While America was founded on the belief in freedom and liberty for all, sadly history has shown this ideal is often only applied to a specific group of people in this country. For many years, people in the LGBTQ+ community (often our own friends and family) have been ostracized and discriminated against for who they are. This discrimination has included being subjected to conversion therapy, forced out from housing, fired from jobs, and more. Sadly this discrimination can lead to devastating effects as youth in the LGBTQ+ community are 3.5 times more likely to attempt suicide and trans youth at 5.8 times more likely to attempt suicide. Life is precious and knowing that people in our communities are hurting because of discrimination should be unacceptable in our fight for freedom and liberty for all.
Kentucky is one of 27 states that does not not protect those in the LGBTQ+ community in non-discrimination laws that affect areas such as housing and public accommodations. In a survey across the country, Williams Institute found that 21% of the LGBTQ+ respondents in the study have been treated unfairly in some way by an employer. Not only are those in the LGBTQ+ community not protected from discrimination, but conversion therapy is currently still legal throughout most of the state. Only 25% of the population in one city, and two counties, is currently legally protected against conversion therapy.
As a Senator I will always seek to uphold and protect the human dignity and freedoms of every citizen in Kentucky, including those in the LGBTQ+ community. I believe this can be pursued in two ways:
Ending conversion therapy. I firmly condemn conversion therapy, and any other actions that may be used to seek to force those in the LGBTQ+ community to change who they are. I believe that human dignity and freedom means that all should be able to make their own choices. Conversion therapy seeks to take this away and has been shown to be deeply harmful to those who undergo it. As a senator I would vote against any form of conversion therapy and vote for legislation that would make conversion therapy illegal.
Fighting for LGBTQ+ equality. As mentioned above, many in the LGBTQ+ community worry about losing their housing or jobs simply because of who they are. No one should have to fear losing the basic necessities of life and ensuring these necessities is part of treating all with dignity and respect. People in the LGBTQ+ community need to be protected from losing their jobs, homes, and educational opportunities. LGBTQ+ and trans youth need to feel safe and heard and be provided with care that allows them to be their authentic selves. As a senator I would stand up for the human dignity of all those in the LGBTQ+ community by supporting legislation that secures and guarantees their protection at their jobs, homes, and more so they can be free to be their authentic selves.