To mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, 25 Democratic members of Congress are promising to stand with LGBT Americans in the face of hateful legislation and rhetoric.
In a video kicking off the #WeAreWithYou campaign, members of the Congressional Equality Caucus channel U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s historic remarks last week, when she told the beleaguered transgender community, “We see you, we stand with you, and we will do everything we can to support you going forward.”
The congressional campaign is led by Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, New York’s first openly gay member of Congress and cochair of the Congressional LGBT Caucus. Maloney published a compilation video on his YouTube channel this morning, featuring clips of each of the featured members of Congress; full-length videos are slated to be published by each Democrat’s office throughout the day.
While the videos are being released on IDAHOT, the members of Congress are up front about their underlying motivation to take a stand for LGBT equality at this moment in history. As states like North Carolina, Mississippi, and Tennessee enact legislation sanctioning discrimination against LGBT residents, these elected officials are blatantly opposing such efforts.
“Discrimination has no place in the law, and these attempts to legalize hate are shameful,” Maloney said in a press release announcing the campaign. “These laws tell LGBT people that who they are or who they love makes them less valuable as human beings — and that’s just wrong. I started this campaign because, from North Carolina to Missouri, I want LGBT Americans to know that they are not alone. So I am asking my colleagues in Congress and folks across the country to join me and tell our LGBT brothers and sisters, ‘We’ve got your back, and we’re going to keep fighting for you until we win.’”
In the video, members of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus — including several out elected officials — speak directly to LGBT Americans who may feel caught in the legislative cross-fire of anti-LGBT laws and rhetoric.
“You have a right to be safe, you have a right to be respected, you have a right, basically, to be who you are,” says Congressman Mark Takano, a California Democrat who is the first openly LGBT person of color elected to congress.
“I know that a lot of the conversation about anti-LGBT laws is hurtful. It may make you feel isolated and alone,” says New York Rep. Jarrod Nadler, a vice-chair of the caucus.
“I want to make sure that you know, when you’re feeling attacked, that there are those of us here who stand by you,” adds out Colorado Rep. Jared Polis, a cochair of the aucus..
“I know there’s a lot of haters out there, but please, stay strong,” says Arizona Rep. Ruben Gallego, also a vice-chair of the caucus.
Watch the compilation video below, featuring the members mentioned above as well as California Reps. Lois Capps, Tony Cardenas, Barbara Lee, Ted Lieu, Raul Ruiz, Jackie Speier, Scott Peters, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi; Florida Reps. Ted Deutsch, Lois Frankel, and Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz; Colorado Rep. Diana DeGette, Arizona Rep. Alan Lowenthal, New York Rep. Joe Crowley, Rep. Elizabeth Esty of Connecticut, Maryland’s Rep. Steny Hoyer, Massachusetts Rep. Joe Kennedy III, Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey, out Wisconsin Rep. Mark Pocan, and Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois.