International Leaders 2018: 15 of the Best Moments

15. Sharice Davids: “We are part of a movement that is done being ignored.”

Sharice at Conference

“We just elected the most diverse class of Members of Congress in the history of the United States. We’ve had too many people in decision-making positions who are more interested in telling people what their solutions should be instead of listening and representing them. This election just reset expectations for who we can elect not just to Congress, but to our state legislatures, to our county commissions, to city councils, to governorships, and this was reset through a message of hope. We are part of a new era in this country. We are part of a movement that is done with being ignored.”

14. Sen. Elizabeth Warren unveils her LGBTQ policy priorities for the new Congress

“The powerful in Washington don’t give up just because they get knocked down. I hope you are ready to fight uphill for as long as it takes, because I’m going up that hill and need you with me in this… Our opponents will try to deny transgender and gender nonconforming people basic human rights like healthcare, housing, and employment. Cynics will say true equality just isn’t attainable….We are facing an uphill battle. Nevertheless, we will persist.”

13. Budding politician upstages America’s first openly gay governor

Polis Upstaged

LGBTQ leaders everywhere agree: Seven-year-old Casper Polis is the cutest.

Governor-elect Polis also provided an update on Colorado politics. He won by 10.5 points, a decisive victory with coattails in down-ballot races like state Rep. Titone’s history-making win.

12. Queer Eye’s Karamo Brown shares a personal story about Mayor Parker

“When you ran for mayor, it was a very special moment because I had just relocated back to Houston, Texas where I was born and raised to get custody of my biological son.  I was working as a social worker and a psychotherapist, and a lot of people had told me that there was this exciting new candidate named Annise, and she’s a lesbian and I was thinking, “This is not true. We’re in Texas.”

Then I saw you on the local news station speaking and I was inspired. Then I went into work where I worked with LGBT youth primarily, and they were inspired. Then I started having conversations with individuals in communities of color, and I saw this shift. I remember distinctly the morning that you were elected mayor. You said earlier that that was a very special day for any politician, but that was also a very special day for me because I remember my sons ran in the room and said, Dad! She won!”

11. 2 out of 3 newly-elected Brazillian trans State legislators discuss nationalism, race, and the future

Erika and Robeyonce

With the election of President-elect Bolsonaro, Brazil’s LGBTQ civil society has erupted, leveraging the business community, mass actions, and indeed a historic number of trans MPs. Voters just elected 3 trans women for the first time, including Robeyoncé Lima and Érica Malunguinho (who almost didn’t make it when Copa Airlines initially refused to recognize her gender identity.)

Lima and Malunguinho spoke at length about the relationship between race and queerness.  “I was born dead,” Malunquinho said through an interpreter. “But contrary to statistics to the system to the oppressive system I’m alive. I am here to establish to seal a new time a civil civilization and a new humanity.”

10. How California sets the tone for LGBTQ legislation nationwide

From HIV decriminalization to youth foster care, California has a record of setting the tone for full pioneering LGBTQ legislation, but that wasn’t always the case. How can other states replicate their success? Karamo Brown, Assemblymember Todd Gloria, Assemblymember Susan Eggman, California State Assembly, and Los Angeles County Assessor Jeffrey Prang, Los Angeles County discuss key highlights. 

9. “Oh, you’re Nickie. You’re so normal!”

State Sen.-elect Nickie Antonio shares her colleagues’ reactions to her being Ohio’s first LGBTQ legislator, and some of the ups and downs of being the “first” LGBTQ person to make these inroads in Columbus.

8. For the uninitiated, Danica Roem has strong feelings about Route 28

We all know Danica’s an avid muckraker and never at a loss for words. But she gets straight to point about what motivated her in 2017 (featuring an epic hair flip).

7. Jonathan Capehart puts Ambassador Guest on the spot

Michael Guest was the Ambassador to Romania from 2001 to 2004 and he was our country’s first openly gay Senate-confirmed ambassador. Washington Post journalist Jonathan Capehart couldn’t resist asking Guest to share his first interactions with the Romanian press and how they covered his orientation.

6. Former NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn on building bridges with Labor 

…In her own style, of course! “Some Union folks came to meet with me to tell me how they were gonna try to move – this is before marriage – domestic partner legislation in Albany, but they were gonna define domestic partners only as heterosexual couples. But it really wasn’t a big deal cuz they were okay with all that. So I told them I didn’t give a rat’s ass what they were okay with, that if they push legislation which left the LGBT community out, they would have an enormous problem with this office for the rest of the time that I was in it.”

5. Barney Frank on Bill Clinton, the House Banking Committee, and showering with Dan Coats

Spoiler alert, the Congressman was unimpressed. “I was debating Dan Coats, then the senator, now the director of Central Intelligence, and he brought up that argument about showering and said oh well you know the guys don’t want to shower with gay people I said Dan you were in the house when I was in the house we showered together in the house Jim and nothing interesting happened I can guarantee it!”

4. Brianna Titone on facilitating hyper-local conversations to bridge the partisan divide

She decided to run because the seat was split evenly on the presidential level in 2018. But when incumbent Republican Rep. Lang Sias was selected as Walker Stapleton’s running mate for Lieutenant Governor of Colorado, Brianna Titone had a fighting chance. Here’s her take on running a field program and having meaning conversations with unlikely voters.

3. Sen. Baldwin reveals the tactic she used to win Sen. Flake’s support for the gender-inclusive ENDA bill

“I feel comfortable talking about it now because actually his son was interviewed for a major article on why his dad voted for an inclusive ENDA in the Senate, and so his son told this story, but I had served with Jeff Flake in the House and we had both been elected in the same year to the U.S. Senate..” Watch for an inside scoop on how to work across the aisle in Washington.

2. Full Panel: ‘Broadening the Equality Agenda: Millennials in Office’

Talk about two all-star panels! Saturday’s inter-generational conversation was a dynamic presentation the connected many disparate parts of our movement. Every panelist has a deeply moving reason for joining the fight for equality and running for office, from Rep. Park Cannon’s traumatic encounter with hate to Rep. Daniel Hernandez’s key role in Congresswoman Giffords’ shooting. You’ll want to watch this in full.

Featuring Jennifer Bendery, HuffPost; Georgia state Rep. Park Cannon; Florida state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith; Arizona state Rep. Daniel Hernandez; Texas state Rep. Mary González; MP Michael Connolly, Alberta Canada

1. Full Panel: ‘Returning the Favor: Fighting for Those Who Sparked the Fight’

The number of LGBTQ seniors is growing, but with few exceptions, states and cities have failed to address the needs of our aging community. Stories abound about LGBTQ people returning to the closet when moving to senior living communities. Others struggle to find caregivers who are culturally competent in LGBTQ health. Hear from experts about the unique challenges that face older adults who are LGBTQ, and from LGBTQ elected officials about the policies and legislation they are pushing to protect this community.

Featuring Diego Sanchez, PFLAG; Corey Johnson, Speaker of the New York City Council; Councilmember Lisa Middleton, Palm Springs, CA; Dr. Nii-Quartelai Quartey, AARP; Aaron Tax, SAGE; Dr. Imani Woody, Mary’s House for Older Adults