FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, December 8, 2016
Friday, Dec. 9 (Washington, D.C.)—This morning, Victory Institute convened the co-chairs of the Congressional Equality Caucus – Reps. Mark Pocan (D-WI 2nd District), Mark Takano (D-CA 41st District), and David Cicilline (D-RI 1st District) – along with Atlanta mayoral candidate Cathy Woolard, and Sandra Moran, the first openly gay member of Congress in Guatemala, for a discussion on how LGBTQ elected officials can lead the fight for equality for all communities.
The panel discussed how LGBTQ leaders must fight not only for LGBTQ equality, but for reproductive rights, criminal justice reform and gun violence prevention, and emphasized the need for LGBTQ representation in government to further an inclusive political agenda and fight inequality under the new administration.
“Only when we are focusing on ourselves is identity politics negative. Identity politics extended to fight for all people – not just being reduced to one group – is positive. And having been reduced just to national origin myself – being dehumanized in that way – makes me all the more passionate. I know the sting of discrimination and that’s why I work to end it,” said Rep. Takano.
“We have to care about more than the LGBTQ movement and our protections. Right now the Muslim community is under tremendous pressures; kids who are Latino are having trouble in schools right now thanks to the conversations about the wall and immigration during the election. It’s common sense to be there for others if you want them to be there for you,” said Rep. Pocan.
The conversation comes at a crucial time when LGBTQ rights are at risk of being rolled back by the incoming administration. The session was part of the larger three-day Victory Institute International LGBTQ Leaders Conference – which brings together more than 500 LGBTQ elected officials, appointees and leaders determined to continue progress on LGBTQ equality.
The conference will continue through Saturday, December 10 in Washington, D.C. For a complete agenda and speakers, visit www.lgbtleaders.org.
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Gay & Lesbian Victory Institute
The Gay & Lesbian Victory Institute works to increase the number of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in public office and to provide programming, service, and other support to ensure their success.