May 17, 2019
Rep. Pressley Speaks In Support of LGBTQ Americans
WASHINGTON – Ahead of the final passage vote, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) delivered remarks on the House floor in support of H.R. 5, the Equality Act, which provides non-discrimination protections to LGBTQ Americans. In Massachusetts, 61% of transgender Bay Staters experienced housing discrimination in the Greater Boston area and 65% of LGBTQ Bay Staters say they experienced discrimination in public spaces – from public transportation to retail establishments, restaurants, and healthcare settings. The Equality Act extends the full anti-discrimination protections under federal civil rights laws to LGTBTQ Americans.
As Prepared for Delivery
Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of HR 5 – The Equality Act. I rise on behalf of non-cis gendered Americans. On behalf of Q-POC Americans. On behalf of drag kings and drag queens. On behalf of all non-heteronormative Americans.
I rise today to let you know that you are seen. You are heard. And I am proud to stand in solidarity with you. It is our mandate as legislators to protect ALL Americans, and yet we are failing entire communities.
In my home state of Massachusetts, a leader in marriage equality, we have the second largest LGBTQ population of any state in the country, and even though our queer pride extends far and wide, sixty-one percent of transgender Bay Staters experienced housing discrimination in the Greater Boston area, and sixty-five percent of LGBTQ Bay Staters experienced discrimination in public spaces – from public transportation to retail establishments, places of worship, restaurants, and healthcare settings.
As we consider HR 5, we must remind ourselves of our values.My forever President Barack Obama once said, “when all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free.” It is true – when we defeat hate with love, we all win.
During a time filled with fear, bigotry, and public turmoil, it is unconscionable that we are still debating the liberties of people who ask only to be received as their full selves. It is our fundamental right as Americans to live happily, peacefully, and unapologetically. It is our fundamental right to live free of harassment and discrimination. It is our right to pursue happiness.
I extend my deepest gratitude to Congressman Cicilline, the author of The Equality Act, who has worked tirelessly for years to affirm the rights and liberties of LGBTQ Americans. Thanks to the leadership, HR 5 takes a comprehensive approach to making the pursuit of life, love, and happiness a reality for all of us, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. The Equality Act ensures that LGBTQ people are protected by a nationwide standard for nondiscrimination.
It’s time for us to live up to our values. It’s time for us to strike out against injustices that devalue our humanity. Together, we can affirm that our diversity is our strength and that our collective safety is non-negotiable.
I urge my colleagues to vote in support of HR 5.