Tag Archives: LGBT Rights
Day of Silence

Day of Silence: Speaking Louder than Words

Today marks the 19th annual Day of Silence. All across of the nation, students will be taking some form of a vow of silence to call attention to the silencing effect of harassment and discrimination felt by LGBT students and allies in school.

Bullying and harassment has been proven to create significant adverse consequences for students, which often severely effect LGBT students. Middle and high schools students are in an extremely vulnerable time in their lives and with the social and academic pressures students already face, no student show have to deal with the added stresses that come with fear of expressing oneself. Read more…

Double Booked: My Invisible Family

By Rabbi Victor S. Appell

Breakfast in our home is like that of many other families with two school-aged children and two working parents. Everyone is rushing around in a different direction. My husband, the principal of a charter school, wakes up early to reply to emails before leaving the house around seven. My older son is checking his phone to see if he is meeting friends for the walk to school. My younger son is ignoring my constant warnings that if he does not get out of bed and get dressed he will not have time to eat breakfast. I am mentally noting in my head each successive train that I have missed as my children dawdle. And I am checking backpacks to make sure that everyone has the correct books for the day and that any forms for school have been filled out.

Read more…

Where’s ENDA?

“In some states, employers can fire you for who you are or who you love, it’s close to barbaric…Pass ENDA now. Not tomorrow. Now.” – Vice President Biden

Remember this past November when all we were talking about was the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)? Let me refresh your memory: the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a long overdue, common-sense piece of legislation that would extend federal workplace protection to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community historically passed the Senate with a 64-32 vote. This is the furthest the bill has ever come, even though it has been introduced in every Congress (with the exception of the 109th) since 1994.

But that was November…where’s ENDA now? Read more…

Safe Schools Improvement Act

Support the Safe Schools Improvement Act

This past weekend marked the sixth and last RAC L’Taken Social Justice Seminar for the year. For the past 3 months, every other weekend, approximately 300 students have come from all over the United States to Washington D.C. to learn about their role in the political system and how they can be advocates for the issues they care most about. The weekend culminates in a visit to Capitol Hill where the students have the chance to advocate before their members of Congress on the most pressing issues of our time.

This year, students interested in the rights of LGBT individuals had the opportunity to attend an in-depth session on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and particular challenges of marriage equality and adoption rights that primarily effect LGBT adults. In their visits on the Hill, they drew connections from their own lives to talk about why ENDA is such an important, common-sense piece of legislation that would directly affect them and the many LGBT people they know and love.

In having the chance to hear these student’s speeches and personal stories about why the rights and equality of LGBT people is so important to them, I was struck by how some of the students that identified as LGBT spoke about personal experiences of discrimination and harassment. While LGBT children can talk about the fear of growing up and being fired for their sexual orientation or gender identity, how do we protect LGBT children from the discrimination they face in their youth? In their school communities and beyond? Read more…

European Parliment protest

Anti-LGBT Law Voted Down in Lithuania

Earlier this year, in light of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I reflected on our nation’s commitment to the rights and equality of all people. As members of the Jewish community, we have always understood that is not only our right, but our responsibility to be advocates in our community and to speak out against injustice. Yet, we continue to watch members of our global community be denied the basic human rights we value so supremely in the United States: the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Last week, lawmakers in Lithuania voted against a bill that would outlaw LGBT pride parades, along with public speeches, campaign materials and audio-visual materials perceived to be in support of the rights of LGBT individuals. Much like the “anti-gay propaganda,” bill introduced in Russia, this measure would have stripped the right of expression and stigmatized the LGBT community. Read more…

author and family

Double Booked: Queering the Wage Gap

By Charlie Rose

A version of this piece originally appeared at MomsRising on June 18th, 2013.

It has been over 50 years since John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act, but we are still fighting for equal pay for equal work for all. Right now the wage gap is kind of like the faces on US money… only white men earn full dollars. Everyone else is left with pocket change.

Not A Fan of Unfair Pay

The graphic above shows the average wage gap for all women (77 cents) and the averages for Black and Latino men (76 cents & 61 cents) and women (64 cents & 55 cents). When you add children to the mix, the numbers for women get worse. Mothers of any race, on average, earn less than their non-parenting peers. Single mothers, on average earn 60 cents on the dollar, that’s 17 cents less than the average for all women.

Read more…

Map from PRRI survey

Same-Sex Marriage and LGBT Issues: Has it Gotten Better?

In September of 2010, there was an onslaught of media coverage reporting the suicides of several LGBT teenagers who took their own lives as a result of severe bullying. These individuals felt no hope for or sense of a future. As a result of these tragic incidences, columnist Dan Savage and his partner Terry Miller launched the It Gets Better Project, a campaign to send a message to LGBT youth that public opinions are changing and that there is a brighter future ahead in which they can live openly and without fear. President Obama, celebrities, athletes and individuals throughout the country made videos as part of this campaign. Even the Religious Action Center released its own “It Gets Better” video!

Four years since the campaign’s launch, we must ask aloud the question we’re all thinking: has it gotten better? A recent survey from the Public Religion Research Institute called “A Shifting Landscape: A Decade of Change in American Attitudes about Same-sex Marriage and LGBT Issues” suggests that it has indeed gotten much better – in the last ten years, public opinions have significantly changed and attitudes towards LGBT people have improved greatly in nearly all demographics. Read more…

Reform Jewish Teens Take Albany by Storm

Originally posted by Reform Jewish Voice of New York State.

“We understand that hunger is a huge issue that cannot be fixed easily. It is a multi-faceted problem and millions of Americans across the country struggle with every day. That is why we want to start small, and advocate for immediate change in New York.”—A NFTY-NAR teen advocating for anti-hunger programs.

Not enough people take the time to engage in the political process—but on Tuesday, the halls of the Legislative Office Building in Albany were teeming with students, parents, union members, lobbyists and over 40 teens from NFTY-NAR.

Tuesday is typically the busiest day of the week down at the State Capitol, but this day happened to be particularly eventful with two massive movements of education advocates converging to rally around charter schools and universal pre-k.

As part of Albany Advocacy Day, the NFTY-NAR teens were right in the middle of the action. After an intensive (and fun!) day of programming over the weekend on four crucial policy issues facing New York, a conversation with NYC Councilman Brad Lander (who is himself a former NFTY North American Social Action Vice President!) and a few hours of hard work writing lobby speeches, the teens entered the Capitol ready to meet with their legislators. Check out photos from the day here (more to come!). Read more…