Jun 24, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Rep. Ritchie Torres: "demonization" of transgender community has been "taken to a new extreme"

Russell Contreras and Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.) .

Photo: Axios

The "demonization" of transgender people has been "taken to a new extreme" as part of a "culture war," Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.) said at an Axios event Thursday.

Why it matters: In 2021, Republicans in at least 25 states have introduced a record 60-plus bills targeting transgender youth.

  • Torres said Congress needed to pass the Equality Act, which passed the House, to expand federal protections for LGBTQ people by prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.
  • Torres said, "there's a false narrative that the Equality Act is an existential threat to religious liberty, to womanhood, to female athletics."

What he's saying: "We are witnessing the revival of the culture wars," Torres said. "The difference between then and now is that the new culture wars specifically targeting the trans community. Republicans have been waging a deeply cynical campaign of scapegoating and fear-mongering."

Torres also discussed being the first gay Afro-Latino person elected to Congress, and says every time he steps foot on the House floor, he feels "the weight of history on his shoulders."

  • "My election means that LGBTQ Latinos will finally have a seat at one of the most powerful tables, United States Congress, and that is a breakthrough that I proudly and vocally celebrate," he said.

Watch the full event here.

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