On June 26, 2015, we celebrated the Supreme Court’s landmark civil rights case ruling regarding same-sex marriage. The Obergefell v. Hodges decision ushered in long overdue marriage equality to millions of Americans who were otherwise denied. A year later, I married my partner of five years. We, as a community (bolstered by our allies), had been fighting long before 2004 when the first state started allowing gays and lesbians to marry. We still have a long way to go. The accomplishments we’ve made are being stripped away.
According to research by the New York City Anti-Violence Project, an 86 percent increase in hate violence homicides in the US last year made 2017 the deadliest year for the LGBTQ community. We are in a new era, the Trump era.
Another long term survey conducted by GLAAD over the past four years reveals a disturbing reality. The findings show a significant decline in overall comfort and acceptance of LGBTQ people is on the rise. And, a significant increase in LGBTQ people reporting discrimination has increased as well. We have a long way to go.
If you haven’t been reading or watching the news, you should. Within a year, Trump and his administration:
- Tried to discharge Transgender soldiers serving in the military by a tweet
- On May 21, 2017 during a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing Betsy DeVos stated that states should have the flexibility to decide whether schools can discriminate against LGBTQ students even if those schools get federal money.
- HHS is taking steps to dismantle LGBT health initiatives by rolling back regulations intended to protect LGBT workers and patients, removing LGBT-friendly language from documents and reassigned the senior adviser dedicated to LGBT health.
Trump, with his hateful rhetoric, has fostered safe spaces to discriminate against the LGBTQ community. Instead of moving forward, we are moving backward. How do we remedy this issue? We do so by electing more LGBTQ or our allies. Gus Bilirakis’ voting record shows that he isn’t LGBTQ friendly. For instance, he voted YES to Constitutionally define marriage as one-man-one-women. Also, he voted against prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation.
In Congress, I will fight for all my LGBTQ sisters and brothers by working to pass laws to prevent discrimination against the LGBTQ Community. While I respect people’s religion, your religion doesn’t give you the green light to discriminate.
In the past few months, states have passed legislation to end the right to abortion with hopes to progress the issue to the Supreme Court, where they would rule in favor and overturn Role vs. Wade. Never in my lifetime have I seen such an assault on taking women’s rights away. Regardless of how a person feels about abortion, it is the women’s right to make decisions on her body. We are more than a vessel, and to ban abortion will only cause women to find alternative measures. I will fight for women’s rights because it’s our body, our life, our decision!