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A Sadder Pride Because Of Washington Inaction

By in Huffington Post on June 13, 2017

By Rep. Robin Kelly

Every June, Pride comes to our cities and towns. We break out the rainbow flags, march in parades, and celebrate our uniqueness and being together. But as Pride Month starts, this year feels different.

Sure, we will still celebrate this remarkable, diverse and loving community, but we are haunted by the wave of senseless violence that has targeted LGBT Americans. We’ll remember the tragedy at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, where 49 innocent people were killed. We will remember the victims who die every day from gun violence, especially our transgender sisters of color, including Keke Collier, murdered in Chicago; Mesha Caldwell, shot in Mississippi; and Jaquarrius Holland, who was just 18 when her life was cut short by a bullet in Monroe, LA.

This Pride, we will be forced to confront the reality that, because of inaction in Washington, some of our friends won’t be celebrating Pride 2017.

We know that the attack on Pulse Nightclub could have happened anywhere in America. It could have been Providence’s Mirabar or Elixir in Boystown. Gun violence is an LGBT issue and an American issue; preventing this needless loss of life must be a priority for all of us.

The statistics are real and they are shocking. LGBT Americans experienced the greatest number of hate crimes per capita. From 2014-15, the number of LGBT homicides jumped 20 percent. Sixty-two percent of the victims were LGBT people of color and 67 percent were transgender or gender nonconforming individuals. According to the FBI, 20 percent of hate crimes victims were targeted because of their sexual orientation.

As a community, LGBT Americans have always been forced to confront hate. Guns have just made it easier for people to turn their hatred into bloodshed.

Ten days after the Pulse tragedy, we took a stand on the House […]    

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