Neither Alexandra Beninda nor Earline Budd is a stranger to the LGBT community, so it came as little shock when Mayor Vincent Gray (D) nominated the two for seats on the D.C. Commission on Human Rights.
The commission is an independent agency within the city's Office of Human Rights that primarily adjudicates private sector discrimination complaints brought under the D.C. Human Rights Act. The commission is made up of 15 commissioners, each nominated by the mayor and confirmed by the City Council, who serve unpaid three-year terms.
Beninda has served as the former treasurer of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, the current treasurer of All Souls Unitarian Church and is a board member of The DC Center. Budd, one of the founders of Transgender Health Empowerment (THE), is a longtime community activist who has been credited with working closely with the Metropolitan Police Department on cases involving transgender victims or witnesses. She has also served as a sensitivity trainer for D.C. government employees, educating them on transgender-related issues.
If approved by the council, Beninda and Budd would become the first transgender members to serve on the commission, a longstanding goal of the local transgender community.