1. Despite the 35% reduction in people without medical insurance (as of March 2015), due to the Affordable Care Act, those in the LGBT*QIA+ 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?
Through single-payer healthcare, coverage would be guaranteed to all Americans, which is especially needed for historically oppressed populations—including gender, sexual, and romantic minorities. Under that Medicare for All system, any psychological, hormonal, surgical, and family planning needs would be covered for LGBTQIA+ persons.
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?
Yes, I support a single-payer, Medicare-for-All system. Healthcare should not be tied to ones luck in finding a job in this corporate capitalist economy that’s putting millions of willing and able people out of work—nor should it be tied to your relationship status. It’s simply—everyone has the right to adequate healthcare.
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?
There are several other countries that have implemented this and we should follow suit to protect the dignity of non-binary Americans. By adding this option, we recognize that the sex and gender binary does not include everyone, welcome those people into the basic interfaces of citizens with their government such as drivers licenses or tax forms.
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. Intersex persons are part of the spectrum, and we as a party and as a country need to step up to the plate and begin to be an ally. Following the lead of Malta, I would support this ban on Intersex Genital Mutilation. Along with sexual orientation, gender identity, & gender expression, sex characteristics should be included in non-discrimination legislation. Intersex persons should not be forced nor pressured at any age to make their bodies conform to other people’s desires or standards; if they choose to pursue any surgical means, it should be covered by Medicare-for-All.
5. How else would you improve healthcare access for the LGBT*QIA+ community?
Our schools need to have comprehensive sex and relationship education inclusive of all gender and sexual minorities. Also, LGBTQIA+ persons—especially youth—are at higher risk of suicide; we should pay particular attention to providing public resources to stem our nation’s epidemic of suicides. Finally, people should not be limited in their choice of who can be at their bedside or making medical decisions for me. Government-recognition of relationships and notions of traditional family should not dictate and set defaults of who the most trusted and comforting persons in our lives are.
6. What plan do you have for international issues regarding sexual orientation and gender identity or expression?
We must be vocal around the world for LGBTQIA+ rights including advocating for the passage of the United Nations General Assembly’s declaration of LGBT rights. Human rights should be a strong consideration for any country to whom the United States is providing assistance; we should end funding to any country that criminalizes LGBT+ persons.
I will also instruct our immigration agencies and State Department to allow for increased asylum for LGBTQIA+ persons from countries where they face grave discrimination, imprisonment, and death.
7. The LGBT Equality Act was introduced this year. This Act essentially adds sexual orientation and gender identity to the current Civil Rights Act. Would you support the LGBT Equality Act?
Yes, I would add that it include “sexual expression” and “sexual characteristics” to be inclusive of queer and intersex persons. And that sexual orientation be interpreted explicitly to include persons on the asexual spectrum as well.
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? Do you support the inclusion of transgender people in all federal non-discrimination and hate crime legislation?
Yes, transgender people—as well as queer, intersex, and asexual persons—should be included in federal non-discrimination and hate crime legislation. The Justice Department in my administration would push back against so-called “gay panic” and “trans panic” legal defenses and argue for their invalidity.
A Stein Administration would implement a Green New Deal using emergency measures to convert the entire economy to clean energy by 2030. Through this program, any willing and able person will have a job. There were will be training and employment centers in communities throughout the nation. These services will be particularly attentive to the needs of all historically oppressed communities—including trans/queer persons.
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?
Many issues of importance to the LGTBQIA+ community are intersectional issues such as policing, homelessness and poverty, immigration, etc. This should be kept in mind while working towards community-based solutions. As such police need training on the particular challenges of historically oppressed communities and must be held accountable for any systemic bias they facilitate through unjust profiling and violence. There should be diverse community-based review boards with access to the information needed to assess these issues.
We need to demilitarize. The racist War on Drugs must be dismantled by legalization of marijuana, pardoning of small offenders and expunging recores. For other drugs, drug use should not be criminalized though sale may remain criminalized after further research done by an FDA not backed by pharmaceutical money. Prisons should not be run by private entities and should be transparent to the community and have community input into their institutional operations.
LGBTQIA+ people face higher rates of homelessness, which increases agitation and arrest by police; homelessness must be decriminalized and housing provided for all.
10. Children who identify (or appear to identify) as LGBT*QIA+ 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 LGBT*QIA+?
There should be sensitivity training for both students and staff as well as single-use, gender-neutral bathrooms available for kids that either do not fit within the binary.
The school-to-prison pipelines already makes education difficult for many at-risk students, we need to decrease these risks especially for trans/queer youth of color. Issues such as police in schools and overuse of suspension contribute to incarcerating—not educating—in many schools around our country.
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.
In 2002, I was the first gubernatorial candidate in Massachusetts to come out in favor of same-sex marriage, and continued to support these efforts during my other races.
During this campaign, I’ve tried to use my social media platform to amplify LGBTQIA+ rights battles—including recognizing activists in North Carolina combating HB2 and asking my followers to contribute to the bail fund for those brave queers/trans activities arrested in direct action. I have also tried to direct people to the Lavender Caucus by mentioning your caucus Twitter handle.
After the campaign is over, I fully intend to continue advocating for LGBTQIA+ rights and building the Green Party as the political home for all who care about equal rights.
12. How do you think the current GPUS LGBT*QIA+ platform should be improved?
To reflect your the Lavender Caucus’s stated acronym and recognition of solidarity amongst the whole spectrum—asexual persons should be explicitly mentioned in the platform and explained to be covered by the “sexual orientation” umbrella. “Sexual characteristics” and “gender expression” should be added where relevant to be inclusive of intersex and queer persons.
13. How do you think the current GPUS AIDS platform should be improved?
I believe that the FDA should also be directed to continually be looking into shortening or eliminating the 12-month period for men who have sex with men to wait to donate blood. Also, with the increasing prevalence of preventative, oral medicine known as Truvada, access to HIV-prevention methods beyond condoms should be made available to those who choose and that these be made available in generic form.
14. The acronym LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) is beginning to be well known. The Lavender Greens Caucus works towards being inclusive for all so we use the acronym LGBT*QIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexsual, trans* (all variations), queer, asexual, intersex, plus). 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 LGBT*QIA+ when giving presentations? Or is there another name you want to use for our community?
I tend to follow the Lavender Caucus’s lead in written text and social media. However, upon receiving feedback from many in the trans/queer community, I have dropped the asterisk after the T, which is now seen to be redundant. While I try to ensure I use the full acronym off-and-on throughout a presentation, for purposes of brevity in speaking and text, it’s mixed with common abbreviations such as “LGBTQ+” or “queer.”
15. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act is likely to be used as a basis for discrimination against LGBT*QIA+ 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 key is appointing judges who maintain such balance. That the RFRA does not apply to situations where corporate entities operating or individual persons working in public sphere refuse to supply services or benefits. The Justice Department can be directed to support this interpretation.