AOC: ‘We’re All Sitting Here, the Democratic Caucus, 60% Queer, Women, People of Color, Immigrant’

By Patrick Goodenough | May 21, 2019 | 4:18 AM EDT

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., speaks during a congressional iftar at the U.S. Capitol on May 20, 2019. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

( – Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) on Monday night ridiculed Republicans for arguing that the Equality Act would hurt women, contrasting the House GOP – with 13 female members – to the Democratic caucus, which she described as “60 percent queer, women, people of color, immigrant.”

“Like, how are you going to tell us what’s good for us?” she asked.

Speaking during a Ramadan end-of-fast iftar on Capitol Hill, Ocasio-Cortez accused Republicans of trying to foil progressive advances by “pitting communities against each other that have never – and have no business being pitted against one another.”

She used last Friday’s consideration in the House of the Equality Act (H.R.5) as an example. If enacted the legislation, which passed 236-173 in the House, would amend the Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or “gender identity.”

Among many criticisms, opponents have warned that the measure would set back women’s rights, citing concerns such as an unfair disadvantage for women athletes competing against biological men who identify as females, or shelters for battered women being forced to accommodate biological men who identify as females.

Those making the arguments are not only conservatives and are not only men, but Ocasio-Cortez said that a male Republican had “the audacity” to raise the issue last week.

“It was almost amusing, because here we had the Republican Party that is almost entirely male,” she said, noting there are 13 GOP congresswomen. “And they had the audacity to have one of their male members come up and try to amend it, and say ‘advancing queer rights will hurt the women’s rights movement.’”

“And we’re all sitting here, the Democratic caucus, 60 percent queer, women, people of color, immigrant. Like, how are you going to tell us what’s good for us?”

“And this is just the template,” Ocasio-Cortez continued. “They try to import that division – women against our LGBT community, Jew against Muslim, immigrant versus citizen – in order to make sure that none of us get our interests or our rights advanced.”

“And we will not stand for it anymore,” she added, “because we know these divisions are a distraction, and they are rooted in the subjugation of all the communities involved that are being pitted against one another.”

Ocasio-Cortez did not name the male Republican she was referring to, but among those who brought up the issue about women’s rights last week were Reps. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) and Louie Gohmert (R-Texas).

Also speaking against the bill on Friday was Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), who charged that far from ensuring equality it legalizes “government-imposed, top-down discrimination against those with time-honored views on marriage and gender.”

At a state level, she said, the policies “have already been used to eliminate safe spaces for women, irreparably harm children, trampled parental rights, undermined the free exercise of religion, and dismantle female athletics.”

Patrick Goodenough
Patrick Goodenough
Spencer Journalism Fellow

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