Democratic presidential candidate and Mayor Pete Buttigieg on Thursday released a plan for LGBTQ equality ahead of a CNN/HRC Town Hall on LGBTQ equality set for Thursday night.
Buttigieg’s plan focuses on achieving equality by passing the Equaity Act, rescinding the Trump administration’s efforts to remove rights from LGBTQ Americans, ensuring religious freedom is not used as a license to discriminate, ensuring federal agencies work to end LGBTQ discrimination, adding a third nonbinary gender option to U.S. passports, ending the ban on blood donation by gay men. It also contains a multi-pronged effort to improve health care and mental health care for LGBTQ Americans, end the HIV/AIDS epidemic, ensure access to PrEP, protect LGBTQ students from bullying, end conversion therapy nationwide, protect the rights of LGBTQ families, LGBTQ youth homelessness, increase funding for LGBTQ community programs, enforce the Hate Crimes Prevention act, and ensure the safety of all LGBTQ people, especially transgender women of color, train law enforcement, reduce incarceration and ensure decent prison conditions for LGBTQ people, honor LGBTQ veterans, ensure care and facilities for LGBTQ seniors, and celebrate LGBTQ history.
Read it in full, embedded at the bottom of this post.
Wrote Buttigieg in his introduction: “Twenty years ago, an awkward teenager at St. Joe High School in South Bend, Indiana, who didn’t know a single out LGBTQ+ student, never would have imagined how far we would come as a country. But what does our country look like to a teenager in 2019, just starting to realize who they are? What future do they see for themselves? They see an administration that deems people who risk their lives for their country unfit for service because they are transgender.2 They see a President who, when asked about LGBTQ+ rights by a reporter, joked of his Vice President: “Don’t ask that guy—he wants to hang them all!”3 4 They see more states covering gender-affirming procedures, but also see high schools refusing to allow trans students to use the bathroom of their current gender. They see people with HIV living vibrant lives, but also see people who cannot afford necessary, life-saving treatment. They see gay nightclubs opening up across the country, but they can’t—they refuse to—forget Pulse. They see transgender people, primarily Black transgender women, murdered at alarming rates. They see a country where they are still not fully free or safe—especially if they are transgender or a person of color—and one in which they still don’t feel like they fully belong.”
“In the past week alone, four out of five LGBTQ+ youth felt down or depressed, almost half reported feeling worthless, and last night, almost all had trouble sleeping,” added Buttigieg. “Across much of our country, discrimination and the ever-present fear of it continue to govern aspects of LGBTQ+ people’s lives. Which bathroom can I use safely? Can I kiss my partner at this restaurant? Should I hold their hand in public? Will I be able to raise a family? Will Ibe harassed at school? Can I live here and be happy? Will I ever be accepted?When I’m President, I hope these questions will no longer haunt us. We will share solutions big enough to meet the challenges the LGBTQ+ community faces, while bringing the American people together to understand that our freedoms are bound to one another. I know how it feels to peer, and then look, and then climb over these walls. As President, I will use my story, our energy, and the power of the presidency to tear down the walls that have excluded far too many LGBTQ+ people for far too long.”
Buttigieg also released several supplemental videos featuring LGBTQ campaign staffers:
Read Buttigieg’s full LGBTQ plan, embedded here: