in the death, other harm, or imprisonment of its citizens and residents who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual (LGBTQIA).”
In a number of countries, particularly in the Middle East and Africa, there even more virulently anti-LGBTQIA movements, notably ISIS and al-Qaeda affiliates, that are attacking people and their governments. If those countries ask for US military aid to defend themselves, preferably as multi-lateral aid through the UN or the African Union, I believe the Green Party should support providing that aid in order to prevent even worse harm to LGBTQIA people as well as other people in those countries. If the US withholds that aid because of the nation’s discriminatory policies, it could set up a situation where LGBTQIA people are scapegoated as the reason why US aid was withheld and could be mistreated even worse within that country.
13. How do you think the current GPUS AIDS platform should be improved?
The following sentence should be changed to have the Greens call for these drugs to be free to patients as part of a Medicare for All program: “The Green Party calls for our governments to make every effort to negotiate fair and reasonable prices for associated drugs, rather than allowing manufacturers to extract excessive profits from these life-saving medications.”
14. The acronym LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) is well known. The Lavender Greens Caucus works towards being inclusive for all so we use the acronym LGBTQIA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual). Other people use SO/GI (sexual orientation/gender identity) and others use SGM (sexual/gender minority). The word “gay” to refer to our group is non-inclusive. Would you agree to use LGBTQIA when giving presentations? Or is there another name you want to use for our community?
I use both LGBTQIA and sexual and gender minorities, the latter of which is used by the United Nations and in many other countries. I try to use the term that best conveys inclusivity in the context. Often that is first using the acronym LGBTQIA and explaining who that covers and that I mean the same thing when I say sexual and gender minorities, which I may the subsequently use in that presentation as a more succinct and fluid expression of the concept.
15. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act is likely to be used as a basis for discrimination against LGBTQIA people in places other than religious institutions. It may also allow corporations to regulate women’s bodies by actions such as controlling access to birth control prescriptions. How will you insure that the 1st Amendment is recognized while preventing discrimination?
The Religious Freedom Restoration Act has been used to justify discrimination outside of religious institutions, particularly against women and LGBTQIA people. The US rejected the claims of religious institutions that “religious freedom” gave them the right to practice racial discrimination. We need to extend these civil rights to protect women and LGBTQIA people against discrimination by religious institutions.
Church and state should be separated. Freedom of religious belief and practice in religious institutions should be protected. However, if a religious institution, including hospitals and clinics controlled by a religious institution, receives public money, it is now a public accommodations and the government has the right to and should enforce civil rights laws, including reproductive freedom and abortion rights and laws against discrimination. The same rule should apply to private businesses engaged in commerce with the public—the government has the right and duty to prosecute violations of civil rights, reproductive freedom, and anti-discrimination laws by private businesses.
The Religious Freedom Restoration Act should be amended by the Do No Harm Act (H.R. 1450; S. 593), which would ensure that federal law protects religious liberty but does not let religion be misused to harm others, including the RFRA to discriminate, to ignore wage and labor protections, to avoid compliance with laws protecting against child abuse, or to thwart access to health care guaranteed by law.
16. What is your position on the National Lavender Green Caucus Call for Justice and Reconciliation with the Georgia Green Party?
I agree with the science, policy positions, and sentiments expressed in the National Lavender Green Caucus statement.
I do not agree that the Georgia Green Party should be dis-accredited if the statement’s demands are not met.
Our goal should be a Georgia Green Party that respects trans rights and is affiliated with the national party. Disaccrediting them will leave us with a transphobic Green Party in place in Georgia that will make it harder to organize of a national Green Party affiliate that affirms trans rights.
I believe we can advance understanding of this issue among Georgia Greens through dialogue, education, and organizing.
I suspect the Georgia Green Party statement endorsing the Declaration on Women’s Sex-Based Rights does not reflect the majority of members of their party. I believe we can correct the position of the Georgia Green Party by out-organizing the transphobes by building support for a trans affirming policy among the grassroots members and new members, who can then outvote the transphobes to change the party’s position on trans rights.
I issued my own statement concerning the Georgia Green Party’s statement as soon as I learned about it:
Trans Rights Are Human Rights
by Howie Hawkins
February 27, 2020
Trans rights are human rights. We must push for the passage of the federal Equality Act to amend federal civil rights laws to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
We must also ensure that medical treatment related to gender such as surgery and hormone treatment are decisions made between doctors and patients. Like abortion, this is an issue of bodily autonomy. Many years of scientific research guide medical professionals in the treatment of adults and youth with gender dysphoria. Neither the government nor anyone else has a right to interfere in the care decisions of medical professionals with their trans patients.
Recognizing human rights for trans people does not take away from the rights of anyone else. In particular, human rights for trans women do not diminish the rights of women who are not trans.
I am concerned that the Georgia Green Party recently endorsed a document titled the “Declaration on Women’s Sex-Based Rights,” which claims that the concept of gender identity is discriminatory against women. The Georgia party also appears to have adopted an amendment to its platform that says physicians should not treat youth who experience gender dysphoria.
I urge the Georgia Green Party to reconsider these positions. I urge them to listen to trans people and consider the positions of Greens in the US and Europe and the broader movement for trans rights who all say unequivocally that trans rights are human rights, and that medical care for gender dysphoria should be a personal matter between trans patients and their doctors.