Fil-Ams on frontline of LGBT solidarity rally in New York

FullSizeRender(3)Thousands join “LGBT Solidarity Rally” Feb. 4 outside Stonewall Inn, an iconic gay bar in New York City in response to anti-LGBT legislation reportedly being considered by President Donald Trump and his cabinet. INQUIRER/Elton Lugay

NEW YORK CITY—The words of Aries dela Cruz, board member of the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, reverberated outside the historic Stonewall Inn, where the young Fil-Am political leader addressed thousands of LGBT New Yorkers who rallied Feb. 4 against President Donald Trump’s executive orders.

“I’m here today because we have a President who thinks he can rule by fascist decree, issuing executive orders that attempt to turn our government into an arm of the White supremacist movement here in America, issuing executive orders that attempt to turn America from a land of refuge into a land of hate and xenophobia. These executive orders could undo every advance we have made since Stonewall in 1969,” said Dela Cruz, who is also the founder of the Filipino American Democratic Club of New York.

twitterAries dela Cruz of the Filipino American Democratic Club. TWITTER

He vowed that the Jim Owles Club would be on the frontlines not just for LGBTQ rights, but also for black lives, immigrants, refugees, the poor and vulnerable.

Solidarity rally

The “LGBT Solidarity Rally” came about in response to anti-LGBT legislation reportedly being considered by Trump and his cabinet, despite a statement issued January 31 by the White House that the President plans to uphold an executive order of former President Barrack Obama protecting LGBT people from discrimination at work.

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Marilyn Abalos of the national board of the Human Rights Campaign. LINKEDIN

However, the White House any such move. “President Donald J. Trump is determined to protect the rights of all Americans, including the LGBTQ community,” the White House said in a press statement. “President Trump continues to be respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights, just as he was throughout the election. The President is proud to have been the first-ever GOP nominee to mention the LGBTQ community in his nomination acceptance speech, pledging then to protect the community from violence and oppression. The executive order signed in 2014, which protects employees from anti-LGBTQ workplace discrimination while working for federal contractors, will remain intact at the direction of President Donald J. Trump.”

Could change

Trump hasn’t issued any anti-LGBT executive orders yet, as many fear. But that could change, according to Marilyn Abalos, a member of the National Board of Governors of the Human Rights Campaign.

“To reiterate the message of Chad Griffin, president of Human Rights Campaign, we’ve already seen the Trump administration go after women, immigrants, people of color, and most frighteningly, any person who disagrees with this White House. It is naive to think that the Trump administration won’t pursue further attacks on LGBTQ equality as well,” Abalos told INQUIRER.net.

FullSizeRender(4)INQUIRER/ Elton Lugay

She warned of broad fallout affecting women, religious minorities, people of color and the LGBTQ community should the President sign any further discriminatory order.
“The diversity of America gives us strength. We have to all work together to ensure equality for all is protected. Together, we can maintain vigilance so that actions against equality are prevented.”

Fired up

Classical singer Enrico Lagasca, who has never been so fired up, told INQUIRER.net that equal rights to marriage and union, anti-discrimination in the workplace and right to insurance are among the topmost concerns.

“I believe that we have entered an era where all people—regardless of race, faith, sexual orientation, religious belief, political stand—should be very, very careful, aware, and educated about what this government is doing. Whether someone is gay, straight, American or Asian, we should stand up against discrimination, racism and fascism. LGBTQ rights is human rights. And human rights include the right to equal process in immigration, proper insurance, nondiscrimination in the workplace, the right to choose what to do with their bodies, marriage and union.”
After attending the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. in January, Jeffrey Buan refuses to be quiet and continues to “stand up for what I believe is right.”

 More motivated

“With Trump’s actions last week, I was even more motivated to join today’s rally to show that the LGBT community stands in solidarity with the people that are affected by Trump’s illegal, immoral, unconstitutional, un-American executive orders,” Buan, an interior designer and longtime advocate for LGBT rights, told INQUIRER.net.

“There is too much at stake. I used to feel safe, secure, and equal. However, under this current administration, I do not feel that way. There are millions of people that have the same sentiment and we want to be heard… I hope our collective actions shows the world that Trump does not represent all Americans. There are a lot of us who believe in equality for all,” he added.

FullSizeRender(1)A Filipina in the thick of the protest. INQUIRER/Elton Lugay

New York State Sen. Brad Hoylman saw it fitting that the LGBT Solidarity Rally was held outside the Stonewall Inn, a landmark of the gay liberation movement.

Bottom line

“It’s so appropriate that we are at Stonewall today, because we are here to say we stand up to oppression just like our LGBT brothers and sisters stood up to oppression that fateful evening: June 28, 1969,” he said. “The bottom line is that we must resist.”

According to Dela Cruz, a broad coalition of blacks, Muslims, gays, transgenders, immigrants, refugees, persons with disabilities, Asian Americans and Latinos is needed to succeed.

“While we will be supported by our state and local governments here in New York and places like California, we will not be protected across the country,” he told the crowd. “This is how we make our America great! By protecting it from the virulent forces of hatred, intolerance, and bigotry that want to exclude us from America. No! This is our America and we will not be pushed out!”- By Elton Lugay

This is a syndicated post, which originally appeared at INQUIRER.net. View original post.

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