June is Gay Pride Month, with cities across the country celebrating their LGBT citizens with grand parades, concerts and street festivals. The rapid growth of this annual event is truly remarkable considering that it traces its roots back to protests following the police raid on New York City’s Stonewall Inn in 1969. Less than 50 years later, what was once an act of resistance is now a mainstream celebration sponsored by dozens of major corporations — strong proof of capitalism’s ability to adapt to and even drive social change.
Sadly, some LGBT activists strongly disagree. A group called No Justice No Pride has disrupted Pride parades in at least eight cities in protest of the celebration’s increasing corporatization. In Washington, D.C., the group successfully held up the parade for more than an hour, blocking the streets with a sit-in and signs condemning companies like Wells Fargo.
Read more in the Washington Examiner
Barring a few exceptions, the outlook for LGBT individuals in the Middle East can be bleak, or even outright deadly.
The Kurds stand apart from their fellow Muslim-majority neighbors because of their progress on women’s equality — boasting the only all-female units taking on ISIS — but are there signs that the Kurdish areas could someday be a relative sanctuary for LGBT people?
Read the rest at: Huffington Post
After floating the idea in an initial draft, the US Census Bureau recently announced that the 2020 census would not include the option for LGBTQ persons to self-identify. This decision has rightly been met with outrage, because it denies lawmakers and their respective constituents access to data that would be used to shape policy and allow LGBTQ people access to opportunities and resources they’ve been denied for decades.
Although some data on same-sex couples has been available since the 1990 census, there still lacks a definitive figure assessing the numbers and geographic distribution of LGBTQ-identifying Americans. This is odd, given that numerous minority groups — ranging from ethnic and racial minorities to Americans with disabilities — are able to self-identify on the form, giving lawmakers visibility into their communities.
The 2010 census did not include an opportunity for participants to identify as LGBTQ, which was unsurprising, given the cultural and political stances on gay rights and marriage at that time. Both major-party candidates opposed same-sex marriage during the 2008 election cycle, and a select few states had legalized such marriages at that point. Since 2010, however, LGBTQ persons have cumulatively — despite opposition from religious and “traditional” lawmakers — made great strides in the quest for equality and visibility on a national level. By 2020, with national marriage equality a reality, and a recent ruling deeming that LGBTQ identity is a protected class under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, that sense of liberation should empower more LGBTQpersons than ever before to self-identify on the census and provide the most accurate count of LGBTQ Americans to date.
The city of Philadelphia is pushing new rules to fight discrimination. Eleven bars in the Gayborhood, the city’s LGBT hotbed, will be required to participate in fair business practice training and implicit bias training. The bars will also be required to post fliers made by the city’s Human Relations Commission about the city’s fair practice ordinance.
These efforts come as a response to a report released by the city in January, which found that women, minorities and transgender people have been discriminated against in the Gayborhood for decades. The city’s heavy-handed approach, while well-meaning, adds yet another expense and burden to local businesses. Mandating these implicit bias trainings will take workers away from their actual productive duties and force the bars to pay employees to attend diversity training sessions that have largely been found to be ineffective.
Meanwhile, residents of Philadelphia are doing a better job of preventing discrimination than the city’s government. Individuals and the market have already acted to scale back the level of discrimination in the Gayborhood, before the government ever could.
Continue reading at Watchdog.
Judging by recent headlines, President-elect Trump is poised to rollback LGBT rights. “These Are the LGBT Rights that Trump Could Start Reversing,” BuzzFeed proclaims in its typical clickbait fashion. “Anti-LGBT groups are absolutely giddy about a Trump presidency,” ThinkProgress reports with the logical fallacy of guilt by association. Gays should ignore such scaremongering: A Trump administration will likely be the most welcoming to LGBT people in United States history.
First, on the question of gay marriage, Trump told “60 Minutes” on Sunday that the issue is “settled.” Some pundits have pointed out that one candidate on his Supreme Court shortlist, former Alabama Attorney General William Pryor, is fervently anti-gay.
But even in the worst-case scenario that Pryor is picked and confirmed as the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s replacement, his one vote could not turn the tide on gay marriage. It’s unlikely the Supreme Court would accept a challenge case to Obergefell v. Hodges considering how popular gay marriage now is, with 61 percent of Americans approving of the institution.
Continue reading at The Washington Examiner.