Politics

Senator Harris Statement on Trump Forcing Transgender Individuals out of the Military

  • Parent Category: News
  • Published: Wednesday, 26 July 2017 17:54
  • Written by Jason Scott

Kamala HarrisWASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris released the following statement on the President’s decision to remove all transgender individuals from serving in the military:

“The President’s decision to force transgender individuals out of the military is discriminatory, wrong, and un-American. We should not punish or turn away courageous people who are willing to risk their lives to serve our country—we should embrace them.

“The President’s claim that the service of transgender people impacts military readiness is not backed up by facts, nor is it publicly supported by our military leadership. Removing thousands of transgender individuals currently serving would damage our security and make it more difficult to recruit the best possible fighting force going forward. Indeed, Secretary Mattis recently reaffirmed that all service members should be treated with dignity and respect. The White House is playing politics with our national security, plain and simple.

“As we mark the anniversary today of the desegregation of our armed forces, I stand with our transgender service members and all those who selflessly defend our country.”

Looking back at Obama’s legacy on equality

  • Parent Category: News
  • Published: Tuesday, 04 April 2017 13:13
  • Written by HRC
Human Rights Campaign put together a scorecard of Equality Progress over the last eight years. HRC said the next four years could be a "challenge,” but they praised Pres. Obamas progress on civil rights. Their scorecard included these highlights: 1 President Obama signed into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. The law gives the Justice Department the power to investigate and prosecute bias-motivated violence by providing the Justice Department with jurisdiction over crimes of violence where a perpetrator has selected a victim because of the victims actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. 2 In an interview with ABC News’ Robin Roberts, Obama endorsed marriage equality. He said after speaking with his own LGBTQ staff members, military service members - as well as his wife and daughters, Obama said he “just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.” 3 President Obama relegated Americas “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on gay and lesbian service members to the dustbin of history. For 17 years, the law prohibited qualified gay and lesbian Americans from serving in the armed forces and sent a message that discrimination was acceptable. The Pentagon later ended its ban on transgender people in Americas military service. For far too long, these discriminatory bans robbed the LGBTQ community of the dignity of being honest about who they are to serve the country they love. 4 Sarah McBride was selected as the first openly transgender woman to intern in the White House. Sarah went on serve as HRC’s national press secretary and to become the first openly transgender person to address a major party political convention when she spoke at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. 5 The Obama Administration threw its weight behind the movement to ban the harmful, widely debunked practice of “conversion therapy.” Valerie Jarrett, Senior Adviser to President Obama, spoke out against the practice and a few months later, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration published a report calling for an end to so-called “conversion therapy” for minors. 6 President Obama signed a crucial executive order to protect LGBTQ workers from job discrimination along with a number of other significant policy or regulatory changes. The Obama Administration has worked across all cabinet agencies to ensure LGBTQ Americans were hilly included in the work of our federal government — resulting in LGBTQ workers, students, renters, immigrants, refugees, service members, patients, families and beyond having the full force of the administration at their backs. 7 The Obama family celebrated the historic marriage equality ruling by lighting up the White House in rainbow colors. President Obama referred to it as one of his favorite moments of 2015. In a press conference, President Obama said, “I didn’t have the chance to comment on how good the White House looked in rainbow colors ... to see people gathered in the evening on a beautiful summer night and to feel whole and to feel accepted and to feel they had a right to love, that was pretty cool. That was a good thing.” 8 The Obama Administration reversed a 22-year ban on travel to the United States by people who tested positive for HIV. President Obama said, “If we want to be a global leader in combating HIV/AIDS, we need to act like it. We talk about reducing the stigma of this disease, yet we’ve treated a visitor living with it as a threat.” Prior to the policy change, the United States was one of only about a dozen countries with similar travel bans. 9 President Obama signed the first-ever federal law providing explicit LGBTQ non-discrimination protections in the 2013 Violence Against Women Act re-authorization. Time and time again, President Obama has advocated for legislation that explicitly includes protections for LGBTQ_and other vulnerable communities who are victims of domestic violence. 10 Time and time again, President Obama used the bully pulpit to stand up for the LGBTQ_ community. This includes the first time a U.S. President referenced bisexual or transgender people in an official State of the Union address. He argued that the LGBTQ individuals deserve the same protections and rights as other Americans. 11 Obama’s Administration on Aging released important guidance that empowers providers to consider LGBTQ_older adults as a population of “greatest social need” — paving the way for increased services that significantly improve the health and well-being of this aging population. This step brought much-needed attention to the unique needs of LGBT older adults, and the urgent actions needed to maintain health and preserve their dignity. 12 The Obama Administration established a federal task force on bullying that created StopBullying.gov. The website offers support and resources for LGBTQ youth and guidance on how to prevent and respond to bullying. The task force hosted the first-ever White House Conference on Bullying Prevention and funded an “It Gets Better” video from both the President and his staff to address LGBTQ youth at risk of depression and suicide. 13 Prior to the Olympic Games in Sochi, President Obama spoke out against Russia’s heinous anti-LGBTQ law. In an interview with Jay Leno on NBC’s The Tonight Show, President Obama condemned a Russian law that criminalizes even the most modest gestures of support for LGBTQ people. The President stated that such laws violate “the basic morality that I think should transcend every country, and I have no patience for countries that try to treat gays, or lesbians, or transgender persons in ways that intimidate them or are harmful to them.” He later sent a delegation comprised of openly LGBTQ athletes Billie Jean King, Caitlin Cahow and Brian Boitan Bo to attend the games in his place. 14 President Obama cheered on landmark Supreme Court cases. He even gave a call from Air Force One to HRC President Chad Griffin’s cell phone in order to offer his congratulations to Prop 8 plaintiffs Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, and Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo, following the Supreme Court’s decision. The call came as Perry and Stier were speaking to Thomas Roberts live on MSNBC. During the call, which lasted two minutes and caller ID labeled “unknown,” the President expressed his thanks to the plaintiffs for their courage and determination in returning marriage equality to California: “We're proud of you guys, and we’re proud to have this in California! And it’s because of your leadership things are heading the right way. So you should be very proud today.” 15 The Administration had filed a brief in the Perry case arguing for an end to Proposition 8. President Obamas administration has made a record number of appointments of LGBTQ judges and ambassadors. He has also championed more than 250 LGBTQ_ appointments to full-time and advisory positions in the federal government over the course of his tenure — an important step for LGBTQ_Americans who deserve a voice that speaks to their own at every level of government. 16 Obamas Education Department hosted five summits on ways to protect students from bullying and harassment. These events included an LGBT Youth Summit in 2011 and a meeting with transgender students in June 2015. Gatherings in these official capacities were previously unprecedented. 17 President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law. Prior to the ACA’s passage insurance companies could discriminate against anyone due to a pre-existing condition. LGBTQ_people could be turned away for being honest about being LGBTQ^ And individuals with HIV and AIDS were particularly vulnerable to insurance industry abuses. Consistent with the goals of the President's National HIV/AIDS Strategy, the Affordable Care Act achieved considerable strides in addressing these concerns and made quality, affordable care more accessible for all. 18 President Obama instructed the Justice Department not to defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. Prior to a June 2013 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, DOMA singled out lawfully married same-sex couples for unequal treatment under federal law. Fortunately, the Court held Section 3 of DOMA unconstitutional in Windsor v. United States (2013). Two years later, in Obergefell v. Hodges, the Court ruled that bans on marriage equality' are unconstitutional. 19 The Obama Administration supported HRC’s partnership with the U.S. Department of States Global Equality Fund. Established in 2011 by then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the fund brings together governments, corporations, foundations, and civil society organizations to work toward a world where LGBTQ people can live free of violence and discrimination. 20 President Obama’s White House endorsed the Equality Act. The legislation would provide consistent and explicit anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people across key areas of life, including employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally funded programs, and jury service. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the “bill is historic legislation that would advance the cause of equality for millions of Americans.” 21 President Obama appointed the first openly transgender White House staffer, Raffi Freedman-Gurspan as Outreach and Recruitment Director for Presidential Personnel. Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to President Obama, said, “Her commitment to bettering the lives of transgender Americans, particularly transgender people of color and those in poverty, reflects the values of the administration.” 22 President Obama designated the first-ever LGBTQ National Monument at Stonewall. The Stonewall National Monument in New York will pay tribute to the brave individuals who stood up to oppression and helped ignite a fire in a movement to end unfair and unjust discrimination against LGBTQ people. This was a monumental step in the recognition of our community’s contributions to America’s march towards liberty and justice for all.

Trump continues Obama order protecting LGBTQ federal workers

  • Parent Category: News
  • Published: Tuesday, 31 January 2017 11:16
  • Written by Jason Scott

trump flagAn executive order protecting federal employees from anti-LGBTQ discrimination that was first signed in 2014 by President Barack Obama will continue under President Donald Trump, the White House said Tuesday.

"President Donald J. Trump is determined to protect the rights of all Americans, including the LGBTQ community," the White House said in a statement. "The executive order signed in 2014, which protects employees from anti-LGBTQ workplace discrimination while working for federal contractors, will remain intact."
The order extended protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and was predicated on previous executive orders under Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton that created additional protected classes but had not included the LGBTQ community.

Continue reading at CNN

Make your voice heard with a simple text message

  • Parent Category: News
  • Published: Saturday, 25 March 2017 14:18
  • Written by Nancy A
resistbot text to fax

Is the current state of affairs a concern to you? Do you feel like civil rights we now have and have worked so long and hard for are now in jeopardy? Have you wondered what you can do to make a difference? Have you tried reaching out to your local and national representatives but still feel like your voice is not being heard, or it's too difficult to get through on the phones?

Well, LGBT Fresno may have just the solution you have been looking for! "ResistBot" is a text to fax service that allows people get involved and contact their members of congress/house by text message. To use this new service, Text Resist to 50409 or go to https://resistbot.io

Let your voice be heard at the speed of typing.

Trump presidency’s effect on LGBT community

  • Parent Category: News
  • Published: Tuesday, 24 January 2017 17:53
  • Written by HRC

The Human Rights Campaign has fielded multiple questions from its constituency regarding potential Trump presidency actions which will affect the LGBT community.

National Legal Affairs Director Sarah Warbelow and other HRC staff members compiled this Q/A list based on the questions directed to HRC:

Will marriage equality be overturned?

It’s not impossible, but it’s not likely. It’s a binding decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. Congress and Donald Trump cannot unilaterally undo marriage equality. Currently, all five justices who ruled in favor of marriage equality are still on the bench, and that’s not going to change anytime soon. It’s hard to imagine how we lose marriage equality.

Will my parental rights be challenged?
Most adoption law is set at the state level. The U.S. Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling makes clear that legally married same-sex couples should be treated the same as every other married couple. We think that listing both parents on a birth certificate should be sufficient to establish parentage. However, if you are a non-biological parent you may want to take the extra step of also adopting your child - simply to make sure you have every legal tie available.

What if my same-sex spouse was born in another country?
The only concern is if your spouse has not come to the country with necessary documentation, isn’t now documented, or hasn’t applied for a green card. You should as quickly as possible ensure your spouse has a green card or legal documentation in place. If that is in place, there is no reason to believe your spouse would be deported.

Will protections for transgender people be undone?
One of the big things that the Obama Administration has done through the Departments of Justice and Education is issue guidance protecting transgender people and students. That guidance is at very grave risk; there is a good chance it will be withdrawn. However, that doesn’t mean underlying law protecting people from discrimination is going away. For example, school districts have a moral and legal responsibility to provide every student a safe learning environment. There likely won’t be the same level of enforcement from federal government under a Trump Administration, but people are still protected.

Can Don’t Ask Don’t Tell be reinstated?
As a technical matter, the new president could say that LGBTQ people can no longer serve in the military. That would be exceedingly unlikely. Openly LGB service in the military has been phenomenally successful. Military leader¬ship feels good about it, and LGBTQ service members have skills and expertise our military needs. That being said, transgender military service has just begun, and it is a little more at risk. But once the military implements something, it takes a lot to change course. If you’re in the military, if you’re openly LGB, you’ll have a lot of support. If you’re transgender in the military, this is a time to decide what’s best for you in regards to coming out, and we encourage you to speak with transgender military advocacy organizations for guidance while making your decision.

Will the healthcare I receive be affected?
There is nothing stopping hospitals and doctors’ offices from doing their best by their LGBTQ patients. Our concern is that a Trump Administration and the incoming Congress may push for huge carve outs allowing religious hospitals and healthcare facilities to discriminate against LGBTQ people by not recognizing same-sex marriages, for example, or not treating transgender people equally and with the dignity they deserve. We will be watching this like a hawk, and pushing back at any effort seeking to allow discrimination.

Will restaurants and places I do business be able to turn me away?
Unfortunately, both federal law and many states laws lack provisions preventing discrimination against LGBTQ people in places of public accommodation, including businesses and restaurants. If you have such protections under your state or local laws, that is certainly not going to change in the short run. Federal agencies and the courts will continue to accept employment discrimination com¬plaints, but we do have concerns that the new administration will very likely not enforce these as vigorously as the Obama Administration has.