In the tragic aftermath of the Orlando massacre, Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell declared that we must stop the hate. Since 2002, when Assembly Member O’Donnell was elected as the first openly gay man in the Assembly, he has worked tirelessly to advocate for the LGBT community. During his time in office he has sponsored landmark legislation, such as the Marriage Equality Act and the Dignity for All Students Act, to support the equal treatment and protection of LGBT New Yorkers.
Across the country, anti-LGBT laws still spread messages of hate. Assembly Member O’Donnell has called on the Governor and other politicians across the country to ban these bills. Such legislation includes forcing transgender people to use the bathroom that corresponds with the sex they were born into, not with their own identity. Other legislation has included allowing therapists to refuse service to people they believe to be in the LGBT community. Some laws are deceptively labeled as Religious Freedom Laws, which allow businesses and individuals to refuse goods and services to people because they believe a person lives a lifestyle that is against their religion. These laws are simply veiled ways to make discrimination against LGBT individuals legal. Although Assembly Member O’Donnell and thousands of others have made great progress in expanding acceptance and love of the LGBT movement, there is still work to be done.
Use Your Political Power
1. Vote! Vote for LGBT politicians and allies to shift our political point of view and reflect the diversity of our communities. Vote for politicians who fight for LGBT rights in the legislature and beyond. Denounce politicians who spread messages of hatred and ignorance and encourage others to do the same.
2. Advocate for legislation that supports dignity for all. Federal, state, and city governments must develop policies that eliminate hate. Laws set the tone for what is acceptable within our society.
Use Your Personal Power
1. One of the simplest and most powerful ways to stop the hate is to use your voice. When you see an act of hatred toward the LGBT community—whether in harmful language, discriminatory behavior, or acts of violence—stand up and speak out. Remaining silent perpetuates this damaging culture of hate and misunderstanding.
2. Educate ourselves. Watch talks, read books and newspapers about LGBT issues and ways you can be engaged. Find inspiration and support from members and allies of the LGBT community on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and elsewhere. Use the hashtags #StopTheHate and #VoiceYourLove.
3. Tell our stories. If you have witnessed or been a part of standing up to hatred, spread the word! If someone has ever stood up for you, take this time to thank them. The more we connect with each other and learn from each other’s experiences, the stronger we will be. Use the space below to share your story with me. With your permission, I will share the story with our community in order to promote the #StopTheHate campaign.