AuthorPocan, Mark

Each year, I celebrate Pride Month with the LGBTQ+ community by focusing on how far we have come and how far we have yet to go. Our community has much to be proud of: We are beautiful and diverse, and have overcome many challenges. Despite continued discrimination, LGBTQ+ people have contributed greatly to all aspects of our society, and our history is intrinsically woven into the fabric of today's world. However, Pride Month feels a bit different this year.

Across the country, and around the world, we are witnessing anti-equality politicians put the rights, liberties, and lives of LGBTQ+ people in jeopardy each and every day. Whether it is the more than 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills sweeping state legislatures in the United States or MAGA Republicans pushing similar bills in the U.S. House of Representatives, our community is under attack from every direction.

Republicans in Congress even introduced bills earlier this year to ban Pride flags at U.S. embassies and to limit when staff at schools can use a student's proper pronouns. Pride flags and pronouns aren't the problem; bigotry is.

This bigotry especially targets the transgender community. Transgender people started the first Pride Festival by protesting police injustice at the Stonewall Inn in Manhattan, and now they're the number one target of anti-equality politicians.

These politicians are restricting transgender people's access to medically necessary care, banning them from participating on school sports teams with their friends, and calling their mere existence into question. Some supporters of these anti-equality politicians are even calling for transgender people to be eradicated.

In 2023, we should be free of bigotry. As a society, we should be beyond calling for the eradication of groups of people or the erasure of entire communities. In 2023, we should be prioritizing issues like lowering health care costs, tackling the climate crisis, supporting working families, and protecting our communities from an epidemic of gun violence.

Rather than focusing on those crucial issues, anti-equality politicians and extremists are spending their time and energy on a batch of priorities that don't support the American people, but rather target the rights of a marginalized community of people who are simply trying to live their lives.

We must fight back.

As chair...

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