Prizm News / April 17, 2018 / By Bob Vitale
Dennis Kucinich talks about LGBTQ issues at the Interbelt Nite Club in Akron on Saturday, April 7. Above: Kucinich posed for a NO H8 photo in 2012. (Photos courtesy of the Kucinich campaign)

‘It is about ensuring that LGBTQ Ohioans enjoy the dignity due all human beings as their birthright,’ the Democratic candidate for governor says.


Democrat Dennis Kucinich has unveiled an LGBTQ+ platform that goes far beyond nondiscrimination protections, proposing transition assistance for transgender children and punishment for school officials who don’t protect kids from bullying.

“Despite giant leaps forward, we still live in a world where the LGBTQ community faces discrimination and alienation, often suffers violence and depression, and is disproportionately susceptible to suicide,” said the former congressman from Cleveland who’s seeking his party’s nomination for governor in the May 8 primary election.

“It is about ensuring that LGBTQ Ohioans enjoy the dignity due all human beings as their birthright,” he said.

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Kucinich, a former U.S. representative and former mayor of Cleveland, unveiled a series of positions and policy proposals on April 7 during a brunch at Akron’s Interbelt Nite Club. He was joined at the gay bar by his running mate, Akron City Council member Tara Staples, whose city has passed an LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination law and banned so-called “conversion therapy” on LGBTQ children over the past year.

Kucinich is competing in the Democratic gubernatorial primary against former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray, state Sen. Joe Schiavoni and former Ohio Supreme Court Justice William O’Neill. A new poll by Fallon Research for a group called the 1984 Society shows Cordray leading Kucinich by 12 percentage points—Schiavoni and O’Neill hand 5 percent or less—with more than half of Democratic voters undecided.

An earlier poll by Survey USA for WOIO-TV in Cleveland showed Cordray and Kucinich tied.

A Prizm survey of Democratic candidates found Cordray, Kucinich and Schiavoni all supportive of LGBTQ issues such as expanding Ohio’s nondiscrimination laws and allowing transgender people to change the gender marker on their birth certificates. O’Neill didn’t respond.

Kucinich’s LGBTQ platform, however, addresses issues that organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign don’t even tackle on their websites:

  • He opposes common advice that parents select a gender for intersex children before they are 18 months old and calls for programs that provide social workers to parents of intersexchildrenso they can grow into the gender that best fits the child.
  • He calls for transition assistance programs that wouldeducate families, help with medical care andcounseling, and help transgender and intersex children transition.
  • He seeks punishment and requirements such as diversityeducationfor youth bullies and discipline for school officials who don’t address bullying in their midst.
  • He supports programs for families to help themaccept a child’s sexual orientation or gender identity and reduce the number of LGBTQ kids who run away or are kicked out of their homes.

Kucinich also called for a statewide ban on the dangerous and discredited practice of so-called “conversion therapy” that aims to change a child’s sexual orientation or gender identity; a repeal of HIV-criminalization laws in Ohio; support for the use of PrEP, a drug regimen proven effective in preventing the spread of HIV; and loosening income restrictions on state programs that help people obtain drugs to treat HIV.

As governor, he vowed, he would issue executive orders, push legislation or initiate court challenges to strike down discriminatory policies and “shake up the status quo and old thinking.”

“We shall lead with policy,” Kucinich said.


Bob Vitale
A Toledo native and graduate of Toledo Public Schools, Bob has worked as a local government and politics reporter for The Columbus Dispatch, as a Washington correspondent for Thomson Newspapers and as editor-in-chief for Outlook Ohio. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science from Ball State University and a master's degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield.