LGBTQ+ Rights

Since the election of Trump, we’ve seen just how easily our hard-fought rights can be taken away. Just look at what he and his team have done to the transgender community. From policies related to schools, health and human services, housing, workplace rights and the military – the attempt to narrow the definition of gender - in essence, erasing the existence of transgendered people – these are policies which have earned them the moniker, the “discrimination administration.” Here in California, we celebrate the achievements of many pieces of legislation earning our reputation as one of the most liberal states in the nation, when it comes to civil and human rights.

Yet, we know from every day occurrences that anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments still motivate the hatred of an extreme religious right wing agenda. Any day now, we may see the draft executive order finalized and issued, allowing the denial of tax-payer funded public services by individuals or organizations on grounds of “religious freedom.” We must be ever-vigilant and reject any attempts to normalize and codify such bigotry. The only intolerance we must carry is for those in our Party who would do anything less.

When I was executive director at Emerge California, we trained more than 300 women, half of whom have already run for, or been appointed to, office with a nearly 70 percent overall win rate. Of that number, half of the Emerge alumnae are women of color with 12 percent identifying as LGBTQ+.

Our sexual orientation or gender expression are not the only parts of us that define who we are – but tragically that’s the only lens through which the world choices to view many people. The arguments being put forth today about bathroom use are the same ones used 60 years ago about water fountains. Hate may take few forms, but it really never changes.