Mayor Annise Parker and Rev. José M. Román Will Ensure Grassroots LGBT Voices Are Elevated


Last year, the Democratic National Committee took the unprecedented step of creating an LGBT Advisory Board to elevate grassroots LGBT Democratic voices. This Board will work with the DNC to advance LGBT equality, to identify causes of concern to the LGBT community at the local level, and to get out the LGBT and allied vote in order to elect Democratic candidates who respect and support the rights of the LGBT community.


Members will be selected from all 50 states and will represent the full diversity of the LGBT community. The LGBT Advisory Board was initiated under the leadership of DNC LGBT Caucus Chairman Earl Fowlkes. Whereas membership of the DNC LGBT Caucus is limited to elected DNC Members, membership on the Advisory Board is open to all LGBT Democrats who apply.


Today, Chairman Fowlkes is proud to announce that former Houston Mayor Annise Parker and LGBT & HIV/AIDS activist Rev. José M. Román have agreed to serve as co-chairs of the Advisory Board. Together they will ensure the LGBT Advisory Board regularly convenes to discuss issues of local importance across the states and ways Democrats can continue to take action to advance LGBT rights.


“The LGBT community has made huge strides the past 7 years under Democratic leadership, but with few exceptions the Republican Party continues to fight against equality at every turn,” said Mayor Parker. “During the fight to pass the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance in my own city, the despicable depiction of transgender people showed us how far our opponents will go to stop progress on protecting the rights of LGBT Americans. We see anti-LGBT pieces of legislation from Congress to local councils blocking equal rights, promoting discrimination under the guise of religious speech, and blocking transgender people from going to the restroom. The DNC’s LGBT Advisory Board will give us new opportunities to elevate local battles like HERO and to share strategies across communities about way to organize and win. I look forward to using the lessons learned in Houston to help lead this effort.”


“The diverse voices of the LGBT community have not always been represented in the national LGBT movement,” said Rev. Román. “This Advisory Board will help those voices be heard in the Party’s continuing efforts to advance LGBT rights. It will also help shine a light on LGBT Democratic candidates and the efforts of elected Democrats fighting for our community. I look forward to helping lead and shape this diverse body so that we can continue to fight for and protect the progress we have made.”


“The LGBT Caucus is very grateful that Reverend Román and Mayor Parker have stepped up to volunteer their time and leadership as co-chairs of the LGBT Advisory Board,” said DNC LGBT Caucus Chair Earl Fowlkes. “I look forward to working with them and the entire Advisory Board in advancing equality for the LGBT community and helping to stop Republican efforts that would bring us backward.”


Bios:


Rev. José Miguel Románis an LGBT and HIV/AIDS activist who is heavily involved in the interfaith community of New York City. Having worked in numerous aid agencies in New York City during the AIDS crisis, Rev. Román has worked to improve the success of needle exchange programs in New York City and source funding for HIV/AIDS research. Active in Gay Latino Men of New York where he previously served on the Board, he has also served on the Board of Directors of Gay Men's Health Crisis and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. He is currently the Dean of Students at One Spirit Learning Alliance, where he has also served as a trustee. He is currently pursuing his Doctorate from the New York Theological Seminary and is an Assistant Vice President at New York University.


The Honorable Annise Parker just concluded 3 terms as Mayor of Houston, ending 18 years of public service in which she also served as a Council Member and City Controller. She is the immediate past president of the National Conference of Democratic Mayors. She has a 40 year track record as a Democratic Party activist, including serving as a Precinct Chair, state and national delegate, co-chair of the Lesbian and Gay Democrats of Texas, and co-chair and underwriter of the Harris County Democratic Party Johnson-Richards-Rayburn Dinner. Parker’s election as Mayor in 2009 made her the first openly LGBT Mayor of a major American city.


Background:


The Advisory Body will be comprised of representatives from every state and they will regularly convene in regional calls. National co-chairs will work with regional chairs to ensure information is regularly relayed to the DNC’s Director of LGBT Engagement and the DNC’s LGBT Caucus. The Advisory Body will also work with the Party’s local and state entities and candidates to ensure they are successful in their elections and advocacy of LGBT people.


Applications for the Board are still being accepted at http://my.democrats.org/lgbt-advisory-board.

 

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