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Lesbian environmentalist runs for congress in the home state of Mike Pence

Lily Wakefield January 21, 2020
Sabrina Haake is running for congress in the home state of Mike Pence.

Sabrina Haake is running for congress in the home state of Mike Pence. (haakeforcongress/ Instagram)

A lesbian lawyer who wants to tackle the climate crisis is running for congress in Indiana, the home state of Donald Trump’s notoriously anti-LGBT+ vice president Mike Pence.

Sabrina Haake is running for Indiana’s 1st congressional district, which has been Democratic since the 1930s, although most congressional seats in Indiana are held by Republicans.

Haake lives with her wife and three rescue dogs in the city of Gary, Indiana, and she told LGBTQ Nation that her campaign will focus on the climate crisis.

Indiana-born Pence has repeatedly refused to declare that climate change is threat to national security, and in 2014 he said the scientific community had not “resolved” whether climate change was a man-made issue.

But Haake believes she can reach people by outlining the economic benefits of renewable energy, and said that 40,000 new jobs could be created in Northwest Indiana alone if more federal investment could be secured.

She said: “Everyone we know can drive electric cars, but at the end of the day if we don’t get industry to convert, it won’t make any difference.

“It’s just reality. Industry needs federal resources to convert. We can’t ask steel to just invest billions and trillions into infrastructure upgrade.”

Sabrina Haake with her wife, Gill. (Sabrina Haake for Congress)

Sabrina Haake is a “fierce advocate” for the Equality Act, Mike Pence helped ban trans people serving in the military.

Of course LGBT+ rights have a personal significance to Haake and, according to her website, she promises to “be a fierce advocate for legislation such as the Equality Act, which would make discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity illegal under existing civil rights law”.

She continued: “Aside from the White House efforts to deny job protection to gay people, it’s no secret that the current environment in Washington is hostile to LGBTQ people.

“The president has repeatedly narrowed the rights of trans people, including the right to serve in the military, and the White House has rescinded protections for the rights of trans students in federally funded schools.

“Republicans at every level of government routinely draft legislation to deny gay people rights to basic human needs, like housing, employment healthcare and education.

“These attacks hurt all of us, but they especially hurt low-income communities of colour.”

In contrast, Pence advocated for taking away healthcare from trans people in the US military, before helping to ban them from serving completely, and said same-sex marriage would lead to “societal collapse”.

Mike Pence has played a quiet role in many of the Trump administration's anti-LGBT policies
Mike Pence has played a quiet role in many of the Trump administration’s anti-LGBT+ policies. (Drew Angerer/Getty)

Haake said she had a “tough upbringing” which lead her to plan, if elected, to assess children in first grade for signs of trauma, and to focus on increasing mental health support in Indiana.

She wrote on her website: “I had a tough upbringing, I won’t hide it. As is true for many families today, we struggled.

“My home life was fraught with chronic and extreme domestic violence, untreated mental illness, and acute substance abuse.

“We need to stop the stigma and have a bold, honest discussion about trauma in the home so that children living with violence and substance abuse know they are not alone.”

Pence voted against making coverage of mental health conditions equal to coverage of physical health conditions.

Although her life experiences inform the issues she fights for, Haake said she doesn’t want her sexuality to be the focus of her campaign.

She told LGBTQ Nation: “I don’t think that’s a qualification. I think that’s part of who I am as a person.”

More: climate crisis, Congress, Indiana, lesbian, Mike Pence, Sabrina Haake

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