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An LGBTQ Ally Fighting for Affordable Health Care

Sima Ladjevardian seeks to unseat congressman Dan Crenshaw.

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Sima Ladjevardian (courtesy photos)

Dan Crenshaw might have won his Texas 2nd Congressional District seat in 2018 because of an impromptu Saturday Night Live appearance. An SNL cast member had insulted Crenshaw’s military service, and he was invited to appear on the show to accept an apology. 

But this year, the pandemic and his stance on health care might just cost him that seat, and Sima Ladjevardian may be just the woman to take it from him. 

“I’m running against Crenshaw because we need someone with a record of bringing people together for our community,” says the Iran-born attorney-turned-activist. “As an immigrant who fled the political violence of a revolution, this nation and this Houston community has given me so much. I am living proof of how opportunity in America can lead to safety, prosperity, and happiness. Now it’s my obligation to pay it forward for my neighbors. As a lawyer, a mediator, and a community activist, I’ve been building bridges of compromise between people of all different backgrounds my whole career. I know what it takes to get to a solution, and I don’t take no for an answer. In the halls of Congress, I’ll do the same for Houston.” 

Ladjevardian moved to France during the 1978 Iranian Revolution, and then to America in 1980. She speaks four languages and is a wife, mother, and breast-cancer survivor. 

“As a cancer survivor, health care is personal,” she says. “We need to make sure people have access to quality, affordable healthcare. We need leaders who understand that a woman’s choice is hers alone. And we need politicians who won’t break their promises—like Dan Crenshaw has done time and time again. Crenshaw went all around our district campaigning on lowering drug costs. Instead, he got to Congress and did the opposite. He became a mouthpiece for Donald Trump and started fighting for his own political ambitions instead of our needs. From lying about COVID-19 to spreading voter-fraud conspiracy theories and voting against the 2019 Equality Act, Dan Crenshaw has let this community down. We need someone who will stand up for our most vulnerable and lead the fight for our healthcare. That’s the congresswoman I’m ready to be.”

Indeed, Crenshaw has been skeptical of the COVID-19 pandemic, refusing to wear a face mask and being a prime cheerleader for President Trump’s take on the virus. He also wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Ladjevardian has been an attorney and a fundraiser for her favorite causes such as the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Texas Children’s Hospital; and Baylor College of Medicine. As a political activist, she works to elect candidates up and down the ballot, and because of her political acumen and understanding of the Greater Houston area, she became a senior advisor to Beto O’Rourke during his historic 2018 U.S. Senate race. And because of her belief in his message of equality, she joined his presidential campaign last year during the Democratic primaries. Now her congressional campaign is putting to good use the things she learned from O’Rourke.

“More important than anything, I learned that you need to go everywhere and talk to everyone, no matter if they’re Democrats or Republicans or Independents,” she says. “And in a district as gerrymandered as mine, letting everyone feel [that they are being] heard is critically important.” 

Due to the pandemic, things have been a little different in this campaign. “We’re connecting with voters in a different way by hosting online events, making calls, and getting out in the community in ways where we can ensure safe social distancing,” Ladjevardian explains. “We’ve had a huge number of people who have contacted the campaign asking for information and for ways to help, and we’ve been working to connect them to organizations and other resources. And while Crenshaw has doubled down on enabling the president and his disinformation, we’ve been focused on spreading the facts about health and [the emergency] economic support available to our constituents.”

Ladjevardian’s husband, Masoud, and their two adult children have been very supportive of her run for Congress, and she says they are very proud of her and her beliefs—one of which is equality.

 “I’ve been an ally of the LGBTQ+ community for all my life, and I’m honored to have the support of both the Human Rights Campaign and the Houston GLBT Caucus,” she emphasizes. “As this district’s first congresswoman, I will never stop fighting for equal protection under the law—and that begins with guaranteeing affordable, accessible healthcare for our LGBTQ community and for all Americans.” 

This ambitious political trailblazer is also a huge Star Wars fan. “English is my fourth language, and I actually learned it by listening to American movies,” Ladjevardian says. “The first feature-length English film I ever watched was Star Wars, and I love it to this day. Just ask my dog, Jedi.” 

For more information on Sima Ladjevardian, visit simafortx.com.

This article appears in the October 2020 edition of OutSmart magazine.

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Marene Gustin

Marene Gustin has written about Texas culture, food, fashion, the arts, and Lone Star politics and crime for television, magazines, the web and newspapers nationwide, and worked in Houston politics for six years. Her freelance work has appeared in the Austin Chronicle, Austin-American Statesman, Houston Chronicle, Houston Press, Texas Monthly, Dance International, Dance Magazine, the Advocate, Prime Living, InTown magazine, OutSmart magazine and web sites CultureMap Houston and Austin, Eater Houston and Gayot.com, among others.

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