Gus Kenworthy
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VP Harris to LGBTQ+ Leaders: Equality Discussions Must Be Year-Round

Kamala Harris

Conversations about LGBTQ+ equality “should happen every day of the week, all year round,” not just during Pride Month, Vice President Kamala Harris told activists Wednesday.

Harris held a “listening session” with LGBTQ+ leaders in her ceremonial office, which is next to the White House. She reiterated that she, President Joe Biden, and their administration are committed to LGBTQ+ rights and promised that “we will continue to have [those conversations] every day of the week, all year round.”

“As we look at this movement, we’ve come a long way, but there’s still so much work to be done,” she said, according to prepared opening remarks provided by her staff. “We know that we have the Equality Act that we need to get passed. We know the issue, in terms of the experiences our transgender youth are having around the country. We know — and I could go on and on down the list — that we still don’t have full rights when it comes to employment, housing, things of that nature.”

“And so that’s why I’ve asked you to be here, including that, this year alone, there are 250 anti-LGBTQ bills around the country … including prohibiting transgender youth from receiving medical care and participating in sports, the prohibition on transgender people being able to access a restroom, voter rights, in addition to nearly 400 anti-voter bills that are popping up in various states in our country,” she continued. “Many of them would also undermine the ability of LGBTQ people of color, people with disabilities, of meaningful access to voting and to the polls.”

She touted actions the Biden-Harris administration has already taken, such as issuing executive orders against discrimination, lifting Donald Trump’s ban on transgender people in the military, arranging for the Department of Veterans Affairs to cover gender-confirmation procedures, calling for equal treatment of trans youth in schools, and urging the U.S. Senate to pass the Equality Act. She also noted her record as San Francisco district attorney and California attorney general, which included support for marriage equality and moves to address hate crimes.

Those attending the meeting, according to the Washington Blade, were Imani Woody, founder of Mary’s House; Amiri Nash, Washington, D.C., youth poet laureate; Marcelle Afram, chef and co-owner of Shababi Palestinian Rotisserie Chicken; D Ojeda, policy advocate at the National Center for Transgender Equality; Mia Ives-Roblee, director of the Disability Justice Initiative at the Center for American Progress; and Anthony Musa, chair of Pride in Federal Service and sanctions licensing officer at the Department of the Treasury.

After Harris delivered her opening remarks, the remainder of the meeting was closed to the media.

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