This week’s Republican National Convention promises to rival the circus. You’ll see politicians playing acrobats, walking a tightrope and doing backflips for the nominee. You’ll see wild animals roaring at the crowd (and occasionally making a mess on the floor).
And clowns? Boy, will there be plenty of clowns.
Going into the convention, Republicans are in complete disarray. The convention will reflect that. By all accounts, it is a mess, with a bizarre list of speakers and a shortage of funds. However, as anyone who has ever watched a reality show knows, disasters can make for great–or cringe-worthy–viewing. This time out is bound to make Clint Eastwood’s address to an empty chair at the 2012 convention look brilliant in comparison. Here are five things to look for in Cleveland this week.
Since Trump couldn’t be bothered dealing with policy choices, the GOP now has the most antigay platform ever. The antigay right is clearly running the show in Cleveland, at least when it comes to the tone of the convention, so you can bet that there will be plenty of time devoted to bashing marriage equality, transgender rights while pushing already discredited conversion therapy. You’re also likely to hear a lot of folks wrapping themselves in the mantle of victimhood. Time to party like it’s 1992 all over again!
3. Mike Pence defending religious liberty
In introducing himself to the nation as Trump’s running mate, Pence said that he was “a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order.” In order to motivate the base, Pence will throw every possible sop from the podium, and chief among them will probably be a defense of “religious liberty.” Never mind Pence’s disastrous entanglement with Indiana’s religious liberty bill last year, from which his ratings in the polls never fully recovered. Pence will insist on returning to the scene of the crime, even if he was the corpse.
4. Shilling for Trump brands
Trump can’t even introduce his choice for vice president without boasting about his real estate. Do you think he’s going to let four nights of prime time escape without trying to make a buck off of the opportunity? Look for lots of mentions about his fabulous properties. There may even be a plug for new products, like a Trump University for Political Leadership. For $30,000, you’ll learn to make things up.
5. Missing Republicans
There may be more Democrats outside in the streets protesting than there will be Republican leaders inside the convention hall. In a classic case of rats deserting a sinking ship, GOP politicians–particularly those up for re-election–are finding every possible excuse not to go to Cleveland. The best reason goes to Sen. Ben Sasse, who has been vocal in his disdain for Trump.
A 26-year-old man has been charged with attempted murder in the shooting of a transgender woman in Evansville, Ind. Gerald Duane Lewis, arrested and arraigned last week, is accused of shooting Crystal Cash in the jaw at her place of business after asking to use her bathroom.
Cash survived the attack and was able to provide police with a description of the gunman, which led to his arrest, reports the Evansville Courier & Press. She is currently recovering from her injuries in a local hospital. Lewis also allegedly shouted a homophobic slur at Cash during the assault, and he was found with the weapon used in the attack when he was arrested.
The Courier & Press also reported that Gerald Lewis, using the name Gadiell Ben Israel, has been connected with the Israel United in Christ Church, an organization listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. A Tumblr account connected with the group denounces interracial marriage, voting, Christian churches, and homosexuality in numerous images and videos. Following the shooting, the leader of the church posted a statement to the group’s website denying that Lewis was still connected with the organization, saying, “Gerald Duane Lewis aka Gadiell is not a member of our organization. Gerald was removed from the congregation months prior due to not adhering to the stringent guidelines of our organization.”
Unfortunately, the coverage by the Courier & Press also engaged in entirely unnecessary victim-blaming by mentioning the possibility that Cash was running a massage parlor and implying that she was a sex worker, writing, “It appears that Cash uses Backpage.com and other adult websites to advertise her services under her middle name. In those ads, she portrays herself as much younger, and her most recent postings on the adult classified page broadcast that she provides body rubs in a ‘relaxing mood atmosphere.'”
None of that information, even if true, is pertinent to the fact that Cash is a trans woman who was the victim of a violent assault. It only serves to further the false assumption that most trans women are sex workers, and that sex workers are somehow deserving of or culpable in violence. Cash’s status as a sex worker is completely irrelevant to the story as reported, and including that information (which is nearly one-third of the story’s length) is incredibly disrespectful to the victim of a possible hate crime.
The victim’s brother, Johnny Dickens, also took issue with the information posted by the Courier & Press. In an interview with local TV station WFIE (watch below), Dickens adamantly denied that his sister was operating a massage business, saying, “I just want to set the record straight and tell the world that my sister has come a long way from where she’s come. She has made something of herself. She’s a professional business owner and she is not some sort of a prostitute that’s luring people into her office.”
Dickens explained that Cash is licensed to apply professional makeup. An internet search for the address where was attacked turns up the website for her business, where Cash provides aesthetic and reflexology services, and lists numerous professional certifications.
Dickens also said in the interview that he believes his sister was targeted because she is trans, and that her attacker should face hate-crime charges. Indiana, however, is one of the few states that has no hate-crimes law. According to court records, Lewis has been charged with attempted murder, robbery, and carrying a handgun without a license.
2016 has been an extremely violent year for transgender people. To date, at least 15 trans people are known to have been murdered this year, the vast majority being trans women of color. The same week that Cash was attacked, another trans woman, Deeniquia Dodds, died as a result of wounds she sustained during an attack July 4.
A woman whose same-sex relationship ended before same-sex marriage became legal doesn’t have parental rights to a child born to her partner in 2008, the Michigan appeals court said Wednesday.
The decision, which comes a year after the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for same-sex marriage across the country, will stand as a key precedent in similar disputes in Michigan involving children who were raised by gays and lesbians in relationships that ended.
Michelle Lake and Kerri Putnam were together for 13 years until 2014 but didn’t marry during that time. Lake said she deserves to enjoy the rights that would have been granted to her if they had been married.
Putnam gave birth to a boy, now 8, during their relationship, but she no longer allows Lake to see him.
“We simply do not believe it is appropriate for courts to retroactively impose the legal ramifications of marriage onto unmarried couples several years after their relationship has ended,” the appeals court said. “That, in our view, is beyond the role of the judiciary.”
The court said Lake has no parental rights under Michigan law because the boy wasn’t born during a marriage.
“This is true whether the couple involved is a heterosexual or a same-sex couple,” it said.
The court overturned decisions by a Washtenaw County judge, who had awarded parenting time to Lake. Judge Darlene O’Brien last fall said the best interests of the child should be considered.
Lake’s attorney, Jay Kaplan of the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, said the appeals court ruling is “devastating.”
“This young boy had two moms,” he said. “The end result is (Lake) can be unilaterally erased from his life. … It’s the collateral damage of all those years of discriminating against same-sex couples.”
Putnam’s attorney, Anne Argiroff, didn’t immediately respond to a phone message seeking comment.
Appeals court Judge Douglas Shapiro said there was no evidence that Lake and Putnam would have chosen marriage years ago if it had been legal in Michigan. He said the court might rule differently in a future case if there’s evidence that a same-sex couple clearly wanted to marry before 2015 but couldn’t because of the state’s ban on gay marriage.
“I believe the courts would be required to recognize the parental rights of the non-biological parent,” Shapiro wrote.
Liberty Counsel refused, saying the documents are preliminary and private. Liberty Counsel represented Davis after she was sued for refusing to issue marriage licenses.
The Open Records Act provides for costs and attorney’s fees to be awarded in some cases as well as up to $25 per day for each day the person is denied access to the record. Liberty Counsel can appeal the attorney general’s opinion.
The group has not decided whether to challenge the ruling, said Mat Staver, Liberty Counsel founder and chairman. Liberty Counsel has provided its services for free, charging nothing to Davis or Rowan County, Staver said.
“There’s nothing to reveal here,” Staver said.
The attorney general’s office asked to privately review the documents so it could decide whether the exemptions cited are relevant but said Liberty Counsel refused to produce most of the documents even for a private review.
“An agency cannot benefit from intentionally frustrating the attorney general’s review of an open records request. Such result would subvert the General Assembly’s intent behind providing review by the attorney general,” Assistant Attorney General Matt Jones wrote in the office’s opinion.
In light of the recent murder of 49 Latino and Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ) people in Orlando, Fla., and on the heels of escalating and unprecedented misguided legislative efforts to pass discriminatory laws, the nearly 7,000 delegates at the National Education Association (NEA) Representative Assembly (RA) Monday approved a new business item calling on the Association to join a national effort to prevent acts of violence targeted at LGBTQ individuals and to protect their civil rights. The RA is the top decision-making body for the 3 million-member National Education Association.
Lily Eskelsen Garcia Photo: Calvin Knight
“Every student matters, and every student has the right to feel safe, welcomed, and valued in our schools,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. “Educators are responsible for our students’ education and safety, including those students who are perceived or identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning. Unfortunately, due to the recent horrific event in Orlando and the actions in state houses across the country where politicians are playing games with the lives of children and teens who are seen as different, now is the time for educators to boldly and assertively assume a leadership role in this human and civil rights issue.”
LGTBQ students are more likely to face bullying and harassment in school, causing them to do poorly in school and even prompting them to drop out at higher rates than other students. Additionally, they suffer high rates of homelessness than other students. A 2013 national school climate survey conducted by GLSEN, the leading national organization fighting to end anti-gay bias in K-12 schools, identifies the rate of verbal and physical harassment by gender identity. The findings indicate that transgender students are far more likely than other students (63 percent vs. 40 percent) to avoid bathrooms because they feel uncomfortable or unsafe. Nearly 56 percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students feel unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation, while almost 38 percent feel unsafe due to their gender expression.
“The action the delegates took today is not only timely and right but also necessary to ensure that everyone – regardless of gender identify or expression – has the opportunity to thrive and achieve,” continued Eskelsen García.
The NEA RA delegates call for a multi-pronged approach involving national partners, state, and local affiliates of the NEA to take action to promote a culture of safety, support, and affirmation that ensures civil rights and advocacy for LGBTQ members and students. They call on the NEA to support the pending legal challenges to newly enacted laws that would, in effect, license discrimination against LGBTQ individuals.
The RA delegates also call on the U.S. Department of Education to enforce Title IX’s prohibition against discrimination based on gender identity. Earlier this year, the NEA issued legal guidance describing the legal rights of transgender students. In addition to spelling out their rights, the guidance provides to NEA members, state affiliates, and the general public key best practices.
“We are uniquely positioned to lead the discussion, address these emerging issues, and create a safe, supportive environment for LGBTQ students,” said Eskelsen García. “This timely action creates a legal and political roadmap for educators and allies to advocate for the rights of transgender students and stand together in opposition to anti-transgender legislation, policies, and practices. We owe it to our students. They need to see us take a bold stand against discrimination whatever form it takes.”
The first of two landmark lawsuits brought by the US’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against private employers was settled Thursday.
The lawsuits are the first to be instigated by the EEOC for plaintiffs who said they had been discriminated against for being gay. They were filed at the beginning of March.
The legal action followed last July’s landmark ruling by the EEOC that gay and lesbian staff could claim sexual orientation discrimination as a form of sex discrimination.
According to court papers, one of the companies concerned has agreed to pay $200,000 to settle its case – the bulk of the money going to a former lesbian employer.
Yolanda Boone said that she was harassed by other employees at Pallet Cos. in Maryland. The company, which operates as IFCO Systems, makes food packaging pallets.
Boone says she endured verbal harassment, including a supervisor informing telling her that he wanted: ‘to turn you back into a woman’, asking ‘Are you a girl or a man?’ and telling her she would ‘look good in a dress.’
After she complained to management, she was fired.
In a comment to Bloomberg BNA, Shannon Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights in San Francisco, described the settlement as a ‘very positive resolution’ that ‘reflects the EEOC’s commitment’ to taking legal action over sexual orientation claims of discrimination.
In a lengthy statement to GSN, Pallet Cos. said: ‘After recognizing Pallet Companies’ almost 10-year committment to preventing sexual orientation discrimination and harassment in its workplace, a federal judge entered a Consent Decree resolving in its entirety the EEOC concerns about the treatment of a former employer at the company’s Baltimore plant.
‘The Consent Decree also notes that Pallet Companies denied any wrongdoing and did not admit to any discrimination, harassment or retaliation on the basis of the employee’s sexual orientation.
‘”We believe the EEOC appreciate our culure and our collaborative approach to resolving the dispute, and worked with us in good faith to achieve an amicable settlement,” said the Company’s spokesperson. “We’ve very pleased with this outcome and that we were able to reach the agreement reached in the Consent Decree.”‘
EEOC have declined to comment further.
The second lawsuit raised by the EEOC in March was against Pennsylvania-based Scott Medical Health Center. Dale Baxley, a gay employee with the company, said he resigned after facing continual harassment, including name-calling by his manager and crude comments relating to his sexuality.
When he complained to his superiors, he was informed that the manager was ‘just doing his job’. That lawsuit is still pending.
Days after a gunman killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in Florida, the judge in a hate-crime murder case in New York invoked the massacre as he sentenced a man to 40 years to life in prison on Tuesday.
The man, Elliot Morales, was convicted in March of murder as a hate crime for killing Mark Carson, 32, a gay black man, in the West Village in Manhattan three years ago, after spewing homophobic invectives at Mr. Carson and his companion.
“I can’t help but perceive or observe the parallel tragedy in Orlando,” the judge, A. Kirke Bartley Jr., said as he imposed the sentence in State Supreme Court in Manhattan. “That parallel is revealed in hatred, self-loathing, fear and death.”
Mr. Morales, 36, was convicted after a two-week trial during which he represented himself, assuming the dual roles of defendant and defense lawyer. Addressing Mr. Morales, Justice Bartley said that the defendant’s ability to appear in the courtroom “calm, intelligent, well-prepared, well-behaved” could not deter from the fact that he was “something worthy of a character in a Stephen King novel, in short, a monster.”
“Mr. Morales, yours is a legacy of death and fear, nothing more, nothing less,” the judge said.
Mr. Morales, looking at an audience of Mr. Carson’s friends and family in the courtroom, insisted that the killing was neither bias-motivated nor purposeful.
“I’m really, really, really, truly sorry for what happened,” he said. “What happened is a tragic accident. In no part was it based on my bias toward anyone’s sexual relationship.”
Then, turning toward the judge, he added, “It is beyond my comprehension how someone like myself who happens to be bisexual and part of the L.G.B.T. community can be falsely accused and then convicted of a hate crime.”
Jurors deliberated for two days before rejecting Mr. Morales’s contention that his intimate relationships with transgender women proved he was not homophobic and that he did not kill Mr. Carson out of hatred toward gay people.
Instead, the jurors saw the pattern of Mr. Morales’s behavior that evening as underscoring such prejudice.
Before his fatal encounter with Mr. Carson, Mr. Morales stormed the Annisa restaurant on Barrow Street shouting antigay slurs and brandishing a weapon, after an employee there upbraided him for urinating on the sidewalk.
Mr. Morales left enraged and soon spotted Mr. Carson and Danny Robinson, two friends from Brooklyn, strolling amiably on a warm summer night dressed in shorts and tank tops. Mr. Morales taunted the men, calling them “gay wrestlers” and “faggots.” The friends challenged Mr. Morales’s mocking tone, and the confrontation continued as they moved into the shadow of a closed bookstore. There, Mr. Morales pulled out a silver revolver and shot Mr. Carson in the face while Mr. Robinson tried to call the police.
Mr. Morales said he acted in self-defense, afraid that the phone Mr. Robinson had retrieved was a weapon. But the prosecution thwarted that notion, insisting that Mr. Morales had acted out of “bigotry” and “unjustifiable rage,” not fear for his safety.
After Mr. Morales fled the scene of the murder and was apprehended by the police, he told the officers that he shot Mr. Carson “because he tried to act tough.”
The Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., lauded the stiff sentence. “Any life lost to gun violence is a tragedy for our city,” Mr. Vance said in a statement. “But homophobic, hate-fueled incidents like this one are particularly unconscionable. As we mourn the lives lost in Orlando, we remain committed to doing everything we can to combat and prevent crimes against L.G.B.T. New Yorkers.”
Shannon Lucey, the lead prosecutor, described Mr. Morales in court as having “a lot of self-loathing issues.” She noted that while he had sexual relationships with transgender people, he never appeared with them in public. Seeing Mr. Robinson and Mr. Carter together, Ms. Lucey argued, may have triggered Mr. Morales’s discomfort with his own sexuality.
After the verdict was rendered in March, one juror said that Mr. Morales’s actions that night showed that “he was kind of categorizing people,” in a manner that exposed his bias toward gay people and that culminated in the shooting of Mr. Carson.
Outside the courtroom on Tuesday, Florine Bumpars, an aunt of Mr. Carson, spoke through tears as she castigated Mr. Morales.
“He got what he deserves,” Ms. Bumpars, 47, said. “If he was sorry he would’ve never did it.”
Since taking office, President Obama and his Administration have made historic strides to expand opportunities and advance equality and justice for all Americans, including Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Americans. From major legislative achievements to historic court victories to important policy changes, the President has fought to promote the equal rights of all Americans — no matter who they are or who they love. That commitment to leveling the playing field and ensuring equal protection under the law is the bedrock principle this nation was founded on and has guided the President’s actions in support of all Americans. And the progress the Administration has made mirrors the changing views of the American people, who recognize that fairness and justice demand equality for all, including LGBT Americans.
“We are big and vast and diverse; a nation of people with different backgrounds and beliefs, different experiences and stories, but bound by our shared ideal that no matter who you are or what you look like, how you started off, or how and who you love, America is a place where you can write your own destiny.” President Obama, June 26, 2015
The Obama Administration’s record on social progress and equality includes:
Preventing Bullying and Hate Crimes against LGBT Americans
· Overcoming years of partisan gridlock, the President worked with Congress to pass and sign into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law in October 2009, which extends the coverage of Federal hate crimes law to include attacks based on the victim’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
· The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) collaborated with five other federal departments to establish a federal task force on bullying. One of the results was the creation of the website – www.StopBullying.gov. The site includes resources and assistance for LGBT youth, including examples of community groups that offer support and options to seek counseling. As part of the first-ever White House Conference on Bullying Prevention, the task force also funded a video called “It Gets Better” to address LGBT youth who have been bullied and are at risk of depression and suicide.
· The U.S. Department of Education hosted five summits on strategies for protecting students, including LGBT students, from bullying and harassment. These events included an LGBT Youth Summit in 2011 and a meeting with transgender students in June 2015, with a sixth summit scheduled for August 2016.
Supporting LGBT Health
· In June 2009, President Obama issued a directive on same-sex domestic partner benefits, opening the door for the State Department to extend the full range of legally available benefits and allowances to same-sex domestic partners of members of the Foreign Service sent to serve abroad. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) also expanded federal benefits for same-sex partners of federal employees and allowed same-sex domestic partners to apply for long-term care insurance.
· In March 2010, the Affordable Care Act was signed into law by President Obama and ensures that Americans have secure, stable, and affordable insurance. Insurance companies are no longer able to discriminate against anyone due to a pre-existing condition, and because of the law, insurers can no longer turn someone away just because he or she is lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.
· The federal website, HealthCare.gov, designed to help all consumers find the health insurance best suited to their needs, makes it easy to locate health insurers that cover domestic partners.
· The Affordable Care Act also makes it easier for people living with HIV and AIDS to obtain Medicaid and private health insurance and overcome barriers to care from qualified providers.
· President Obama developed and released the first comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States in 2010, updated it through 2020, and is implementing it to address the disparities faced especially by gay and bisexual men of all races and ethnicities and transgender women of color.
· The President has supported legislative efforts to ban the use of so-called “conversion therapy” against minors and released a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) study condemning the practice. This report, which was developed in collaboration with the American Psychological Association and a panel of behavioral health experts, is the first federal in-depth review of conversion therapy. As SAMHSA reported, variations in sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression are normal. Conversion therapy is not effective, reinforces harmful gender stereotypes, and is not an appropriate mental health treatment.
· HHS funded the Services and Advocacy for LGBT Elders (SAGE) to establish the first national resource center for older LGBT individuals. This center supports communities across the country as they aim to serve the estimated 1.5 to 4 million LGBT individuals who are 60 and older. This center provides information, assistance and resources at the state and community levels.
· HHS now requires all hospitals receiving Medicare or Medicaid funds – just about every hospital in America – to allow visitation rights for LGBT patients. The President also directed HHS to ensure that medical decision-making rights of LGBT patients are respected.
Repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
· The President signed bipartisan legislation to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell on December 22, 2010, allowing gay, lesbian, and bisexual Americans to serve openly in the Armed Forces without fear of being dismissed from service because of who they are and who they love, putting in motion the end of a discriminatory policy that ran counter to American values.
Ending the Legal Defense of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)
· In February 2011, the President and Attorney General announced that the Department of Justice would no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act’s provision defining marriage as only between a man and woman, leading to the Supreme Court’s landmark decisions holding the Act unconstitutional.
· After the United States v. Windsor decision, in which the Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional, the President instructed the Cabinet to review over 1,000 federal statutes and regulations to ensure the decision was implemented swiftly and smoothly by the federal government to recognize the rights of same-sex couples.
· The Administration has long advocated for a Constitutional guarantee of marriage equality for same-sex couples—a position the Supreme Court vindicated in its historic decision in Obergefell v. Hodges.
· In October 2015, after the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced proposed regulations implementing the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decision for federal tax purposes to ensure all individuals would be treated equally under the law.
· After the Supreme Court issued a decision in Obergerfell v. Hodges, the Social Security Administration (SSA) began to recognize all valid same-sex marriages for purposes of determining entitlement to Social Security benefits or eligibility for Supplemental Security Income. SSA continues to work closely with the LGBT advocacy community to conduct outreach to ensure that same-sex couples are aware of how same-sex marriage affects benefits.
Protecting LGBT Americans against Discrimination
· In July 2014, the President signed an Executive Order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating against any employee or applicant for employment “because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin,” continuing to set an example as a model employer that does right by its employees.
· The Administration has taken unprecedented steps to protect and promote the rights of transgender and gender non-conforming Americans. These actions have included:
o The issuance of guidance from the Department of Justice that concluded that the prohibition against sex discrimination in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 encompasses claims of discrimination on the basis of gender identity, including transgender status.
o Agencies, including OPM, the State Department, SSA, and HHS, took various actions to ensure that transgender Americans were treated fairly and without discrimination in the workplace, in official documents, and in the health care system.
Taking Steps to Ensure LGBT Equality in Housing and Crime Prevention
· In 2009, HUD commissioned the first-ever national study of discrimination against members of the LGBT community in the renting and sale of housing. The Department also launched a website to allow citizens to offer comments on housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Since then, HUD has continuously worked to address LGBT housing discrimination.
· In January 2012 and in 2015, the President issued a final rule and subsequent guidance to ensure that the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s core housing programs and services are open to all persons regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
· HUD’s Equal Access Rule makes it clear that housing that is financed or insured by HUD must be made available without regard to actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status. It also prohibits owners and operators of HUD-funded housing, or housing whose financing was insured by HUD, from inquiring about an applicant’s sexual orientation or gender identity or denying housing on that basis. In addition, the guidance makes clear that sexual orientation and gender identity should not and cannot be part of any lending decision when it comes to getting an FHA-insured mortgage.
· In 2013, HUD teamed up with the True Colors Fund to give LGBT youth a safe space to be their true selves. Over the next two years, the initiative has developed and evaluated strategies to prevent lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth from becoming homeless or intervene as early as possible once they do become homeless.
· The Justice Department issued guidance stating that Federal prosecutors should enforce criminal provisions in the Violence Against Women Act in cases involving same-sex relationships.
· In December 2015, the Department of Justice issued Guidance on Identifying and Preventing Gender Bias in Law Enforcement Response to Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence. The guidance serves two key purposes. First, it aims to examine how gender bias can undermine the response of law enforcement agencies to sexual assault and domestic violence. Second, it provides a set of basic principles that – if integrated into law enforcement agencies’ policies, trainings and practices – will help ensure that gender bias, either intentionally or unintentionally, does not undermine efforts to keep victims safe and hold offenders accountable.
Advancing and Protecting the Rights of LGBT Persons around the World
· The Obama Administration continues to engage systematically with governments around the world to advance the rights of LGBT persons. The Administration’s leadership has included various public statements and resolutions at the UN.
· President Obama has also issued a presidential memorandum that directs all Federal agencies engaged abroad to ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons.
· The Department of State continues to grow the Global Equality Fund, a multi-sector public-private partnership to advance the human rights of LGBT persons globally. Since the Fund was launched in December 2011, it has allocated over $30 million to civil society organizations in 80 countries worldwide.
· USAID, the U.S. government agency primarily responsible for delivering international aid and assistance, launched the LGBTI Global Development Partnership and “Being LGBTI in Asia,” and funded a range of LGBTI human rights programs. In 2014, USAID released its LGBT Vision for Action, a document that communicates USAID’s position on LGBTI issues to internal and external stakeholders.
· In February 2014, USAID appointed a USAID Senior LGBT Coordinator to ensure that the promotion and protection of LGBTI rights is fully integrated into all aspects of USAID’s vital work overseas.
· In February 2015, the U.S. State Department appointed the first-ever Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons to lead and coordinate U.S. diplomatic efforts to advance LGBTI rights around the globe.
· The State Department revised its Foreign Affairs Manual to allow same-sex couples to obtain passports under the names recognized by their state through their marriages or civil unions.
Recognizing LGBT History and Contributions
· On May 28, 2014, the Department of the Interior announced a new National Park Service theme study to identify places and events associated with the civil rights struggle of LGBT Americans and ensure that the agency is telling a complete story of America’s heritage and history. The results of the theme study are expected later this year.
· On June 9, 2015, the Henry Gerber House in Chicago, IL was designated a National Historic Landmark. Once the residence of noted gay rights activist Henry Gerber, the home was where the nation’s first chartered LGBT rights organization, the Society for Human Rights, was formed in 1924. The Henry Gerber House is one of nine LGBT sites that have been designated as a landmark or historic place during the Obama Administration.
Since our founding, America has advanced on an unending path toward becoming a more perfect Union. This journey, led by forward-thinking individuals who have set their sights on reaching for a brighter tomorrow, has never been easy or smooth. The fight for dignity and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people is reflected in the tireless dedication of advocates and allies who strive to forge a more inclusive society. They have spurred sweeping progress by changing hearts and minds and by demanding equal treatment — under our laws, from our courts, and in our politics. This month, we recognize all they have done to bring us to this point, and we recommit to bending the arc of our Nation toward justice.
Last year’s landmark Supreme Court decision guaranteeing marriage equality in all 50 States was a historic victory for LGBT Americans, ensuring dignity for same-sex couples and greater equality across State lines. For every partnership that was not previously recognized under the law and for every American who was denied their basic civil rights, this monumental ruling instilled newfound hope, affirming the belief that we are all more free when we are treated as equals.
LGBT individuals deserve to know their country stands beside them. That is why my Administration is striving to better understand the needs of LGBT adults and to provide affordable, welcoming, and supportive housing to aging LGBT Americans. It is also why we oppose subjecting minors to the harmful practice of conversion therapy, and why we are continuing to promote equality and foster safe and supportive learning environments for all students. We remain committed to addressing health disparities in the LGBT community — gay and bisexual men and transgender women of color are at a particularly high risk for HIV, and we have worked to strengthen our National HIV/AIDS Strategy to reduce new infections, increase access to care, and improve health outcomes for people living with HIV.
Despite the extraordinary progress of the past few years, LGBT Americans still face discrimination simply for being who they are. I signed an Executive Order in 2014 that prohibits discrimination against Federal employees and contractors on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. I urge the Congress to enact legislation that builds upon the progress we have made, because no one should live in fear of losing their job simply because of who they are or who they love. And our commitment to combatting discrimination against the LGBT community does not stop at our borders: Advancing the fair treatment of all people has long been a cornerstone of American diplomacy, and we have made defending and promoting the human rights of LGBT individuals a priority in our engagement across the globe. In line with America’s commitment to the notion that all people should be treated fairly and with respect, champions of this cause at home and abroad are upholding the simple truth that LGBT rights are human rights.
There remains much work to do to extend the promise of our country to every American, but because of the acts of courage of the millions who came out and spoke out to demand justice and of those who quietly toiled and pushed for progress, our Nation has made great strides in recognizing what these brave individuals long knew to be true in their hearts — that love is love and that no person should be judged by anything but the content of their character. During Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month, as Americans wave their flags of pride high and march boldly forward in parades and demonstrations, let us celebrate how far we have come and reaffirm our steadfast belief in the equal dignity of all Americans.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2016 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists, and to celebrate the great diversity of the American people.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand sixteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fortieth.
Match, the world’s largest relationship company, today debuted LGBTQ in America, the largest nationally-representative study of American singles who identify as LGBTQ. Conducted by Research Now in association with evolutionary biologist and gender studies professor, Dr. Justin R. Garcia of the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University, the data reveals new social commentary into the evolving attitudes, behaviors and challenges of the LGBTQ single population.
“Today’s society is full of rich gender and sexual diversity, however relatively little is known about the dating experiences of LGBTQ people,” says Match Scientific Advisor Dr. Justin Garcia. “Nearly half of the LGBTQ population in America identifies as single, and a vast majority of these singles, some 80 percent, are seeking a committed relationship. By expanding our annual Singles in America study to include more people of diverse identities, including gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Americans, we are beginning to address these knowledge gaps to better understand singles today.”
The study surveys a representative sample of over 1,000 LGBTQ singles between the ages of 18 to 70+ across the United States, who are not currently in a committed relationship. Key takeaways include:
COMING OUT Everyone has a personal story of realizing their sexual orientation and coming to terms with who they are
Age of Self-Described Realization:
Gay Men – 25% realized they were gay when they were less than 10 years old, 50% by 13 years old, and 75% by 18 years old.
Lesbian women – 25% realized by 12 years old, 50% at 15 years old, and 75% by 20/21 years old.
Transgender men (FtM) – 50% realized their gender didn’t match their bodies before their 13th birthday and 75% by the age of 16.
Transgender women (MtF) – 50% realized they were transgender before their 13th birthday and 75% of people realized before age 20.
Time in the closet: 25% of LGBTQ singles came out the same year they say they “realized” their sexual orientation or gender identity. Of those who realized before adulthood (defined as age 18), they went an average of 7 years before telling someone they identified as LGBTQ. Additionally, of those who realized during adulthood, it took an average of 2.9 years to come out.
Who is most comfortable coming out? Those assigned male at birth waited the longest before telling someone, with an average of 1.6 years longer compared to biologically born females. Transgender women took an extra 2.1 years before telling someone than a gay or bisexual man, and transgender men waited the shortest amount of time without telling someone.
Born this way: Gay, lesbian, and bisexual singles overwhelmingly believe that sexual orientation is biologically based, with two thirds (64%) believing it is completely determined by biology and 28% believing it is a combination of biology and experience. Only 7.5% of LGB singles believe sexual orientation is determined by experience alone.
MARRIAGE & THE BABY CARRIAGE In a long-sought victory for the gay rights movement, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled by a 5-to-4 vote that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage. How important is marriage equality to same-sex couples and does this affect their desire to expand their family?
Love & Marriage: 63% of gay and lesbian singles have always wanted to get married, while 25% say they never wanted to marry.
Supreme Court Decision Effects: 17% of LGBTQ singles may be changing their mind about marriage based on the U.S. Supreme Court decision on marriage equality, while 61% claim the decision had no effect on their attitude toward marriage.
Family Support: 74% of LGBTQ singles say their family will support their marriage (26% will not).
Building a Family: Having children is important to 48% of younger LGBTQ singles, with lesbian women being the most likely to want kids (52%), and gay men being the least likely to want kids (36%).
DATING DO’s AND DON’TS The dating habits of America’s LGBTQ communities
Dating Online: 56% of LGBTQ singles have dated someone they met online, with transgender singles dating the most online (65%). Additionally, 46% of singles met their date last year though a dating app.
Who pays? LGBTQ singles say whoever initiated the date should pay (62%) or they play it safe and always split the bill (44%).
Transgender Dating: 47% of LGBTQ singles are open to dating someone who is transgender, while 44% say they would not consider dating them.
Additionally, 61% of transgender singles tell their prospect about their trans identity before the first date, 15% do so on the first date, and 12% by the third date.
Nice to meet you: When it comes to first date physical expectations, 57% of LGBTQ singles expect a kiss, while 25% expect a full make out. Only 9% expect sexual intercourse (16% gay men and 2% of lesbian women).However, 30% expect nothing physical at all.
Sexting: 50% of LGBTQ singles have sent a sexually explicit photo of themselves, with bisexual women and gay men sending the most (64% and 56%, respectively). Lesbian women have sent the least (22%).
What’s Your Number? The typical gay man has had 30 lifetime sexual partners and lesbian women have had 12 sexual partners.
Regionally, gay men in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Riverside have the highest average number of sexual partners, while gay men in Boston have had the least.
PrEP: 4% of gay men report using PrEP (HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis), 8% are considering it, and 1% have used it in the past. Those gay men who identify as being “out” are more likely to use PrEP.
GROUPS & LABELS While some avoid labels based on factors like body type and relative masculinity and femininity, LGBTQ communities have many sub-cultures with specific identity categories and social conventions
LGBTQ Community? Of all groups surveyed, bisexual women are most likely to believe that the LGBTQ community is open and supportive (62% more likely to believe this than the rest), while bisexual men are the least likely to feel like the community is open and supportive.
Gay Men: 57% of gay men do not see themselves as belonging to a category or group, while 19% of gay men identify as Bears, 16% as Daddies, and 8% as Jocks.
Who goes on the most first dates? Jocks average: 5.13; Daddies average: 3.74; Bears average: 3.68.
Daddies are 140% less likely to want children and much more likely to date someone younger and lower income. They are also 115% more likely to expect sex on a first date.
Jocks have the most sex in a year with an average of 42 times, followed by Daddies at an average of 30 times.
Jocks are much more likely (126%) to be OK with their partners having sex with other people as long as they are told about it, and they are 263% more likely to have had an open relationship than non-jocks.
Lesbian Women: 59% of lesbian women do not see themselves as belonging to a category or group.
11% of lesbian women identify as butch and 8% as lipstick.
Lipstick lesbians are 222% more likely to have had a date in the year than non-lipstick lesbians.
For more detailed study findings on LGBTQ singles, visit www.SinglesinAmerica.com and follow the social conversation at #SinglesinAmerica.