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Opinion: Potato Head is getting with the times. So should Congress

February 27, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 27.6%. 2 min read.

You know times are a-changing when a famous toy spud is getting an upgrade—and for a very 21st century reason, writes Allison Hope.

But for an additional reminder, we turn to Congress, which is having a slightly elevated, though at times inane, misinformed and Mr. Potato Head-level, debate about whether to extend equal protections for LGBTQ people though the passage of the Equality Act. The sweeping legislation would extend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to add sexual and gender identity to the list of protected classes.

Congressman Mark Pocan (D-WI), co-chair of the LGBTQ Equality Caucus, expressed one of them well when he scrapped his prepared speech on the House floor during the vote and said, "I was going to talk about the need for equal treatment under the law for everyone regardless of who they love.

They go like this: If we are allowed access to the health care we need, and to adopt children who need homes, buy the wedding cake, feel affirmed and safe in school and in everyday life -- that will somehow open up the floodgates for people to "take advantage" and cheat their way into sports and bathrooms with the intent of harming others.

The same false utterances -- the ones that exploit the public's lack of exposure to and understanding of transgender people and gender identity and expression -- are likely to come in the Senate soon, and they may well derail the bill's passage.

My kid uses gender pronouns interchangeably and we read books and talk about how some people might feel like boys, others like girls, some like both, some like neither.

What's more, it's not just people who identify as LGBTQ who care about gender inclusion.

The truth is, if you have never felt forced into a gender category or treated a certain way because of it -- which doesn't just mean LGBTQ people -- then you might not understand what's at stake here.

My LGBTQ community needs to be able to maintain gainful employment and housing, to access the health care they need, to shop at a store, sit on a park bench and use a bathroom safely and without the bitter judgment of --or actual danger from--people stuck firmly in the year Potato Head was first born:

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