Bil Browning

Building a Progressive Future: Labor & the LGBT Community

Filed By Bil Browning | June 01, 2012 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: labor movement and LGBT people, progressive partnership, SEIU, trans-inclusive health care, union conference

I was honored to be a guest at this year's SEIU convention in Denver, but the most fascinating part of the gathering was watching people work to build a better future for us all.

The right has one standard boogeyman - "The government is the problem!" - and they use it for everything. LGBT rights? Government shouldn't be involved in religion. Economy? Government is taking your money so let's get rid of taxes. Can't breathe the air in your city? Blame government regulations. They don't always make sense, but it all always comes back to one thing: Government sucks.

Progressives, however, splinter ourselves into so many cliques and groups it's as if we're trying to make it easy to defeat our goals. We're labor groups, environmentalists, immigration rights activists, people of color, or the LGBT community. It's often overlooked that Latinos need clean air and water, queer people have our own immigration issues, and that plenty of people of color are union members or gay - or both.

SEIU brought in several partner organizations this year and they really focused on working with everyone on big picture items. How do we use those intersections to our advantage? How can we support each other instead of separating ourselves by our interests?

Deputy Political Director Lauree Hayden sat down with me on Wednesday to discuss the union's more inclusive stances and to take the questions some of you sent in about SEIU's new trans-inclusive healthcare resolution. The video is a little longer than normal, but you won't want to miss a word of what she has to say.

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