Recent Comments

    The Rainbow Wave and the Most Diverse U.S. Congress Ever

    History was made on January 3 as ten openly LGBTQ individuals were sworn into the U.S. Congress: two in the Senate and eight in the House. The prior record was established by the last Congress with seven such politicians serving. The new Congress also has the largest number of female members, with more than 100 women serving in the House led by Nancy Pelosi and 25 in the Senate. Additionally, the Congressional Black Caucus and the Hispanic Caucus recorded more members than ever before, as did Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders.

    Regarding the Rainbow Wave, LGBTQ Victory Institute President Annise Parker said: “An historic number of LGBTQ people will serve in the new U.S. Congress and their influence will shape the debate on equality legislation and issues moving forward.”

    She added, “In the U.S. Senate, those opposed to the Equality Act will now need to look two openly LGBTQ Senators in the eyes and tell them their lives are not worth protecting. In the U.S. House, Speaker Pelosi will have eight LGBTQ Representatives to consult about how various healthcare or criminal justice reform policies uniquely affect our community. The relationships these LGBTQ lawmakers will build with their colleagues on Capitol Hill are transformative, and with an unprecedented number of women and people of color also joining the 116th Congress, equality issues will finally receive the attention they deserve.”

    The 10 LGBTQ members of Congress—all Democrats—are the following:

    Tammy Baldwin (Senate, WI)- Baldwin’s electoral success has made history several times. In 1998, she became the first woman elected to represent Wisconsin in Congress and was the first openly gay woman elected to Congress from any state. In 2012, Baldwin became the first openly gay person elected to the Senate.

    David Cicilline (House, RI-1)- Cicilline previously served as Mayor of Providence, Rhode Island (2003–2011). He was the first openly gay mayor of a U.S. state capital.

    Angie Craig (House, MN-2)- Craig, who with her wife Cheryl Greene has four children, was the first openly lesbian mother to be elected to Congress. She was also the first woman to be elected in Minnesota’s 2nd district, and was the first openly gay person elected to Congress from Minnesota.

    Sharice Davids (House, KS-3)- Davids is the first openly lesbian and LGBT member of Congress from Kansas. She is also one of the first Native American women elected to Congress. She began her career as a mixed martial arts professional before working with Native Americans on reservations and entering politics.

    Katie Hill (House, CA-25)- At 31, Hill is one of the youngest women ever elected to Congress. She is also one of just a handful of national leaders who is openly bisexual.

    Sean Patrick Maloney (House, NY-18)- Maloney is the first openly gay person elected to Congress from New York. He was the second member of Congress to legally marry a same-sex partner while in office.

    Chris Pappas (House, NH-1)- Pappas is the first openly gay person to represent New Hampshire in Congress.

    Mark Pocan (House, WI-1)- Pocan is notable for having been the only openly gay member of the state Assembly after Tammy Baldwin’s election to Congress, and was one of three LGBT members of the 100th Wisconsin Legislature. The other two were Tim Carpenter and JoCasta Zamarripa of Milwaukee.

    Kyrsten Sinema (Senate, AZ)- Sinema was the first openly bisexual member of the House of Representatives, the first openly bisexual person elected to the Senate and the first woman elected as a Senator from Arizona. She is also reported to be the only non-theist member of Congress. She was recently sworn into office using a copy of the U.S. Constitution, and not the Bible, as has been the usual practice.

    Mark Takano (House CA-41)- Takano was the first openly gay person of Asian descent in Congress.

    We congratulate the members of this historic new Rainbow Wave, and hope that they and LGBTQ allies in Congress will help to turn the U.S. political tide toward social justice, equality and opportunity for all.

     


    Women’s March 2019 Will Follow Release of New ‘Women’s Agenda’

    The 2019 “Women’s Wave” event marking the 2nd anniversary mobilization of the Women’s March on Washington will take place on January 19. Efforts are ramping up for the national event in Washington and multiple Sister Marches across the country, including several in the Bay Area.

    “We are excited that this year there will be 208 Sister Marches across the U.S. in addition to the march in D.C.,” Women’s March spokesperson Cassady Findlay told the San Francisco Bay Times. “As a young organization, we have been working hard to build our robust network of affiliated groups in alignment with our Unity Principles, which were created in 2017 by a diverse group of women movement leaders.”

    (See the Unity Principles at https://www.womensmarch.com/principles/ )

    Findlay continued, “Ahead of the 2019 march, we are in the process of creating the first intersectional feminist policy platform based on the Unity Principles, which will be called the Women’s Agenda. We look forward to debuting that around the date of the march.”

    “I’d also like to share that our youth-led group, Women’s March Youth Empower, has been doing some really impressive things over the past year or so,” she added. “In March 2018 they organized the #Enough Student Walkout to protest gun violence, which reached 2 million students nationwide, and they launched the Empower Coalition to encourage young people to vote in summer 2018 as well.”

    Women’s March COO Rachel O’Leary Carmona, in turn, said in a statement: “Thousands of women are hard at work preparing for actions across the country, and we’re coming with an agenda.”

    “When women lead, we bring our communities with us,” Carmona added. “We’ve seen that women-led mass mobilizations have enormous impact. Incorporating specific policy demands into our direct-action strategy will ensure we take the power of our movement to the next level. The Women’s Agenda is a bold and unprecedented vision and roadmap for women’s rights that will ensure all our communities are represented in our fight for justice.”

    The dozens of organizations and movement leaders creating the new Women’s Agenda represent women of diverse faiths and ages, women of color, LGBTQ women, indigenous women, disabled women, sex workers rights advocates, low-income women and more.

    Committee members include policy experts and representatives from Planned Parenthood, Bend the Arc Jewish Action, the ACLU, the Indigenous Environmental Network, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, Council on American-Islamic Relations, UndocuBlack, American Federation of Teachers, Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, Pueblo Action Alliance, Black Women’s Roundtable, Girls for Gender Equity and dozens of other organizations from a wide range of backgrounds.

    The Women’s Agenda builds and expands upon the 2017 Unity Principles to provide clear and practical next steps for activists across the nation. It will identify urgent policy priorities determined by ten planning committees organized based on these Unity Principles: Ending Violence Against Women & Femmes, Ending State Violence, Reproductive Rights & Justice, Racial Justice, LGBTQIA+ Rights, Immigrant Rights, Economic Justice & Worker’s Rights, Civil Rights & Liberties, Disability Rights and Environmental Justice.

    Each of the ten committees is comprised of a small team of issue-area experts who will identify one or two federal policy priorities they believe are most likely to address harm impacting vulnerable communities and are realistically achievable—to be acted upon, supported or even passed by 2020—with the support of grassroots activists.

    Women’s March will unveil the final agenda the week of the 2019 Women’s March.

    For more information about the Women’s March:

    Home Page: https://www.womensmarch.com/

    New Video on Women’s March 2019: https://bit.ly/2VzPrWg

     


    Councilmember At Large Rebecca Kaplan Elected as Oakland’s
    First Out LGBT Council President

    In a unanimous vote, Councilmember at Large Rebecca Kaplan on Monday, January 7, was elected Oakland Council President. She is the first openly LGBT+ individual to hold this position in the city’s history.

    Kaplan, who is also a San Francisco Bay Times columnist, said in a statement: “I am honored to serve the people of Oakland as Council President. I thank my colleagues for their confidence in my leadership and for the opportunity to serve Oakland. We have many challenges. We must acknowledge injustice and prejudice exist and we need leaders to assure we work together to move our city forward. I believe in giving all Councilmembers the opportunity to affect change, and all council members will have an opportunity to chair a committee. I look forward to working together in coalition with community to advance Oakland’s vital needs.”