#ResistTrump heroes Reps. Adam Schiff and Ted Lieu marked the 100th day of Donald Trump’s presidency celebrating LGBT rights and progressive values at Stonewall Democratic Club’s Stoney Awards on April 29. Lieu presented Schiff the Elected Official of the Year Award, with both men underscoring the importance of this moment in democratic history.
Schiff, ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, “is everything Chair David Nunes is not,” Lieu said to LGBT Democratic party activists and allies in the courtyard of Traxx Restaurant at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles. Nunes recused himself from the committee’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with Russian officials to interfere with the 2016 elections after it was revealed that he colluded with White House officials to allegedly launder classified information. “At stake is the legitimacy of the Trump administration. No pressure, Adam.”
Schiff thanked Lieu, top Trump troll on Twitter, “for the great job you are doing to put real constraints on the unconstitutional impulses of this administration.”
“In Washington and around the world, what we are up against is not one man or one party,” said Schiff. “What we are up against is the idea that we are stronger when we are divided, when we turn against each other, when we focus on our differences rather than our common humanity. This is the root of the challenge we face at home, and the challenge of nativism and bigotry around the world. The very idea of liberal democracy is under assault, and along with it, that we were all created equal, regardless of how we look, where we are from, who we worship, or who we love.”
The House investigation into Russian interference is not about re-litigating the election but “how we protect our democracy and that of our allies for generations to come,” Schiff said. “We cannot turn a blind eye to outside interference just because it helps us politically.” America “must vigorously oppose the rise of autocracy around the world.”
Schiff called Stonewall Democrats his “family” and said there wasn’t enough time to list all anti-LGBT actions the Trump administration took in the first 100 days. But he cited a few, including being silent on the atrocities in Chechnya and on “the murder of members of our trans community at home.”
After congratulating fellow honorees, Schiff said he was “truly thankful to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with you in this fight for the values that we hold dear — for equality, respect and dignity. To our friends and adversaries in the administration who so often condemn California and our judges, let me just say – we are proudly out of control. Now, back to work!”
During his introduction, Lieu noted that Schiff is a signatory on his recently introduced Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act of 2017, a bill that would put a federal ban on so-called “conversion therapy” by allowing the Federal Trade Commission to classify the practice as fraudulent. Lieu first lead the charge against “ex-gay therapy” in the California Legislature, passing a law in 2012.
“The bill is very simple,” Lieu told The Washington Post. “It says it is fraud if you treat someone for a condition that doesn’t exist and there’s no medical condition known as being gay. LGBTQ people were born perfect; there is nothing to treat them for. And by calling this what it should be, which is fraud, it would effectively shut down most of the organizations.”
On May 1, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a second challenge to the California law. Vice President Pence and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos have previously expressed support for the practice.
Lieu says the bill has 70 co-sponsors. “Our hope is that it becomes law but in the meantime, the Federal Trade Commission can just do it,” Lieu told the Los Angeles Blade. Since Trump has not yet named a new chair, “I urge them to take action now.”
Also honored was transgender activist Michaela Irivi Mendelsohn, CEO of Pollo West Corp., one of the largest franchisees for El Pollo Loco restaurants in the Western Region. She also founded TransCanWork, with the mission of making trans inclusion in the workplace the “new normal.”
Eric Bauman, who helped build Stonewall Democratic Club into a political grassroots powerhouse years ago and has transformed the L.A. County Democratic Party into the largest local Democratic Party organization in the country, was honored with the Public Official of the Year Award. He is expected to win election to become chair of the California Democratic Party later this month, becoming the party’s first out gay chair.
Sean Kolodji, Stonewall’s young membership recruiter, was honored with the Member of Year Award, with his mother in the audience looking on.
Out California State Sen. Ricardo Lara, who is expected to run for Insurance Commissioner, made a heartfelt presentation of the Organization of the Year Award to CHIRLA (Coalition for Humane Immigration Rights), personally praising and thanking Executive Director Angelica Salas for embracing LGBT Latinos. On May Day, CHIRLA lead a large LGBT-inclusive coalition and a march of thousands in a demonstration for social justice and immigrant rights. “It is our responsibility to change the country,” she told the Blade.
Also receiving love from Stonewall Democrats was LA City Council member Gil Cedillo, a longtime LGBT ally who is running for reelection in Council District 1. He faces controversial candidate Joe Bray-Ali, whose comments on explicitly racist and alt-right websites included criticizing gender-reassignment surgery for transgender individuals as “a shameful excess.”
Out LAUSD Board President Steve Zimmer got a special shout out from Bauman and Stonewall President Stephen David Simon to bolster his grassroots-coalition backed reelection campaign against well-financed, private charter school booster Nick Melvoin. “We have to speak truth to this money and not allow this take over to take place,”
Zimmer told The Blade. “I’m very proud to carry this flag.” The run-off is May 16.