Support and advocacy for LGBTQ community
In 2004, I organized and filed the first lawsuit in the State of New York since the 1970s seeking marriage equality for consenting adults. My client was Jason West, the then-mayor of New Paltz, New York who won office as part of a Green Party slate that swept the town government after Democrats and Republicans split the establishment vote.
I remain concerned about all dimensions of LGBTQ rights, though I am especially concerned about police profiling targeting trans and gender non-conforming folks. That’s one reason I support the End Racial Profiling Act.
Beyond police profiling, LGBTQ individuals remain vulnerable to discrimination in the private sector. That’s why I supported the Equality Act recently passed by Congress to secure nationwide protections for all LGBTQ people in employment, housing, education, public accommodations, public funding, credit, and jury service.
I also oppose SESTA & FOSTA, raised the alarm before they became law, and continue to oppose their erosion of digital freedom, as well as their escalation of risks confronted by sex workers. I’ve taken action in solidarity with sex workers speaking out for digital rights, and am eager to challenge the perversity of Congress—and Sen. Kamala Harris, in particular—claiming to protect survivors of human trafficking while ultimately placing sex workers at greater risk and creating opportunities for violence and pimps.
In addition, I will oppose any legislation that would allow religious exemptions to undermine or limit civil rights or access to reproductive health & family planning services. I support the Do No Harm Act as an extension of these principles, as well as the EACH Woman Act, which would reverse the Hyde Amendment and ensure accessible reproductive planning services, including abortions, for low-income women and women relying on public health insurance.
Long before I ran for office, I took action to challenge government-sanctioned discrimination that denied recognition of relationships and hindered people’s ability to form families. My work pioneering the legal struggle for marriage equality 15 years ago, provided an east coast front to what was, until then, a story without national traction cited to demonstrate the Bay Area’s iconoclasm. When my client put New York state in play, marriage equality became an object of national discourse, which put our movement on an inevitable path to victory.
Among the various projects, campaigns, causes, and movements I participate in, my work in the marriage equality movement stands out for a few reasons. First, the issue is one of the few on which most progressives share a consensus that we have gained ground in the past generation. In addition, my work played a crucial role at a critical juncture, helping expand a previously regional movement into a national one. Finally, it reflects my willingness to initiate, to carve new space and create opportunities for other actors in the political ecosystem.
Many of our broadly applicable human rights positions, from Medicare for All to reviving federal spending on affordable housing, will benefit LGBTQ communities, alongside others. At the Harvey Milk Club, I met a pair of members who recently lost access to lifesaving pharmaceuticals due to a change in insurance. While they identify as gay, their needs are ultimately shared in common by all Americans.