July 26, 2016 at 9:23 pm EST | by Michael K. Lavers
DNC LGBT Caucus honors Mike Honda

Mike Honda, Democratic National Convention, gay news, Washington Blade

U.S. Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) speaks at the Democratic National Committee LGBT Caucus meeting in Philadelphia on July 26, 2016. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

PHILADELPHIA — The Democratic National Committee’s LGBT Caucus on Tuesday honored U.S. Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) for his support of transgender rights.

A number of the 28 openly trans delegates to the Democratic National Convention joined the California Democrat on stage inside the Pennsylvania Convention Center as Barbra Casbar Siperstein, a member of the Democratic National Committee’s Executive Committee, presented him with the Jane Fee Award, which is named after the first trans delegate to a Democratic National Convention.

Honda, who represents California’s 17th Congressional District, spoke about his trans granddaughter after he accepted the award.

“I’m still learning terminology, because that’s the age that I’m in,” said Honda.

The California Democrat criticized North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory over his continued defense of his state’s House Bill 2, which prohibits people from using bathrooms in public buildings that correspond to their gender identity and bans municipalities from enacting LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination measures. Honda also spoke about last month’s massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., that left 49 people dead and more than 50 others injured.

“When I see things like Pulse, the mowing down of people who are enjoying themselves in a nightclub, I think of Melissa,” he said, referring to his granddaughter. “I don’t want that to happen to her and I don’t want that to be in her future. I want that sense of security, safety for her as she moves through her life.”

The meeting began with a moment of silence in honor of those who died inside the Pulse nightclub.

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) noted she was among the members of the U.S. Senate who supported a filibuster in support of two gun control measures in the wake of the massacre inside the gay nightclub.

“This was gun violence,” said the Wisconsin Democrat. “This was terrorism inspired by terrorism. This was also a hate crime.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo made a similar point, noting his state plans to build a memorial in lower Manhattan that will honor the victims of the Pulse nightclub massacre and other victims of anti-LGBT violence. GLBT Community Center of Central Florida Executive Director Terry DeCarlo was with Cuomo when he made the announcement during a June 27 press conference in lower Manhattan that took place before New York’s annual Pride parade.

“That was not just a terrorist attack,” said Cuomo, referring to the Pulse nightclub massacre. “That was a terrorist attack on gay Americans.”

Cuomo in June issued an executive order that directs the divestment of state funds from organizations that support a boycott, economic divestment and sanctions against Israel over its policies towards the Palestinians.

A woman holding a sign that read, “Boycott Israel for peace & justice” heckled Cuomo after he took the stage. Many of those who were attending the meeting loudly booed her before security escorted her out of the room.

Delegates, activists praise DNC platform

Jason and Jarron Collins, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) also spoke. Democratic National Treasurer Andrew Tobias, former New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and Equality Florida CEO Nadine Smith were among those who attended the meeting that took place a day after delegates to the Democratic National Committee approved what many have described as the party’s most pro-LGBT platform ever.

Daniel Hernandez, a gay man who is running for a seat in the Arizona House of Representatives, and his two sisters are delegates to the Democratic National Convention. The former intern who is credited with saving then-Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ life after she was shot during a 2011 campaign event in Tucson, Ariz., told the Washington Blade that it is “really exciting” to attend his first convention.

“We’re talking about gun violence, we’re talking about LGBT rights,” said Hernandez. “Looking at the platform and seeing how progressive that it is, it has been a great opportunity.”

Mara Keisling, a D.C. resident and long-time trans activist who is a member of the Democratic National Committee’s platform committee, agreed.

“When you look at who LGBT people are, we need to be thinking about everybody who we are,” she told the Blade outside the meeting. “So having a platform that is anti-poverty and anti-racism and pro-disability rights and pro-worker and pro-woman and pro-immigrant and pro-LGBT it’s exactly what LGBT people need.”

Transgender DNC Delegates, Democratic National Convention, gay news, Washington Blade

Transgender delegates at the Democratic National Convention stand on the stage during the DNC’s LGBT Caucus meeting at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia on July 26, 2016. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

  • Frank Russell

    I am an Independent. I have NO issues with the Progressive-liberal platform of “gay marriage” and “gay rights”, BUT I don’t think that the Judeo-Christian, Muslim or Protestant-Catholic religions, for example, should be forced to accept, invite and bless these marriages.

    You can’t “reform” the BIBLE.
    You can’t “reform” the TORAH.
    You can’t “reform” the KORAN.

    JUST because they don’t agree with you. That’s the definition of INSANITY. Religion is NOT the LAW. It’s not a series of books to RE-WRITE after a vote!!

    What the Progressives label as “cultural bias” others call their RELIGION. And one of the fundamentals of the foundation of America was the freedom to practice it and not be PERSECUTED!

    Why can’t the LGBT community get over themselves and just push for legalizing gay marriage everywhere? Why must they FORCE churches to not only marry them, but to bless that marriage with a Bible, Torah or Koran? These books do not recognize gay marriage nor condone it. So why PUSH to force their followers to not only accept it, but to BLESS it.

    The LGBT community should be able to have their marriages or unions, but you can’t FORCE Priests, Rabbis, Pastors and such to BLESS their unions with HOLY books that teach that it is sin.

    It’s like trying to force someone to LIKE you when you are a child. I don’t see the sense in it. Let these religions be as they are, you can’t REVISE religion like we have our HISTORY books just because it makes you feel better or you disagree with it. That’s effete and immature much as the clique games played in grade school.

    God Bless America.

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