The race to challenge Lauren Boebert raises high stakes for LGBTQ constituents in District 3
Beezley said Tuesday’s GOP contest in Congressional District 3 comes with particularly high stakes for her and other LGBTQ+ people on the Western Slope. The two candidates — Boebert and state Sen. Don Coram — have different track records when it comes to their concerns.
Just months after being sworn in last year, Boebert made headlines for an anti-trans floor speech in which she urged her colleagues to vote no on the Equality Act, a bill that would prohibit discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation or gender identity.
Beezley said it’s not just Boebert’s rhetoric about trans people, it’s also the legislation she’s brought forward.
After TSA announced new procedures for trans and non-binary passengers earlier this year, Boebert introduced a bill to prohibit the agency from implementing the new policy. Asked about Beezley’s allegations and Boebert’s bill, a TSA spokesperson said the agency can’t comment on specific situations or pending legislation, but that the agency reviews all complaints and continually improves its processes to ensure travelers are treated with respect.
In a press release announcing her bill, Boebert accused the TSA of prioritizing “woke transgender policy” over security.
“By mandating the TSA decrease pat-downs and identity validation standards for individuals identifying as transgender, the Biden administration is practically inviting terrorists to take advantage of our weak and woke security system,” the release said.
Beezley said she understands the importance of appropriate security — she served in the military for most of her career — but she doesn’t understand Boebert’s reasoning.
“For someone like Boebert to go: ‘Oh, it’s a security risk.’ To who?” Beezley said. “I guarantee when you’re trans, you’re freaked out enough as it is traveling.”
Since assuming office in January last year, Boebert has also introduced two other anti-trans bills. One would recognize a cisgender swimmer as the winner of an NCAA Women’s Freestyle race, after she placed second behind a trans woman in the competition. The other would prevent federal money from funding research related to medical transition for minors. None have moved forward.
Boebert’s challenger has a different record
After more than a decade in the state legislature, Sen. Coram, the challenger taking on Boebert, has his own record on LQBTQ+ issues. In 2012, he cast the deciding vote to kill a civil unions bill, a move that caused a rift within his own family.
Mesa County lesbian activist Heidi Hess remembers that vote. But she said she’s seen his thinking and his policies shift since then.
“We don’t always agree, and that’s okay. But Don Coram listens,” Hess said. “I believe that in a representative government, the person who gets elected represents the entire district, whether you voted for them or not.”
In 2019, Coram voted yes on Jude’s Law, which allows Coloradoans to more easily change their gender on their birth certificates. That year, he also sponsored a bill on comprehensive sex education — it prohibits public schools that teach sex ed from excluding the experiences of the LGBTQ+ community from their curriculum.
While Hess said she can’t be sure how Coram would vote in Congress, she expects him to stay accountable to his constituents.
Neither the Boebert or Coram campaigns responded to a request for comment on their stances on LGBTQ+ issues.