In honor of Pride month and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, presidential hopeful Kirsten Gillibrand has released her policies and new proposals for LGBTQ+ Americans. The agenda proposes long overdue protections and recognitions for the LGBTQ+ community, from healthcare and identification on government documents to properly tracking hate crimes and protecting LGBTQ+ youth from homelessness.
“LGBTQ Americans deserve a president who will always stand with them and protect their civil rights — without hesitation. Unfortunately, what they have right now is a bigoted, cowardly bully who makes the LGBTQ community more vulnerable,” Gillibrand said in an official statement.
Gillibrand’s proposals are extensive and her focus on representation and agency is diligent. They can be broken down into four main categories: equal rights, families and children, healthcare, and safety. Some of the highlights include supporting the Equality Act, banning conversion therapy nationwide, and eradicating loopholes for discrimination based on identity and orientation. The length of the list of proposed changes serves as a reminder of how much is left to do in order to ensure that LGBTQ+ people possess all the same rights as anyone else.
Under equal rights, Gillibrand proposes that gender identity and sexual orientation be considered protected classes. Additionally, she wants to support the Equality Act, recognize a third gender “X” on identification documents, and ban discrimination against transgender people serving in the military and living with HIV.The Equality Act is currently up for a vote in Congress. It has passed in the House and is awaiting a Senate vote.
Gillibrand’s proposals aim to protect the rights and wellbeing of LGBTQ+ people’s ability to start a family and for LGBTQ+ children to grow up as free of discrimination as possible. Some of the biggest takeaways are her desire to codify the Marriage Equality Act and to ban conversion therapy nationwide. Currently, there are 32 states that allow for the proven harmful practice to continue. Support in schools is another main focus of Gillibrand’s proposed policies. She wants to nominate a pro-LGBTQ+ Secretary of Education to help her reform the education system. On her list is increasing funding and availability of mental health services to combat bullying and higher suicide rates among LGBTQ+ youth. She also wants to reinstate public schools allowing transgender students to use bathrooms that match their gender identity.
The presidential hopeful’s policy proposals for family and children also include extensive reforms to the adoption process and foster care system. Gillibrand wants to require hospitals to provide gender-neutral parental forms to new parents to secure same-sex parental rights from birth. “You shouldn’t have to adopt your own child just because of your gender,” she said in her statement. She also believes that income and sexual orientation should not inhibit one’s ability to adopt a child. Preventing discrimination in the foster system and requiring insurance companies to cover IVF treatment to any couple who should want it are also among her proposals.
Gillibrand’s ideas for healthcare are all about affordability and access. She wants to prevent all restrictions on reproductive healthcare, protect funding for Planned Parenthood and Title X-funded healthcare providers, and to require insurance companies to cover hormone therapy. Another huge change for the LGBTQ+ community is Gillibrand’s proposal for a complete repeal of its blood donation ban, which prevents them from donating.
Finally, Gillibrand believes that no one should live in fear for their life because of their identity or orientation. This includes properly tracking and prosecuting hate crimes, recognizing asylum claims of foreign LGBTQ+ people, and combating the high rates of homlessness in the community.
Gillibrand announced her bid for president in January. Since becoming a senator in 2009, she has set her sights on systems of power and marginalized communities. She played an early role in the fight to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, which prohibited LGBTQ+ people from serving openly in the military. In her efforts for greater transparency and taking the prosecution of military sexual assault out of the chain of command, she found bipartisan support in Sens. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz.
“We can’t allow hateful people, no matter how powerful they are, to roll back decades of progress,” Gillibrand’s statement reads. “We need to permanently secure the gains LGBTQ Americans have made, and relentlessly strive to expand equal rights and opportunity for all.”