Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke released what he called “a very strong set of proposals” Wednesday to protect LGBTQ Americans ahead of a morning “Pride Run” in New York City.

“LGBTQ+ Americans have made incredible progress over the past decade … but too many LGBTQ+ people still lack protection under many states’ laws, and the current Administration is encouraging rather than stamping out discrimination,” O’Rourke said in a written statement. “We must ensure all Americans are treated equally no matter who they are or who they love.”

The plan takes clear aim at President Donald Trump, aiming to use executive action to overturn “Trump’s discriminatory transgender troop ban;” remove the “Deploy or Get Out” policy that some say discriminates against HIV-positive service members and “reverse Trump’s efforts to allow federally funded adoption and foster care agencies to reject same-sex families.”

Other significant executive actions O’Rourke says he would take as president include confronting conversion therapy by cracking down on false advertising and unfair business practices associated with the practice; modernizing the “outdated blood donation requirements,” such as the 1-year bar on donations for gay and bisexual donors; including LGBTQ Americans in federal data collection efforts and appointing LGBTQ-friendly judges and executive-branch officials.

In the rollout of his new plan in New York City, O’Rourke emphasized the need to protect transgender individuals — and especially transgender women of color — from violence. As president, he would direct the Department of Justice to investigate crimes against transgender people and update certain training standards for how law enforcement personnel interact with transgender people.

The presidential hopeful also pledged to work with Congress to accomplish a number of goals, some of which include passing the Equality Act to curtail discrimination in employment, housing and access to public spaces and services; providing LGBTQ people with easier access to health insurance and health care, including hormones, gender-affirming treatments and HIV prevention and treatment and reforming certain aspects of the criminal justice system.

In terms of foreign policy, the final part of O’Rourke’s plan, O’Rourke pledged to make the resettling process easier for LGBTQ refugees and asylum seekers and work with America’s allies to secure a global treaty that would protect LGBTQ people through the International Law Commission of the United Nations.

O’Rourke’s far-reaching plan, his sixth major rollout, comes as the former congressman from El Paso lags behind other Democrats in the polls.


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