Annapolis Candidate Questionnaire

Brooks Schandelmeier, Ward 5 (D)

1. Please let us know if you have ever volunteered with or supported any LGBTQ+ organizations, such as Annapolis Pride, PFLAG, or the Human Rights Campaign. Feel free to include events in which you participated. Please include all groups you feel are pertinent including LGBTQ+ Equity actions or advocacy that you have taken in other non-LGBTQ+ organizations or Boards. If no previous volunteer or advocacy experience with or for LGBTQ+ Community, please explain why not and how you now understand the importance of such advocacy.

I was part of my local GSA in college but my activism increased after graduation. I was proud to volunteer and canvas for the 2012 Marriage Equality ballot initiative in Maryland. More recently I lobbied to strengthen Anne Arundel County’s Anti Housing Discrimination bill so that individuals can not be denied housing based on their sexuality or gender identification.

2. The Trevor Project National Survey on LGBTQ+ 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.

Please discuss your feelings about the data above and how you would help support LGBTQ+ youth and specifically Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC), and transgender nonbinary youth. Have you advocated for or endorsed legislation and actions on the state or local level to keep LGBTQ+ youth safe? Explain if you have not and what you intend to do in the future to improve the mental health of LGBTQ+ youth in Annapolis.

The numbers are horrifying. LGBTQ+ children face harassment at school, work, and sometimes home all to often which contributes to a sense of hopelessness and isolation. Supporting them for who they are can make a positive impact. I reached out to several school board members and asked them to support the Safe and Inclusive Environments for LGBTQ+ students. I am also a supporter of the Pride Parade and look forward to marching in person.

3. On June 16, 2021 the Anne Arundel County Public School Board passed the Safe and Inclusive Environments for LGBTQ+ Students, a comprehensive policy that prohibits discrimination and harrassment 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. Please provide your feelings regarding “Bathroom Bills” that have been proposed around the country.

These policies help LGBTQ+ children feel less isolated and attacked in places where they should feel safe, like in a learning environment. These policies are essential.
The recent Bathroom Bills being pushed around the country are abhorrent attacks on the trans community from people pretending to hold family values. Not only do they need to be fought on policy, but they need to be fought on the very idea that trans people simply trying to use the bathroom are “predators.” These bills are built on a premise that has no basis in reality and simply tries to exclude members of the trans community.

4. How have you advocated for the LGBTQ+ community and supported inclusion for the LGBTQ+ community in the past (i.e. have you spoken out publicly for policies at your place of business, testified before government bodies, adopted written policies for your employees, marched for equal rights, etc.)? Please be specific.

I volunteered and canvassed for the 2012 Marriage Equality ballot initiative and testified in front of the Anne Arundel County Council to prevent housing discrimination based on people’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

5. It has been well documented that LGBTQ+ people face health disparities linked to societal stigma, discrimination, and lack of access to quality health care. How have you advocated to reduce LGBTQ+ health disparities? Explain if you have not and what you intend to do in the future to improve the health of LGBTQ+ people in Annapolis.

In my job with the American Hospital Association, we worked with the Human Rights Campaign to encourage hospitals to adopt patient non-discrimination policies including sexual orientation and gender identity as well as create LGBTQ+ cultural competence training programs.

I’d like to see similar cultural competence programs given to city employees, especially during the summer programs for children provided by the Pip Moyer Rec Center.

6. What is your position on police reform and do you support police training and education on issues of concern to the LGBTQ+ community?

I am a cosponsor of a local police reform ordinance that will boost the relationship between our officers and the community. Our police need cultural competence programs to ensure that they can professionally service our entire city.