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Democratic Platform Promises Bold Action for Racial, LGBTQ+ Equality

Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi

The Democratic Party’s 2020 platform has been released for consideration by convention delegates before they vote on it, and it’s the most inclusive ever for LGBTQ+ people.

The platform is the first from either major party to include the terms “LGBTQ,” “transgender women of color,” “nonbinary,” “nonconforming,” or “gender confirmation surgery,” said Meghan Stabler, a Democratic activist and member of the platform committee, who is a trans woman.

“The 2020 DNC Platform is the most inclusive platform ever for LGBTQ+ people,” Stabler told The Advocate via email. “I’m personally proud as a member of the DNC Platform Committee to have offered dozens of amendments to the platform on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community, all of which were accepted. While it vows to protect transgender health, pass the Equality Act, and undo the anti-LGBTQ policies of the Trump administration, it also calls for training within the criminal justice system to ensure transgender and gender-nonconforming people receive fair and equitable treatment and for the ending of discriminatory exclusions that harm transgender students, service members, veterans, and their family members.”

“We will give hate no safe harbor,” the preamble to the platform states. “We will never amplify or legitimize the voices of racism, misogyny, anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim bigotry, or white supremacy. Democrats will protect and promote the equal rights of all our citizens — women, LGBTQ+ people, religious minorities, people with disabilities, Native Americans, and all who have been discriminated against in too many ways and for too many generations. We commit ourselves to the vision articulated by Frederick Douglass of ‘a Government founded upon justice, and recognizing the equal rights of all.’”

“Democrats applaud this year’s U.S. Supreme Court decision that made clear that employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity violates the law, but we know we still have work to do to ensure LGBTQ+ people are treated equally under the law and in our society,” the platform reads in a section titled “Protecting LGBTQ+ Rights.” “We will fight to enact the Equality Act and at last outlaw discrimination against LGBTQ+ people in housing, public accommodations, access to credit, education, jury service, and federal programs. We will work to ensure LGBTQ+ people are not discriminated against when seeking to adopt or foster children, protect LGBTQ+ children from bullying and assault, and guarantee transgender students’ access to facilities based on their gender identity. Democrats will ensure federally funded programs for older adults are inclusive for LGBTQ+ seniors.”

It goes on to support a ban on so-called conversion therapy, promise to address the homelessness crisis, and pledge to end violence against trans people, particularly against Black trans women.

Other planks in the platform include reversing Donald Trump’s ban on transgender people in the military and other discriminatory policies adopted by his administration; strengthening the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s power to investigate civil rights violations, including those against LGBTQ+ people; efforts to end the HIV epidemic; restoring nondiscrimination protections for in health insurance, including coverage for gender transition, and guaranteeing that federal health plans provide coverage for HIV testing and treatment, HIV prevention medications, gender confirmation surgery, and hormone therapy; working to ensure that blood donation regulations are based on science and stigma; and defending LGBTQ+ rights around the world.

The platform also commits to racial justice, combating climate change, raising the minimum wage and other measures to fight economic inequality, expanding access to higher education, achieving universal health care coverage, and major steps to address the COVID-19 pandemic. It begins with recognition of indigenous peoples on whose land the country was built.

And it includes a quote from Black gay poet Langston Hughes. “Above all, Democrats still believe in the American idea — its principles, its purpose, and its promise. We know that four more years of the crass, craven, corrupt leadership we have seen from Donald Trump and the Republican Party will damage our character and our country beyond repair. We pray, as Langston Hughes did, ‘O, let America be America again — the land that never has been yet — and yet must be—the land where every man is free.’ Democrats call on all Americans to come together and seize this last, best chance to restore the soul of our nation — and vote this November to ensure our greatest days are still to come.”

The Democratic National Convention will be held August 17-20, mostly virtually, although Joe Biden will accept the presidential nomination in person in Milwaukee.

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