Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Chair: Dick Durbin: This weekend, cities, including Chicago, across the globe, will host their annual pride parades to celebrate LTBGQ families, friends and neighbors. In just a short time, relative short time, a few decades, our nation has made remarkable progress in protecting the rights of LGBTQ Americans. Eight years ago this month, for instance, eight years, OBERGEFELL V HODGES which made marriage equality the law of the land. And last year, on a bipartisan basis, Congress codified these protections into law with THE RESPECT FOR MARRIAGE ACT. While Pride Month is an opportunity to celebrate these milestones, today we also remember that Pride began with an act of resistance. Back in 1970, the first ever pride parade was organized to mark the one year anniversary of The Stonewall Uprising. It was a protest led by gay, transgender and gender non-confirming Americans who refused to accept an unjust system of laws and united together to change not just America, but to change the world. Today, we draw from that spirit to unite together in acknowledging and defending the rights of LGBTQ Americans because right now extremist politicians across America are targeting LGBTQ youth along with the medical professionals who care for them and the parents who love them. I want to turn to a video that shows the story of one of those parents and his plea for the leaders in his home state of Missouri to stop these attacks.
And here's the father speaking in the video:
Brandon Boulware: I'm a lifelong Missourian, I'm a lawyer, I'm a Christian, I'm the son of a Methodist minister, I'm a husband. I'm the father of four kids -- two boys, two girls -- including a wonderful and beautiful transgender daughter. Today happens to be her birthday and I chose to be here. She doesn't know that. She thinks I'm at work. I came here today as a parent to share my story. One thing I hear when transgender is discussed is, "I don't get it. I don't understand." And I would expect some of you to have said that and to feel the same way. I didn't get it either. For years, I didn't get it. For years, I would not let my daughter wear girl clothes. I did not let her play with girl toys. I forced my daughter to wear boy clothes and get short haircuts and play on boys' sports teams. Why did I do this? To protect my child. I did not want my daughter or her siblings to get teased. And truth be told, I did it to protect myself as well. I wanted to avoid those inevitable questions as to why my child did not look and act like a boy. My child was miserable. I cannot overstate that. She was absolutely miserable. Especially at school. No confidence. No friends. No laughter. I -- I can honestly say this, I had a child who did not smile. We did that for years. We did that against the advice of teachers, therapists and other experts. I remember the day everything changed for me. I'd gotten home from work and my daughter and her brother were on the front lawn. And she had, my daughter had sneaked on one of her older sister's play dresses and they wanted to go across the street and play with the neighbors' kids. When it was time for dinner, I said, "Come in." She asked can she go across the street? I said "no." She asked me if she went inside and put on boy clothes could she then go across the street and play? And it's then that it hit me. My daughter was equating being good with being someone else. I was teaching her to deny who she is. As a parent, the one thing we cannot do, the one thing, is silence our child's spirit. My child was miserable. I cannot overstate that. She was absolutely miserable. And so on that day, my wife and I stopped silencing our child's spirit. The moment we allowed our daughter to be who she is, to grow her hair, to wear the clothes she wanted to wear, she was a different child. It was immediate. It was a total transformation. I now have a confident, a smiling, a happy daughter. She plays on girls' volleyball teams, she has friendships, she's a kid. I came here today as a parent to share my story. I need you to understand that this language, if it becomes law, will have real effects on real people. It will effect my daughter. It will mean that she cannot play on the girls' volleyball team or dance squad or tennis team. I ask you please don't take that away from my daughter or the countless others like her who are out there. Let them have their childhoods, let them be who they are. I ask you to vote against this legislation.
These are serious issues and Senator Durbin noted that:
By one place?
Don't you mean you? Why are you referring to yourself in the plural?
In December 2017, The New Yorker published an article by Jane Mayer showcasing interviews with former minority members of TPUSA. Former staff members said they witnessed widespread discrimination against minorities in the group, and stated "the organization was a difficult workplace and rife with tension, some of it racial." One former employee, an African-American woman, said she was the only person of color working for the organization at the time she was hired in 2014; she then said that she was fired on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The article also revealed text messages sent by Crystal Clanton – who was a leading figure in the organization and served as the group's national field director for five years – to another Turning Point employee saying "i hate black people. Like fuck them all ... I hate blacks. End of story." Kirk responded to the revelations by saying that "Turning Point assessed the situation and took decisive action within 72 hours of being made aware of the issue." The article also noted that Kirk had explicitly praised Clanton in his book Time for a Turning Point, saying that she had been "the best hire we ever could have made", and that "Turning Point needs more Crystals; so does America."
In an April 2018 article titled "Turning Point USA Keeps Accidentally Hiring Racists", HuffPost reported that the woman hired to replace Crystal Clanton had a history of using racial slurs, particularly against African-Americans, on Twitter before deleting her account. In response to the reports, Kirk referred to the individual in question as "a former employee" in his official statement (without clarifying when she had been fired), and Turning Point issued an internal memo announcing that all current and new staff would face social media background checks.
In the Hillsdale College Collegian, opinions editor Kaylee McGhee wrote an article titled "Charlie Kirk and TPUSA aren't conservative, as real conservatives already knew". In the article, McGhee referred to TPUSA as a "reactionary cancer" rather than a group supporting real conservatism that is "supposed to preserve the timeless principles of liberty and equality for all". In June 2018, conservative radio talk show host Joe Walsh resigned from the TPUSA board because Kirk was too closely tied to Donald Trump. Walsh said: "It's so important to not be beholden to politicians, but to be beholden to the issues ... When Charlie went to work for Trump, that crossed that line. You can't advance Trump and advance these issues."
During October and November 2019, Kirk launched the Culture War college tour of speaking events with appearances from many conservatives such as Donald Trump Jr., Lara Trump and Kimberly Guilfoyle. These events were frequently targeted by homophobic and antisemitic members of the alt-right and far-right who consider TPUSA to be too mainstream and not sufficiently conservative. Concerted efforts were made by this group to ask leading questions during the Q&A sections on controversial topics such as Israel and LGBTQ issues in order to challenge the extent of the speakers' views.
Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center
In 2019, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has called TPUSA an alt-lite organization. Both the ADL and the Southern Poverty Law Center have criticized TPUSA for affiliating with activists from the alt-right and the far-right. The ADL has also reported that the group's leadership and activists "have made multiple racist or bigoted comments" and have links to extremism.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) today joined Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Corey Booker (D-NJ) in introducing the Equality Act – historic, comprehensive legislation to ban discrimination against LGBTQ+ Americans, just as religious, racial, and ethnic discrimination are illegal everywhere in the United States.
“If we want to live up to our nation’s ideal of true equality, we must address the fact that we have been coming up short. It is wrong that in a majority of states, LGBTQ+ people can be denied an apartment, cut from a job, thrown out of a store, or face other forms of discrimination just because of who they are or who they love,” said Senator Baldwin. “And that’s why I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing the Equality Act to protect LGBTQ+ Americans against discrimination and live up to our nation’s ideals of freedom and equality.”
The Equality Act would amend the landmark federal anti-discrimination laws to explicitly add sexual orientation and gender identity to longstanding bans on discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, jury service, access to credit, federal funding, and more. It would also add protections against sex discrimination in parts of anti-discrimination laws where these protections had not been included previously, such as public accommodations and federal funding.
“Generations of Americans have marched, voted, organized, and raised their voices to move us closer toward a more perfect union with freedom, equality, and opportunity for all,” said Senator Merkley. “We all go to work and school, go home, and go shopping, and none of us should have to keep our families hidden or pretend to be someone we’re not to do those things. Yet in some states, Americans can still be evicted, be thrown out of a restaurant, or be denied a loan because of who they are or whom they love. To realize the vision of America as a land of freedom and equality, we must be willing to take the steps to bring that vision closer to reality, and that’s exactly what the Equality Act does.”
“The flood of legislation in state after state seeking to undermine the rights of LGBTQ+ Americans is antithetical to our nation’s fundamental ideals and only serves to foster more hate, division, and prejudice,” said Senator Booker. “Congress must act to ensure that no person is discriminated against based on their gender identity or who they love. That is why I am proud to join again with colleagues to reintroduce the Equality Act, landmark legislation that will guarantee that LGBTQ+ Americans are protected under federal law and move us one step closer to having a nation that truly lives up to our ideals of liberty, freedom, and justice for all.”
LGBTQ+ equality received a huge boost across the nation last year when President Biden signed Senator Baldwin’s bipartisan Respect for Marriage Act into law, enshrining federal protections for same-sex and interracial marriages. Further, in 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Bostock v. Clayton County that workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity is prohibited as a form of sex discrimination under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. However, this court ruling has not yet been nationally applied to other areas of potential discrimination—including housing, public accommodations, jury service, access to credit, and more.
LGBTQ+ Americans around the country are facing an uptick in discrimination and dangerous state-sponsored legislation. State legislatures have introduced nearly 500 pieces of legislation that target LGBTQ+ rights. Despite Americans’ increasing support of LGBTQ+ rights and protections, the majority of states currently do not have fully-inclusive non-discrimination laws for members of the LGBTQ+ community.
U.S. Representative Mark Takano (D-CA-39) led the introduction of the Equality Act in the House.
A summary of the bill can be found here.
The Senator's remarks can be downloaded here.