9:08 PM Eastern - Sunday, May 27, 2012

Forum at SEIU Convention, Labor Around the Fight for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Equality #default

What a forum! Hosted by the National Lavender Caucus, panelists shared the ways they are mobilizing working people in the fight for LGBTQ equality.

First up was Carrietta Hiers, currently the Co-Vice chair of the Lavender Caucus for 1199 SEIU, who spoke about defending marriage equality victories in Maryland. After opening with a story about why marriage matters to her, she discussed talking to union voters about the ways the freedoms to marry strengthens families. She also discussed working with strategic allies such as MD Black Pride, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and Equality Maryland.

Then we heard from SEIU Local 2579 member Jillian Deconsta discussing transgender healthcare benefits. We need healthcare for all.

Finally we heard from Adanjesus Marin, president of Equality Pennsylvania and a member of the Executive Board of SEIU Healthcare PA, who after an overview of the political climate in Pennsylvania shared the strategy to partner with Equality PA to build grassroots power from the local level when the state's political climate was not amenable. Adanjesus also talked about building a coalition in Lancaster, PA, and how unions historically protect LGBTQ working people and their families when the law doesn't include employment protections.

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