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Here’s Why You Should Vote Democratic

| Nov 7, 2016
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In my entire life, I don’t think that I’ve been more invested, more tied up financially and emotionally in an election. Last weekend when the FBI made overt and misleading disclosures to influence the election to favor the Republican Donald Trump, (or frame it using Trump’s words, “to RIG the election”) while failing to disclose the damage that Russian government sanctioned hackers were reaping on Clinton’s campaign. Rig this election? NO WAY! I decided to take the extra step and book a flight to HB2 Country to North Carolina in the closing days of the election to help the entire Democratic slate win!

Let’s start at the top.

Hillary Clinton with delegate Babs Siperstein.

Hillary Clinton with delegate Babs Siperstein.

Hillary Clinton has stated, “As President, I’ll make fighting discrimination against the LGBT community a top priority -– including by working with Congress to pass the Equality Act.” The Equality Act sponsored by about 216 Democrats and 3 Republicans amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include protections that ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex in the areas of employment, housing, public accommodations, public education, federal funding, credit, and the jury system. It is fully inclusive, covers much, much more than just employment and lacks the big religious exemption that burdened the old ENDA which was exposed by the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court decision.

“We’ll also take on harassment, bullying, and violence –- and youth homelessness, which disproportionately hurts LGBT kids. We’ll end the harmful practice of so-called “conversion” therapy for minors, because LGBT kids don’t need to be “cured” of anything.” There are a number of other fully inclusive LGBT pieces of legislation that she supports including the Student Non Discrimination Act among others. Addressing youth homelessness, we do know that 40% of homeless youth are LGBT and of those at least 40% are transgender or gender variant.

In 2014 the Senate passed an inclusive ENDA (Employment Non Discrimination Act) with bipartisan support 64-32 with every Democrat voting for it. The Republican controlled House refused to bring ENDA to a vote and so it died.

The Republican controlled Congress refused to support LGBT rights, even though It would have passed had the Republican speaker allowed it to come up for a vote. President Obama then issued a transgender inclusive executive order barring anti-LGBT workplace discrimination among federal contractors.

It is clear that we must elect champions of LGBT rights up and down the ballot. We need a majority in Congress who are committed to equality and dignity for all Americans. We need Democrats in the majority to lead.

LGBT rights are absolutely on the ballot in this election. Hillary has stated, “Our next president can either defend President Obama’s executive actions, or repeal them. Donald Trump has promised to repeal them. If I’m fortunate enough to be elected president, I’ll protect them, and I’ll build on them. We’ll make sure we’re enforcing the President’s executive actions in a real and meaningful way.”

The Obama Administration has added protections for LGBT people in housing, employment and education through administrative rulings and policy decisions including those of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that ruled that discrimination against transgender people was sex discrimination. Secretary Clinton has explicitly supported the efforts that are already underway in the courts and across the federal government “to clarify that protecting people from “sex discrimination” means protecting them from discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation, too.”

Let’s put Clinton’s record on transgender inclusive LGBT rights next to Trump’s for you, the voters to decide.

Donald Trump has stated, has exclaimed, that he will appoint Supreme Court justices in the mold of Scalia and Alito who will overturn marriage equality, who gave us Citizens United and the Hobby Lobby decision that enabled all the states to memorialize and legalize LGBT discrimination by private businesses dealing with the public. Trump has ranted on and on about how in the first days of his Presidency he’ll repeal President Obama’s executive actions to protect LGBT people from discrimination. Gone, the President giveth and the President taketh away.

Speaking about these state laws and about the kind of president he would be, look at his running mate: Governor Mike Pence, who infamously signed a law that allowed Indiana businesses to legally discriminate against LGBT customers. Talk about discrimination, Donald Trump has a long track record of bullying, harassment, and discrimination in his businesses, including against LGBT employees.

So what has Hillary Clinton done?

As a U.S. Senator, she was a sponsor of ENDA and the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act.

But it was as Secretary of State that she proactively updated the State Department’s policy so that transgender individuals’ passports reflect their true gender without forcing people to have surgery. She was proactive in her initiative and worked with transgender policy experts to fine tune the policy to make it work! That was huge and got its due publicity. What got little publicity was that under her leadership the State Department took the lead in recognizing and observing the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) as well as hate crimes and violence against transgender people around the world! But that was consistent with her leadership to “pass the first-ever U.N. Resolution on LGBT Human Rights, launching the Global Equality Fund, ending State Department regulations that denied same-sex couples and their families equal rights, and helping to implement LGBT-friendly workplace policies. She also updated the State Department’s policy so that transgender individuals’ passports reflect their true gender.”

Her leadership at State holding TDOR observances at Embassies and consulates around the world was helpful in advocating for a TDOR observance at the White House, the first of which was in 2012.

Sec. Clinton has stated, “We need to stand up for the lives and safety of transgender people, and take on bigotry and discrimination wherever they occur.”

Pence (L) with Trump.

Pence (L) with Trump.

While Clinton has made the “Equality Act” a legislative priority, Trump has pledged to sign the First Amendment Defense Act, “religious freedom” legislation that would enable anti-LGBT discrimination, if Congress approves it. This legislation would federalize the odious LGBT hate bill that Trump’s running mate Mike Pence signed into law as Indiana governor. Trump has encouraged and has stated that he honors North Carolina’s HB2!

Clinton has stated that she would “absolutely veto that legislation, which is part of a concerted effort to discriminate against LGBT people under the guise of protecting religious freedom. I firmly believe that we can promote equal rights and dignity for all Americans and protect religious liberty at the same time. That’s not what the so-called “First Amendment Defense Act” does. It’s insincere and insidious, and we can’t let it become law.”

The Equality Act, for example, advances LGBT equality while maintaining the religious exemptions that have been part of our civil rights laws for decades.

As with LGB and hetero Americans, AIDS is a major issue affecting transgender people.

As Secretary of State, Clinton said “that an AIDS-free generation is within our reach, and I will keep fighting for that future as president.” As President, she has promised to convene an “End the Epidemic” working group to end AIDS as an epidemic in the United States and globally.

She has made international LGBT rights a priority as secretary of state and has stated, “LGBT rights are human rights — plain and simple. No matter what we look like, where we come from, or who we are, we are all equally entitled to our human rights and dignity. But hundreds of millions of people live in places where anti-LGBT violence is rampant and where they can be arrested, imprisoned, even executed for their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

I want to close by speaking about the “Deal”! Dealing with Sec. Clinton and dealing with Donald Trump. Who can you trust when you make a deal. I’ve met Hillary several times over the years and have dealt with her and her campaign. In 2007 her campaign reached out to myself and other board members of National Stonewall Democrats to join her LGBT Steering Committee. We met her campaign manager and top staff. When I asked where she stood on ENDA (that was the big legislation at the time) they showed me a position paper that seemed to support only LGB nondiscrimination. I explained that it did not included people like me. We later worked out an inclusive statement and had it on the campaign website. I was sold. Significantly, the Obama and Edwards campaigns soon followed with their own inclusive statements on their websites. Her proactive record for transgender rights at the State Department sealed the Deal!

Although I met Donald Trump only once in the Nineties when he was flaunting his then girlfriend Marla Maples at the Plaza. A friend of mine, a Republican elected office holder, had a direct experience with Donald that he painfully related when I recently asked him if he was supporting Trump. His company had a deal with Trump’s casino and saved Trump over a million dollars and were trying to collect their fee for that service. Although the hotel manager was happy with the service and wanted to pay, Trump intervened personally and said no. When my friend met Trump personally in Atlantic City, Donald flatly told him that, “The privilege of working for the Trump organization should be compensation enough!”

A snake oil salesmen! A narcissist and megalomaniac! If he is elected no one could trust America!

Is it any wonder that Putin would be ecstatic to see Trump in the White House?

This is the most important election of our lives whether we be transgender or cis gender, gay bi or straight, female or male, white, yellow, brown or black! Orange? What do the Russians, religious fundamentalists, the KKK and Neo Nazis have in common? They support Trump — they know that this is reality, not entertaining reality TV where you can just change the channel or turn the TV off. REALITY BITES!

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Category: Transgender Opinion, Transgender Politics


About the Author ()

“Babs” is a member of the Executive Committee of the Democratic National Committee, Deputy Vice Chair of the NJ Democratic State Committee and Political Director of the Gender Rights Advocacy Association of NJ. For the current campaign she serves on the Executive Committee of Trans United 4 Obama. She has served as Vice Chair of the DNC Eastern Caucus, President of NJ Stonewall Democrats, Co-Chair of National Stonewall Democrats Federal PAC Board, Vice-Chair of Garden State Equality, Executive Board member of National Stonewall Democrats as Chair of the DNC Relations Committee and a member of the NJ Civil Unions Review Commission.

Comments (1)

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  1. j2emily j2emily says:

    you would have to be Rip Van Winkle to be unaware of the fact that about 95% of the GOP stands against unfortunate that the the author could not leave it at that but,instead, uses the latter part of her article for an activist plug as her role as a Democrat activist but inappropriate for the TG Forum

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