States like Florida and Texas have passed laws targeting the LGBTQ+ community in the classroom or with medical procedures. Vice President Kamala Harris used her speech at a pride event in Washington D.C. Friday to denounce those actions, as reported by The Hill.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott made it legal for the state to investigate parents of transgender children to be investigated for child abuse if they sought gender-affirming care. (It has since been temporarily blocked) Florida Gov. Ron Desantis signed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill into law which does not allow topics like sexual orientation and gender identity from kindergarten through third grade. Tennesee, Alabama, and Georgia have passed their versions outlawing what they call “divisive concepts” from being taught in the classroom.
Given the targeted state action and that white supremacist groups like the Proud Boys are invading LGBTQ+ events, Harris spoke to the urgency of the times.
“No one should fear going to a nightclub for fear that a terrorist might try to take them down,” Harris said on Sunday, which also marked the sixth anniversary of a mass shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando where a gunman killed 49 people and injured 58 others.
“No one should fear loving who they love,” Harris also said at the festival. “Our children in Texas and Florida should not fear who they are.” “We should not have to be dealing with 300 laws in states around our country that are attacking our LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters,” she added.
In addition to those words, Vice President Harris renewed a call to pass the Equality Act and acknowledged more work needs to be done to protect vulnerable populations.
“We need to pass the Equality Act. We need to make sure that our transgender community and our youth are all protected. We need still protections around employment and housing,” she said last year.
“There is so much more work to do. And I know we are committed and we understand the importance of this movement and our roles of leadership in this ongoing movement,” she added.
As NBC News notes, there are almost 240 Anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been filed in 2022 alone. The Equality Act would adjust the Civil Rights Act to ban sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in employment, housing, and education realms. Most importantly, it would strengthen protections otherwise left for the courts to decide. President Biden has urged Congress to pass the act, but there has been no movement because the Republican-controlled Senate in 2019 did not consider it for a vote. It was re-introduced in 2021, but Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) is the only lone Republican co-sponsor. Even so, Collins called for revised language for her to support it again.