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July 27, 2017

NY Activists, Democrats Oppose Administration's Moves Against LGBTQ Americans

By Lanning Taliaferro
In the wake of three recent moves by the Administration of President Donald Trump against the LGBTQ community, local activists and politicians spoke out. They plan to fight back against the new policies targeting senior services, military service and civil rights.

"We should be grateful to our Transgender Brothers and Sisters for their bravery, patriotism and willingness to risk their lives to uphold our American values. This is no way to treat vital members of our country," said Sleepy Hollow resident Lisa Linsky, a lawyer with McDermott Will & Emery LLP, and one of the lead writers of that firm’s amicus brief in the Supreme Court cases on marriage equality.

Officials at SAGE, the national organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender older adults, pointed out that the transgender military ban was the second of three recent acts against the LGBTQ community. The first was the administration's attempt to eliminate transgender eldersfrom the National Survey of Older Americans Act Participants, which shapes the allocation of billions of federal dollars to vital elder services. The second was the president's tweet banning trangendered Americans from serving in the nation's armed forces. The third was the Department of Justice's announcement that the country's civil rights laws do not cover gay people.

The Rockland Pride Center has organized a Transgender, Non-Binary, and Gender Non-Conforming support group and speak-out for July 31. Organizers also ask people looking to support the LGBTQ community to contact for events and other ways to help.

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, the first openly gay member of Congress from New York, issued the following statement after the president tweeted his ban on transgender people serving in the United States Military.

"Anyone who doubts the lethality of our trans service members should say that to Kristin Beck’s face – she’s a transgender member of SEAL Team 6, a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, and a Bronze Star and Purple Heart recipient," Maloney said. "Anyone who doubts their abilities should talk to Riley Dosh who is being denied a commission after graduating from West Point. Anyone who doubts their bravery should tell Shane Ortega, who ran over 400 combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Transgender people have served well and honorably and any suggestion otherwise is just prejudice.”

Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY17/Rockland-Westchester) also issued a statement in response to President Trump’s decision to bar transgender individuals from serving in the U.S. military:

“Every member of the U.S. military deserves our profound respect and gratitude for their sacrifices and service. President Trump’s misguided decision to ban transgender individuals from the military is an insult to the valor and heroism of every American in uniform. Gender identity has nothing to do with qualifications to serve. The world is a dangerous place, and forcing out thousands of highly-trained, highly-skilled American troops would undermine both our readiness and national security. I strongly denounce President Trump’s hateful policy and urge him to reconsider this discriminatory and dangerous proposal.”

All the negativity is cancerous to the body politic, said Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

"I think it's terrible, I think it's hateful, I think it's divisive, I think it's ugly, I think it's unnecessary, I think it's unprovoked," he said. "But put all the tactics aside, I'll tell you what I find more and more disturbing with the Trump administration and this ultra-conservative dialogue. It is all based on anger and hate and division and judgement. And from the very beginning, it has always been about dividing people one from the other and pitting people one against the other. Straights versus gay, white people versus minority, get those immigrants out, put up a wall, they're taking from you. All negative, all negative, all negative."

Senator Kristen Gillibrand summed up their position: “President Trump’s brazen attacks on the civil rights of Americans at the ballot box, in the military, and now in the workplace are dangerous and contrary to the values our country was founded upon. We will not allow the President to drag us back in time and roll back the civil rights of LGBTQ workers solely based on their sexual orientation without a fight. These craven attacks on basic rights are contemptible and cannot stand.”

Read the original article online here.

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