PENNSYLVANIA — Earlier today, the anniversary of the Trump 2020 campaign launch, PA Dems LGBTQ+ Caucus Chair Sean Meloy, Rep. Brian Sims (D-Philadelphia), Erie City School Board VP Tyler Titus, and activists Deja Lynn Alvarez, Jonathan Lovitz and Anne Wakabayshi hosted a press call to commemorate Pride Month and to highlight the Trump administration’s years long attack on LGBTQ+ civil rights.
The group pointed to the Trump administration’s repeated attempts to undermine the protections guaranteed by law to LGBTQ+ individuals, including Trump’s support for a reckless lawsuit that failed in front of the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this week and his recent move to reverse health care discrimination protections for transgender individuals.
A recording of the call can be found here. Check out some of the highlights below:
Sean Meloy, PA Dems LGBTQ+ Caucus Chair, LGBTQ Victory Fund Sr. Political Dir.:
“We knew that Trump’s true colors were not for us. And whether it’s choosing one of the most anti-LGBTQ running mates in Mike Pence, to immediately removing any mention of the LGBTQ community from the White House and other government page websites. We’ve known that he and the Republicans have been actively working to undermine our successes and our ability to gain full equality and freedom…
This White House and the Republicans that empower them continue to work against our community in both overt and pernicious ways. However, I’m hopeful. We have a Democratic candidate in Joe Biden, who has been working for our community and put out a plan to help make sure that we have an ally in the White House once again.
We also have the history making candidates in Pennsylvania who are queer, Jessica Benham and Dan Smith running for the State House, who are just some of the amazing Democrats that we need to elect up and down the ballot to ensure that our community and our country can continue to march forward.”
Representative Brian Sims (D-Philadelphia), PA House of Representatives:
“Donald Trump began attacking the rights and protections for LGBTQ Americans very early in his career as the president — right after the inauguration. In areas specifically of health care, employment and education, with a very particular sort of heinous focus on specifically trans Americans. And I want to get this right.
His attacks have included stripping protections for enacting anti LGBTQ policies at the Department of Education, the Attorney General’s office, the Justice Department, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Education, the Office of Civil Rights, the Department of Health and Human Services and all branches of the US military, just to name a few….
There is no amount of holding up an LGBTQ pride pride flag… [that] speaks to his actual support for the LGBTQ community. It certainly pales in comparison to the aggressive policy approach to anti-LGBTQ, to removing our rights, to blocking from having rights that we’ve seen under this administration.”
Tyler Titus, Erie City School Board VP:
“The Trump administration eliminated the guidance that was laid out by the Obama and Biden administration, which clarified that schools must treat transgender youth consistent with their gender identity. This move by the Trump administration paved the way for schools to legally discriminate, harass, and deny access to our gender expansive youth.
All youth deserve access to safe, supportive, quality, and equitable education. These attacks on our schools and our students are disproportionately impacting queer youth, especially those youth with multiple intersections and minority identity status. So queer youth of color, queer youth who are differently abled, or queer youth who learn and process differently, are now even more at risk than they were before.
And I can’t emphasize this enough: our children are not political pawns. These actions taken by the Trump administration are not just shameful but they will have a detrimental impact on queer youth. Lives are going to be forever altered because of the moves that the Trump administration has put into place. And these queer youth deserve, deserve all of us to stand up for them.”
Deja Lynn Alvarez, Community Health Activist & Transgender Advocate:
“On the anniversary of Pulse, which I’m quite sure was no accident, [Trump] tried to roll back protections in human services in health care for LGB, particularly T people. And I think that was particularly atrocious and undermining to do that on the anniversary of one of the largest mass shootings that we saw for our communities.
He’s demonstrated over and over over again that he is running a racist, an outright racist agenda against any communities of color… We have to make sure that we elect someone into office — and I believe that Vice President Joe Biden is the person that can do this —but we have to make sure that we are not just fighting to take things back to the status quo. We cannot afford to do that any longer… This country, this government in November, the government that we elect, has to make sure that they are willing to finally make sure that every human being in this country actually has equity, equality, liberty, and justice.”
Jonathan Lovitz, LGBTQ+ Business & Political Advocate:
“As we’re reflecting on the Trump administration’s effects on our community, it’s almost laughable when you consider that they came to office framing themselves as this new wave of smart business leaders who are going to treat America like a corporation and get us into our best economic days. Well, if they truly believe that they would amplify what we know to be the number one rule in good business which is equality is good.
Business equality is one of the most American virtues that we have. And as the Supreme Court decided this week, as they affirmed that Title VII protections, referring to sex, do include the gay and trans communities, that we are going to be able to now attract the best and brightest talent throughout our Commonwealth and throughout the country…Now we have the legal recourse to finally fight back if we are fired or face workplace discrimination, simply for who we are…
Our best days of the Commonwealth economically are not going to happen until all counties across this state are protected equally. And everyone has non discrimination protections that take care of every facet of our working lives.”
Anne Wakabayashi, LGBTQ+ Advocate:
“We’ve heard a lot about how detrimental Trump has been for the LGBT community and I want to uplift all of that. And also really highlight that the folks that have taken the brunt of these attacks are the ones that sit at the intersection of many identities, including the LGBTQ community, LGBTQ immigrants, LGBTQ women, LGBTQ folks of color, and especially our trans women of color that are in need of advocates and in need of being in office themselves.
That’s why it’s more important now than ever, to be sure that we are electing LGBTQ folks to office.Governor Wolf is a great example of what an ally can do in office. He founded the first and only LGBTQ Advisory Commission in the country, giving our community a voice and getting so many in our community positions of leadership that they can use to advocate for, for their regions and for folks in their local area LGBTQ communities, but we can’t stop there…
We know that the Pennsylvania Democratic Party and folks like Representative Sims, Deja, and Tyler here on the call that have stepped up and run for office our best hope for for equality moving forward.”
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