We need your help.

Hello friends and family

I hope this message finds you well. I’m writing to you out of concern for the things that have been going on in the US that affect me personally and which I would ask for your help in remedying.

Two weeks ago, a transgender woman was attacked in downtown Portland. This was the latest in a series of anti-LGBTQ hate crimes in our city, which have been on the increase. The Director of Basic Rights Oregon, an advocacy organization for LGBTQ rights, had this to say about the incident:

“Personally I think there is an uptick in anti-LGBTQ+ violence and hate crimes, and there‚Äôs an atmosphere of hate being emboldened in this moment” – Nancy Haque

Last weekend, several hundred white supremacists and neo nazis from as far away as Arkansas descended on Portland for the 15th time in the last two years with the intent to violently assault Portland citizens. An attendee of these events, Jeremy Joseph Christian, killed two men on a commuter MAX train last year because they stood up to him screaming anti-Muslim epitaphs at two young girls. The train where these murders took place is one that my partner regularly took home from work.

It is not a mystery why our city is being targeted or why I have never seen this kind of violence in the 15 years I have lived here. As Nancy stated, hate is being emboldened in this country and Portland’s position as a progressive city makes us a target.

When the President bans transgender people from military service it sends a message that transgender people are second class citizens. When the President rescinds protections for transgender students it sends a message that discrimination against transgender people is permissible. In fact, since the President rescinded title IX protections at least 6 states have put forth bills legalizing harassment of transgender kids in public schools Furthermore, the DOE has announced it will no longer follow up on civil rights claims by transgender students.

Following signals from the White House, hundreds of state level bills targeting the LGBT community have been put forth attacking transgender healthcare, bathroom access, and foster adoption. Significant numbers of children in foster care are LGBTQ identifed and report facing discrimination and bias. Despite HRC’s findings that LGBTQ foster kids need to be placed in affirming homes,Oklahoma and Kansas recently enacted bills allowing adoption agencies, who receive state and federal funding, to discriminate against gay and lesbian parents wishing to adopt

The US government is based on a system of checks and balances. The three branches of government; executive, legislative, and judicial, are intended to be a check against one another. It has become clear that the Republican party, with majorities in the Senate and House, will not check the discriminatory actions coming from the White House.

I cried while watching Oregon Senator Merkley and several Democrat colleagues introduce the Equality Act last May, which would put an end to discrimination against people like me at the Federal and State level by officially amending the Civil Rights act to include sexual orientation and gender identity. I can’t express to you the incredible emotional stress and anxiety that has become part of my daily life as a result of living in a country where hatred toward my very existence comes from the highest levels of leadership. Only two Republicans have joined 196 Democrats in sponsoring this bill, which still has not been reviewed by committee. Even at the state level Republicans are blocking efforts to pass laws protecting LGBTQ rights, such as with several house and senate bills in Virginia

The GOP’s website articulates their platform against LGBTQ rights very clearly:

We endorse the First Amendment Defense Act, Republican legislation in the House and Senate which will bar government discrimination against individuals and businesses for acting on the belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.

It is the foundation of civil society, and the cornerstone of the family is natural marriage, the union of one man and one woman

As it relates to allowing adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBTQ parents:

We support measures such as the First Amendment Defense Act to ensure these entities do not face government discrimination because of their views on marriage and family.

And transgender rights:

Their edict to the states concerning restrooms, locker rooms, and other facilities is at once illegal, dangerous, and ignores privacy issues. We salute the several states which have filed suit against it.

I hope by now you understand, the Republican party in 2018 is intentionally and proudly anti-LGBTQ rights. I wish it were not this way, and frankly I am disappointed that the party of Lincoln has become so extreme as to assault American citizens like me, both physically as we are experiencing now in Portland and legislatively at both the Federal and State level. The impending appointment an extreme right Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh is widely understood by LGBTQ advocacy groups to cause even more deterioration in our fundamental human rights.

This has been a long letter, thought it represents only a fraction of court cases and legislation attacking LGBTQ rights in the last 2 years. If you are still with me thank you for reading. It took me a while to put this together because it is very emotionally taxing to re-read all of the new articles and legislation I’ve cited here.

For the last several months I have been donating to the campaigns for Bob Casey and Bill Nelson. If you are registered to vote in PA or FL my request to you is to vote for these candidates. That is how you can help me, my partner, and others like us. If you can also contribute financially or otherwise to those campaigns I would greatly appreciate it.

As I have put forth here, the Republican party has abdicated its responsibility to check the President, we need a Democrat majority in the Senate and House so that my fundamental human rights are protected. Please consider the stated policy positions of the Republican party and their history of anti LGBTQ legislation when you vote.

Nelson For Senate

Bob Casey