Mark Pocan

House Representative Mark Pocan (D-WI) is tired of Republicans’ homophobia. And now, he’s calling it out.

On Tuesday, GOP members of the House Appropriation Committee moved to strike three items from the Transportation Department’s annual funding bill that would put money towards services that help LGBTQ+ people.

The earmarks voted down were: $1.8 million to expand an LGBTQ+ center in Philadelphia; $970,000 to support a transitional housing program in Reading, Penn.; and $850,000 for a senior housing center in Massachusetts.

Pocan chastised his colleagues for their cruelty and called the move “bigoted.”

“If you were to take away earmarks because they went to the NAACP or the Urban League, you would rightfully so be called racist bigots,” said Pocan. “But when you do it to the LGBT community, it’s another fricken day in Congress.”

Pocan, who’s gay and represents Wisconsin’s 2nd congressional district, told a personal story about bigotry he’s faced as a gay man.

“Did I share with you when I used to get the article when I first ran for office when they wrote ‘dead f*****’ over your face and sent it to you in the mail?,” he said. “Or the time when I wasn’t out yet, left a gay bar, and two people followed me and beat me with a baseball bat until I was bloodied and unconscious and called me a f*****? This is what you guys do by introducing amendments like this — taking away from people’s earmarks is absolutely below the dignity of Congress and certainly the Appropriations Committee.”

Pocan’s message was clear: LGBTQ+ people are in danger, and need support. Surely, a couple million dollars to help community and housing centers is the least Congress can do.

His GOP colleagues weren’t moved.

Watch the explosive speech below:

But Pocan didn’t stop there: he also called out a specific committee member, Representative Andy Harris (R-MD), for falsely suggesting one of the LGBTQ+ centers in question had a support group for seven-year-olds to “groom other seven-year-olds.”

“You know there’s a saying — how do you show you’re a bigot without saying you’re a bigot?” retorted Pocan.

For the next several minutes, Harris, who seemingly can’t handle the truth, proceeded to whine about Pocan’s language.

“I know it’s a little warm outside and a snowflake can melt, but this is a little bit ridiculous,” said Pocan.

Diva down!

As co-chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Congress, Pocan is one of the most visible out gay men in D.C. He was first elected to Congress in 2012 to replace Tammy Baldwin, who wound up becoming the first out gay senator in U.S. history.

There are currently 13 out LGBTQ+ members of Congress.

With those numbers in mind, Pocan’s voice is crucial. It’s rare to see congresspeople speak with so much candor on the House floor, but Harris’ absurd suggestion warranted the pushback.

There were over 3,000 earmarks in the budget; and yet, the money going to the three LGBTQ+ centers was vetoed (the budget passed on a party line vote).

It’s apparent LGBTQ+ causes were singled out as part of the GOP’s larger war against LGBTQ+ folx, and Pocan isn’t going to stand for it. He won’t allow Republican House members to conduct their bigotry in private.

He’s going to hold them accountable. We’re thankful for it.

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