The LGBTQ community has fought for many well-deserved victories for equality over the last half-century. While many believe that the movement for justice for the LGBTQ community is over, I know that we still have more work to do. Marriage equality was only one step in the right direction, but members of the LGBTQ community are still more often the victims of violent crime, employment discrimination, and have different healthcare needs than their heterosexual neighbors.
- End Legalized Discrimination. Sexuality is still not a protected class under the current bill of rights. That means the members of the LGBTQ community can still face discrimination, especially in more religious communities. These particular communities argue that their free exercise of religion gives them legal ground to discriminate against LGBTQ people. Let’s end the debate now! Sexuality should be a protected class just like race, and I support all bills that end discrimination against the LGBTQ community such as the Equality Act, and Every Child Deserves a Family Act.
- End Violence and Homelessness in the LGBTQ Youth Community. While there is no way to end crime and violence, there are still mechanisms that can be instituted to reduce it. The LGBTQ community is 7x more likely to be the victim of a violent crime and homelessness than any other group in society. We can strengthen efforts to report and monitor violence, get youth into shelters and off the streets, and most importantly fund programs that educate children on LGBTQ issues and their impact on the community. If we can take the victims of violent criminals off the streets and provide safe shelters for them through expanding support to HUD, we will see the rate of violent crimes committed against LGBTQ homeless populations decrease.
- Support funding for LGBTQ health issues. The LGBTQ community has different health needs then heterosexual peers. Because of advancements in healthcare and education, we have seen fewer people acquire HIV/AIDS, and more people live longer lives with the disease. While the number of new HIV infections has plummeted over the last five years, it does not mean the issue is entirely over. Transgender people experience higher levels of violent crimes as well as depression and suicide. Progress has been made in this area, but Donald Trump and his Republican colleagues have not made things easy by removing protections for those within the Transgender community. In Congress, I will support vital life-saving programs, and defend the rights of the LGBTQ people.