Members of the group Queers for Racial Justice graced Assembly Member DiPietro’s District Office with a dance party/ protest meant to highlight his involvement in the TEA Party “Spirit of America” white supremacy rally in Buffalo as well as his overall treatment of the LGBTQI+ community. Dance culture has long been a stronghold of resilience. Queers for Racial Justice also honors the tradition set by trans women of color who led the fight for the right to exist during Stonewall.
The group is protesting, amongst other things, DiPietro’s continued support of Donald Trump and his racist agenda and his alignment with local white supremacists. He lent his name to the recent “Spirit of America” rally in Niagara Square, Buffalo, which featured prominent white supremacist groups from around the region as well as racist symbols like the confederate flag, and was headlined by Carl Paladino, David Bellavia and Sheriff Tim Howard.
Additionally, DiPietro recently refused to meet with a Western New York (WNY) delegation of LGBTQ leaders during a recent lobby day in Albany. He was only one of two legislators from WNY who declined. In general, his voting record demonstrates a blatant disregard for the lives of the LGBTQ community:
– DiPietro voted against the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) which would have banned discrimination on the basis of “gender identity or expression” in employment, housing, and public accommodations.
– DiPietro did not vote on a measure that would classify conversion therapy on minors as professional misconduct. To quote the great social rights advocate and The Most Reverend Desmond Tutu, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”
So-called “conversion therapy,” sometimes known as “reparative therapy,” is a range of dangerous and discredited practices that falsely claim to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. Minors are especially vulnerable, and conversion therapy can lead to depression, anxiety, drug use, homelessness, and suicide.
– He also voted against Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (A.3358 – Gottfried/S.502 – Squadron) on March 22, 2017, sometimes referred to as the “Bathroom Bill,” which would have banned discrimination on the basis of “gender identity or expression” in employment, housing, and public accommodations. It would have protected New York’s trans students where the federal government has failed to in this moment. He also supported Trump’s Executive Order this past February that revoked federal guidelines specifying that transgender students have the right to use public school restrooms that match their gender identity.
“As an elected official DiPietro has a responsibility to protect the rights of all constituents, not discriminate against those who are already at risk simply because of who they are,” saidQueers for Racial Justice member Bridge Rauch. “This is especially true for the lives of trans people of color. All constituents deserve equal protection under the law. There is no room for personal bias and bigotry in public office.”
“I was born and raised in East Aurora, New York. DiPietro’s social and economic policies are diametrically opposed to the history and heritage of my beloved hometown. Elbert Hubbard founded the Roycroft with the radical notion that our economies and communities should be people-centered,” said Queers for Racial Justice co-founder Harper Bishop. “He believed — along with Queers for Racial Justice — in a world where work is meaningful, wages are family-sustaining, opportunities exist for everyone and no one is discriminated against based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, race, or socioeconomic status.”
“LGBTQ children and adolescents are our most at-risk segment of the youth population. It’s unconscionable that Right Wing Conservatives would work to block a bill banning conversion therapy practiced on minors in Erie County,” said Paul Morgan, co-founder of Western New Yorkers against Conversion Therapy. “Please contact your Erie County legislator and urge them to bring this bill of of committee and to the floor for a vote.”
Queers for Racial Justice is composed of members of the LGBTQ+ community who believe in an intersectional movement for justice in which we work together for our mutual right to live free from violence and the fear of violence.
*** Video and photos courtesy of QRJ and Danielle Boris