Sheppard Releases LGBTQ Platform; Receives Endorsement Of City Councilmember Matt Haag

Amid growing uncertainty about the security of LGBTQ rights at the national level, Rochester Mayoral candidate James Sheppard called on the City of Rochester to take additional measures to protect those rights.  Sheppard released his LGBTQ platform today, which includes specific emphasis on the safety of transgender persons, housing and other services for LGBTQ youth and seniors, and equal access for LGBTQ people of color.

“We have already seen backsliding in LGBTQ protections at the federal level,” Sheppard said.  “Rochester must stand firm as a national leader in providing services to and defending the rights of our LGBTQ citizens.”

Sheppard has been a vocal ally and advocate for the LGBTQ community for decades: as Rochester Police Chief, he lobbied at the State level for marriage equality and against conversion therapy.  He also instituted an RPD policy to focus specifically on protecting the safety of transgender persons, which given the rising violence toward them across the country, should continue to be a priority, he said.

Sheppard’s full platform on LGBTQ issues, which is attached and available on, proposes measures to reduce homelessness among LGBTQ youth, provide greater housing options for LGBTQ seniors, banning conversion therapy, and ensuring LGBTQ people of color are represented in policy-making decisions.

Sheppard’s past work with the LGBTQ community and his ongoing commitment to equality have earned him the endorsement of City Councilmember Matt Haag, the only openly gay member of the Rochester City Council. "Shep was an early and vocal supporter of LGBTQ people and our families. He was an ally and advocate long before it was politically safe or popular,” said Haag. “His leadership, integrity and dedication to this City will make him a great Mayor for all Rochesterians.”

“I am grateful for Matt’s support and will make sure Rochester continues to be at the forefront of LGBTQ rights and social justice issues,” Sheppard said.  “Every resident of this city should feel welcomed, empowered, and respected.”