Bill to create an LGBTQ+ commission wins state House panel’s preliminary approval
A bill that aims to create a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Plus Commission to address issues concerning the LGBTQ+ community won preliminary approvalfrom a House committee on Wednesday on a 6-1 vote.
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A bill that aims to create a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Plus Commission to address
issues concerning the LGBTQ+ community won preliminary approval
from a House committee
on Wednesday on a
House Bill 2037 would create a commission to improve the state’s interaction with members of the LGBTQ+ community to identify issues such as discrimination or physical
violence that need more
attention, and to ensure there is an effective means of researching, planning and advocating for the population. This includes people who identify as neither male nor female, identify
as both, or people who
are questioning their
If the bill becomes law, it would be the first commission of its kind in the state, supporters said. The author, Rep. Ryan Yamane (D, Mililani-
Waikele), said he was surprised the bill won approval so quickly.
“It’s not always easy to pass a bill on the first attempt, and we’re hoping that people will understand it and get behind it. I’m just happy that there’s a discussion so people can know that government is not just taxes and making bills,” he said. “My hope is that it moves forward, but the reality is that bills like this are tough to pass.”
Michael Golojuch Jr., chairman of the LGBT Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, said there are no statistics on LGBTQ+ discrimination and violence in Hawaii, but said that he still has been verbally and physically attacked in Hawaii for being openly gay.
“I’ve been called ‘faggot,’ and I’ve had things thrown at me,” he said in an interview. “My favorite are the death threats I get when my name appears in the media too much on certain topics where they’ll say, ‘You’re going to die, faggot.’”
He also cited statistics that LGBTQ+ suicide rates are three to four times higher than that of their straight peers, and 85%
of LGBTQ+ students have experienced verbal
Golojuch said there’s an increase of discrimination on the mainland, but “some of that started to bleed over with our current federal administration.”
“Our rights are being attacked (at the) federal level every day,” he said.
Among other responsibilities, the commission would recommend government actions that would promote equal treatment and opportunities for members of the LGBTQ+ community, and promote education of members of the community about their political rights.
It’s unclear how much the commission would cost. The lone vote against the bill came from Rep. Gene Ward (R, Kalama
Valley-Queen’s Gate-Hawaii Kai).
Rep. Joy San Buenaventura (D, Pahoa-Kalapana), chairwoman of the Human Services and Homeless Committee, said there is huge support for the bill, and she hopes the bill will continue to advance.
“There’s a lot of tolerance,” for the LGBTQ+ community in Hawaii, Yamane said. “But we still have a long way to go.”