1. The Trevor Project National Survey on LGBTQIA+ Youth Mental Health 2021 surveyed nearly 35,000 LGBTQ youth ages 13-24 across the United States. Among the key findings of the survey:
- 42% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth.
- 12% of white youth attempted suicide compared to 31% of Native/Indigenous youth, 21% of Black youth, 21% of multiracial youth, 18% of Latinx youth, and 12% of Asian/Pacific Islander youth.
How would you support our LGBTQIA+ youth and specifically BIPOC and transgender and nonbinary youth?
During my first term on the County Council, I have supported increased funding of Mental Health and Behavioral health investments in our schools, Heath Department and Crisis response while supporting the LGBTQIA+ community through legislative action like our Fair Housing law, Human Relations Commission, and Police Accountability Board. I will continue to seek ways to support the LGBTQIA+ community through supportive, inclusive and equitable budget initiatives and policy adoption to ensure Anne Arundel County is a welcoming and supportive place for all.
2. On June 16, 2021, the Anne Arundel County Public School Board passed the Safe and Inclusive Environments for LGBTQIA+ Students, a comprehensive policy that prohibits discrimination and harassment based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.
The policy states support for the right of any student to be addressed by a name and pronoun that correspond to the student’s gender identity. Additionally, the policy supports the right of any student to use school facilities that correspond with gender identity in which the student identifies.
Please discuss the importance of the adoption of policies in schools that respect student gender identification, including consideration of reasonable and respectful accommodation in regard to facilities.
As stated in the questions above, we know our LGBTQIA+ youth need a supportive and safe learning environment in order to thrive. The adoption of policies in schools that respect student gender identification are paramount to working toward a more safe environment where students can be themselves and focus on their education.
3. Some school boards around the country are facing calls from conservative groups to ban LGBTQIA+-representative books and Pride flags. What is your opinion of such requests and what role do you think parents and school boards play in determining curriculum, library content, and teachers’ ability to support LGBTQIA+ youth?
Having served on the Anne Arundel County Board of Education, I am knowledgeable of the policies that are in place to allow individual parents to opt-out of certain aspects of curriculum for their students and review certain texts. I believe that individualized family approach coupled with the current review process for library materials is the appropriate way to manage issues that arise with challenges to curriculum and library content.
4. How have you advocated for the LGBTQIA+ community and supported inclusion for the LGBTQIA+ community in the past? Please be specific.
I have proudly participated with my family in Annapolis Pride events and supported legislative policies and budget initiatives that support the LGBTQIA+ community.
5. It has been well documented that LGBTQIA+ people face health disparities linked to societal stigma, discrimination, and lack of access to quality health care. How have you advocated to reduce LGBTQIA+ health disparities? Explain if you have not and what you intend to do in the future to improve the health of LGBTQIA+ people in Annapolis and/or the State.
I have supported our Health Department initiatives and County employee health benefit improvements for the LGBTQIA+ community.
6. How do you support improving police transparency and accountability?
The Anne Arundel County Council has supported and funded our new body worn camera program in the FY2020 Budget and just this Summer passed legislation creating our state-mandated Police Accountability Board. Our PAB legislation included sexual orientation and gender identity in our listing of representative characteristics for appointment considerations.