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Los Angeles LGBT Center Hosts U.S. Senate Candidate Forum on LGBTQ+ Issues

U.S. Senate candidates at the Los Angeles LGBT Center for a forum on LGBTQ+ issues

On Saturday, Feb. 3, the Los Angeles LGBT Center, in partnership with Equality California and the TransLatin@ Coalition, hosted the leading candidates in the race for California’s next representative in the U.S. Senate.

Reps. Adam Schiff, Barbara Lee, and Katie Porter visited the Anita May Rosenstein Campus in Hollywood to learn about the Center’s programs and services and address pressing issues related to the LGBTQ+ community.

“As we have seen in the news over the last year, the LGBTQ+ community continues to experience unprecedented attacks, and our next U.S. Senator must be a champion for all queer and trans people,” said Los Angeles LGBT Center CEO Joe Hollendoner at the event. “The safety, well-being, and rights of our community is at stake. Hate-mongering and division cannot continue to infiltrate our society, including the hallways of the U.S. Capitol Building. We look to the next Senator from California to protect and further codify the rights of all LGBTQ+ people. I commit the Center to be a partner in that work.”

See highlights from the moderated discussion below.

Rep. Katie Porter on anti-LGBTQ+ policies in schools:

As a mom of two teenagers and a tween here in California, these are fights that I see playing out in Orange County. And I see exactly how harmful they are. I think we have to start with first principles: Children cannot learn when they are not safe, and forced outing policies endanger kids. That is the last thing schools should be doing, period. Second, with regard to youth sports, kids want to play. All kids want to play. And we should draw people’s humanity here and get them to understand that what they are doing is hurting children. And so I think it’s really important that we do not budge one inch on this policy, and, politically, that we frame this up as what it is: a freedom issue. It’s about the freedom of every kid, every American, every family to be themselves and to have a wonderful and hopefully safe, thriving life.

Rep. Adam Schiff on LGBTQ+ youth homelessness:

What the Center does to provide a welcoming place and a roof over people’s heads is just extraordinary, and it’s why I fought so hard to bring resources back to this Center. California is a donor state. We send far more back to Washington than we get back. And it’s important that our senator fight for those resources. Dianne Feinstein brought back billions of dollars to California. Any senator who says, “I’m not going to do that” is going to leave that money to go to other states. But equally important, when we fight to bring resources back to California, we need to make sure that those resources are distributed equitably, that each community shares in those resources. We’re all taxpayers. We need to make sure that those resources come back and they provide housing for those who are most desperately in need of housing. And a lot of those folks are people that are made homeless because of who they are. So I’m going to continue to fight to bring those resources back.

Rep. Barbara Lee on access to gender-affirming care:

Health disparities have to be addressed with regard to every population, including the LGBTQ+ community and the transgender community. On gender-affirming care, we have to include that in all of our health care reform efforts. I have fought to close these health care gaps and will continue to do so. And, as I said earlier, I think it’s important that we look at our healthcare system and begin to fund clinics and mental health services that are specific to the LGBTQ+ community and the transgender community. Right now, they’re trying to defund gender-affirming care on the appropriations committee. I have to fight that, and I’m going to continue to fight as they try to turn the clock back. They’re trying to destroy what health care there is right now. So we have to be on the defense and the offense, but you have my commitment, and that’s a big deal for me.

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