Good morning everyone!
It’s not often as your governor I get to push the gay agenda. Which is, of course, equity under the law, just in case this quote gets taken out of context. Or there’s someone filming.
I want to thank you all for being here today, and especially to thank Basic Rights Oregon for hosting this event. And for your work along with the ACLU to call attention to the problem addressed in this executive order: Recognition.
We’re here to sign this executive order because progress matters. And recognition matters.
In 1987, the Governor of Oregon signed an executive order similar to this one. In fact, from far away these executive orders look awfully similar because the Governor’s office still has the same letterhead!
This groundbreaking executive order granted equal treatment under law to members of Oregon’s gay and lesbian communities in state action, state facilities, and state hiring.
And that need is still as relevant and urgent today as it was 32 years ago. But things have also changed quite a bit since 1987--though I hear fanny packs are back in style!
And the long-standing executive order needs to be updated to reflect current law and understandings about sexual orientation and gender identity.
That there are more sexual orientations than just gay and lesbian. And that there are more than two gender identities.
Most of you in this room are familiar with my record. You know that equity and inclusivity are top priorities.
I see these same priorities reflected in the faces of the roughly 4.25 million Oregonians.
I have fought long and hard to continue Oregon’s legacy of being ahead of the curve on issues that affect our community.
As a legislator and Governor, I have both sponsored and signed legislation to protect the rights of LGBTQ+ Oregonians.
● the Oregon Equality Act
● the Oregon Family Fairness Act
● statutory definition of marriage
● Oregon health plan coverage for gender dysphoria
● ban on gay conversion therapy
● made the process to change gender on a birth certificate more accessible and efficient
● nonbinary IDs
● Education and corrections facilities procedures that recognize gender identity, rather than physical markers.
And, of course, I am our nation’s first openly LGBTQ+ governor.
We’re well on our way toward a more inclusive state to call home. And as such, our state government must strive to be ever more inclusive and welcoming to all Oregonians, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Recently, I was in a Portland coffee shop and saw one of the best bathrooms signs I’ve ever seen. It totally caught me off guard.
You know the usual signs I’m talking about, the ones that have a skirt to identify women and pants to signify men?
Well, this sign had a whole host of figures on it: pants, a skirt, a baby, an alien, a two-headed person, a knight in armor, a centaur, and a mermaid. We were in Portland, after all.
Underneath, it read:
“Whatever. Just wash your hands.”
I love the spirit of this sign and want them for the capitol building.
But for all of us at the State of Oregon, it’s more than just about washing your hands. (Though please do that.)
Every state agency should be a welcoming place for every sexual orientation and gender identity. Whether you work there, are visiting, or are utilizing a service.
That’s why in the executive order I am about to sign, we’ve taken great care to ensure that discrimination is not welcome in:
● Hiring practices
● Providing services, contracts, or grants
● Data collection
● And the everyday practices of employment
This executive order was the product of a lot of hard work from folks on my team, advocates, community members, and stakeholders. And for that, they deserve a round of applause.
We don’t do this work because it’s easy.
We do this work for kids in schools who should not be forced to conform to a binary just to use a restroom or locker room.
We do it for transgender adults in custody who deserve to feel safe while they serve their sentence.
We do it for the everyday microaggressions folks experience. Not being referred to by the preferred name or pronoun. Or having to go to a completely different floor to find an all-gender restroom. These moments accumulate.
And we do it for the teeny, but loud part of our brains that says, “don’t make waves, be grateful for what you have.”
These recognitions matter. Because everyday patterns scale up to everyday behaviors.
And recognizing everyone is one step toward a more inclusive and welcoming Oregon.
Let’s sign this executive order!