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National Transgender Advocate to Join Congresswoman Haaland at State of the Union

Commentary: Congresswoman Deb Haaland (NM-01) has invited Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) Mara Keisling (she) to be her guest to the State of the Union on Tuesday, February 5th. The invitation came after the Haaland’s original State of the Union guest Bunnie Benton Cruse (she), Chair of the New Mexico Transgender Resource Center Board of Directors celebrated the Congresswoman’s new role on the Equality Caucus in her Washington Office last week.

At a meeting coordinated by Congresswoman Haaland’s office last week, Benton Cruse and Keisling discussed the important work being done at the federal and local levels to improve access to services for transgender people and the pressing issue of violence against the transgender community.

“After the attack on transgender military personnel by this administration and the Supreme Court’s misguided decision, it is important to lift up the voices of our transgender community,” said Congresswoman Deb Haaland. “After meeting with Mara last week, it was clear that her work to fight hate was a perfect contrast to the discriminatory policies pushed by this administration. We’ll be working together to protect trans troops and be a force for equality in these troubling times.”

In January, the Supreme Court ruled to allow the administration’s order to bar transgender people from serving in the military to continue. Congresswoman Haaland made a powerful statement by posting the transgender flag outside her office.

Congresswoman Haaland is a member of the Congressional Equality Caucus, a group of lawmakers that serves as a resource for Members of Congress, their staff, and the public on LGBTQ+ issues at the federal level. The caucus works toward the extension of equal rights, the repeal of discriminatory laws, the elimination of hate-motivated violence, and the improved health and well-being for all regardless of sexual orientation of gender identity and expression.

Also on Tuesday, Congresswoman Haaland will extend her fight for equality by joining other Democratic woman lawmakers in wearing white to the State of the Union. With a historic 106 woman serving in the U.S. House of Representatives and the 100th Anniversary of women’s suffrage the act of solidarity will send a respectful message that Democrats are fighting to advance women’s economic security.


Mara Keisling is the founder and executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. Mara’s strategy and vision have guided the NCTE’s work since 2003. She has led organizational and coalition efforts that have won significant advances for transgender equality, including the inclusion of gender identity in the Federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act from 2007 onward and countless other federal- and state-level wins.