REMARKS AS PREPARED
Oregonians Against Discrimination Business Leaders Luncheon
April 20, 2017
Good afternoon. It is truly my privilege to join you for Basic Rights Oregon’s annual Business Leaders Luncheon. Looking across the room, it’s wonderful to see so many familiar faces. You are my people!
As Governor, it’s an honor to serve all Oregonians. What motivates me each day is my unwavering belief that we all should have the opportunity fulfill our greatest potential.
I have often said you cannot be what you cannot see. Increasing the visibility of our community, making our voices heard, and standing with the transgender community - which has been increasingly under attack - is more important now than ever before.
Thank you to the companies, innovators, and organizations represented here, today for doing just that.
For too long, the voices of the LGBTQ community have been stifled, decried, and discouraged. Even today, coming out of the closet and coming out as trans is an incredible act of courage and bravery.
I know from my own experience and from talking with LGBTQ youth across the state, what makes coming out easier is knowing we are not alone. Knowing we are loved. Not regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, but because of it.
We love you for exactly who you are—can I get amen?
Seeing Chris Mosier proudly run in Wieden + Kennedy’s Nike ad and seeing the “stress-tested” strength of Karis Wilde makes my heart swell.
It is my hope new generations of LGBTQ Oregonians see more and more of themselves reflected in the media, in their government, and the communities in which we all have the right to thrive.
Throughout Oregon’s history, thousands have fought for and demanded more rights for all Oregonians.
We have achieved enormous victories in Oregon:
• Almost a decade ago today, we passed the Oregon Equality Act.
• We’ve banned conversion therapy.
• We created an LGBT office within Oregon’s Department of Veterans Affairs.
• And I was proud to announce last year new guidelines for our schools to support transgender students across the state. These were developed together by Basic Rights Oregon and
the Oregon Department of Education.
While we continue to expand health coverage and benefits to transgender Oregonians, we also know that more LGBTQ-competent health providers and mental health services are needed throughout the state.
We cannot retreat from the progress we have achieved. As long as I’m governor, Oregon will be a welcoming place for all, and we will not backtrack on the human and civil rights of our people.
We all should have the opportunity fulfill our greatest potential. I want to acknowledge Wieden + Kennedy and Salt & Straw for leading by example.
It’s an honor to recognize these two Oregon businesses that started here, started small, and have grown exponentially. Their growth depends on a thriving and diverse workforce, which contributes to a robust, statewide economy.
I know many LGBTQ Oregonians are concerned about the progress we’ve made both legally and in the hearts and minds across the state and nation. There’s a profound sense of discord between the compassion and resilience of our communities and what we hear in political rhetoric nationally.
This is why it is so critical to stay informed and engaged.
As your Governor, I will continue to use my office to combat discrimination, expand access to health care - including trans health services - and ensure all Oregonians have equal protection under the law.
Together, we can build a stronger, more inclusive and just place for our families and future generations of Oregonians.