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Trump’s attempted coup requires a bold response — from all of us

If we have learned anything- it’s that democracy is not a promise made to us, but one we make to each other.

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Screenshot via NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt

Thousands of Trump supporters swarmed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday to commit seditious acts that were motivated by ignorance and white supremacy, which obviously go hand in hand. But the looting and deadly violence never would have occurred without the encouragement of a treasonous crook in the Oval Office. 

President Trump was the evil puppet master of an insurrectionist mob, and every second he remains in office between now and Inauguration Day on Jan. 20 poses a grave threat to our democracy. 

Throughout his time in office, but especially since the 2020 election, Trump has repeatedly refused to respect one of the core tenets of our democracy: the peaceful transfer of power. More than 60 lawsuits challenging the results of a free and fair election have been dismissed, and yet he still refuses to come to grips with reality. Even worse, Trump casually sat back and watched the mayhem unfold Wednesday, refusing to provide adequate security and risking the lives of Congress members and their staff. In a video posted to social media before having his accounts indefinitely locked, Trump said he loved the people committing crimes he previously argued should carry a minimum 10-year jail sentence.

“We love you,” Trump said. “You’re very special.”

The inequity in how the overwhelmingly white rioters were treated by law enforcement Wednesday compared to peaceful protesters of color over the last four years couldn’t be starker. 

In June, we saw the president order the firing of tear gas on peaceful protesters for a sacrilegious photo-op. Millions of people peacefully took to the streets over the summer and stood up for racial justice, only to have police and federal forces — at Trump’s urging — respond with militarized sweeps, rubber bullets, and other ammunition. Disabled health care activists have been dragged out of the halls of the Capitol more than once and 100-plus LGBTQ activists were arrested during a peaceful protest in October 2019 in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. The number of arrests after hundreds of people stormed the Capitol in an act of domestic terrorism: 52.

Entitlement, white supremacy, and a lack of respect for the rule of law were on full display in the attempted coup, all at the urging of a pseudo strongman who thinks the best way to wield power is through his clumsy thumbs and a smartphone.

Trump, of course, is not the only official who should be held liable for one of the darkest days in our nation’s history. Republicans in Congress have repeatedly echoed his lies and carried Trump’s water, spreading misinformation to sow distrust. Every single supporter of the president’s treasonous election claims has blood on their hands after five people died as a result of Wednesday’s riots, including a Capitol police officer. The applause we hear coming from our enemies abroad should inspire shame — shame to be shared exclusively by Trump and his loyalists. 

Republicans who retain any sense of honor must join Democrats and leaders across the country in calling on Vice President Mike Pence and/or the President’s Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment. If the 25th Amendment is not invoked, the House should move to introduce new articles of impeachment. We cannot wait to find out if Wednesday’s horror show was rock bottom for this failed administration.

But this is not simply a time for condemnation. 

Those who were horrified by what we witnessed Wednesday must take action. The LGBTQ+ has consistently been under assault by the Trump administration, from blocking the Equality Act to guarantee non-discrimination protections to banning transgender service members from the military. In the 2020 election, LGBTQ+ voters turned out in numbers nearly double their proportion of the population, according to national election polling. The impact of our votes will no longer allow officials to see us as an after-thought in the political process.

But with power — even power as seemingly insignificant as one vote — comes responsibility. Too many people in our society have grown comfortable with the idea that the American way of life will sustain itself. 

The truth is our Democracy is fragile. Progress is incremental. And apathy for doing our civic duty — voting, engaging on issues that affect our communities, calling out racism and misinformation — can lead to irreparable harm when one political party seeks power solely for the sake of power and personal gain. 

One of the lasting images I’ll remember from this week is a picture of Rep. Andy Kim (D-New Jersey), who was photographed after midnight picking up trash left inside the Capitol. He didn’t have to do it, but he said he felt a personal responsibility. I suspect the LGBTQ+ community as a whole will have a similar role to play in helping to clean up this mess.

I was proud to see members of Congress return to the floor late Wednesday to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. Those who stood in the way of those efforts have shown which side of history they’ve chosen to align. Their disgraceful actions will not be forgotten. 

All Americans must take this ominous moment in history and channel it into purpose. We must seek to repair the damage of the last four years. Connect with your local, state, and federal elected officials. Get to know them and hold them accountable to better safeguard our democracy.

If we have learned anything from the past week, it’s that democracy is not a promise made to us, but one we make to each other.

Assemblymember Evan Low was elected to the California State Legislature in 2014 and represents Silicon Valley. He is Chair of the Legislative LGBTQ Caucus and Vice Chair of the Asian & Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus.

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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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