Justice for the

LGBTQ+ Community

Despite Connecticut’s reputation as a progressive state, there are still many issues in the LGBTQ+ community which have not been fully addressed. LGBTQ+ youth, in particular transgender folks and Black LGBTQ+ youth, face high rates of homelessness, which has been made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. A shockingly high number of LGBTQ+ individuals commit or attempt suicide, often due to traumatic social stigma and unaddressed mental health issues. In general, healthcare is far too expensive and prevents LGBTQ+ folks from getting the care they need. Sexual education is optional in public schools, which compounds issues of access to contraceptives, unsafe sex and LGBTQ+ inclusion. Our expensive and exclusionary healthcare system disproportionately hurts the LGBTQ+ community. Additionally, the LGBTQ+ community is under attack from the Trump administration, which has repealed protections in the adoption of children and transgender healthcare. 


We need a policy agenda that secures justice for the LGBTQ+ community.


Justin believes in:


1. Ending homelessness in the LGBTQ+ community

  • Nationally, it’s estimated that 40% of homeless youth are LGBTQ+, despite making up just 7% of the population. Many LGBTQ+ youth are kicked out of their homes due to their identity, putting them into extremely precarious circumstances.

  • Justin believes in a housing first approach to homelessness, in which the state provides housing and support services unconditionally to homeless people. This approach recognizes that without stable housing, all other aspects of life are destabilized, leading to a vicious cycle of poverty. 

  • To Justin, a “housing first” approach means building mixed-income, transit-oriented social housing with Permanently Supportive Housing units (PSHs) for homeless youth, with units reserved specifically for homeless transgender youth. 

  • LGBTQ+ community centers, like the New Haven Pride Center or Triangle Community Center in Norwalk, provide crucial resources and services to homeless youth. However, these centers do not exist in many parts of the state. These centers and the services they provide can be the difference between finding a stable home and staying homeless. Justin believes in funding additional community centers to help struggling LGBTQ+ folks, particularly in underserved rural areas of the state. Justin also believes state support for LGBTQ+ non-profits should be more equitably shared, with special attention paid to organizations led by transgender people and/or people of color.

  • In the midst of COVID-19, the state and federal government implemented renter protections which prevented a housing catastrophe. However, these protections are set to expire soon. In Connecticut, at least 140,000 residents are at risk of eviction when the moratorium expires on August 25. These renters are disproportionately from black, hispanic and LGBTQ+ communities. Justin believes in cancelling rent, extending the eviction moratorium indefinitely, and creating a rent relief fund for landlords to recover lost income.

  • Justin also believes in ending the criminalization of homelessness and stronger enforcement of non-discrimination laws in housing. These ideas are covered in sections 3 and 5 of this platform, respectively. 


2. Securing health equity for the LGBTQ+ community

  • LGBTQ+ youth and adults disproportionately struggle with mental health issues. Nationally, 28% of LGBTQ+ youth stated they felt depressed most or all of the time, while 40% of transgender youth said they had felt depressed most or all of the time. This is compared to 12% of non-LGBTQ+ youth. Transgender adults are 12 times more likely to report considering suicide.

  • Justin believes in creating a comprehensive mental health care system throughout the state and in public schools. This includes staffing schools with professionals trained to work with LGBTQ+ youth. Justin also believes in state-mandated sexual education for K-12 public schools, that covers LGBTQ+ issues and promotes safe sex practices.

  • Last year, Connecticut expanded access to PrEP, the medicine used to lower chances of HIV infection. However, access to PrEP is still a serious problem, due to costs and lack of education. Justin believes in capping monthly prices for prescription drugs like PrEP, and ensuring that public school sexual education promotes PrEP as a safe sex practice.

  • Although Connecticut has officially banned conversion therapy, this ban only extends to licensed professionals. Justin believes in more stringent regulations that extend beyond licensed professionals to unlicensed individuals operating conversion therapy-adjacent practices. 

  • President Trump recently rolled back Obama-era rules which protected LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in healthcare. Justin believes in reinforcing existing Connecticut laws to ensure this federal attack does not negatively impact the LGBTQ+ community.

  • Justin also believes that adequate medical services include: trans peer support specialists, who advocate for transgender individuals based on lived experience; professional development for doctors to work with trans patients; ensuring access to medical transition care; and lowering the age of informed consent to transition.

  • The for-profit healthcare model in America burdens low-income residents, many of whom are in the LGBTQ+ community, with extraordinary costs. Due to HIV/AIDS, transition medical care for transgender people and high rates of mental illness, the LGBTQ+ community is more severely impacted by high medical bills. Justin supports a national Medicare For All single-payer system that would dramatically cut costs, increase access to medical care and ensure everyone received the same treatment regardless of income. 

  • In lieu of national action, Justin also supports efforts to expand medicaid (or HUSKY, as it’s known in Connecticut), cap out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs like PrEP and explore the possibility of implementing a state-level single-payer healthcare system, similar to the one proposed by Dr. Abdul El-Sayed on his Michigan gubernatorial campaign.


3. Stopping the criminalization of the LGBTQ+ community

  • Members of the LGBTQ+ community are 3x more likely to be incarcerated. Due to high rates of homelessness, participation in the sex work industry and economic instability, the LGBTQ+ communtiy is forced to interact with often hostile police departments on a regular basis. Our state’s criminalization of poverty, homelessness and sex work are major drivers of the high LGBTQ+ prison population. 

  • Justin believes in decriminalizing sex work, which would benefit black transgender people most of all. Justin believes in decriminalizing homelessness and responding to homelessness with social workers and housing, not cops.

  • Over half of transgender people report being verbally, physically or sexually mistreated by police, as well as feeling discomfort in contacting police for assistance. Justin believes in shifting away from police and carceral responses to mental health emergencies. This means defunding police, divesting from prisons, and reinvesting in alternatives forms of first-response. This includes drawing on examples such as Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets (CAHOOTS) in Eugene-Springfield, Oregon; Mobile Outreach Service Teams (MOST) in Salt Lake City; Mental Health First in Sacramento, California; Parachute NYC; Oakland Power Projects; and a range of other alternatives, such as transformative justice and Open Dialogue


4. Standing against bigoted right-wing attacks on transgender high school athletes

  • In recent years, transgender high school athletes in Connecticut have been subject to bigoted attacks on their identity and ability to participate in sports. These attacks have been fully endorsed by high-ranking members of the state Republican party. Justin will always stand up against bigoted right-wing attacks on the transgender community, and will pressure his colleagues in the state senate to follow suit.

  • Since 2011, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has had regulations regarding the inclusion of transgender student-athletes. Similar regulations have been implemented by the International Olympic Committee with all of its member governing bodies having had regulations on this issue since 2003.

  • Justin believes Connecticut athletics must remain aligned with research-backed standards already held by national and international athletic leagues and fields of play. Furthermore, Connecticut state law is clear and it is backed up by federal legal precedent and bolstered by the recent Title VII decision in the Supreme Court.

  • Justin also recognizes that we are currently engaged in a battle with a Trump-appointed federal Department of Education that has politicized this issue. Curbing access and inclusion in public education is part of a broader effort to undercut public education for all.


5. Fully enforce non-discrimination laws 

  • While Connecticut has strong laws in place banning discrimination by sexual orientation in schools, housing and the workplace. However, many members of the LGBTQ+ community still experience outright discrimination in all of these areas. 

  • Justin believes that we must enforce the laws already on the books, as well as come up with new ways to deliver on that enforcement. Justin will advocate for the Attorney General’s office to hold landlords, employers and others who discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation fully accountable.


6. Eliminating barriers to self-determination for transgender people

  • Transgender people face various financial and bureaucratic barriers to making a successful transition. These include the prohibitively high price of changing your name, the bureaucratic nightmare of changing your gender marker and the lack of gender neutral bathrooms.

  • Justin believes in making name changes free, eliminating bureaucratic barriers to legally changing your gender and requiring gender neutral bathrooms in public buildings. 


We would like to acknowledge the organizers and advocates who worked closely with Justin and his policy team on this platform, including Jesus Morales Abraham Sanchez, Karleigh Merlot, Kirill Lebedev and Sophia Florence.