Will The LGBTQ Community Make Republicans Pay For Their Homophobic Vote Yesterday?
Yesterday, David Cicilline's Equality Act-- guaranteeing an end to "discrimination against members of the LGBTQ community in the areas of employment, education, credit, jury service, federal funding, housing, and public accommodations"-- passed the House 224-206. The Democrats' last remaining homophobic sociopath, Dan Lipinski, was defeated in a primary last year, so every single Democrat voted in favor. But only 3 Republicans backed them-- John Katko (Syracuse, NY), Brian Fitzpatrick (Bucks County, PA) and Tom Reed (prospective NY gubernatorial candidate). Will Republicans pay at the ballot box for their ugly bigotry?
And yesterday, after Marjorie Taylor Greene, the new Republican icon who took the lead on pushing the homophobic agenda for her party, attacked Marie Newman and her transgender child, Pramila Jayapal, also the parent of a transgender child, told me that "This disgusting transphobic attack only underscores the need to take on hate and discrimination in the U.S. Capitol, throughout our communities, and across this country following a year in which more than one of three LGBTQ+ Americans and more than three of five transgender Americans faced discrimination. As the proud mom of a trans kid, I will fight every single day for the full civil rights of every LGBTQ+ person in this country so they can live freely as themselves and free from discrimination. As we pass the Equality Act today, I want every LGBTQ+ person to know that we see you, we hear you, and we stand alongside you."
A few years ago, the NY Times' David Leonhardt and Claire Miller noted that noted that "The Census Bureau asks Americans about subjects as varied as race, age, annual income and even their source of home heating. But there is one glaring demographic omission: The census does not ask people about their sexual orientation. As a result, there has long been a shroud of uncertainty around the geography of gay and lesbian Americans. They point to a 2015 Gallup poll that pinpoints which cities have the biggest concentrations of people who identify as LGBTQ.
Leonardt and Miller noted that "Gay America, rather than being confined to a few places, spreads across every major region of the country. Nationwide, Gallup says, 3.6 percent of adults consider themselves gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. And even the parts of the country outside the 50 biggest metropolitan areas have a gay population (about 3 percent) not so different from some big metropolitan areas. It’s a reflection in part of increasing tolerance and of social connections made possible by the Internet." NYC certainly has the biggest overall LGBTQ community, but in terms of percentage of population, it's not high on the list. These are the 15 cities with the highest percentage of people identifying as LGBTQ-- along with the name of their congressional Representatives. Not on the list are cities with big LGBTQ communities-- like NYC, Chicago, Miami, Philly and Houston-- but where that community makes up a smaller percentage of the population.
San Francisco-Oakland- Nancy Pelosi (D), Barbara Lee (D)
Portland-Vancouver, OR- Earl Blumenauer (D), Suzanne Bonamici (D), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R)
Austin- Michael McCaul (R), Bill Flores (R), Chip Roy (R), Roger Williams (R), John Carter (R) and Lloyd Doggett (D)
New Orleans- Cedric Richmond (D), Steve Scalise (R)
Boston- Stephen Lynch (D), Ayanna Pressley (D), Katherine Clark (D), Jake Auchincloss (D)
Seattle-Tacoma- Pramila Jayapal (D), Adam Smith (D), Derek Kilmer (D), Kim Schrier (D),
Salt Lake City- Burgess Owens (R), Chris Stewart (R), John Curtis (R)
Denver-Aurora- Diana DeGette (D), Jason Crowe (D), Ed Perlmutter (D)
Hartford- John Larson (D)
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim- Adam Schiff (D), Ted Lieu (D), Jimmy Gomez (D), Karen Bass (D), Brad Sherman (D), Tony Cardenas (D), Judy Chu (D), Linda Sánchez (D), Young Kim (R), Alan Lowenthal (D), Lou Correa (D), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D), Nanette Barragan (D)
Louisville- John Yarmuth (D)
Providence- David Cicilline (D), Jim Langevin (D)
Virginia Beach- Elaine Luria (D)
Columbus- Joyce Beatty (D), Troy Balderson (R), Steve Stivers (R)
Jacksonville- Al Lawson (D), John Rutherford (R)
Over cities with big enough LGBTQ populations that could swing elections include NYC, Miami, Palm Springs, Fort Lauderdale/Wilton Manors, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Orlando, Tampa, Phoenix, San Antonio, Key West, Philly, Chicago, Baltimore, Fire Island, Rochester, Dallas, San Diego, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Cleveland, Kansas City, St Louis, Las Vegas, Oklahoma City, Richmond, Nashville, Milwaukee, Houston, San Jose, Cincinnati, Columbia (South Carolina) and Raleigh.
Gays tend to be very loyal to their friends. Gays also remember who their enemies are. I would say that Maria Salazar (R-FL), Carlos Gimenez (R-FL), Brian Mast (R-FL), Lee Zeldin (R-NY), Chip Roy (R-TX), Michael McCaul (R-TX), Roger Williams (R-TX), Nancy Mace (R-SC) and Steve Chabot (R-OH) put their careers into jeopardy with their homophobic votes yesterday.
I asked Mike Siegel, a former congressional candidate in a district that includes both Austin and some of the northwestern Houston suburbs. His opponent was homophobic Republican Michael McCaul. He told me that "Unfortunately, local issues matter less and less in congressional politics. It's all about the brand. So even though the Austin region has a strong liberal base, we have very little leverage to hold individual representatives accountable for their policies. Gerrymandering plays a huge role of course-- the Republicans have drawn up the district lines in a way that insulates them from accountability. But another huge issue is our ability to communicate with voters. Most folks have very little bandwidth for political discourse in general. And the way campaigns work, most people are only paying attention at the very end of the cycle. So the messages that predominate are the national messages. We'd love to challenge McCaul or Williams or the rest of these folks based on each of the bigoted actions they've taken, including undermining LGBQIA+ equality. I did that when I ran-- holding McCaul to account for his support of Family Separation, complicity in racist criminal justice policies, and so on. But when it comes down to it, most folks are not paying attention to the details. And this is of course a huge threat to democracy. Without participation, we are beholden to the dominant corporate interests and media narratives. And of course, American capitalism cares little about human rights, and a lot about profits, and so long as McCaul, Williams, et al., are doing their part to protect the wealthy, they get a pass for how they maintain power (i.e., by sacrificing vulnerable communities). The answer to all this is year-round political engagement. We need to invest less in candidate TV ads and more in deep canvassing. With a failing public education system and the conglomeration of local media, our best hope is to go straight to the people. But we've got a lot of work to do."