The Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus announced Monday that gay Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) will serve as the new chair for the 118th Congress, replacing outgoing chair Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), who will continue to serve as a co-chair.
The chair position “rotates every Congress between the Caucus’ openly LGBTQI+ members based on seniority,” according to a press release from the Caucus announcing Pocan’s appointment.
“We are witnessing a dangerous increase in anti-LGBTQI+ hate, legislation, and violence that we must forcibly push back against and defeat,” said Pocan in a statement.
The Equality Caucus will do everything in our power to defeat anti-LGBTQI+ bills and amendments proposed by extremist anti-LGBTQI+ politicians this Congress, especially those targeting our transgender and nonbinary community members.”
The Equality Caucus was founded in 2008 by then-Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), now the state’s junior senator, and former Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.). As of the 117th Congress, there were 175 members – a 92 percent increase in membership from 2009.
The group is historically co-chaired by openly LGBTQ members of the House, with membership open to LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ members from either party.
In the last Congress, the Caucus’s Transgender Equality Task Force was chaired by Democratic Reps. Pramila Jayapal (Wash.), Marie Newman (Ill.), and Jennifer Wexton (Va.).
“With the support of our 175 members, we were able to celebrate many accomplishments in our pursuit towards achieving full equality for LGBTQI+ people, including House passage of the Equality Act and the Global Respect Act, increased funding for LGBTQI+ priorities at home and abroad, and, most recently, the President signing the Respect for Marriage Act into law,” said Cicilline in a statement.