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Gay Nebraska Lawmaker Breaks Down In Tears In Apology To Trans People Over GOP Attacks

Openly gay state Senator John Fredrickson gave his emotional speech as Democrats filibuster anti-trans legislation introduced by their Republican colleagues.

Nebraska Public Media screenshot of John Frederickson
Nebraska Public Media

*The following article contains discussion of suicide/self-harm.

Nebraska Democratic state Senator John Fredrickson recently made headlines for an emotional apology to the transgender community. He was responding to vicious comments and attacks made by Republican state senators in Nebraska against transgender individuals.

Unfortunately, the targeting of transgender individuals by the Republican party has become increasingly common both in Nebraska and at the federal level.

In 2022, the Lincoln City Council updated their "fairness ordinance" to provide protections for individuals based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Despite unanimous approval, opponents of the ordinance launched a referendum to repeal it.

This repeal would not only strip transgender individuals of their protections, but also veterans and disabled individuals. The opposition group, the Nebraska Family Alliance, even referred to the ordinance as a "gender identity bathroom ordinance," falsely claiming it would allow "biological men in women's showers, locker rooms, and restrooms."

Frederickson went viral for apologizing to transgender people for the consequences of legislation introduced by his GOP colleagues.

You can hear what he said in the video below.

Frederickson said:

“I wish I could say or do something to change this. To my LGBTQ family, I spoke to you at the beginning of the week, and I’ll speak to you again."
"Regardless of what happens today, heads up. Chins up. We’re survivors. Me standing in this room is proof of that.”

He later took to Twitter to remind LGBTQ+ youth that there are "fierce advocates fighting for you every step of the way."

Many have praised Frederickson for speaking out.

This discrimination in Nebraska has had real, devastating consequences.

Milo Winslow—a transgender individual who testified in support of the ordinance—died by suicide. He felt unsupported in his advocacy work and could not handle the emotional toll of the fight.

Now, Republican state legislators in Nebraska are waging a statewide attack on transgender individuals. One proposed bill would ban gender-affirming care for transgender youth. However, state Senator Machaela Cavanaugh—another Democrat—is determined to stop this bill.

She vowed to filibuster every bill proposed in the legislature until the anti-trans bill was taken off the table. So far she has succeeded, as her actions have prevented any bills from passing.


If you or someone you know is struggling, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988.

To find help outside the United States, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has resources available at

LGBTQ+ Youth can get help through:

Transgender people can get help through theTrans Lifeline at or call US: 877-565-8860 Canada: 877-330-6366