The LGBT community has made great strides under President Obama, but your incoming Administration’s radically conservative advisers and the Republican Party’s anti-LGBT platform gives me grave concerns that this progress will be undermined. During your presidential campaign, you stated you were a supporter of LGBT rights. As an openly gay Member of Congress, I urge you to live up to your claim to be a president for all people, including LGBT Americans.
Mark Pocan — File photo
There are many individuals in the LGBT community who fear that their rights will be taken away under your Administration. Their fears are warranted. You, yourself, have made some troublesome promises to roll back gains our community has made. You have vowed to abolish all of President Obama’s executive orders, including one that protects LGBT federal workers from discrimination and another that allows transgender students to use the bathroom according to their gender identity. You have also previously pledged to sign the First Amendment Defense Act into law, which would allow healthcare providers, businesses, landlords, and others the right to legally discriminate against LGBT people under the guise of religious freedom. Not to mention, you have selected individuals with horrible records on LGBT rights to serve in your Administration.
Vice President Mike Pence signed a bill into law that allowed businesses to refuse service to LGBT people as governor of Indiana in 2015. Your nominee for Attorney General, Senator Jeff Sessions, has opposed every major piece of legislation to expand LGBT rights that has come before him in Congress. Potential Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has a long family history of donating money to anti-LGBT groups including one that supports conversion therapy. Lastly, your Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, as the former head of Breitbart News has published headlines tying the LGBT community to ISIS.
The LGBT community has fought difficult battles for equal rights and our struggle for equality continues. LGBT men and women can now openly serve in the military, same-sex couples can legally marry, and federal contractors can no longer discriminate against LGBT employees. This progress should not be undone.
Together, we must fight to make sure employers cannot discriminate against anyone on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. This injustice extends to the majority of states in our nation, and the absence of a federal law makes the LGBT community incredibly vulnerable. This is just one of many equality issues we need to address.
I will continue to advocate every day for full equality and I sincerely hope you will keep true to your word and join me in this fight.
U.S. Representative for the Second District of Wisconsin @RepMarkPocan
The opinions expressed in these letters are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of their organizations and this magazine, its staff and contributors.
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