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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Georgia Republicans Push Bill Banning All Government Mandates of ‘Any Vaccination’ Including in Public Schools
Georgia Senate Republicans are pushing a bill that would end any requirements for any vaccinations by any state or local government agency or office in the Peach State, including vaccines for children entering public school.
The bill also bans any government agency from requiring private companies or entities from requiring any proof of any vaccination.
The bill, SB 345, was filed on January 14 with five original co-sponsors. It now has 17, including state Senator Jeff Mullis, whose campaign website prominently features photos of him with former Vice President Mike Pence, and former President Donald Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump, Jr.
“No agency shall require proof of any vaccination of any person as a condition of providing any service or access to any facility, issuing any license, permit, or other type of authorization, or performing any duty of such agency,” the bill’s text reads in part.
Georgia State Law law professor Anthony Michael Kreis posted Georgia’s school vaccine requirements, suggesting those would be optional were the bill to become law.
Legislation has been introduced in the Georgia Senate with to ban any public entity from requiring *any* vaccination as a precondition for services or facility access, wiping out the preexisting standards. #gapol https://t.co/uKg5Y85T71 pic.twitter.com/TsyljBC10x
— Anthony Michael Kreis (@AnthonyMKreis) January 24, 2022
The CDC recommends a list of about 17 different vaccines children should have before entering school. The list includes inoculations against diseases, often deadly, including Hepatitis B, Rotavirus, Diphtheria, tetanus, & acellular pertussis, Haemophilus influenzae type b, Pneumococcal conjugate, Inactivated poliovirus, Influenza, Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), Varicella, Hepatitis A, Tetanus, diphtheria, & acellular pertussis, Human papillomavirus, Meningococcal, Meningococcal B, and Pneumococcal polysaccharide.
Watch: Hot Mic Catches Biden Blowing Off Steam With Profane Remark Directed Towards Fox News’ Peter Doocy
It was not a good day for Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy. First, Press Secretary Jen Psaki was clearly irked by his line of questioning as he tried to make news by framing a rise in crime as something the Biden administration has ignored, despite Fox News promoting Second Amendment “activists” and doing its best to oppose efforts to reduce poverty and efforts to counter societal ills.
Later, after the close of President Biden’s Competitiveness Council meeting, reporters continued to shout questions at the President. Among them Peter Doocy, who carelessly asked the President if rising inflation was a “liability” for the midterm elections.
“It’s a great asset – more inflation. What a stupid son of a bitch,” President Biden appeared to say sarcastically.
At the end of a Biden photo op, when reporters shouted Q’s hoping he’d respond, Fox’s Peter Doocy asked, “Do you think inflation is a political liability in the midterms?” Biden deadpanned: “It’s a great asset—more inflation. What a stupid son of a bitch.” pic.twitter.com/Tt4ZVz5Ynj
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) January 24, 2022
Democratic Congressman Says Tucker Carlson’s Viewers ‘Upset We’re Not Siding With Russia’
As tensions heat up between the United States and Russia over Vladimir Putin’s unlawful attacks on Ukraine one Democratic Congressman says he’s getting calls from Fox News viewers who think the U.S. should side with Russia.
“My office is now getting calls from folks who say they watch Tucker Carlson and are upset that we’re not siding with Russia in its threats to invade Ukraine, and who want me to support Russia’s ‘reasonable’ positions,” writes Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ).
For nearly three years during the Obama administration, Malinowski served as Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. He now sits on the House’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, Committee on Homeland Security, and Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism.
For years Tucker Carlson has been advancing Russian propaganda, as he did here in November of 2019, only to be forced to walk back his comments later that same evening.
“Why shouldn’t I root for Russia? Which I am.”
– Tucker Carlson, Nov. 25, 2019pic.twitter.com/6cjRnjk5uW
— David Badash (@davidbadash) January 24, 2022
U.S. Naval War College professor Tom Nichols weighed in on Rep. Malinowski’s remarks, observing “Republicans are the Russia Party now.”
“For years,” adds political commentator Jared Yates Sexton, “the American Right has been drawing together with Putinist illiberalism’s antidemocratic, Christian theocratic, white supremacist construction. The divide we have in this country breaks down along these lines. None of this is a surprise or accidental.”
“We’ve been trying to tell you for years now this was happening. The Republican Party and its growing authoritarianism sides with Putin, Orbán, and illiberalism everywhere,” he continues. “It’s an international movement and this Ukraine situation only makes that more clear.”
Propaganda and political warfare historian and former NATO civilian official Mark R. Jacobson adds: “This is exactly how Russian disinformation/subversion works – they put out a talking point to advance their foreign policy goals & a set of perfidious pundits parrot the point.”
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