NCTE on Capitol Hill: Nancy Pelosi’s Youth Roundtable

Photo Credit: Campus Progress

I was recently invited to attend a small youth roundtable hosted by U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to discuss the current debate over government spending. House Minority Leader Pelosi wanted to get a better understanding of what young people thought before returning to the debate.

Attendees felt that immigrant rights, student loan debt, and Medicaid were of great import. But the subject of employment for transgender people was also, of course, important. In a weak job market, transgender people, especially transgender people of color, are often among the hardest hit. I said, “if our representatives consider the impact of their decisions on transgender people and other people who face discrimination, then their decision should be clear.” Speaker Pelosi was supportive in her response, mentioning how she defended the inclusion of gender identity in the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

While we pushed Leader Pelosi on a variety of issues, we shared a common thread: our future matters. Making excessive budget cuts to our education and other social programs is the wrong decision for this country.

While laws and policies that specifically extend protections to transgender people are important, we should also recognize the countless other policies that impact transgender people. Federal investment in public education means more potential access to higher education for transgender students, encouraging the next wave of transgender activists. Medicaid, while not yet fully inclusive, gives health benefits to transgender people who might not be able to get them any other way.

Speaker Pelosi’s roundtable was encouraging. It showed that despite the intensity of the debate surrounding government spending, Leader Pelosi is making the effort to listen to the people who are often lost in debate

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