Kamala Harris & LGBTQ Rights: Where Does The VP Nominee Stand?
Senator Kamala Harris made history on Tuesday by becoming the first Black woman of South Asian descent to be chosen as Vice-President on a major political party ticket. In a tweet on Tuesday, Biden wrote: “I have the great honor to announce that I’ve picked Kamala Harris — a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants — as my running mate."
Harris, a former prosecutor and Attorney General of California is also a Howard University graduate and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. Biden's decision to choose Harris as his VP pick gave the African-American community a reason to be proud, and for many, fodder for some of her greatest criticism. Living Out Loud 2.0 decided to take a look at what a Biden/Harris administration would mean for the Black LGBTQ community, specifically Harris' record on LGBTQ issues. This is what we were able to dig up so far.
Harris served as Attorney General at the same time that Proposition 8 needed to be defended in court. Proposition 8 banned same-sex marriage in the state of California, and Harris did not advocate for it. Instead, she would later officiate the first same-sex marriage after the US Supreme Court struck the ban down.
As Attorney General, she also stopped a “gay/trans panic defense” bill from passing – which would have allowed for the murder of LGBT+ people to be excusable under certain circumstances. Additionally, she pushed for legislation banning conversion therapy.
She was also fervently against North Carolina’s anti-transgender bathroom bill and co-sponsored the Equality Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
The only notable mark on her record fighting for LGBTQ rights was when Harris argued that two transgender California inmates should not receive gender confirmation surgery.
The block was unsuccessful, and Michelle-Lael Norsworthy became the first trans woman in California and only the second in the US to win a court ruling that granted a request for surgery.
The incident occurred back in 2015, and when asked about it four years later, Harris said: “It was an office with a lot of people… and do I wish that sometimes they would have personally consulted me before they wrote the things that they wrote? Yes, I do.”
She added that she, “Worked behind the scenes to ensure that the Department of Corrections would allow transitioning inmates to receive the medical attention that they required, they needed and deserved.”
Trans Actress Angelica Ross On Supporting Harris And Holding Her Accountable
POSE star Angelica Ross declared her support for Harris as the next Vice President in a series of tweets on Tuesday, writing: "You are the right choice for this moment. I’m with you@KamalaHarris. From our 1-on-1 talks you know I’m here to support as well as hold you accountable as you’ve invited me to do. THANK YOU! Now let’s focus on BOTH the work to be done NOW for#BreonnaTalyor& come November!"
Ross also disclosed a courageous conversation she had with Harris over her record on trans rights following the 2019 LGBTQ Presidential Forum, which she hosted.
“In this conversation and several following this one, I called Kamala in to talk about her record on trans people and sex workers and non-violent offenders,” said Ross.
“She acknowledged her role in collaborating with the state that destroyed many Black lives and shared the moment she realized how she could use her position to change the system while still protecting us from violent offenders, especially those most vulnerable to domestic and intimate partner violence. I talked about trans women being out in men’s prisons and with men in ICE detention centers. I spoke on the need to decriminalize sex work to empower both cis and trans women. This was not just a photo-op for me, this was an opportunity to truly speak truth to power. The ripple effect of this moment is evidence to me that I can indeed effect change. We all can.”