Now that the LGBT community has equal marriage rights, whatâ€™s next?
On June 26, the United States Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples are now legally able to marry in all 50 states. With that ruling, people in the LGBT community gained hundreds of rights previously only afforded to heterosexual couples, but despite so many rights gained with one ruling, equality is still elusive. Where should the community focus their efforts next? We offer a few ideas below.
Employment â€“ Believe it or not, it is still legal to fire someone for being lesbian, gay, or bisexual in over half the country. There are 29 states that donâ€™t have employment protection laws based on sexual orientation, and itâ€™s legal to fire someone based on gender identity in 30 states. According to the Human Rights Campaign, LGBT people still face serious discrimination in employment, including being fired, being denied a promotion and experiencing harassment on the job.
The Employment Non-Discrimination ActÂ (ENDA) would provide basic protections against workplace discrimination; however, in 2014, after the Hobby Lobby ruling, major LGBT rights organizations withdrew their support of ENDA as it stood due to vague religious exemptions. The fear was that the exemptions could make things worse for the LGBT community. ENDA now remains in limbo with no clear path forward. Itâ€™s time to pass an inclusive ENDA without giving people the right to discriminate while hiding behind religious exemptions. All people should have the right to work regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Blood Ban â€“ Even though all donated blood is fully tested, any man who has had sex with another man since 1977 is banned for life from giving blood. All blood is vigorously tested, and the American Red Cross, the American Association of Blood Banks, and Americaâ€™s Blood Centers have publicly spoken out against the gay blood ban. Earlier this year, the FDA announced they would be removing the lifetime ban, and would be replacing it with one that would ban any male from donating blood if they had had sex with another man within the past year. David Stacy,Â HRC Government Affairs Director, says the policy, â€œprevents men from donating life-saving blood based solely on their sexual orientation rather than actual risk to the blood supply. It simply cannot be justified in light of current scientific research and updated blood screening technology.â€ According to the Huffington Post, the new recommendations are still open to public comment, and the FDA will issue final rules soon. To learn more about how you can do more to end the gay blood ban, visit www.gayblooddrive.com.
Conversion Therapy â€“ There are still places that try to change peopleâ€™s sexual orientation and gender identity by using inhumane techniques such as electroshock therapy, induced nausea, paralysis while showing the patient homoerotic images, and much more. A documentary titled “Kidnapped for Christ“Â exposes some of the harsh treatments undergone through conversion therapy. In May of this year, Oregon became the third state to ban conversion therapy, also known as reparative therapy, to minors. California, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C. also have bans. Organizations such as the American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics have all come out against conversion therapy. In response to a petition that gathered more than 120,000 signatures, the White House made a public statement in support of banning all conversion practices directed towards minors.Â
â€œThe overwhelming scientific evidence demonstrates that conversion therapy, especially when it is practiced on young people, is neither medically nor ethically appropriate and can cause substantial harm,â€ the statement said. â€œAs part of our dedication to protecting Americaâ€™s youth, this Administration supports efforts to ban the use of conversion therapy for minors.â€
Banning conversion therapy to minors is a great start, but itâ€™s not enough. Last May, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) introduced federal legislation that would ban the widely discredited practice of conversion therapy throughout the country, and would classify the practice as fraud under the Federal Trade Commission Act. We need to make it a priority to pass this legislation in order to protect the mental health of our community and save lives.Â
Transgender Individuals Serving in the Military â€“ Even though the ban on gays, lesbians, and bisexuals in the military was struck down, people in the transgender community are still prohibited from serving. According to the HRC, there are approximately 15,500 actively serving transgender members of the U.S. military, and unlike â€œDonâ€™t Ask, Donâ€™t Tell,â€ the ban on transgender military service is regulatory and only requires action by the Department of Defense to update. At least 18 countries, including Australia, Canada, and Israel allow, military service by transgender personnel.Â
Anti bullying â€“ Bullying is a major issue for LGBT youth. GLSEN reported the following statistics in their 2013 National School Climate Survey by GLSEN:
- 74.1% of LGBT students were verbally harassed in the past year because of their sexual orientation and 55.2% because of their gender expression.
- 36.2% were physically harassed in the past year because of their sexual orientation and 22.7% because of their gender expression.
- 71.4% of LGBT students heard â€œgayâ€ used in a negative way (e.g., â€œthatâ€™s so gayâ€) frequently or often at school, and 90.8% reported that they felt distressed because of this language.
- 64.5% heard other homophobic remarks (e.g., â€œdykeâ€ or â€œfaggotâ€) frequently or often.
- 55.5% of LGBT students felt unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation, and 37.8% because of their gender expression.
- 30.3% of LGBT students missed at least one entire day of school in the past month because they felt unsafe or uncomfortable, and over a tenth (10.6%) missed four or more days in the past month.
We need better protections for LGBT youth in schools, similar to what New York did with the Dignity for All Students Act.Â
LGBT Youth Homelessness â€“ Each year, between 500,000 and 1.6 million youth in the US are homeless or runaways and LGBT youth make up 20-40% of those numbers. This is a huge percentage! Unfortunately, some people are even turned away from shelters because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. There are things we can do, though. Check out the Forty to None Project for more information.Â
There are, of course, many other concerns that need to be addressed as well, but these are a few key ones. Which ones do you think we should focus on? Is there an issue we missed that you think deserves more attention and focus? Let us know in the comments section below.Â
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Trump’s ICE Is Using Torture to Quickly Deport Africans Back to a Deadly War-Torn Country
The central African country of Cameroon is currently experiencing a four-year separatist conflict that has killed over 3,000 people and displaced half a million more with “extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances, arbitrary and unlawful detention and torture.”
But Cameroonians who fled to the U.S. to seek political asylum here as refugees are experiencing torture as well from private prison guards and agents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Louisiana and Mississippi.
A new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center and Freedom for Immigrants includes six Cameroonians who say they were physically forced to sign deportation documents that they didn’t understand and threatened with choking, pepper spray, physical pain and prolonged detention if they refused.
One accuser said that ICE agents and private guards stripped him naked from the waist down, exposing his genitals and buttocks to a room of 10 people, while forcing him to sign. Others said they and other refugees were fed substandard food, subject to a humiliating full-body strip search, and housed alongside federal prisoners while waiting for their court proceedings.
If true, the actions would violate Louisiana state and federal law, the international Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment, which the U.S. has ratified, as well as ICE’s own policies within its 2011 Performance Based National Standards, Newsweek reports.
Trump has deported anywhere from 94 or 116 Cameroonians back to their home country since October. The Cameroon government has detained refugees who return to their shore to interrogate them for any separatist ties.
Trump Is Already Planning a 2024 Run Just So Biden Won’t Get All the Press Attention
President Donald Trump is reportedly discussing launching his 2024 re-election campaign kickoff event on January 20 just to overshadow President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. Yes, really.
The Daily Beast has cited three officials who Trump has reportedly discussed the idea with. He is assessing which big-dollar donors would support his bid and which political underlings would remain loyal to him just to benefit from whatever happens.
“Trump’s scheming about a future White House run is both an implicit recognition that he views his own current legal efforts as longshots and a reflection of his inherent desire to maintain political power and public attention,” The Daily Beast writes.
According to Bloomberg News, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, reportedly told Trump, “If you do that—and I think I speak for everybody in the room—we’re with you 100 percent.”
Trump still has yet to officially concede. On Thursday he told reporters, “It’s going to be a very hard thing to concede because we know there was massive fraud.” Trump has been unable to prove his repeated claims of “massive fraud” in over 30 lawsuits which have either failed, been dismissed or withdrawn by his own re-election campaign.
Unfortunately for Trump, two comedians have already snatched up DonaldJTrump2024.com and are using the site to repeatedly call Trump a loser. They offered to give Trump the URL if he’ll concede and call himself a sad loser via Twitter.
Comedians Bought DonaldJTrump2024.com Just so They Could Mock Him as the Loser He Is
Two comedians Jason Selvig and Davram Stiefler (aka “The Good Liars”) purchased DonaldJTrump2024.com and set it up to mock President Trump for refusing to concede the election, planning a 2024 re-run, and ripping off his followers.
The site, which looks almost identical to Trump’s actual website, DonaldJTrump.com, calls Trump a “loser” six times and has a fictional quote from Trump stating, “I lost the 2020 election.” It also has a banner that says “Click here to donate to a PAC that has nothing to do with my legal defense team.”
The banner refers to the fact that while Trump has been begging his supporters to donate to his so-called “Official Election Defense Fund” in hopes of overturning the election in the courts, the legal fine print on his money asks says that if anyone donates less than $8,000, the money won’t go to his legal fights at all but will instead go to the Republican National Committee or “Save America,” a Trump leadership PAC (political action committee), according to Reuters.
The comedians wrote to Trump in a November 24 tweet, “Hey @realDonaldTrump we’ll give you DonaldJTrump2024.com if you tweet ‘My name is Donald Trump and I lost the 2020 election by A LOT. I am a loser. SAD!”.
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