LGBT caucus urges advances in state laws

By Ashleigh Albert

PHILADELPHIA – In a crowded caucus meeting at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, a pro-LGBT rights crowd supported their community with applause and cheers. But the energy grew absolutely electric when N. J. Senator Cory Booker showed up.

Senator Cory Booker speaks to attendees of the LGBT caucus.
Senator Cory Booker speaks to the LGBT caucus.

A surprise visitor, Booker was just one of dozens of special guests Thursday afternoon who spoke about the importance of advancing LGBT rights.

During the caucus, speakers and guests made clear they’re enthusiastic about electing Clinton as well as other Democratic candidates this election season who will advance the LGBT agenda.

Booker, who spoke at the end of the caucus, made his point by pointing out LGBT rights are not central to just one aspect of a community or country.

“This was a movement for American rights,” he said. “Every American should have access to full citizenship rights.”

This year's convention featured the highest number of transgender delegates in history; 28.
This year’s convention featured the highest number of transgender delegates in history – 28.

By the end of the session, the caucus passed four resolutions in support of pro-LGBT legislation which will later be posted on its Facebook page.

Kate Brown, the first openly bi-sexual governor from Oregon spoke adamantly about the importance of electing Hillary Clinton, saying that Clinton considers the LGBT community part of her family.

Although the room was full of delegates, educator Shannon Cuttle of Maplewood, N.J attended as a guest. Cuttle uss they/them pronouns.

Maplewood, NJ resident Shannon Cuttle is an educator.
Maplewood, NJ resident Shannon Cuttle is an educator.

“Especially in schools, it’s important LGBT children’s voices be heard,” they said. “It’s important to continue the conversation, so that’s why it was important I come today.”

Cuttle said they personally feel confident Hillary Clinton is the right choice to advance LGBT agenda, particularly in schools when it comes removing discrimination.

“Although she didn’t used to support us, over the years she has become one of our strongest allies,” Cuttle said. “She is the strongest candidate not just for LGBT, but also the needs of educators. This is a teachable moment.”

Joe Longoria, a Clinton delegate from Mohave County, AZ was at the caucus as an ally to the LGBT community.

Longoria said his county vice char is a lesbian woman. When gay marriage was legalized last year, she asked him to be her best man.

Touched, he attended the caucus today to “learn whatever I can” for the community.

He, too, believes Clinton will be an excellent advancement for the LGBT community. That’s why he said he’s running for mayor in his hometown of Kingman, AZ.

“(Clinton’s) also an excellent voice and champion for children, for women, for everyone,” he said.

As Cory Booker wrapped up his speech, he spoke what seems to be the theme of this week’s convention.

“We who believe in freedom cannot rest,” he said.

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