One of the key battlegrounds in the fight for LGBT rights is the local political arena.
This week, five Mayors from across the United States join us for a Tumblr Issue Time to answer your questions on the ways that they’re promoting and protecting LGBT rights in their cities.
Mayor Ed Lee • San Francisco, CA
The first Chinese-American mayor in the history of San Francisco, Edwin M. Lee is one of the founding members of Mayors Against Discrimination (MAD). In 2016, Mayor Lee appointed Theresa Sparks as the Mayor’s Senior Advisor on Transgender Initiatives, becoming the first city in the nation to have a position dedicated to advancing the rights of and creating policies for the transgender community.
Mayor Jess Herbst • New Hope, TX
Jess Herbst is the mayor of New Hope, Texas and the first openly transgender mayor in Texas history. A lifelong Texan, Herbst has called New Hope her home for nearly 20 years and served on town council for several years, beginning in 2003. She publicly announced that she is transgender in January 2017 following a long journey of self-realization and is a proud member of Mayors Against LGBT Discrimination.
Mayor Jorge Elorza • Providence, RI
Mayor Jorge O. Elorza was born in Providence and grew up in the city’s West End. In 2010, he was appointed to the Providence Housing Court, where he served until 2013. Mayor Elorza was elected as Providence’s 38th Mayor and took office in 2015 and is focused on turning Providence around by creating economic opportunity for all, public services that work for everyone and innovative, ethical City government.
Mayor John Dennis • West Lafayette, IN
Mayor Dennis was born in Japan and moved to West Lafayette with his family as a young child, where he was raised and educated. Upon graduation from Indiana State University, where he received his bachelor and master degrees, Mayor Dennis worked for a period of time in California, where he met his wife Mary. Mayor Dennis, upon his return to West Lafayette, joined the Lafayette Police Department, staying with LPD for 23 years, retiring as Deputy Chief of Police.
Mayor William Peduto • Pittsburgh, PA
Mayor Peduto took office as Pittsburgh’s 60th Mayor in January of 2014. One of his first orders of business as Mayor was to sign on to the Mayors for Freedom to Marry campaign and Why Marriage Matters Pennsylvania. Mayor Peduto has formed an LGBTQIA+ Task Force, created the position of LGBTQIA+ Liaison within the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, been an active member of Mayors Against LGBT Discrimination, and celebrated marriage equality following the SCOTUS decision on same sex marriage by uniting 19 same sex couples during a group wedding ceremony during Pittsburgh PRIDE.
Our panel of Mayors will begin answering your questions on Tuesday April 11.