Democrats focus on transgender community at LGBTQ summit

Democrats at state and national levels argued Wednesday for legislation that would extend more protections to the LGBTQ community, with a particular focus on transgender people.

Speaking during The Hill’s “America’s Unfinished Business: An LGBTQ + Summit, “ Representative Ritchie Torres (DN.Y.), Co-Chair of the Congressional LGBTQ + Equality Caucus, spoke to Steve Clemons of The Hill about the dangers of “culture wars” over LGBTQ rights, especially for members of the trans community.

“The new culture wars specifically target the trans community. Since transphobia remains more socially acceptable than homophobia, Republicans are waging a cynical scapegoat and fear campaign that specifically demonizes the trans community, ”Torres said.

In 2020, Torres was elected as one of the first openly LGBTQ black men in Congress and as the first openly LGBTQ Afro-Latino member of Congress.

The house recently voted on a bill Torres had introduced to “promote credit equity for LGBTQ-owned businesses”. It failed to achieve the two-thirds qualified majority needed for passage through a fast-track process typically used for non-controversial bills. The vote was 248-177, with the support of 31 Republicans.

Governor of Oregon Kate brownKate BrownOvernight Health Care: White House Acknowledges Fail To Meet July 4 Vaccination Target | Fauci warns of ‘localized outbreaks’ in areas with low vaccination rates | Senate Finance Leader Publishes Principles to Lower Prescription Drug Prices Overnight Health Care: Medicaid Enrollment Reaches New High | The White House gives an allocation plan for 55 million doses | Schumer supports dental care, vision and hearing as Medicare makers’ inconsistent energy approach could lead to power outages MORE (D), who also spoke at Wednesday’s event sponsored by Capital One and Philip Morris International, spoke about the importance of not leaving “behind our trans siblings.”

Brown, who identifies as bisexual and was the country’s first openly LGBTQ governor when he was elected in 2014, stressed the importance of legislation prohibiting discrimination for “the entire LGBTQIA community”.

In 2019, Brown signed a decree which updated definitions of sexual orientation and gender identity to cover more residents under Oregon’s non-discrimination law.

On Capitol Hill, Democrats are pushing for passage of the Equality Act, which Torres has described as the “holy grail” of the LGBTQ + equality caucus. The legislation would prohibit discrimination based on “sex, sexual orientation and gender identity”.

The House passed the measure earlier this year in a 224-206 vote, with the support of just three Republicans. The bill is now awaiting a decision in the Senate.

“The Equality Act is based on a simple proposition: No one should be fired, kicked out or deprived of essential services or accommodation just because of who you are or who you love. Everyone has the right to equal protection under the law, regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity, ”Torres said.

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