Politics

Who is Hakeem Jeffries? Where does he stand on LGBTQ rights?

hakeem-jeffries-minority-house-leader-democrat-gay-lgbtq, New,York,,Ny,-,September,7,,2020:,Congressman,Hakeem,Jeffries
Hakeem,JeffriesPhoto: Shutterstock

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D – NY) is an LGBTQ ally who has fought for social and economic justice through legislation supporting police reform and community funding. He has also supported legislation to protect and expand LGBTQ rights.

Hakeem Jeffries At a Glance

  • Location: New York
  • Current Position: U.S. Representative
  • Party Affiliation: Democrat
  • Race/Ethnicity: Black
  • Gender Identity: Cisgender man
  • Sexual Orientation: Straight
  • Pronouns: He/His
  • LGBTQ Ally: Yes

Social Media

Facebook: Hakeem Jeffries

Twitter: @RepJeffries

Instagram: @repjeffries

Website: hakeemjeffries.com

Biography

Jeffries was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York City. He got a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Binghamton University, a Master of Public Policy from Georgetown University, and a Juris Doctor from New York University.

Afterward, he served as a judge’s clerk in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and worked as a litigator for the multinational law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. During his time at the law firm, he served as director of intergovernmental affairs at the New York State Chapter of the National Association of Minority Contractors and as the president of Black Attorneys for Progress. He also worked as a litigator for Viacom and CBS.

In 2006, he was elected as a New York State Assemblymember. In 2012, he was elected as a representative for New York’s 10th congressional district in the U.S. House. He began serving as Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus in 2019.

Jeffries’ stance on LGBTQ issues

Jeffries is a House LGBT Equality Caucus member, has issued several tweets condemning anti-LGBTQ discrimination, and introduced bills that would expand and protect LGBTQ civil rights.

Same-sex marriage

In July 2022, Jeffries introduced the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and ensure critical protections for same-sex and interracial marriages. In a statement, he criticized “a radical, right-wing Supreme Court majority … on the verge of taking away … the right to marry who you want to marry.”

Transgender access to public bathrooms

In June 2022, Jeffries supported making more gender-neutral, single-occupancy bathrooms available in Washington D.C.’s Capitol Hill district.

“Implementing single-use restrooms will make a visible difference in the lives of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals, as well as other marginalized communities, including people with disabilities, older adults, and parents of small children,” he and other supportive legislators wrote.

He also supports the Equality Act, which would protect trans people’s rights to use public facilities matching their gender identity.

Don’t say gay/LGBTQ discussion in schools

While Jeffries seems to have not spoken about Florida’s infamous “Don’t Say Gay” law banning LGBTQ content from public classrooms, he did say that Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s claim that LGBTQ allies are “groomers” looking to sexually abuse children was a distraction.

“I don’t even really pay attention to anything she says because she has nothing rational to say. It seems to me to be a ridiculous allegation,” Jeffries told VICE News when asked about Greene’s remarks. “We’re focused right now on getting things done for everyday Americans: lowering costs, addressing gas prices, and inflation. They can continue to peddle lies and conspiracy theories.”

Discrimination protections

In a May 26, 2016 tweet, Jeffries wrote, “The LGBT community deserves equal protection under law  — what about that is so difficult for House Republicans to understand?”

In 2021, Jeffries also voted for The Equality Act, which would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the 1964 Civil Rights Act, extending anti-discrimination protections to employment, housing, education, public accommodations, and other areas.

“In the absence of federal civil rights protection, there are members of the LGBTQ community who are fair game in the eyes of the law to be targeted, based on sexual orientation,” Jeffries said of the bill. “That is not America.”

Other LGBTQ issues

In January 2014, Jeffries was one of 13 House members who introduced The Hate Crime Reporting Act, a bill that would have collected information about criminal activity and online hate speech against designated persons and groups, including members of the LGBTQ community.

In 2021, He also supported rules adopting gender-neutral language in the U.S. House. “From my standpoint, the gender-neutral language is just consistent with an effort for the House, in the best tradition of the House, to reflect the gorgeous mosaic of the American people in the most sensitive fashion possible,” Jeffries said.

Jeffries’ Career

  • Judge’s clerk in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • Litigator for Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison law firm
  • Director of intergovernmental affairs at the New York State Chapter of the National Association of Minority Contractors
  • President of Black Attorneys for Progress
  • Litigator for Viacom and CBS
  • New York State Assemblymember
  • U.S. House Representative for New York
  • Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus

In conclusion

Hakeem Jeffries has supported national legislation that would protect same-sex marriage and expand civil rights protection for sexual orientation and gender identity.

Stay informed about his career by subscribing to the LGBTQ Nation newsletter.

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