Reaction to SOTU From National LGBTQ Task Force Executive Director Kierra Johnson

WASHINGTON, DC - February 7, 2023 - The following statement can be attributed to Kierra Johnson, Executive Director, National LGBTQ Task Force:

"It was vital - and appreciated - that President Biden mentioned the urgent need to pass the Equality Act and actions taken to secure marriage equality. What many people may not realize is that LGBTQ people are at the center of all the issues President Biden spoke about throughout his address. Social security. Fair wages. Medicaid expansion. Access to education. Reproductive justice. Police reform. These are all LGBTQ issues. LGBTQ people are often disproportionately impacted because of the discrimination our community faces every single day. LGBTQ people are not fully able to participate or benefit from all that our country has to offer. For too many queer people, the American dream is out of reach. Instead, the nightmare of physical violence, state sanctioned harassment and bullying in the name of religion is the reality.

President Biden did something we do not often see - he defined the villains. Companies who care more about profits than people, Congresspeople who refuse to seek bipartisan solutions. Elected officials who refuse to take action on ever mounting gun violence in this country, a judicial system that spends resources cracking down on people who steal food or jump turnstiles rather than create and enforce laws that prevent corporations from taking advantage of consumers. He told the stories of those too often overlooked: teachers, seniors, black and brown people, transgender youth, immigrants and lower income and middle-class folks. Biden's refrain was that we need to come together to protect and defend our democracy. While I agree, I would say that we also need to reimagine and continue to build our democracy so that fewer of us are left behind. Expanding the civil rights of LGBTQ+ people must be central to that fight.

The National LGBTQ Task Force is committed to the ideals and ideas expressed tonight. I could not agree more that we do not need more billionaires. We need accountability. We need better healthcare. We need to combat hate in all its forms. We need protection from injustice. We need solutions to catch the millions of people falling through the cracks. LGBTQ+ people deserve a democracy that works for us. We all do.

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