Editorial: Telling our Pride stories
Our quote for this Pride month is: “I believe that telling our stories, first to ourselves and then to one another and the world, is a revolutionary act.” — Janet Mock
Join the Democrats Abroad LGBTQ+ Caucus on Sunday, June 20, 2021, for a daylong Pride celebration as we share our events with all DA members. Remember Pride month celebrates who we are and the power and joy of coming out. It is also a time to acknowledge the risks associated with coming out for many LGBTQ+ people around the world as well as our own communities.
On June 16, our very special guest is U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, who joins Democrats Abroad for a Pride Month webinar on the Equality Act.
In this Pride Newsletter, co-editor Fred Kuhr provides an update on the State Department’s changed policy on providing citizenship to LGBTQ+ couples from abroad who adopt children. Co-editor Betsy Ettorre writes a short piece on the resolution passed recently by DPCA, “To Condemn Recent Anti-Transgender Legislation and to Support Passage of the Equality Act.” She will also summarize the June 8 DAUK (Democrats Abroad United Kingdom) Action Night, urging Congress to pass the Equality Act!
Also in this issue, Russell Martin interviews DA Spain Chair Daniel James about his work in the LGBTQ+ community and DA, and Irene Chriss provides a piece on the filibuster and outlines its historical implications for lawmakers.
Happy reading, and we hope to see you throughout this month as we celebrate Pride.
Betsy Ettorre & Fred Kuhr, co-editors
DA to celebrate Pride all day on June 20
by Adriana Smith
Democrats Abroad is celebrating Pride Month with a jam-packed schedule of events on June 20 for a Global Virtual Pride Marathon — or Prideathon, if you prefer. The theme this year is “Sharing Our Stories / Equality Matters.”
Events include facilitated discussions on the experience of LGBTQ+ people around the world and how to influence U.S. legislation that impacts LGBTQ+ people, film screenings on LGBTQ+ experiences, poetry and spoken word performances, a drag story time for the whole family, and much more.
The big event is hosted by the DA LGBTQ+ Caucus, with the aim of educating Americans about issues impacting LGBTQ+ people and opportunities to provide greater protection through policy and legislation. A key focus will be on engaging members to share their stories.
Here are some of the events planned for the day:
- 5:30/11:30 (EDT/CET): Let's talk about AAPI queer identity through a discussion of Alice Wu's film The Half of It, now streaming on Netflix;
- 6:00/12:00 (EDT/CET): Dialogue on healthcare and other issues faced by transgender youth, facilitated by the DAUK LGBTQ+ caucus, featuring one of the U.K.’s leading LGBTQ+ charities, Mermaids;
- 7:30/13:30 (EDT/CET): Between two stigmas the intersection of being LGBTQ+ and an immigrant, with Departed Dreamers, co-hosted by the DA Hispanic Caucus.
- 9:00/15:00 (EDT/CET): Equality legislation with Nadine Smith of Equality Florida, Congressional LGBTQ Equality Caucus Exec. Director Shawn Gaylord, DNC LGBT Caucus Chair Earl Fowlkes.
- 11:00/17:00 (EDT/CET): Screening of “Edie & Thea ” a critically acclaimed documentary on a relationship that ultimately led to the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Edith Windsor vs USA, striking down the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act; Q&A with filmmaker Susan Muska;
- 13:00/19:00 (EDT/CET): Family-friendly and fun drag story time with Fay and Fluffy;
- 14:30/20:30 (EDT/CET): a spoken word performance on queer life in Canada from the perspective of non-binary and two-spirit performers;
- 15:30/21:30 (EDT/CET): Presentation and discussion on a family’s fight to stay together, their testimony at the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on same-sex immigration rights.
To RSVP, go to Global Virtual Pride 2021.
For more information, go to SwayOffice.com
Biden marks Pride Month by pressing for Equality Act passage, expanding global rights agenda
by Fred Kuhr
Returning to a tradition that was shelved during the previous Republican administration, the Joe Biden White House issued its first LGBTQ+ Pride Month Proclamation on June 1.
In it, Biden praised civil rights activists working for LGBTQ+ equality, lambasted physical as well as legislative attacks on transgender Americans, and reiterated his support for the Equality Act, legislation that seeks to ban anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination nationally. The Equality Act passed the United States House of Representatives earlier this year, but remains stalled in the Senate in part due to Republican use of the filibuster.
“While I am proud of the progress my Administration has made in advancing protections for the LGBTQ+ community, I will not rest until full equality for LGBTQ+ Americans is finally achieved and codified into law. That is why I continue to call on the Congress to pass the Equality Act, which will ensure civil rights protections for LGBTQ+ people and families across our country,” Biden stated.
The filibuster and why it matters to LGBTQ+ equally
by Irene Chriss
The filibuster is a parliamentary procedure which permits United States senators to initiate a non-stop debate, often a monologue, in order to block or slow down a piece of legislation — even if it seemingly has majority approval.
These "debates" span from the idealistic and politically progressive to a display of power and control.
The filibuster can be invoked by three-fifths (currently 60 percent) of the voting Senate. The debate may be brought to a close by invoking cloture, a legislative procedure of ending debate and taking a vote.
At times, a "nuclear option" can be invoked to close the debate with a simple majority vote. If the vote is split 50/50 — and currently there are 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans — with no simple majority vote being achieved, the presiding vice-president (in this case, Democrat Kamala Harris) breaks the tie.
Pushing to pass the Equality Act
by Betsy Ettore
At the 2021 Democratic Party Committee Abroad (DPCA) Annual Global Meeting (May 14-16), the Resolution To Condemn Recent Anti-Transgender Legislation and to Support Passage of the Equality Act, proposed by Austin Allaire (DA UK) and Brian Westley (DA UK), was adopted. It states:
- Whereas 16 anti-LGBTQ laws have been enacted since the beginning of 2021; and
- Whereas recent legislation passed in the state of Arkansas serves as a case study of the perils of such laws; and
- Whereas, on April 2, 2021, Republicans in the Arkansas General Assembly voted to override Governor Asa Hutchinson’s veto to enact the Save Adolescents From Experimentation (SAFE) Act; and
- Whereas this law bans gender-confirming surgery for anyone under 18 and prohibits doctors from providing transgender youth with puberty blockers or hormone therapy; and
Meet the new chair of DA Spain
by Russell Martin
“I started off in Democratic politics a long, long time ago,” Daniel James explains. “I worked for a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and started working on campaigns,” serving on “three House campaigns and a Senate campaign.” James’ 34-year career in the federal government then shifted toward more non-partisan work.
But even after his retirement in 2019, James carefully considers and consults before jumping in as an activist in the partisan arena. Of course, this has not prevented him from being actively involved, and like many others, James has felt even more compelled to act in the current political climate.