Tag Archives: LGBT Rights
Reuben Bank holding a sign about Giving Tuesday

Coming Together as a Movement Through Social Justice

By Reuben Bank

When people ask me why I’m passionate about social justice I always struggle to find the correct answer. There are several generic responses that I could go to such as, “because there are so many unjust things in the world,” or another classic, “because I have a passion for helping people,” but these never seem to work for me. They don’t encompass the real reasons that I am passionate about tikkun olam, about repairing the world. I’m not passionate about social justice by itself, I’m not interested in doing random community service hours every weekend. As a Reform Jewish teenager, I am passionate about being a part of a movement.

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Food and Drug Administration Logo

Mixed Recommendations on Ending the FDA’s MSM Blood Ban

Last month, a Department of Health and Human Services panel voted 16-2 to recommend that the U S Food and Drug Administration reverse its policy banning men who have had sex with men (MSM) from donating blood. Instead, they suggested that MSM should be allowed to give blood if they have not had sex with another man in the past year. However, a separate FDA panel recently expressed concerns over lifting the life-long MSM blood donation ban.

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On Anniversary of Repeal of DADT, Barriers Persist for Transgender Service members

Four years ago, on December 22, 2010, President Barack Obama signed the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010, which, as the name suggests, repealed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT), the federal legislation that barred lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) service members from serving openly in the military. Repeal of DADT was ultimately fully implemented on September 20, 2011. Yet, almost 4 years after the DADT Repeal Act was signed into law paving the way for LGB service members to serve openly, there is still a population of people who are barred from the military simply because of who they are: transgender individuals.

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Anti-LGBT Bullying Persists Despite Decreased Media Attention

Seth Walsh. Tyler Clementi. Jamey Rodemeyer. In 2010 and 2011, these names were all over the news as the media reported on a wave of teen suicides as a result of anti-LGBT bullying. In response, columnist Dan Savage launched the It Gets Better Project, a project which highlighted the increasing acceptance for LGBT individuals and featured videos from a wide variety of contributors, from President Obama to the staff here at the Religious Action Center. In the past couple of years, however, news coverage of anti-LGBT bullying and teen suicides has decreased, yet, anti-LGBT bullying continues to be an important and pertinent issue.

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Today We Remember: Commemorating Transgender Day of Remembrance 2014

Today, we remember:

Brittany Stergis, shot dead in her car in Cleveland, OH on December 5, 2013.

Kanday Hall, murdered and found in a field, in Baltimore, MD on June 3, 2014.

Aniya Oarker shot in the head in East Hollywood, CA on October 3, 2014.

Today, we remember. We remember these three individuals who were murdered in anti-transgender violence. And we remember the many other victims of anti-transgender violence this past year whose lives were ended too soon. And we remember that despite increased societal acceptance of transgender individuals, anti-transgender violence is still widespread.

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How LGBT Inclusion in Sports can Inform our Jewish Inclusion Work

I’ll be honest: I don’t normally read articles about sports. I usually skip over the entire sports section of the newspaper, but the other week, I found myself reading some exciting sports-related news: on November 14, the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) first openly gay male athlete will compete in one of the big four sports (basketball, baseball, football and hockey). Although I’m not a sports fan, as someone who cares deeply about building inclusive Jewish communities, I felt this story and the reaction of the team could inform our own inclusion work as a Jewish community.

Last April, Derrick Gordon came out publicly, becoming the first openly gay player in Division I men’s college basketball. Since coming out, Gordon’s relationship with his team has changed significantly. A recent profile by Outsports illustrates the transformation of his relationship with his teammates from one in which they made snide remarks and avoided showering with him when they suspected him of being gay to one in which they now ask him about his dating life and treat him just like any other teammate. Gordon’s story illustrates the impact coming out can have on transforming a homophobic atmosphere into one of acceptance and inclusion.

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Children walking down street with their father wearing backpacks

Making Sure That Children Count

Children represent an incredibly important part of the country, for they are one-quarter of the population. Beyond the numbers, children will be our next generation of workers and leaders. The share of federal funding directed towards children has declined and today amounts to under 8 percent of the overall budget.

In 2013, over 14.7 million children in the US were poor in 2013, and the majority of those children lived in families with working parents. 1 in 5 children in the US are currently living in poverty and 1.3 million school children are homeless. This high child’s poverty rate costs our country half a trillion dollars every year in lost productivity as well as in extra health and criminal justice costs; money that could better be spent on creating or implementing programs that could truly benefit these children and set them on a path towards progress.

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Sixth Circuit Upholds Same-Sex Marriage Bans

By a two-to-one vote, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld the right of states to ban same-sex marriages yesterday , overturning rulings in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. Going forward, the challengers in the cases can either ask the full Sixth Circuit bench to reconsider their cases (en banc) or appeal directly to the Supreme Court.

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