In less than two weeks, millions of Americans will go to the polls and vote in the 2014 election. However, it is estimated that tens of thousands of transgender Americans could be denied their right to vote in this upcoming election. Transgender voter disenfranchisement highlights one of the many examples of transgender discrimination and the long road ahead for transgender equality.
Commemorating the Fifth Anniversary of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act
By Michael Lieberman
This month we celebrate the fifth anniversary of the enactment of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (HCPA), the most important, comprehensive, and inclusive federal hate crime enforcement law passed in the past 40 years. The Anti-Defamation League and the Religious Action Center played critical roles helping to lead the very broad coalition of civil rights, religious, educational, professional, law enforcement, and civic organizations that advocated for the HCPA for more than a dozen years.
“When I transitioned, I transitioned into poverty.” This statement by Ruby Corado, a transgender woman who founded a Bilingual Multicultural Drop Inn-Community Center for vulnerable LGBT individuals, highlights the economic and housing hardships many LGBT individuals face. Although LGBT individuals make up a small percentage of the population, 40% of the homeless youth served by agencies that administer homeless services identify as LGBT.
“I wouldn’t want my child’s rabbi to be gay—it might turn him gay.” This was just one of the many homophobic remarks I heard in my Jewish day school as a closeted gay teen. In my high school, homophobic statements often went unchallenged and the phrase “that’s so gay” was thrown around often. My day school wasn’t exactly a model of inclusion: there was no Gay Straight Alliance during my time there and although one student who had transferred to the school in the middle of high school was out, no one had actually come out during my entire four years there.
If you’re a Supreme Court fanatic like I am, you’ve been eagerly awaiting the start of this year’s term for months (well, since early July). It’s finally here. I’m excited to begin following the justices again, although I’m a bit nervous for possible case outcomes this year given the Court’s recent decisions. Even if you haven’t been counting down the days, you should consider keeping up with the Court this year exactly because its recent decisions and upcoming cases are so critical. As we saw in cases like Citizens United and Shelby County v. Holder, which invalidated Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, the Court can shape law and spark national debate in a profound way. The cases the Court will hear this year promise to do the same:
In Refusing to Hear Cases, the Supreme Court Gives Way for Marriage Equality in Five States (Updated)
After a summer of victories for marriage equality, the Supreme Court today denied review of all of the seven petitions challenging state bans on same-sex marriage, thus allowing federal district and circuit decisions – which struck down marriage bans in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin – to go into effect shortly. Same sex- marriages began at 1:00 PM today in Virginia and state agencies in Utah have all been told to begin recognizing all legally performed same-sex marriage today.
This week marks the beginning of LGBT History month, dedicated to celebrating the history of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals and the LGBT Equal Rights Movement. Although the LGBT Equality Movement’s most significant victories have occurred in the past decade and a half (sodomy laws which criminalized same-sex sexual conduct were only declared unconstitutional in 2003!), the Reform Movement has a long and rich history of fighting for LGBT Equality. In fact, our Movement was advocating for LGBT equality long before it became a mainstream equality movement.
If your loved one was lying in a hospital in need of a blood transfusion, would you care about the sexual orientation of the donor whose blood is going to be given to your loved one? Chances are your biggest concern would be that the blood donor is healthy, not their sexual orientation. Yet, despite the fact that someone in the United States needs blood every two seconds, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration discriminates against men who have sex with men (MSM). In 1983, the FDA instituted a policy which bans all men who have had sex with another man at any time since 1977 from donating blood. In addition, the FDA states that men who have had sex with a man in the past five years should be ruled ineligible to donate certain tissues.