Metro Weekly

Democrats’ 2020 platform solidifies commitment to LGBTQ rights

Platform promises to pass the Equality Act, reverse trans military ban, and remove anti-LGBTQ exemptions for health care workers

Democratic National Convention 2016, Photo: ABC/Ida Mae Astute

A draft of the Democratic Party’s 2020 platform solidifies the party’s stalwart commitment to advancing equality in what is one of the most pro-LGBTQ party platforms ever.

The draft, posted on the website for the Democratic National Convention, which is set to take place virtually from August 17-20, checks off several key policies that LGBTQ people have either been trying to push through Congress for years, or that reverse harmful policies enacted by the Trump administration.

In the platform’s preamble, the party vows that it will “give hate no safe harbor,” whether in the form of “bigotry, racism, misogyny, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, or white supremacy.” 

“Democrats will protect and promote the equal rights of all our citizens — women, LGBTQ+ people, religious minorities, people with disabilities, Native Americans, and all who have been discriminated against in too many ways and for too many generations,” the preamble reads.

“We commit ourselves to the vision articulated by Frederick Douglass of ‘a Government founded upon justice, and recognizing the equal rights of all.'”

Among the specific promises made in the platform are that the party will enact protections for LGBTQ+ youth who find themselves homeless, reverse the Trump administration’s transgender military ban and its attempts to discharge service members living with HIV, and provide coverage for HIV/AIDS treatment and HIV-prevention medications, including pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis.

With respect to health care, Democrats have vowed to reverse a Trump administration rule that allows medical providers to refuse to provide certain types of care or treatment to LGBTQ people or others based on the provider’s personal religious beliefs.

The party has promised to reinstate a provision of the Affordable Care Act prohibiting discrimination based on sex — including gender identity — by insurance companies and medical providers, and ensure that transgender people receive any care, including hormone therapy or gender confirmation surgery, that their doctors have classified as medically necessary to treat gender dysphoria.

In keeping with positions embraced by its presumptive nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden, the platform also praises a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision finding that employment discrimination against LGBTQ people is unlawful, and promises to pass the Equality Act, which would prohibit discrimination in several other areas of life in addition to employment, such as housing, credit, jury service, public accommodations, and in accessing federal programs.

Other planks of the platform include making sufficient mental health, substance abuse, and suicide prevention services available to LGBTQ individuals, ensuring all transgender and nonbinary people can obtain official documents reflecting their gender identity, combating the epidemic of anti-trans violence, investigating alleged hate crimes, and reinstating Obama-era guidance protecting transgender students from discrimination under Title IX of the Education Amendments Act.

See also: Joe Biden: Where does he stand on LGBTQ rights?

The party also promises to advocate for LGBTQ human rights abroad and call out instances of anti-LGBTQ violence and discrimination in other countries.

“Democrats will advance the ability of all persons to live with dignity, security, and respect, regardless of who they are or who they love. We will restore the United States’ position of leadership on LGBTQ+ issues by passing the GLOBE Act and appointing senior leaders directly responsible for driving and coordinating LGBTQ+ issues at the State Department, USAID, and the National Security Council,” the draft platform reads

“We will ensure that our immigration policies account for the needs of LGBTQ+ refugees and asylum seekers, and that we use the full slate of human rights promotion and accountability tools to defend the universal rights of LGBTQ+ people. We will amplify the voices of LGBTQ+ persons around the world and counter violence and discrimination against LGBTQ+ persons wherever it appears.”

The party’s platform stands in contrast to that of the Republican Party, which repurposed its full 2016 platform for this year’s upcoming November election, meaning it still contains opposition to to same-sex marriage, support for religious-based refusals of service, opposition to same-sex adoption, and endorses the right of parents to determine whether to pursue conversion therapy for their LGBTQ-identifying children.

Shortly after adopting its 2016 platform for the 2020 election, the Republican National Committee released a memo seeking to shore up their support among right-leaning LGBTQ people and social libertarians by claiming that President Donald Trump has taken “unprecedented steps to protect the LGBTQ community,” citing his policies around increased funding for HIV/AIDS and his administration’s efforts, led most recently by former Acting Director of National Intelligence Ric Grenell, to encourage countries with laws criminalizing homosexuality to repeal them.

While Trump made history as the first Republican candidate to support same-sex marriage, his administration has repeatedly pursued policies — ranging from restrictions preventing transgender individuals from serving in the military, to religious-based exemptions for health care workers, to its efforts to define “sex” as based only in biology — that critics say harm LGBTQ people.

Read more:

Laws criminalizing homosexuality increase risk of gay men getting HIV

Kellyanne Conway’s daughter: Trump is a “racist, homophobic, tyrannical, golfing idiot”

Massachusetts man charged with assaulting gay man for flying a Pride flag outside his home

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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