It certainly is no secret that there are political divides across America that began even before the rise of Donald Trump as a presidential candidate. Increasing occurrences of violence, stigma and polarization against the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community, in particular, continues to rise.
LGBT individuals compromise nearly 4.5 percent of the American population (16,425,000 people), but disproportionately make up 16 percent of hate crime victims (FBI.gov). Stigma and violence are nearly 225 percent more likely to happen to an LGBT individual compared to other minority individuals.
This begs the question: Why should you elect an LGBT official?
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. became a de facto example of why representation is so important. That without a public voice or political representative in government, rights get trampled on. In fact, Martin Luther King, Jr. recognized this fact too, prior to the landmark civil rights laws that are now part of the American democracy. But, Dr. King had to drop that inclusion of civil rights for LGBT individuals in the 1960’s because of the firestorm of criticism he received that threatened to halt his efforts for equality.
Ethnic and sexual minorities — including the 3.6 million LGBT individuals in Connecticut – are not threats to democracy, but are instead, examples of our vibrant democracy. In its truest sense, democracy is a society founded on equal rights and privileges.
An LGBT politician who understands and seeks to represent marginalized communities and who is dedicated to social justice for all walks of life – that’s an ideal candidate to represent the New Haven community. Because putting aside people’s differences to solve REAL problems, is a pathway to a successful democracy.
Urn Pendragon is a transgender New Haven mayoral candidate.