Both candidates for Boston mayor have LGBTQ platforms
On July 31, 2013, City Councillor John Connolly unveiled his LGBT platform to a group of supporters.
On October 11, 2013, state Representative Marty Walsh announced his LGBT platform at a press conference, flanked by supporters.
Below are each candidate's positions.
Marty Walsh has been a leader on LGBTQ equality for many years. His leadership on marriage equality emerged early in his career as State Representative when he helped lead the effort with MassEquality and the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus to stop the anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment. At the time of vote, people warned Marty that this was politically risky move that could potentially cost him legislative seat, but Marty persisted. He is credited by state and national LGBTQ rights organizations as one of the key influencers in making marriage equality a reality in Massachusetts. Marty strongly believes that LGBTQ equality is a human rights issue and his record speaks for itself.
Despite great strides towards equality over the last two decades, there is still work to be done here. A Walsh Administration will be steadfast in meaningfully addressing the issues that remain, including caring for our LGBTQ elders and supporting our LGBTQ youth. Marty recognizes that Boston’s municipal government must continue to support and promote LGBTQ equality. He knows that when equality is comprehensively supported and promoted, all of Boston is enriched.
ACCESS: Marty Walsh’s Administration will prioritize access to safe, inclusive living and working environments for all LGBTQ Bostonians.
Safe Spaces for LGBTQ Youth – Some spaces in Boston’s middle and high schools will be designated as a “Safe Spaces” for LGBTQ youth and their allies to study and hold extracurricular activities. Partnerships with local universities and non-profits can assist in helping to provide programming and supports to the groups using these spaces.
LGBTQ Student Leadership–Students can elect leaders to help coordinate “Safe Spaces” programs and be agents for change in their schools. Each leader from participating schools will form a leadership council that meets monthly in order to discuss successes and areas in need of improvement at their school’s “Safe Spaces” program.
Parental Engagement—Parental engagement will also be encouraged so that parents can have a venue to support LGBTQ youth in Boston Public Schools. “Safe Spaces” programs will have the capacity to act as secure places for youth to open up to their parents about their sexuality, with support from trained social workers.
LGBTQ Senior Center Designation – Marty will seek to develop a system for senior care centers to voluntarily apply for LGBTQ-friendly designation. He will also actively work to ensure that all mainstream elder service providers improve the capacity to provide appropriate care and support for LGBTQ seniors.
Senior LGBTQ Advocates– The Walsh Administration will encourage and support volunteer LGBTQ senior speakers to share their life experience as part of a public relations campaign. By empowering these seniors to connect with other seniors and community members, there will be less social stigma and increased open dialogue across all of Boston’s neighborhoods.
Services for Homeless LGBTQ Youth – Marty will partner with the state and local non-profits to develop transitional housing for LGBTQ homeless youth, as well as LGBTQ social services including counseling, independent living skills training, and vocational training.
ACCOUNTABILITY: Marty will ensure that LGBTQ concerns are actively and meaningfully addressed throughout policy implementation.
Establish Boston’s LGBTQ Commission – A commission of LGBTQ activists, students, residents, and experts will be appointed to serve as advisors to the City on issues affecting the LGBTQ community. The commission will ensure that LGBTQ issues are addressed efficiently and in a transparent way that addresses community concerns.
LGBTQ City Hall Liaison –There is no “one-stop” office or organization for the LGBTQ community in Boston. There are different places for different parts of the community and their various needs. MW will create a “one-stop” office for the LGBTQ community that provides resources, access to services and ensures the compliance of all city agencies and affiliates with the with all city non-discrimination policies.
LGBTQ-Inclusive School Committee Members – Marty will appoint school committee members who support a commitment to LGBTQ rights.
Care for LGBTQ Seniors – Marty’s Administration will mandate that city-funded organizations serving the aging population be trained and certified in providing LGBTQ-appropriate care. Private and non-profit organizations will be incentivized to attend these trainings as well.
COLLABORATION: Marty will foster partnerships to create a more inclusive Boston.
“Pathways to Inclusion” Initiative – Marty’s Administration will work with Boston Public Schools (BPS) to provide mandatory anti-bullying workshops for all students in elementary, middle, and high schools aimed at combating discrimination and encouraging all students to think critically about repercussions of student victimization. These trainings will be designed and implemented in partnership with professionals from local universities and non-profits.
LGBTQ-Inclusive Sexual Education – Marty will collaborate with the BPS superintendent, principals, and teachers to guarantee implementation of a city-wide comprehensive, age-appropriate, LGBTQ-inclusive sexual education program in middle and high schools that incorporates specific health risks facing LGBTQ youth.
LGBTQ In-Service Trainings – Marty will collaborate with BPS to dedicate one staff in-service day per academic year for teacher training on LGBTQ issues. This in-service day will focus on grade-level appropriate teacher training on supporting students.
Boston Public School LGBTQ Liaison: Marty will create an official LGBTQ liaison within BPS to help coordinate services and programming for inclusivity trainings for personal and services for students and parents.
Comprehensive Transgender Students Policy – The Walsh Administration will enlist the School Committee to develop a comprehensive Transgender Student policy. This development of this policy will include input from the LGBTQ organizations including the Massachusetts Transgender Political Caucus, the BPS superintendent, BPS principals, teachers, parents, and transgender students.
Enhance LGBTQ Trainings for the Boston Police Department – The Walsh Administration will support the expansion of trainings for BPD to focus on same-sex and transgender domestic violence issue, hate crimes, and the offering resources for both LGBTQ victims and those who are incarcerated.
Look to Other Cities’ Models – BPS will be encouraged to collaborate with New York City’s Harvey Milk High School, and other successful LGBTQ public high school programs nationwide, to incorporate and adapt best inclusion practices and raise the academic performance of Boston’s LGBTQ youth.
TRANSPARENCY: Marty will rely on sound data collection and public reporting to ensure transparency and meaningful refinement of policies that affect Boston’s LGBTQ residents.
Boston LGBTQ Forecast – Marty’s Administration will conduct an annual survey on sexual orientation, gender identity, and experiences of LGBTQ individuals in various public institutions. The collected data will be examined in partnership with local universities to examine how services and support could be better provided.
LGBTQ Youth Wellness – Marty’s Administration will also conduct an annual survey of students regarding rates of victimization, self-image, and well-being. This data will also be examined in partnership with local universities to examine how services and support could be better provided to Boston’s LGBTQ youth.
Marty Will Make It Happen as Mayor: Marty’s proudest vote as a legislator was the vote he cast to protect equal marriage. Other examples of Marty’s longstanding commitment to protecting the rights of Boston’s LGBTQ population include:
Currently Supported Legislation:
Co-sponsoring An Act Providing Housing and Support Services for Unaccompanied Homeless Youth, a bill aimed at providing housing and support services to unaccompanied homeless youth
Co-sponsoring, A Resolve Establishing a Commission on LGBT Aging, a special commission to study the health, housing, financial, psycho-social and long-term care needs of senior LGBTQ residents and their caregivers
Co-sponsoring, The LGBT Awareness Training For Aging Services Providers,
a bill focused on preventing and eliminating discrimination based on sexual identity and gender expression among LGBTQ seniors and caregivers
Supports the Transgender Equal Access Bill that would add gender identity and expression to the Commonwealth’s public accommodations anti-discrimination statute.
Supported FY 2014 budget amendments for programs that helped LGBT domestic violence victims, youth, seniors and HIV/AIDS patients.
Prior Legislative Sessions: Co-sponsored An Act Relative to Bullying, a bill requiring schools to enact anti-bullying plans and collect and report bullying statistics.
Supported the Transgender Civil Rights Bill that became law in 2012 and added gender identity and expression to Commonwealth’s anti-discrimination statutes for housing, credit, education, and employment.
Supported a budget amendment that helped save the LGBT Youth Commission from being disbanded by then Governor Romney
Supported a budget amendment that funded services for LGBT domestic violence, HIV/AIDS programs, and Gay-Straight Alliances in schools.
Submitted by the Walsh Campaign
On Wednesday, July 31st John held a meet and greet with the LGBT community and allies, and announced several proposals to serve the needs of Boston’s LGBT community.
We must fully resource and implement the Massachusetts Anti-Bullying Law. This law is a good start, but it does not go far enough and it does not provide funding for schools to implement the law. As Mayor, John will not wait for the legislature, he will find the money to implement the law and will take any and all steps necessary to end bullying in our schools and online. BPS is doing the best it can with the resources it has, but it needs full funding to ensure that all students are safe and secure at school and beyond.
John will call on the State House to pass pending legislation which would require schools to specify enumerated categories of students who are more likely to be bullied and provides for enhanced data collection and reporting requirements.
As mayor, John will appoint an LGBT Youth Commission to coordinate outreach to young people from every community in the city, and he will appoint a Coordinator of LGBT Services to the Boston Elderly Commission.
He will also require that all city forms, applications, and surveys include the option for residents to indicate sexual orientation and gender identity. Giving citizens the option to self-identify is not only the right thing to do, it also helps to ensure that city services are reaching all communities and to track the effectiveness of programs across communities.
John’s LGBT platform includes the following steps will take as mayor:
Advocate for funding for the Massachusetts Anti-Bullying Law so that Boston Public Schools have the resources to implement its unfunded mandates and to protect children;
Support legislation at the State House (H.454 and S.206) to strengthen the Anti-Bullying Law to, among other things, create enhanced data collection and increase school accountability through reporting requirements that capture data concerning bullying and school climate;
Establish an LGBT Youth Commission with diverse representatives from every neighborhood to provide a voice in city government and to facilitate outreach efforts toLGBT youth, especially in communities of color and the transgender community which are too often underrepresented;
Appoint a Coordinator of LGBT Services to the Elderly Commission to ensure that the specific needs of LGBT seniors are being met including housing and health care;
Ensure that programs are accessible and effectively serving LGBT Bostonians by including the option to indicate sexual orientation and gender identity on all city forms, applications, and surveys; and work to bring the Gay Games to Boston.