Please read Pete’s policy in full at PeteforAmerica.com.
Twenty years ago, an awkward teenager at St. Joe High School in South Bend, Indiana, who didn’t know a single out LGBTQ+ student there, never would have imagined how far we would come as a country. But what does our country look like to a teenager in 2019, just starting to realize who they are? What future do they see for themselves?
They see an administration that has unacceptably deemed people who risk their lives for their country as unfit for service because they are transgender. They see a government that is allowing clinicians to refuse to treat patients who are LGBTQ+. They see a president who, when asked about LGBTQ+ rights by a reporter, joked of his vice president: “Don’t ask that guy—he wants to hang them all!”
They see more states covering gender-affirming procedures, but they also see schools refusing to allow trans students to use the bathroom of their current gender. They see people with HIV living vibrant lives, but they also see people who cannot afford the treatment they need. They see gay nightclubs opening up across the country, but they can’t forget Pulse. They see transgender people, primarily Black transgender women, murdered at alarming rates. They see a country where they are still not fully free or safe and one in which they still don’t feel like they fully belong.
In the past week alone, four out of five LGBTQ+ youth felt down or depressed, more than two out of three reported feeling worthless, and last night, almost all had trouble sleeping. This past year, LGBTQ+ Americans were twice as likely to suffer from mental illness as their straight peers, and almost one in two transgender people considered suicide.
Across much of our country, discrimination and the ever-present fear of it continue to govern aspects of LGBTQ+ people’s lives. Can I be who I am and keep my job? Can I hold the hand of the person I love in public? Which bathroom can I use safely? Will I be able to raise a family or not be harassed at school? Can I live here and be happy? Will I ever be accepted?
When I’m president, I hope these questions will start fading away. We will share solutions big enough to meet the challenges the LGBTQ+ community faces while bringing the American people together to understand that our freedoms are bound up in each other.
For LGBTQ+ people, like for other marginalized groups, the political has always been extremely personal. This is why our policy is inspired by LGBTQ+ people’s stories: by the war that breaks out in the heart of a young person when they realize that a basic fact about them makes them more likely to be feared, and the immense joy that comes with finally knowing with certainty that you belong….
Each of us has our own story. And when I’m president, I will use the power of the presidency to tear down the walls that have excluded far too many LGBTQ+ people for far too long.
[read in full at WashingtonBlade.com]