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I’m a trans Republican and I oppose transphobic attacks on Ortiz Jones

Winning at any cost emboldens those who want to weaken America

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Gina Ortiz Jones (Photo by Ana Isabel Photography)

While we all await the outcome of our country’s all-important presidential election, there are other races that have made news across America for good reasons — and for bad reasons. Unfortunately, one such race is the congressional one between Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones and my fellow Republican, Tony Gonzales. I say unfortunate, as the forces of bigotry, fear, and opportunism have played a part in this passionate political battle of Texans.

As a resident of New Jersey, I can only imagine that many readers are wondering why a woman from the Garden State cares about a congressional race in the Lone Star State? Besides the fact that I have family in Texas, I am transgender and a Republican. I have seen the disturbing news reports of the recent anti-LGBTQ attacks on Ortiz Jones regarding her sexual orientation and support of transgender Americans.

These attacks are vile, as well as un-American and un-Republican. They should not be happening and they should not be coming from anyone in my own party. Right is right and wrong is wrong and I cannot idly stand by and say nothing.

Recently, the National Republican Congressional Committee released two ads that target Ortiz Jones for her support of transgender military service and ensuring that transgender service members receive any necessary medical care they may need. It is a position that I hope Gonzales will support if he wins this congressional seat.

The NRCC’s claim against Ms. Ortiz Jones is preposterous on its face, let alone that the U.S. Department of Defense hired the Rand Corporation to produce a study on transgender military service and medical care, which found that such service would entail minimal financial costs to the taxpayer. So minimal, in fact, that Rand estimated that the DOD’s costs for transgender medical care would be roughly one-tenth of the Veterans Affairs budget for Viagra prescriptions.

Clearly, that isn’t enough money to close a military base and Gonzales and the NRCC would be well served by reading the Rand report before discussing such things further.

In addition to the NRCC ads, Gonzales mentioned on a podcast that Ms. Ortiz Jones, whom I do not know, nor I have never met, has a “transgender agenda.” As an active conservative Republican who has run for office herself on the state level, I can assure everyone that there is no special “transgender agenda.”

Instead, many transgender Americans such as myself and allies (including elected officials on both sides of the aisle) work hard on Capitol Hill and in state houses and city halls to make sure our government stays small and treats us the same as any other citizen. No agenda there, just freedom and liberty.

There are a truckload of policies and issues on which I would disagree with Ortiz Jones and I will not try to tell voters in her district which way to lean. However, one should win with honor I am certain that the voters in this district will make an informed choice on who will represent them in Congress without my input.

However, they should make their voting choice with the knowledge that transgender people and the full LGBTQ community are of no threat to them. I hope they will agree that no one would consider another American’s sexual orientation or gender identity as a reason to not serve their nation or community.

Our country needs everyone, Republican and Democrat, to extend grace to one another and bring out the best in each of us. Winning at any cost or by stoking a voter’s fear of an already marginalized group of people only emboldens those who want to see America weakened.

Just as I will await the results of our own races here in New Jersey, I will anxiously await the results of Texas Congressional District 23 and hope that transgender folks like me will not be a determining factor in who will represent them in Congress next year.

No matter who wins, my hope and prayer is that I and millions of others like me will be fairly represented in Congress and that our congressional representatives will vote to enshrine our liberty, freedom and equality in law should they come up for a vote. What more can an American ask for?

Jennifer Williams is a LGBTQ advocate and Republican and was the first transgender person to run for the New Jersey State Legislature.

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Homophobia wins in the Puerto Rico Senate

Bill to ban conversion therapy died in committee

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[Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

By Alberto J. Valentín | It is a sad day for Puerto Rico, and it is a sad day for human rights on the Caribbean island.

Last Thursday, 11 senators decided to turn their backs on children and human rights in Puerto Rico. A new Senate majority proved to be weak and on the wrong side of history, again. Eight senators from the legislative committee reviewing Senate Bill 184 to ban conversation therapy on the island voted against the bill’s report.

Today, thanks to these senators, any mental health professional can freely charge a father for “curing” his son of homosexuality or of a gender identity/expression that does not conform to social standards of “normality.” Although there has been an executive order in Puerto Rico banning conversation therapy since 2018, this order is only applicable to health institutions that have a specific connection with the government. Executive orders state mandatory requirements for the Executive Branch and have the effect of law; however, any governor can revoke them.

Senators received scientific evidence and several testimonies from LGBTQIA people who testified during public hearings. These senators also received evidence of permanent depression and suicide attempts caused by conversion therapy. However, 11 senators decided to condone hate and the intolerance towards the LGBTQIA youth on the island. One of these senators, Wanda Soto, said during one of the public hearings that “… with love anything is possible … ” in reference to her belief that kids’ sexual orientation and gender identity can be changed or cured. This senator even compared a bad personal experience with a dentist she had when she was a kid with LGBTQIA opponents’ testimonies of their experiences of going through conversion therapy.

Suicide and depression rates among LGBTQIA youth are staggering and are the highest in the entire United States compared to other reasons. These indices are a direct consequence of the intolerance, discrimination and lack of validation that our society perpetuates. LGBTQIA youth go through difficult times in their lives, including personal and family acceptance that trigger years of depression and anxiety among LGBTQIA people.

Today again, hatred wins. Today, Puerto Rico demonstrates why it is the number one jurisdiction for hate crimes in the entire United States. Today again, these 11 senators make evident why gender-based crimes continue to dominate local headlines. Today these senators are an example of the ignorance and lack of cultural competence that persist in our island. Today, these senators will be responsible for the depression and the stigma that the LGBTQIA community will continue to suffer. Today these senators are responsible for perpetuating intolerance. We take a step back as a society, demonstrating again that we cannot tolerate those who are different and who do not meet our standards of normality.

Neither the tears of Gustavo nor Elvin or Caleb, who presented their testimonies before the Puerto Rico Senate, were enough to move the hearts of these senators. The hypocritical hugs and words of support that some senators gave to these LGBTQIA people after their testimony and personally meeting them make it much harder to understand how they turned their backs on our children. Today these 11 senators are responsible for perpetuating hate crimes on the island and make our path to be a more inclusive society even harder.

Homophobia won in the Puerto Rico Senate last Thursday. There was no difference when the pro-statehood Senate majority defeated SB 1000 (banning conversion therapy) back in 2018 and now with a new majority lead by the Popular Democratic Party. Different senators, different bills, same result, but the same homophobia. Many Puerto Rican voters believed that furthering human rights would be easier to achieve on the island with a new majority in the legislature. Unfortunately, the reality is that our legislature is just a mirror of our society, and the lack of cultural competence persists among us. But we will keep fighting; this is a single lost battle, a battle among many others yet to come.

These are the 11 senators who voted against SB 184 or didn’t vote:

  1. Sen. Rubén Soto – Against
  2. Sen. Ramón Ruiz – Against
  3. Sen. Albert Torres – Against
  4. Sen. Ada García – Against
  5. Sen. Wanda Soto – Against
  6. Sen. Marissa Jimenez – Against
  7. Sen. Joanne Rodríguez – Against
  8. Sen. Thomas Rivera – Against
  9. Sen. José L. Dalmau – Absent
  10. Sen. Marially González – Absent
  11. Sen. Javier Aponte – Absent
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Happy Mother’s Day

The publisher, editor, and staff of the Los Angeles Blade wishes all of the mother’s a very happy mother’s day and thank you for all that you do.

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The publisher, editor, and staff of the Los Angeles Blade wishes all of the mother’s a very happy mother’s day and thank you for all that you do.

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Rich privilege on full display- Hannity interviews Jenner and it wasn’t pretty

Vox journalist Aaron Rupar live tweeted the show, capturing some of the arguably worst of the discourse with Jenner.

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LOS ANGELES – Fox News pundit and anchor Sean Hannity interviewed realty television star Caitlyn Jenner on his show Wednesday evening and it frankly was a hot mess.

Jenner, who announced a week ago that she’s running to replace California Governor Gavin Newsom in the likely recall election this Fall, gave Hannity her take on issues that was Trumpian and clueless to outright enraging at times.

Vox journalist Aaron Rupar live tweeted the show, capturing some of the arguably worst of the discourse with Jenner pontificating on subject matters that she clearly doesn’t have a firm grasp of.

For instance, on California’s homeless crisis: Jenner said: “My friends are leaving California. My hangar, [ Jenner is a pilot and has her own aircraft ] the guy right across, he was packing up his hangar and I said, where are you going? And he says, ‘I’m moving to Sedona, Arizona, I can’t take it anymore. I can’t walk down the streets and see the homeless'”

Jenner again disparages Trans youth athletes: Jenner explains that she’s opposed to transgender girls playing sports against other girls. But then in the next breath she says she wants to be a role model for transgender girls.

“Forest management is extremely important” Jenner’s comments about wildfires reminded Rupar of former President Trump’s clueless remarks.

Next she claims, well take a listen yourself:

This next part is rich. “You’re pro *legal* immigration” — Sean Hannity puts words in Caitlyn Jenner’s mouth when she talks about immigration. Jenner responds by saying, “sorry, did I miss the legal part? Thanks for catching me. You’ve got my back, Sean, I appreciate that.”

Then there’s her take on trains. Jenner wonders why high speed rail is needed between LA and SF since people can just fly

Then she muses that Trump did a better job than Biden is doing which is completely vapid and devoid of substance

Mercifully it ended…

I reached out to a Trans activist of note for comments on the Hannity interview, who angrily asked why I would consider giving Jenner any more oxygen.

I explained that sadly in the toxic world of Republican politics circa 2021 in a post-Trump presidency world there are those right wing extremists who will hold Jenner up as an ‘authority-figure’ and as a spokesperson for Trans people, and worse will cite Jenner as an example.

Jenner needs to be marginalized, people need to hear loudly and clearly that she absolutely does not speak for the LGBTQ+ community and that her bigotry towards young Trans people is harmful and dangerous.

While Jenner’s candidacy and ‘policy’ positions may well be perceived as a joke, what does need to be taken seriously is her ongoing attacks on the Trans youth who just want to participate in sports.

Electing not to comment the activist agreed.

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