Human Rights

Joe Kennedy, grandson of former U.S. Attorney General Robert F. “Bobby” Kennedy, to chair house transgender equality task force.

BY ORLY LYONNE

Congressman Joe Kennedy III  took over as Chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus’s bipartisan Transgender Equality Task Force (TETF ) last month. The Task Force officially relaunched with a focus on restoring critical education protections, ensuring parity in health care access, and addressing the surge of violence against transgender Americans, particularly trans women of color.

“From education to health care to public safety: transgender Americans are told near daily that their rights count as less,” said Kennedy. “In a country built on the promise of equal protection, this is unacceptable. Facing new threats from a new Administration and discriminatory policies rearing their heads across the country, this Task Force is united in its unwavering support for the transgender community, grateful for the partnership of our allies and friends, and energized for the fight ahead.”

“From education to health care to public safety: transgender Americans are told near daily that their rights count as less. In a country built on the promise of equal protection, this is unacceptable.”

In the 115th Congress, the TETF will focus on a wide range of priorities impacting the transgender community. First, fighting to restore the Obama-era guidance from the Departments of Education and Justice that instructed schools to allow transgender students to use the restroom of the gender with which they identify. Specifically, the TETF will stand with Gavin Grimm in his Supreme Court case to guarantee transgender rights. Second, in light of the ongoing debate over the future of health care reform, the TETF will advocate for parity in access to essential care and treatment for all transgender Americans. Finally, the TETF will work tirelessly to respond to the surge of violence targeting the transgender community—particularly transgender women of color. Seven lives have been lost so far this year alone.

Congressman Kennedy has been an outspoken advocate of transgender rights and LGBTQ equality since he was elected to office. He was a vocal supporter of Massachusetts’ transgender non-discrimination bill, appearing in-person at the State House to testify in support of its passage. Last year he introduced the Do No Harm Act, which would amend the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to preserve civil rights. He has been a proud co-sponsor of major equality legislation, from the Equality Act to the Global Respect Act to the Student Non-Discrimination Act.

A member of the Kennedy family, Kennedy is the grandson of former U.S. Attorney General Robert F. “Bobby” Kennedy and a grandnephew of former U.S. President John F. Kennedy.

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