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Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
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10/10/11  6:05 pm
Commenter: Edward Strickler, MA,MA, MPH

I speak as a lifelong resident and taxpayer in the Commonwealth of Virginia
 

I speak as a lifelong resident and taxpayer in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  My family is also among the earliest settling in the frontier of western Virginia in the Shenandoah Valley. Throughout my lifetime in Virginia, I have been involved with advancing effective community health and public health for vulnerable popualtions, and with advancing the human rights of Virginians.  I have served in many  advisory and other roles of service to the Commonwealth, appointed by local and state governmental offices, including by the Commissioner of Health, and the Governor of Virginia.  I communicate routinely with national and international groups concerned with health and human rights.  Virginia's failure to respect the human rights of sexual and gender minority persons, families, and communities  - and not only its failure, but its aggressive prejudice against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Virginians - are well known in national and international communities, and considering hateful and harmful. Virginia's oppression of lgbt Virginians - and their family members - is considered as hateful and harmful as many other well-known 'acts' of Virginia history.  These include  (a) the first state execution in the Americas - of a ship's captain - for allegations of same-sex behavior; relatives of the captain who spoke in defense of their family member were mutilated for speaking in defense; (b) the first enactments of slavery in the American colonies; (c) enacting laws authorizing coerced mutilation (sterilizations and other mutilations)  of youth and adults with mental illness, with developmental disabilities (these Virginia laws gave rise to the US Supreme Court Case - Buck v. Bell; the SupCt ruling and the Virginia law were cited among justications for the first phases of the National  Socialist (NAZI) regime's coerced institutationalization  and mutilation of Germans and others who did not fit the image of the 'master race', thereby laying legal foundations, and practice experiences, that began the horrors of the Holocause; (d) enacting laws - under the theories of Massive Resistance - that violated human rights of many Virginians.   It is time for Virginia agencies to consider this Virginia history, and Virginia's reputation, whenever aspects of human rights are presented for decision making by agencies of the Commonwealth, as is the case in the matter before you.  Thank you.

 

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