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    Fighting for Our Rights

    philtingBy Assemblymember Phil Ting

    Most of us remain shocked by the results of the presidential election and are fearful of what changes lie ahead for our country.

    During the campaign, the president-elect consistently demonstrated his divisiveness, bigotry, and insensitivity. By winning the election, he emboldened those with hearts of hate to act out. One phenomenon speaks for itself: When was the last time the Ku Klux Klan planned a victory parade celebrating a president-elect? December 3, 2016.

    The next four years will be challenging, but one thing is clear—we have a different set of values around the Bay Area and here in California. Inclusion and equality matter to us. The rights of the LGBT community, women, immigrants, and people of color are at stake. And, we will fight for them.

    The president-elect says that he seeks to make America great again. Frankly, all he needs to do is to follow California’s example, instead of fighting it. All by itself, California is among the world’s largest economies. We have the largest and most diverse immigrant population. We have the strongest laws protecting equal rights. We invest in the success and security of our people, and we are home to innovative industries that are the envy of the world.

    When it comes to LGBT rights, the president-elect’s nostalgic vision of the past doesn’t work as a roadmap forward. As activists and allies of equality, we look to the future for something better.

    Our nation has recently taken strides towards greater LGBT equality: the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell; marriage equality; protections for transgender employees who work in the federal government; and federal recognition of gender identity as a protected class for hate crimes. This is all wonderful progress, but it pales in comparison to the protections we have in place for LGBT people here in California.

    We don’t know what this presidency will mean for LGBT Americans. While he has acknowledged that marriage equality is the law of the land, the party platform of the Republican majority in Congress specifically seeks to eliminate it, and those he has picked for his cabinet are fierce opponents of LGBT equality.

    These uncertain times make me proud to be a Californian and grateful to champion laws that strengthen LGBT rights in our state. Even before the election results came in, we enacted many new state laws to protect LGBT rights and they take effect next year.

    • Single-user restrooms will be universally accessible to all genders.
    • State-funded travel will be restricted to states that have enacted laws to void or repeal protections for LGBT people.
    • Parents who conceive their children through surrogacy will have new legal protections.
    • Private therapeutic institutions must become licensed and regulated to ensure they are not illegally practicing conversion therapy.
    • Colleges and universities receiving state funds must disclose if they discriminate against their students on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
    • HIV-positive individuals may donate their organs to others who are HIV-positive.

    The next four years will be a battle for our values. California shows the nation that another, better way is possible.  Each of us shares the responsibility to stay united against hate, intolerance, and injustice. Each of us must be vigilant and get involved, should we see our federal government undermine the rights of people in our communities.

    Phil Ting represents the 19th Assembly District, which includes the Westside of San Francisco along with the communities of Broadmoor, Colma and Daly City.