We celebrated June as LGBT Pride month this year with hope, but also with anxiety for the future. Thanks to victories in courts and state legislatures, LGBT Americans and their allies have seen a substantial rise in government recognition and protection.
Now there is a shadow of worry and fear in many communities. President Trump nominated a number of senior officials with checkered or outright bad records on equality.
His administration has taken a number of steps that seem hostile to me, including changes to the census and White House websites, and rolling back Obama-era rules protecting transgender students in public schools. I share the anxiety of my constituents regarding the actions of this Administration, including those of the Justice Department led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. It has actively sought to minimize civil rights enforcement in federal agencies, and has proposed a budget that would cut funding for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
So what must be done to move the ball forward and continue making our society more inclusive?
We can start this year by passing the Equality Act, which I was proud to cosponsor when Congressman David Ciccilline introduced it. This important measure, which enjoys broad bipartisan support in Congress, strengthens the patchwork collection of laws that protect LGBT people across the country by prohibiting discrimination based on sexual or gender identity.
So many LGBT Americans face harassment or discrimination, not to mention the threat of job loss, just because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Passing the Equality Act would go a long way towards righting that wrong.
June is a month which saw major strides forward: the rulings in Lawrence v. Texas, Hollingsworth v. Perry, Windsor v. United States, and Obergefell v. Hodges.
Let us continue to commemorate the diverse culture that brought us to this moment in history, remember and honor those who fought, struggled, and died so that we could have these debates, and stand proudly with millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans.
Rep. Donald Beyer can be reached through his website at www.beyer.house.gov, on Twitter @RepDonBeyer or his office at (202) 225-4376.