Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 8 / 22 February 2018

156 LGBT electeds call on Trump to advance equality

by Cynthia Laird

More than 150 LGBT elected officials on Friday released an open letter to President-elect Donald Trump, expressing grave concerns about his Cabinet appointees and imploring him to “be a president for all Americans.”

(Richmond City Councilwoman Jovanka Beckles. Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland)

(Richmond City Councilwoman Jovanka Beckles. Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland)

The 156 signatories include several from the Bay Area, such as state Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), San Francisco Supervisor Jeff Sheehy, Santa Clara County Supervisor Ken Yeager, and Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell).

City College of San Francisco Trustees Rafael Mandelman, Tom Temprano, and Alex Randolph also signed the letter, as did Richmond City Councilwoman Jovanka Beckles.

Others from across the country include Congressmen Sean Patrick Maloney (D-New York) and Mark Pocan (D-Wisconsin).

About 40 LGBT elected officials began work on the letter during a closed-door strategy session at the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund’s recent Victory Institute LGBT Leaders Conference in Washington, D.C., according to the Victory Institute, which sent out the letter.

“We believe in an America that values and accepts everyone, and a country that strives to improve quality of life for all people, regardless of their background or beliefs. These principles are what distinguish America in an often-troubled world – they are what make America great,” the letter reads in part. “And it is the elected leadership of our nation that determines whether our government embodies or undermines those ideals. It is elected leaders like ourselves – from the U.S. president to city councilmembers – that either appeal to the better angels of our fellow Americans, or use fear and rancor to spur unproductive discord.

“While we hope you appeal to those better angels and support inclusive and fair-minded policies, we have grave concerns given the individuals appointed to your administration thus far. Nearly all hold anti-LGBT views aimed at denying our community acceptance and inclusion in American society,” the letter continues. “Many proudly tout legislative records opposing basic rights for LGBT Americans, and others express disdain for our lives and relationships. Intended or not, these appointments signal a Trump administration preparing to rollback recent advances for LGBT people, and an administration opposed to LGBT people living open and free.”

The letter adds that the country will be “weaker” if LGBT military personnel are prevented from serving openly and equally, and will be worse off “if discrimination for LGBT government employees or students are revoked.”

Specifically, the letter states that “The entire country will suffer if there is a national attempt to implement ‘religious exemptions’ that allow businesses to turn away LGBT customers.”

“And the world will be a darker place without America speaking against anti-LGBT violence and injustices abroad,” the letter adds.

The LGBT elected officials noted that “Americans of every political party, ideology, race, ethnicity, and religion support LGBT equality – it does not need to be a partisan issue.”

The letter closes by the leaders sincerely hoping Trump aims to “be a president for all Americans – including LGBT Americans of every race, ethnicity, gender, and religion.” It also puts Trump on notice that the LGBT elected officials “will hold your administration accountable for actions that infringe upon our rights and opportunities, and will oppose presidential appointees who denigrate or harm our community.”

“But we much prefer to work with you to continue the incredible progress toward LGBT equality – to have you stand with us on the right side of history,” the letter states. “We hope you voice your support for existing rights and protections for LGBT Americans, and commit to furthering LGBT equality during your presidency. We promise to be a strong and persistent voice for equality either way.”

Click here to read the full letter.

In related news, the Log Cabin Republicans announced this week they have been invited by the Trump transition team to present a briefing outlining why maintaining the standing executive order preventing federal contractors from discriminating against the LGBT community is important and right for America.

LCR President Gregory T. Angelo said in an email Thursday that the group is soliciting the names of people who support the executive order and oppose discrimination.

To add your name to the petition, click here.

— Cynthia Laird, January 13, 2017 @ 11:14 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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