California Senator Kamala Harris has long been considered an ally of the LGBTQ+ community. Recent tweets from her official Twitter account have showcased her support for and participation in various Pride-related events in California. As California Attorney General, Harris refused to defend a ban on same sex marriage, subsequently officiating a gay wedding once marriage equality was restored, and even instructed court clerks to grant same-sex couples marriage licenses with “no exceptions.” She also refused to defend a bill that would establish the death penalty for anyone caught engaging in a homosexual act.
So although she has been relatively consistent about her pro-QTPoC stances, an in-depth report by the Washington Blade notes that she argued “...on behalf of the state to withhold gender reassignment surgery from two transgender inmates who were prescribed the procedure while serving out their sentences.” So, if Harris is indeed a contender for a higher political office, as many political insiders believe, it is essential that QTPoC folx take her full record into account, and decide if she is a true ally.
The failure of politicians to remain consistent regarding pro-LGBTQ+ policies is a very serious concern for the QTPoC community, as it can sometimes mean the difference between life and death. This is particularly true for trans* people of color in prisons who are often subject to assault, often lack proper medical care (especially if they are transitioning or they have HIV/AIDS), and often face the imposition of gender binaries (i.e., non-binary folx being sent to either a men’s or women’s prison or, trans folx being sent to the wrong prison).
Senator Harris represents a group of politicians who have worked to protect and empower the LGBTQ+ community, but have also made mistakes along the way. Politicians claiming to be QTPoC allies must be closely evaluated in order to determine the strength and value of their relationship with the LGBTQ+ community, while also taking into account any mistakes or harm that they have caused, and the intentions behind those actions.
Kamala Harris emerges as LGBT favorite for 2020 — there’s just one thing (Washington Blade)
The Workshop @ The EFNIKS Daily is our writing program for young QTPoC writers. Each of the 5 writers identify as QTPoC, and are between the ages of 17 and 22. Program participants receive a $200 stipend for the 60-day program. You can help us build this and other EFNIKS programs by visiting our support page.