Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, the first black woman and openly gay person to lead the nation’s third-most-populous city, says Donald Trump is a major threat to LGBTQ civil rights and that that should compel people to go to the polls and vote in 2020.
Lightfoot made her remarks Monday as she made what the Chicago Sun-Times called her “debut” on the national stage during a visit to New York City, where she spoke at the Democratic National Committee’s annual LGBTQ gala and made an appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.
“Trump—behind his smoke screen of lies, insults and angry tweets — has pursued a dangerous agenda rolling back basic rights for LGBTQ+ families, troops and employees,” Lightfoot told the Chicago Tribune in remarks prepared for the speech at the gala. “They aim to reverse civil rights, which you may have assumed were a matter of settled law.”
Lightfoot also recognized that people often are more inspired to vote for something, as opposed to against something. She told donors at the gala that Democrats wanting to win the party’s nomination for president have to be about something more than just being anti Donald Trump.
Per the Chicago Sun-Times:
Democrats, Lightfoot said, need to offer “an agenda that defends human rights, our planet and our economy. We’ve got to inspire and mobilize folks in 2020. This is no time for defeatism. It’s a time for courage. And we’ve got to stand for more than we are against Donald Trump.”
In response, a White House spokesman, in a statement to the Chicago Tribune indicated Trump “has stood strong” on “equal treatment” for all:
“Donald Trump, as a private citizen and as president, has stood strong with a message of inclusion and advocated for the equal treatment of all, including the LGBT community.”
But back to Lightfoot, who cautioned gala attendees that just because someone like herself, an openly gay black woman, won election to Chicago’s highest office, doesn’t mean the world is not an often dangerous and discriminatory place for members of the LGBTQ community.
Lightfoot referenced the spate of killings of transgender women and the continued discrimination LGBTQ people face in everything from job opportunities to public accommodations like restrooms.
As the Chicago Tribune noted:
Last month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a proposed regulation that in effect says “gender identity” is not protected under federal laws that prohibit sex discrimination in health care. It would reverse an Obama-era policy that the Trump administration already is not enforcing. The administration also has moved to restrict military service by transgender men and women, proposed allowing certain homeless shelters to take gender identity into account in offering someone a bed for the night and concluded in a 2017 Justice Department memo that federal civil rights law does not protect transgender people from workplace discrimination.
“In 2020, I want you to remind your federal representatives that gay people cannot donate blood because of discrimination couched as science,” Lightfoot told those assembled at the gala, the Chicago Tribune reports. “In 2020, I want you to remind your friends, your neighbors, your co-workers that trans individuals are subject to horrific acts of violence, and are still enduring extreme discrimination in everything from public accommodations to housing to health insurance to employment opportunity.”