Women and LGBTQ activist groups expecting significant voter turnout in 2020

AddThis

Photo Credit: Ryan Lam | Daily Texan Staff

As the country prepares for the 2020 election, activists and politicians such as Ai-jen Poo and Annise Parker, respectively, said women and the LGBTQ community are becoming more politically active.  

Two panels at the Texas Tribune Festival on Saturday gathered women’s issues advocates and LGBTQ community leaders to discuss the increasing political power held by the two often underrepresented groups. 

Poo, the co-founder of the political organization Supermajority, said the organization’s goal is to mobilize women voters for the 2020 presidential election. 

“We’re not hearing women are burnt out, tired or lulled,” Poo said. “We've actually heard that women are more activated, more energized, more ready to go than ever.”

One panel focused on the rise of LGBTQ representation in state and national politics. Annise Parker, former mayor of Houston and president of the LGBTQ Victory Fund, said Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign and a “rainbow wave” of LGBTQ candidates in the 2018 midterm elections are bringing national attention to LGBTQ politics.

“You have a presidential candidate who is bringing a new view of what an LGBT politician looks like in America,” Parker said. “But, you also have a tsunami of LGBT candidates for office who ran last year.”

Rep. Jessica González, one of five members of the Texas Legislature’s first LGBTQ caucus, said representation of minorities is increasing both at the state and national level. 

“There’s a general excitement as we near the election,” said González. “LGBTQ Texans — they see us in the Capitol. They see us fighting, and it gives them hope.”

TreShaun Pate, conference coordinator for the Black Trans Advocacy Coalition, said he is hopeful about legislative change as LGBTQ issues become more normalized. 

“I'm hoping that people will just be able to live their truest, best lives,” Pate said. “I’m very hopeful, and that’s why I want to push as hard as I do.”

Supermajority co-founder Alicia Garza said the organization wants to rebrand “women’s issues,” such as childcare, equal pay and reproductive health, as problems of national importance. 

“It's not just important to women that we're getting promoted less than men are,” Garza said.  “That's important in our homes as well, if only one of us is making a wage that we can survive on.” 

Supermajority co-founder Cecile Richards said these issues are often disregarded on the federal level because women are underrepresented in Congress. 

“Believe me, if we actually had a majority of people in Congress who could get pregnant, we would be talking about affordable childcare,” Richards said. “We’d be talking about equal pay. We wouldn’t be fighting about Planned Parenthood.”

Intersectional representation is vital, especially as black trans women continue to be targets of hate crimes in Texas and across the nation, Pate said. 

“Black trans women have been the driving force of the movement, but they typically get left behind in a lot of the conversation,” Pate said. 

All genders benefit from the gender equality movement, including transgender men, transgender women and nonbinary people, Garza said.

“Our interest is in bringing together the people who've been losing to say, ‘It's time for us to be winning again,’” Garza said.