I offered the following remarks on Saturday June 11 in Greenfield as part of Franklin County Pride!
Hello Franklin County Pride!
Hello extraordinary family.
Let’s give a cheer for the PRIDE organizers and everyone who is part of today’s celebration.
What an incredible parade. What an incredible lineup of speakers.
In honor of Pride, I want you to know that I’m:
Proud to be a lesbian. Proud to be a member of our beautiful, diverse, joyful LGBTQIA+ family.
Proud to represent 17 Franklin County communities in the Massachusetts Senate.
Proud to work side by side with District Director Elena Cohen and Representatives Blais, Mark, and Whipps and Senator Adam Hinds on behalf of this region and its people.
Delighted that we’re in the middle of a glorious pride month where we’re living out loud. Where we’re affirming the worth and dignity of everyone in our community.
Our community is bold. Our community sees the clear connections between our liberation and racial justice. They are bound together with climate justice. Economic justice and workers rights. Public health. Public education.
Our community is resilient. Our community is expansive. And caring. And fearless. And tireless. And hell-bent to leap into a future that is more hopeful than the present.
Our community is led by rising generations – so much smarter and more sophisticated than I’ll ever be.
Busting open gender and sexuality. Breaking through ceiling after ceiling after ceiling. Building a dynamic and expanding movement. Coming forward to claim what’s theirs. What’s ours: Dignity, equity, love.
We take nothing for granted. We mourn like so many at the violence against Trans community members. We mourn unbridled and brutal gun violence and we’re in solidarity today with Marches for our lives, happening today here in the valley and across the nation. We pledge to unite with racial justice movements calling out white supremacy, mass incarceration, economic and social inequities, and more.
And we organize. After all, the first pride was a riot. We have that in our blood.
Today’s celebration – replete with rainbows, dancing, laughter, and joy – is turbo charged by urgent activism. Propelled by lifetimes of struggle – organizing that has and will continue to face down brutal injustice.
Because generations before us have fought for the rights we have today – just like we will push our governments at the local, state, and national levels to enact policies and funding priorities that reflect our movement – for tomorrow and the generations to come.
Today there is a pride flag flying over the Massachusetts State House. The House Speaker and the Senate President spoke at the raising ceremony.
That happened because of decades of organizing and advocacy around the right to marry, the right to same sex adoption (like my wife and I had when we adopted our two children), the right to equitable, accessible, and affordable health care. And more.
And speaking of enacting policies, just a couple of weeks ago, the Senate passed a fiscal year budget that ensures access to gender affirming care in the Commonwealth – protecting patients and providers from within our state borders and those who may decide to travel here to get the care they need and deserve.
But there’s more. Right now, we’re considering legislation that would mandate a nonbinary marker on all licenses, birth certificates, and state documents – because the state should have documents that reflect the beautiful diversity of our people.
I’m proud to have supported the budget amendment and proud to have filed what we call the Gender X bill. I’m also proud to have filed the so-called “Gay Panic” bill that would make it in impossible for anyone to say that they acted violently toward another person because they came to understand they were gay. (Yes. That’s a defense. But we’re done with that.)
And there’s more – legislation to mandate gender neutral bathrooms, legislation to fund youth programs and mental health services, legislation to provide easy access to PrEP – thanks to Sen. Julian Cyr and Rep. Jack Lewis, legislation to increase teacher diversity and teach our community’s history in schools. So much more.
I’ll leave you with the one thing I know to be more true than any other part of the democratic promise of our state and nation: You are powerful.
Government can and should work in the best interest of everyone – that means that everyone being seen and affirmed in today’s pride should be seen and affirmed in Boston, in Washington, D.C., and here at home.
But government only works when people like you make it work. When you’re relentless. When you feel the power you have and use that power.
When you and I grab hands in collective work on shared priorities.
That’s my promise to you. Always.
You are my family. And every day my team and I will see you. Affirm you. Celebrate you. Struggle with you. Fight for you. And win together.
Happy PRIDE everybody.
Big thanks – again – to the organizers, sponsors, and everyone who’s making today possible.