LGBTQ Pride Message From Senator Antonio

June is traditionally LGBTQ Pride month. In 1969, following constant disproportional raids of gay bars, the Stonewall Riots, led by lesbians, gay and transgender people of color who said, "No more," sparked the gay rights movement, while challenging the police's forceful and discriminatory targeting.

During a time when we are celebrating Pride month and protesting for Black Lives Matter, all over the world, it is important to advocate for intersectional justice. Intersectionality means understanding how a combination of a person’s identities such as race, gender, class, and sexuality creates individualized forms of discrimination. According to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, LGBTQ people of color are most often victims of hate violence homicides, making up for 71% of victims in 2017. Our communities must continue to support one another and stand together to protect each other, especially trans women of color.

Hopefully, many of us are taking this opportunity to educate ourselves-- learning more about intersectionality and how to be allies. Those of us in the LGBTQ community need to stand up and declare that Black Lives Matter with an understanding that we cannot have freedom and justice without freedom and justice for Black lives.

As the first openly gay state legislator in Ohio, I have vowed to introduce the Ohio Fairness Act every General Assembly, until it passes. This legislation (S.B. 11 and companion H.B. 369) would add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” protections to Ohio’s anti-discrimination laws, including in housing, employment and public accommodations.

Pride is the time to take to the streets, declaring our pride and solidarity in joyous and fabulous ways-- saying that we are proud of who we are. Celebrating Pride means working together to create a better Ohio where all people, all families, are welcome. Happy Pride!

Nickie Antonio

State Senator Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) is honored to be serving in her first elected term in the Ohio Senate District 23, following 8 years of service in the Ohio House of Representatives, 13th House District with 5 of those years serving in leadership as Minority Whip. Antonio has also served as Lakewood City Councilmember, Executive Director of an outpatient drug/alcohol treatment program for women and teacher for children with special needs.

Antonio serves as Highest Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Transportation and Joint Medicaid Oversight Committees. She also serves on the Finance Subcommittee on Health, and Ways and Means Committees. She is also a member of the Ohio House Democratic Women's Caucus—previously serving as chair—and is the State Director for the Women Legislators’ Lobby.

She has been a dedicated champion of workers’ rights, high-quality education, our local governments, equal rights for women and the LGBT community, healthcare for all and fighting the opioid crisis.

Antonio is recognized as a leader who reaches across the aisle to get things done. As a result, she has worked to pass legislation such as Ohio’s historic adoption open records law (SB 23/HB 61) and a step therapy reform law (SB 265/HB 72). During each of her four terms in office, Antonio has introduced the Ohio Fairness Act (now SB11), to provide civil rights protections for members of the  LGBT community,  as well as an end to Ohio’s use of the death penalty and an array of other bills focused on improving the lives of all Ohioans. Antonio continues to be an established expert in health policy in the General Assembly.

The first in her family to graduate from college, she holds both MPA and B.S.Ed. Degrees from Cleveland State University and was named a CSU Distinguished Alumni in 2013. She is also an alumnus and Bohnett fellow of the Kennedy School Harvard Leadership Program (2011).

Daughters Ariel and Stacey have made Antonio and wife Jean Kosmac, very proud as the girls engage in their adult life journeys.

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Volume 16, Issue 12, Posted 3:23 PM, 06.17.2020