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U.S. House LGBT Equality Caucus Increases Staff As Numbers And Power Grows

BuzzFeed's Chris Geidner has written a great piece breaking down the growing presence of LGBT lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives and the increased strength and reach of the LGBT Equality Caucus, which will play a key role in the organized push for pro-LGBT legislation. The caucus is staffing up in order to effectively push policy forward. 

Here's an excerpt from the piece (check out BuzzFeed's full article, here); Geidner writes:

Six out of 435 may not seem like much, but in the House of Representatives that represents the largest class of out LGBT lawmakers in the history of the lower chamber.

It also has meant that the LGBT Equality Caucus, started in 2008, is taking on a larger role in an institution steeped in tradition.

Rep. David Cicilline, only in his third year in Congress, is the second-longest-serving out House member. In an interview with BuzzFeed, he noted the changes in the membership — but also looked toward bigger goals for the caucus.

“We obviously have grown as a caucus in terms of the co-chairs, the openly gay members of Congress. We now have six people in the House — and obviously, one in the Senate,” Cicilline said. “What this year marks is not just that we’re here but that we’re here in a big enough number that we have a real caucus, with staff, so that now the work that we’re doing can be supported in our efforts to push LGBT legislation, to do outreach and education, to be a coordinating force for all of the co-chairs, to be a central point of contact for the community and so that we’ll be able to speak as a united voice on important issues.”

The caucus co-chairs meet every other week to discuss their agenda, and now they have a small full-time staff to help get it implemented, including a new executive director, as well as a full-time fellowship position sponsored by the Gay and Lesbian Victory Institute with funding from the David Bohnett Foundation.

For LGBT people, he said, the changes “mean that the power of our community in advancing full equality for members of the LGBT community is enhanced because we’re growing in size and sophistication and [able to] improve and expand our educational opportunities, our professional outreach, our ability to press hard on the issues that are important to the caucus in a really professional way.”

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As more and more LGBT House reps are elected, the LGBT Equality Caucus will only continue to grow in strength.

We're excited to see this kind of progress! We wouldn't mind seeing more progress in the Senate as well. It's gotta be lonely for our dear Tammy Baldwin...

 

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