Beto for America
Wednesday, June 12, 2019


New proposal would ensure LGBTQ+ Americans can live openly without fear of discrimination or violence and would immediately reverse the Trump Administration’s discriminatory policies

NEW YORK  — Beto O’Rourke unveiled a robust plan today to protect LGBTQ+ rights and finally secure comprehensive legal protection for members of the LGBTQ+ community.  The proposal would leverage executive power and call for congressional action that ensures that LGBTQ+ people have full equality and opportunity. O’Rourke’s plan not only includes actions to immediately reverse the Trump Administration’s discriminatory policies, but also calls for action to ensure equal treatment for LGBTQ+ individuals.  Additionally, the plan prioritizes America’s role in protecting LGBTQ+ people around the globe.

The plan was launched as O’Rourke participated in a Pride Run with members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community in New York City. The full plan—available here as a PDF—is built around a three-part framework:
  1. Protect the LGBTQ+ community by using executive authority to reverse the Trump Administration’s discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community, protect transgender individuals—in particular transgender women of color—from violence, include LGBTQ+ immigrants fleeing persecution as a “vulnerable population” for purposes of immigration enforcement, protect LGBTQ+ youth from conversion therapy, and appoint judges and executive-branch officials, including openly LGBTQ+ appointees, who believe in the full civil rights of every single person.
  2. Ensure full equality by working with Congress to enact legislation such as the Equality Act to make sure LGBTQ+ Americans have full equality and opportunity in all 50 states, ensure that LGBTQ+ people have equal access to health insurance and health care, including critical treatments like PrEP, and reform our criminal justice system.
  3. Strengthen global safeguards for the LGBTQ+ community by working with allies to improve the process for LGBTQ+ refugees and asylum seekers, secure a global treaty explicitly protecting LGBTQ individuals from persecution, invest in the Global Equality Fund, and establish a Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTQ+ people.

"LGBTQ+ Americans have made incredible progress over the past decade, thanks in large part to the tireless efforts of activists and advocates—but too many LGBTQ+ people still lack protection under many states’ laws and the current Administration is encouraging rather than stamping out discrimination,” said O’Rourke. “We must ensure all Americans are treated equally no matter who they are or who they love.”

Throughout his career, O’Rourke has been a fierce advocate for the LGBTQ+ community. As a member of Congress, O’Rourke received 100% ratings from the Human Rights Campaign and supported marriage equality, non-discrimination legislation, and important protections for LGBTQ+ individuals serving in the military. He co-sponsored the Equality Act that provided consistent and explicit non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people across key areas of life. He also co-sponsored the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act, which sought to officially classify the provision and advertising of conversion therapy in exchange for monetary compensation as a fraudulent practice.

Expanding protections for the LGBTQ+ community has been a priority for O’Rourke since his time on the El Paso City Council where he worked to ensure proper legal protections for LGBTQ+ El Pasoans who faced risks to their safety and security. As a City Councilman, O’Rourke championed the city’s first nondiscrimination ordinance extending protections to the LGBTQ+ community. In addition, he advocated for more sensitivity training for El Paso police regarding LGBTQ+ individuals.

Alongside the policy, O’Rourke’s campaign released an LGBTQ+ organizing toolkit to empower organizers and volunteers to advocate for LGBTQ+ in their own communities through Beto campaign meetups or by connecting with local organizations.

Additional details about this plan can be found at:


LGBTQ+ Equality

Beto O’Rourke’s Plan to Pursue Equality for LGBTQ+ People and Ensure They Can Live Openly Without Fear of Discrimination or Violence

Thanks to the tireless efforts of generations of activists and advocates, we have made tremendous progress toward equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and gender non-binary Americans (“LGBTQ+”).  Over the past decade, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” has been repealed and marriage equality has become the law of the land. And yet—we have far more work to do to ensure that every person, regardless of who they are or who they love, is treated equal.

Members of the LGBTQ+ community still lack comprehensive legal protections, and they face risks to their safety and security every day—in school, at work, and in their communities.  Today, in more states than not, you can marry the person you love on a Saturday and risk losing your job for it by Monday morning with no protection under state law. In more than half the country, LGBTQ+ people still risk eviction or denial of housing without explicit legal recourse.  Across the country, transgender Americans, especially those of color, face alarming rates of violence.

And at every turn, President Trump’s administration has done everything it can to roll back the progress we’ve made toward equality—from barring transgender Americans from serving in the military and accessing vital services when they are most vulnerable to undermining discrimination protections in health care and nominating anti-LGBTQ+ judges and cabinet members.

It’s long past time for LGBTQ+ Americans to have full equality and protection under federal law—because every American has a right to live life safely, openly, and free from discrimination. To that end, as president, Beto will:
  1. Use executive authority to ensure that the LGBTQ+ community is protected and treated equally under the law. 
  2. Work with Congress to enact legislation to ensure LGBTQ+ Americans have full equality and opportunity regardless of where they live.
  3. Work with allies to strengthen protections for the LGBTQ+ community globally.

Part 1
Executive Action to Protect LGBTQ+ People

Despite the progress we’ve made, members of the LGBTQ+ community are denied lives free of fear or discrimination.  President Trump’s administration has made it their mission to roll back protections for the LGBTQ+ community, particularly transgender Americans, defying their constitutional guarantee of Equal Protection.  Beto will take immediate executive action to end the assault on LGBTQ+ rights and enact policies that conform to our laws and values. As President, Beto will:

  • Reverse the Trump Administration’s discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community, by:
        • Overturning Trump’s discriminatory transgender troop ban, including all resulting discharges.
        • Overturning “Deploy or Get Out” policy and ban the practice of discharging HIV+ servicemembers. 
        • Reversing Trump’s efforts to block access to healthcare for LGBTQ+ people and enforce protections for LGBTQ+ individuals under the Affordable Care Act.
        • Invigorating the Presidential HIV/AIDS Advisory Council.
        • Reinstating Department of Education guidance and enforcement efforts designed to protect LGBTQ+ students in public schools.
        • Enforcing of the Equal Access Rule, including requiring HUD-funded entities to inform LGBTQ+ individuals of their rights.
        • Reverse Trump’s efforts to allow federally funded adoption and foster care agencies to reject same-sex families. 
        • Reversing the Administration’s attempt to expand religious exemptions in order to enable discrimination or harm others.  Freedom of religion is a fundamental right, but it should not be used to discriminate.
        • Ending the Administration’s exclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity as protected under sex discrimination under Title VII and Title IX, in particular to redress the discrimination against LGBTQ+ women and people of color in employment and other settings.
  • Protect transgender individuals, in particular transgender women of color, from violence by:
        • Directing the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the crimes against transgender people, specifically transgender women of color.
        • Ensuring law enforcement agencies receive training related to implicit bias, use of force, and accurately reporting the gender of victims.
        • Reinstate the Bureau of Prisons’ “Transgender Offender Manual” to ensure safe housing for transgender people in BOP custody, in particular to address the violence directed at transgender women of color.
        • Modernize laws to allow transgender individuals to update their name and gender on identity documents.
  • Include LGBTQ+ individuals fleeing persecution as a “vulnerable population” for purposes of immigration enforcement by clarifying that fleeing persecution based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity means that LGBT+ individuals have access to the asylum process and take action to prevent and end sexual violence impacting LGBTQ+ immigrants in detention.                   And affirm that same-sex couples with one US citizen partner and one non-citizen partner are entitled to the same benefits of marriage regarding paths to residency and citizenship.
  • Protect LGBTQ+ youth from conversion therapy by tasking the FTC to tackle false advertising or other unfair business practices that promote the discredited practice of conversion therapy.
  • Prioritize the research necessary to modernize the outdated blood donation requirements including the current 1-year bar for gay and bisexual donors.
  • Create an Interagency Task Force on LGBTQ+ Nondiscrimination with the goal of ending discrimination in federal programs and actions.
  • Ensure LGBTQ+ Americans are included in federal data collection efforts, by:
        • Adding sexual orientation and gender identity measures to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and other large-scale population surveys like the Current Population Survey.
        • Including criminal victimization data related to LGBTQ+ youth in the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
        • Directing the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and other federal agencies to collect data on and prioritize the enforcement of laws, such as non-discrimination laws, involving LGBTQ+ individuals — in particular LGBTQ+  people of color and people with HIV.
  • Appoint judges and executive-branch officials, including openly LGBTQ+ appointees, who have a demonstrated record of supporting the full civil rights of every single person.

Part 2
Legislative Action to Ensure Full Equality
Beto will work with Congress to ensure that every person in our country is safe and respected. To protect all LGBTQ+ people, Beto will work with Congress to:

  • Pass the Equality Act, which would ensure all LGBTQ+ people may fully participate in public life without discrimination in employment, housing, and access to public spaces and services, such as retail stores and banking services.
  • Ensure that LGBTQ+ people have equal access to health insurance and health care, including hormone and other gender-affirming treatments and HIV prevention and treatment,  by creating a universal health care system with explicit protections against discrimination and bans on exclusions for transition-related care, and by tackling price gouging by drug companies so critical and effective treatments like PrEP are accessible and affordable.
  • Reform our criminal justice system to end practices that harm the LGBTQ+ communities, including:
        • Embracing the recommendations of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, which would tie federal funding  for local law enforcement agencies with the implementon of anti-discrimination and anti-profiling policies.
        • Ending the deprivation of health care and HIV treatment in prison.
        • Reforming the Prison Rape Elimination Act to prevent abuses in prisons.
        • Holding police accountable for unlawful actions against the LGBTQ+ community.
  • Enact the Every Child Deserves a Family Act—a bill barring discrimination against LGBTQ+ youth in taxpayer funded foster care and adoption programs.

Part 3
Protect the LGBTQ+ Community Across the Globe
Consistent with this broad vision, Beto’s foreign policy will promote efforts designed to protect LGBTQ+ people around the world and reduce violence against the LGBTQ+ community. To that end, Beto will:

  • Improve the process for LGBTQ+ refugees and asylum seekers fleeing violence and persecution and ensure they can resettle in communities that will fully accept them.
  • Work with allies to secure a global treaty through the International Law Commission of the United Nations that explicitly protects individuals from persecution based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or sex characteristics. 
  • Invest in the Global Equality Fund which provides assistance to groups that support the human rights of LGBTQ+ persons.
  • Establish a Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTQ+ people within the Department of State.