In what LGBT activists considered an historic development, Mayor Vincent Gray on Wednesday administered the oath of office to transgender advocates Earline Budd and Alexandra Beninda as members of the D.C. Commission on Human Rights.
Budd and Beninda, who were nominated for the position by Gray and confirmed last month by the City Council, were among 13 newly appointed members to the commission to be sworn in by Gray at a ceremony at the John A. Wilson Building steps away from the mayor’s office.
Also sworn in at the ceremony was Michael Ward, who was nominated by Gray and approved by the City Council for a second term as commissioner. Ward is gay.
The appointments of Budd and Beninda represent the first time a transgender person has been named to the city’s Commission on Human Rights, which acts as an adjudicatory body that enforces the city’s Human Rights Act. The act, among other things, bans discrimination in employment, housing, education, and public accommodations based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, race, religion, and ethnicity.