LGBTQ INFORMATION NETWORK │ RAINBOW OF RESOURCES

LEGAL
 

Southern Poverty Law Center

Lavender Law
Human Rights Campaign
National LGBT Bar Association

Lambda Legal
Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders

American Civil Liberties Union

Immigration Equality


LGBTQ Legal Protection

 

It is important to be informed about the laws and legal protection regarding LGBTQ people. Fortunately, there are lawyers and legal organizations ready to provide help. Legal groups like Lambda Legal, Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Human Rights Watch (HRW), and the LGBTQ Bar Association provide advocacy, protection, and defense for LGBTQ people.

 

Laws affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people vary greatly state to state and by country or territory. These laws address everything from legal recognition of same-sex marriage or other types of partnerships, to the death penalty as punishment for same-sex sexual activity or identity.

 

 

 

LGBTQ-related laws include, but are not limited to: government recognition of same-sex relationships, LGBTQ adoption, sexual orientation and military service, immigration equality, anti-discrimination laws, hate crime laws regarding violence against LGBTQ people, sodomy laws, anti-lesbianism laws, and higher ages of consent for same-sex activity.

 

In 2011, the United Nations passed its first resolution recognizing LGBTQ rights, and followed up with a report documenting violations of the rights of LGBTQ people, including hate crime, criminalization of homosexuality, and discrimination.

 

Biden Announces Two Judicial Nominees Who Are Lesbians

Gay High Schooler Suspended for Wearing Nail Polish

LGBTQ Bar: The Gay Panic Defense

LGBTQ Rights by Country or Territory
In Gay We Trust: Queer Liberation is Far From Over

Timeline: American Gay Rights Movement

How Discrimination Affects the LGBTQ Population

Supreme Court Landmark Decision: Illegal to Discriminate Based on Sexual Orientation
The Atlantic: Gay Rights and the Legal Mess Left Behind

LGBTQ Rights: 50 Years After Stonewall

Info: Money and Financial Matters

 

Victory for Transgender Student: Supreme Court Declines to Hear Bathroom Dispute

In June 2021, the United States Supreme Court declined to hear Gloucester County School Board v. Grimm, the case of a former Virginia high school student, Gavin Grimm, who was denied the right to use the facilities that matched his gender identity. The ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which upheld a district court ruling in favor of Gavin affirming the right of transgender students to use the facilities that match who they are, stands.

 



Lambda Legal Counsel and Students’ Rights Strategist, Paul D. Castillo, has issued the following statement:

“This is an incredible victory for Gavin Grimm and transgender students’ right to be themselves at school. There should be no doubt that federal law requires schools to protect all students. Courts all over the country, as well as the federal government have made crystal clear that LGBTQ students are protected by federal law and have a right to an equal education, to be protected against harassment and discrimination, and to a school environment where they can be their authentic selves.

 



“Congratulations to Gavin Grimm and the ACLU, who fought for six years so that Gavin and all transgender students would be treated with the dignity and respect that they deserve. This year, state legislatures across the country introduced a record-breaking number of bills aimed at hurting transgender young people and their ability to play on teams and access gender affirming health care. Gavin’s persistent fight for the rights of transgender young people stands as a reminder that the fight is far from over; he is a beacon of hope. Thank you, Gavin.”

[Source: Paul D. Castillo, Lambda Legal, June 2021]

 

Advocate: SCOTUS Decision on Trans Youth Gavin Grimm is Major LGBTQ Victory
Victory for Transgender Student: Supreme Court Declines to Hear Bathroom Dispute

Trans Youth Rights: Not About Bathrooms or Women's Sports

Boston Globe: No God-Given Right to Discriminate Against LGBTQ People

ACLU: End the Use of Religion to Discriminate

Lambda Legal: The Notion of Religious Exemption

HRW: Religious Exemption and Discrimination Against LGBTQ People

Trump's Judicial Appointments Will Impact LGBTQ Rights Beyond Presidency

US Supreme Court Protects LGBTQ Workers Rights

 

29 States to Ban Transgender Youth in Sports

 

"There's no room for transphobia on the court, on the track, on the field, anywhere.

Every kid deserves the opportunity to play sports."
-Lambda Legal

 

North Carolina Republican lawmakers introduced a bill in March 2021 that would bar transgender students in middle and high schools and colleges from competing on sports teams that match their gender identity. The bill, which legislators introduced in the North Carolina House of Representatives, makes the state the 29th to consider such a measure in 2021, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

One of the bill’s sponsors, Republican Rep. Mark Brody, said that he introduced the bill to prevent cisgender female athletes from being “pushed out of female sports, and all of their records are broken, scholarships lost and benefits of excelling are diminishing before this is addressed,” though he acknowledged that he knew of no such incidents in North Carolina.

 



There have been 84 bills filed this legislative session that target transgender people, according to the ACLU. Most bills have focused on school extracurricular sports teams and preventing doctors from providing gender-affirming medical care to people under the age of 18.

North Carolina’s bill comes five years after the state passed HB2, also known as the “bathroom bill,” in 2016. That bill required North Carolinians to use restrooms that matched their sex assigned at birth, rather than their gender identity.

Quickly, business groups spoke out against HB2, which had a negative economic impact for the state. The NCAA, which regulates college sports, withdrew championship games from the state, and the NBA stripped Charlotte of hosting its All-Star Game until the law was repealed. Eventually, the legislature repealed the aspects of the law pertaining to use of bathrooms in 2017.

 

“This anti-transgender bill is an outlier in North Carolina, and it doesn’t reflect where we are as a state,” Allison Scott, director of impact and innovation at the Campaign for Southern Equality, said. “We have come so far since the days of HB2, and we’re better off for it: LGBTQ people feel safer, business leaders are becoming more comfortable investing here and our communities are more inclusive and respectful. It pains me to see some lawmakers, egged on by extreme anti-transgender activists running a coordinated national attack on trans youth, trying to drag us back into an era of discrimination.”

 



The North Carolina High School Athletic Association currently has a policy that allows for transgender students to compete on teams that match their gender identity. Students must submit a Gender Identity Request Form that allows them to be cleared to compete by the NCHSAA. “The NCHSAA studied the issue for over a year, looking at policies in other states, talking with families, listening to medical professionals and coordinating with the athletics programs of colleges and universities,” Craig White, supportive schools coordinator at the Campaign for Southern Equality, said about the policy.

North Carolina’s proposal is similar to the Fairness and Women’s Sports Act, which was passed in Idaho in 2020. Republican state Rep. Barbara Ehardt, the author of Idaho’s bill, confirmed that the Alliance Defending Freedom helped co-write it. Since the bill’s passage, a flood of similar bills have emerged, and the ADF has been linked to a group pushing model legislation as part of the Promise to America’s Children initiative, which is backed by a coalition of right-wing groups.

 



So far, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves is the only governor to have signed a trans athlete ban into law in 2021. On March 4, Reeves said the law would “protect young girls from being forced to compete with biological males for athletic opportunities.” The sponsor of Mississippi’s bill, state Sen. Angela Hill, told the Associated Press that she had been approached by “numerous coaches” who felt there was a need for a policy “because they are beginning to have some concerns of having to deal with this.” Neither Hill nor other supporters of the bill presented evidence of transgender athletes competing in Mississippi schools or universities. Reeves and Hill are Republicans.

In March 2021, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem returned a similar bill to the state legislature asking for changes before she could sign it into law. The changes centered around the bill including collegiate athletes, which could trigger a potential challenge by the NCAA. Noem said during a press conference that South Dakota was unlikely to win any challenge from the NCAA, given that it is a private organization. She then introduced an initiative called Defend Title IX Now, which aims to bring together multiple states to challenge the NCAA’s policy.
 

[Source: Sydney Bauer, NBC News, March 2021]

 

Arkansas Teachers Fear for Their Trans Students

Record Number of Anti-Trans Bills Introduced in States This Year

29 States File Bills to Ban Trans Athletes in Sports

Police Officer Defends Trans Daughter Against Anti-Trans Legislation

New Poll: 73 Percent of People Support Trans Kids in Sports

Mother Testifies Against Anti-Trans Legislation in Texas

Father of Trans Daughter Testifies Against Trans Youth Athlete Ban

Attack After Attack: Trans Youth Speak Out on Health and Sports Bills Aimed at Them

 

Arkansas Lawmakers Ban Treatment for Transgender Youth

 

In April 2021, The Arkansas legislature overrode Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s veto of a bill denying gender-affirming health care to minors, making Arkansas the first state with such a law. And American Civil Liberties Union officials said they were preparing a lawsuit.

Hutchinson had vetoed House Bill 1570, saying it was overly broad. It bans not only gender-confirmation surgeries (which doctors do not recommend for minors anyway) but also hormone treatments and puberty blockers. “If this was just to ban gender reassignment then I would support it, but those who are taking treatment are not grandfathered in, this is not the right path to put them on,” the Republican governor said. “While the population of minors dealing with this is an extreme minority, this could lead to significant harms from suicide to drug use to isolation,” he added.

 



But the Arkansas House of Representatives voted 71-24 to override Hutchinson’s veto, and the Arkansas Senate voted 25-8 to do so. Civil rights groups immediately condemned the legislature’s action. “Today Arkansas legislators disregarded widespread, overwhelming, and bipartisan opposition to this bill and continued their discriminatory crusade against trans youth,” said a statement from Holly Dickson, executive director of the ACLU of Arkansas. “As Governor Hutchinson noted in his veto message, denying care to trans youth can lead to harmful and life-threatening consequences. This is a sad day for Arkansas, but this fight is not over — and we’re in it for the long haul. Attempting to block trans youth from the care they need simply because of who they are is not only wrong, it’s also illegal, and we will be filing a lawsuit to challenge this law in court. We are hearing from concerned families all over the state who are afraid about the impact of this bill and others like it. We are committed to doing all we can to support these families and ensure they know how to continue to fight for their rights and get the care and resources they need.

“No matter what these politicians do or say, one thing has not changed: trans youth are loved, they are seen, and we will never stop fighting to defend their dignity, their rights and their lives. To everyone who spoke out against this bill: now is the time to stay loud, not only for trans lives, but for all the fundamental rights that politicians are hellbent on attacking.”

 



“The Arkansas Legislature has ignored dozens of local doctors and national medical experts, as well as trans youth and their parents,” added Chase Stangio, deputy director for transgender justice with the ACLU’s LGBTQ & HIV Project. “This bill will drive families, doctors and businesses out of the state and send a terrible and heartbreaking message to the transgender young people who are watching in fear. Gender-affirming care is life-saving care and banning that care will have devastating and in some cases deadly consequences. Trans youth in Arkansas: We will continue to fight for you. The ACLU is preparing litigation as we speak. ACLU supporters from around the country spoke out against this bill. We will always have your back and will be relentless in our defense of your rights.”

 

Sam Brinton, vice president of advocacy and government affairs for the Trevor Project, issued this statement: “To the transgender and nonbinary youth of Arkansas, please know that you deserve love and support and to be affirmed in your gender identity. We will not stop fighting until this cruel and illegal ban is overturned. “Governor Hutchinson listened to trans youth and their doctors, the state legislature clearly did not. We knew this override could happen, but it is nonetheless devastating because we also know it could have deadly consequences. It is not extreme or sensational to say that this group of young people, who already experience disproportionate rates of violence and suicide attempts, would be put at significantly increased risk of self-harm because of legislation like HB 1570 pushing them farther to the margins of society.”

Similar bills are pending in several other states.

[Source: Trudy Ring, Advocate Magazine, April 2021]

 

NBC News: Arkansas Lawmakers Enact Trans Youth Treatment Ban

Advocate: Arkansas Bans Gender-Affirming Care for Trans Minors

LGBTQ Nation: Arkansas Lawmakers Ban Gender-Affirming Care for Trans Youth

Arkansas Teachers Fear for Their Trans Students

Record Number of Anti-Trans Bills Introduced in States This Year

29 States File Bills to Ban Trans Athletes in Sports

Police Officer Defends Trans Daughter Against Anti-Trans Legislation

New Poll: 73 Percent of People Support Trans Kids in Sports

Mother Testifies Against Anti-Trans Legislation in Texas

Father of Trans Daughter Testifies Against Trans Youth Athlete Ban

Attack After Attack: Trans Youth Speak Out on Health and Sports Bills Aimed at Them

Meanwhile: In North Carolina

 

 

No God-Given Right to Discriminate Against LGBTQ People

 

Senate Republicans are standing in the way of Congress acting according to the will of the majority of Americans. Protecting people from discrimination should not be a partisan issue.

The good news is that, for the American public, it’s not. A recent PRRI poll found that 83 percent of Americans (which includes strong majorities of Republicans, Democrats, and independents) support nondiscrimination laws that protect gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people from discrimination. Still, there is an obstacle standing in the way of Congress acting according to the will of the majority of Americans and passing a federal law that does just that: the claim by some Republicans and religious groups that LGBTQ rights stand in conflict with religious rights.

US Senator Mitt Romney of Utah is among the Republicans voicing opposition to the House-passed Equality Act, which would extend the current federal law barring discrimination on the basis of race, religion, and other protected categories to also cover sexual orientation and gender identity. Romney cited the lack of “strong religious liberty protections” in the bill’s language as reason for his opposition.


Religious-based groups such as the Southern Baptist Convention raise more hyperbolic alarms, calling the legislation “the most significant threat to religious liberty ever considered in the United States Congress.”  The truth is that few rights in America have more robust protections under the Constitution, as well as federal, state, and local laws, than the right to believe, worship, and express religious views as one wishes. Protecting sincerely held religious beliefs is a pillar of American law, as it should be. Nothing about a law shielding people from bigoted policies and practices stands in the way of that.

 



In fact, the Equality Act would leave in place an exemption for religious entities that would allow them to, for example, give preference to people of their faith in employment and housing decisions. But it won’t allow religion to be used as a sword to infringe on the protected rights of others — especially when such claims, like the false assertion that the Bible’s story of the curse of Ham justified slavery and racial bigotry, are unfounded.

And that is why the Equality Act’s provision barring the Religious Freedom Restoration Act from being used as a defense for discriminatory conduct (the very provision drawing the ire of Republicans) is so crucial. That statute, passed by Congress and signed into law in 1993 by President Bill Clinton, was meant to protect religious liberties (particularly the rights of religious minorities) and enjoyed broad support at the time of its passage.

But in the nearly two decades since, the law has been stretched far beyond its intended purpose, serving as a basis for actions such as private companies denying spousal benefits to same-sex couples or adoption agencies refusing to consider gay or transgender people as potential parents. With the Equality Act, Congress can make clear it never intended to allow organizations or individuals to claim a God-given right to discriminate. “The government has a compelling interest in enforcing nondiscrimination law, and it’s not over-broad to say you can’t discriminate if discrimination is the problem the law is addressing,” said Jennifer C. Pizer, senior counsel and director of law and policy at the nonprofit advocacy organization Lambda Legal.

 


 

Even Justice Neil Gorsuch (one of the Supreme Court’s most conservative jurists) noted that there is ample room for LGBTQ protections and religious rights to coexist, in a 6-3 decision last year extending federal employment discrimination protections to including sexual orientation and gender identity. “We are also deeply concerned with preserving the promise of the free exercise of religion enshrined in our Constitution; that guarantee lies at the heart of our pluralistic society,” Gorsuch wrote for the majority. “But worries about how Title VII may intersect with religious liberties are nothing new.” Gorsuch underscored that the existing federal law religious rights exclusion and the First Amendment already provide religious protections.

Laws protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination are already in place in 23 states and the District of Columbia. But that still leaves an estimated nearly 4 million people in America legally unprotected from biased treatment because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Pizer said a Lambda Legal report released this week detailing more than 4,000 claims of discriminatory conduct based on sexual orientation or gender identity received last year by the organization’s help line makes clear that the need for protections is real. “It reflects the real problems people are having,” Pizer said, from discrimination in the workplace and difficulty obtaining identification documents to being targets of harassment and violence.

But Americans are already on board with granting them protections that they need. As a person of faith, I can only pray that members of the Senate vote to do right by them.

 

[Source: Kimberly Atkins, Boston Globe, March 2021]

 

Boston Globe: No God-Given Right to Discriminate Against LGBTQ People

ACLU: End the Use of Religion to Discriminate

Lambda Legal: The Notion of Religious Exemption

HRW: Religious Exemption and Discrimination Against LGBTQ People

Natl LGBTQ Task Force: LGBTQ Discrimination Masquerading as Religious Freedom
LGBTQ Rights in the United States

Out Right International

LGBTQ Nation: Supreme Court Rules in Favor of LGBTQ Rights in Landmark Decision

Outlawed: Anti-LGBTQ Laws Around the World

SPLC: LGBTQ Rights for Students at School

LGBTQ Rights: 50 Years After Stonewall

Info: Career and Workplace Issues

Advocate: Supreme Court Rules LGBTQ Discrimination is Illegal

Widespread Discrimination Continues for LGBTQ Community

Mapping LGBTQ Equality in America

Washington Post: State Efforts to Limit LGBTQ Rights

Info: LGBTQ Discrimination

 

Supreme Court Rules in Favor of LGBTQ Employment Rights

On June 15, 2020, the US Supreme Court issued a landmark decision, penned by Neil Gorsuch, a conservative justice appointed by President Trump, deciding that “An employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender violates Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.” And Justice Neil Gorsuch went on to say, “An individual’s homosexuality or transgender status is not relevant to employment decisions. That’s because it is impossible to discriminate against a person for being homosexual or transgender without discriminating against that individual based on sex.”

Everyone from Barack Obama and Pete Buttigieg to Black Lives Matter and the NCAA celebrated the momentous Supreme Court decision on LGBTQ workplace discrimination. And Americans across the nation celebrated this historic ruling.  Kamala Harris said, "This is a major victory for LGBTQ rights. No one should be discriminated against because of who they are or who they love." Jared Polis said, "No matter who you are or who you love your work is valued in the United States. Thank you to the Supreme Court for making the right decision for equality, inclusivity." Janet Mock said, "A victory hard won in the courts and on the streets. Grateful to the lawyers, organizers and activists but most grateful to those who had to live stealth or closeted, who lost jobs for living their truth, who left parts of themselves at their employers' door." And Gerald Bostock said, "Today, we can go to work without the fear of being fired for who we are and who we love."


 

“Today, we must decide whether an employer can fire someone simply for being homosexual or transgender. The answer is clear. An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and indistinguishable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids,” the decision reads. “An employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender violates Title VII.”


“Those who adopted the Civil Rights Act might not have anticipated their work would lead to this particular result. Likely, they weren’t thinking about many of the Act’s consequences that have become apparent over the years, including its prohibition against discrimination on the basis of motherhood or its ban on the sexual harassment of male employees.”


“But the limits of the drafters’ imagination supply no reason to ignore the law’s demands,” Gorsuch continued. “When the express terms of a statute give us one answer and extratextual considerations suggest another, it’s no contest. Only the written word is the law, and all persons are entitled to its benefit.” The ruling was decided by a 6-4 vote. Gorsuch was joined by Justices Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, and Chief Justice John Roberts.

 


 

Some who responded reminded us that this was just another step in the long road to full equality. Pete Buttigieg said, "As of sunup this morning, many parts of America did not fully protect queer Americans from workplace discrimination, despite the Civil Rights Act. This is a major step. Make no mistake—a federal Equality Act is still urgently needed. The struggle for equality did not end with marriage, nor did it end today. Conversion therapy persists. Black trans women are at grave risk daily. The administration is rolling back protections at every turn." And Senator Tammy Baldwin said, "The SCOTUS 6-3 decision is a huge step forward for LGBTQ equality in America. But we must keep marching for full equality for every LGBTQ American across our country and work to pass the Equality Act in the Senate."

[Source: LGBTQ Nation, June 2020]

 

Supreme Court Landmark Decision: Illegal to Discriminate Based on Sexual Orientation
LGBTQ Nation: Supreme Court Rules in Favor of LGBTQ Rights in Landmark Decision

Advocate: Supreme Court Rules LGBTQ Discrimination is Illegal

LGBTQ Bar: The Gay Panic Defense

ABC News: Historic Ruling on LGBTQ Employment Discrimination

America's Reaction: Supreme Court Ruling in Favor of LGBTQ Worker's Rights

NBC News: In Landmark Case, Supreme Court Rules in Favor of LGBTQ Worker Protection

Huff Post: Supreme Court Says Firing Someone for Being Gay is Wrong

CBS News: Supreme Court Ruling Protects LGBTQ Workers

SCOTUS Pro-LGBTQ Ruling: Activists, Politicians, Celebs Rejoice

It Seems Almost Unreal: LGBTQ People Respond to Supreme Court Ruling

NPR: Supremes Court Delivers Major Victory to LGBTQ Employees

Advocate: The Gay and Trans People Who Took Their Cases to the Supreme Court

LA Times: Supreme Court Ruling Protects LGBTQ Rights

ABC News: Supreme Court Bans LGBTQ Employment Discrimination

Reuters: Supreme Court Endorses LGBTQ Worker Protections

CBS News: Existing Federal Civil Rights Laws Protect LGBTQ Workers

In Gay We Trust: Queer Liberation is Far From Over

 

 

 

Legal Challenges for LGBTQ People

 

For many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people, the massacre of 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando were a painful reminder that, despite successes like the Pentagon’s lifting the ban on military service by transgender people and the Supreme Court’s legalization of same-sex marriage, obstacles to acceptance and equality remain.

 

We asked LGBTQ leaders to reflect on the challenges the community still faces. Here is what they said:

 

Discrimination

 

“One of the main things we are doing is fighting against the post-marriage backlash,” said Mara Keisling, the executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality.

 

That has happened mainly at the state level, where more than 200 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced so far this year, said Russell Roybal, the deputy executive director of the National LGBTQ Task Force. Many state officials have used a religious freedom argument to support denying services to LGBTQ people.

 

The legalization of same-sex marriage heightened the daily risk of discrimination faced by many people, Mr. Roybal said. “In a lot of places, you can go to your county clerk and get a marriage license and get married and then get fired the next week because now you are openly gay,” he added.

 

 

Twenty nine states lack anti-discrimination laws that include sexual orientation or gender identity, and there is no federal law protecting access to employment, housing and public accommodation, like hotels or restaurants, for LGBTQ people, he said. In fact, some of the new state bills explicitly restrict public accommodation, particularly those who are transgender.

 

A North Carolina law passed in March made it illegal for transgender people to use public restrooms that match their gender identity. The law drew condemnation from many artists, who boycotted the state, and from some companies, which canceled plans to do business there.

 

Mississippi also drew swift criticism for a law allowing business owners to refuse service to gay men, lesbians and others based on the owners’ religious beliefs.

 

Rainbow Law
Immigration Equality

National Center for Lesbian Rights

Human Rights Watch: LGBTQ Rights

Amnesty International: LGBTQ Rights

American Civil Liberties Union: LGBTQ Rights

 

Violence

 

“Violence in our community is a big problem,” said Beverly Tillery, the executive director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project, which studies anti-LGBTQ violence and aids survivors. “Ultimately there is still the feeling for some people that LGBTQ people are less than and don’t matter, and that it is OK to commit acts of violence against them.”

 

There were 24 reported bias-motivated killings of LGBTQ people in 2015, a 20 percent rise from the year before, she said. Most of the victims were transgender and gender nonconforming minorities.

 

That figure is likely to jump this year because of the killings at Pulse nightclub in Orlando. The shootings put gun control on the agenda of many LGBTQ advocacy groups, Mr. Roybal said. “Every LGBTQ person knows that our safety is not guaranteed,” he said. “Although we don’t live in fear and continue to be out and proud, it is still something that kicks around at the back of our head when we touch our partner’s hand in public, when we lean in for a kiss, when we are out at a club being ourselves.”

 

 

Transgender Rights

 

Visibility has increased in recent years, but so have attacks against transgender people, making for a “traumatic” time, Ms. Keisling said. “The murder rate is way up, and in general, the rate of violence against trans people is way up,” she said.

 

Transgender people are more likely to experience poverty, discrimination and violence than gay men, lesbians or bisexuals, who themselves face higher poverty rates than the general population, activists said.

 

Transgender people have been explicitly targeted by 54 state bills similar to North Carolina’s bathroom law. Two of the state legislations were signed into law.

 

Dozens of religiously affiliated colleges and universities in the past 12 months have obtained waivers from federal civil rights laws that protect transgender people.

 

Southern Poverty Law Center

Lavender Law
Human Rights Campaign
National LGBT Bar Association

Lambda Legal
Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders

American Civil Liberties Union

Immigration Equality

 

 

Health Care

 

A trip to the doctor can be perilous for transgender people, who often face hostility or a general lack of understanding from health care providers, Ms. Keisling said. A study by her group found that 64 people (or 1 percent of respondents) had experienced physical violence in a doctor’s office or hospital, she said.

 

More generally, LGBTQ people are “significantly more likely” to be uninsured than the population at large, said Kellan Baker, who studies LGBTQ health issues at the Center for American Progress. Advocacy groups have encouraged enrollment in insurance offered under the Affordable Care Act, which was the first federal law to prohibit anti-LGBTQ discrimination in the health care system, said Mr. Baker.

 

They have also encouraged people to go on pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, a prescription drug that provides high levels of immunity from HIV, Mr. Roybal said

 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 57 percent of all Americans living with HIV at the end of 2011 were gay or bisexual men. They accounted for 65 percent of all new infections in 2013. African-Americans made up 40 percent of those new diagnoses, while whites accounted for 32 percent, and Latinos for 23 percent.

 

Mr. Baker said that transgender women also have an “extremely high prevalence” of HIV infection. Worldwide, they are 49 times more likely than non-transgender women to be HIV positive, he said.

 

 

US Supreme Court Protects LGBTQ Workers Rights

Gay High Schooler Suspended for Wearing Nail Polish

LGBTQ Rights by Country or Territory
In Gay We Trust: Queer Liberation is Far From Over

Timeline: American Gay Rights Movement

CBS News: Supreme Court Ruling Protects LGBTQ Workers

SCOTUS Pro-LGBTQ Ruling: Activists, Politicians, Celebs Rejoice

The Atlantic: Gay Rights and the Legal Mess Left Behind

Immigration Equality: LGBTQ Immigration Rights

Info: Money and Financial Matters

LGBTQ Bar: The Gay Panic Defense

It Seems Almost Unreal: LGBTQ People Respond to Supreme Court Ruling

NPR: Supremes Court Delivers Major Victory to LGBTQ Employees

LGBTQ Rights in the United States

Out Right International

SPLC: LGBTQ Rights for Students at School

Info: Business and the Marketplace

Advocate: The Gay and Trans People Who Took Their Cases to the Supreme Court

LA Times: Supreme Court Ruling Protects LGBTQ Rights

ABC News: Supreme Court Bans LGBTQ Employment Discrimination

How Discrimination Affects the LGBTQ Population

Mapping LGBTQ Equality in America

Washington Post: State Efforts to Limit LGBTQ Rights

 

 

Immigration and Criminal Justice Reform

 

Undocumented LGBTQ immigrants face an increased risk of violence and harassment in immigration detention centers and have sometimes not been provided with appropriate medical care, such as hormone treatments or HIV medications, especially when they are transgender.

 

A 2013 study by the University of California at Los Angeles’s School of Law estimated there were 900,000 LGBTQ immigrants in the United States, with about 267,000 of them undocumented.

 

Ms. Keisling said that Immigration and Customs Enforcement “has never figured out how to safely house transgender people, especially trans women.” “For the longest time what they did was just put everybody in solitary confinement” out of fear that transgender detainees would either be the victims or perpetrators of violence, she said.

 

That practice has decreased but not ended. Immigration authorities have started using designated LGBTQ units, but they are often far from a detainee’s family or lawyer, Ms. Keisling said

 

Mr. Roybal said LGBTQ prison inmates face many of the same challenges as LGBTQ people held in immigration detention centers: an elevated risk of violence, harassment and solitary confinement. “It isn’t really protecting them, it is isolating them,” he said of solitary confinement. “It’s basically the system not wanting to do anything to change its policies.”

 

[Source: Liam Stack, New York Times, June 2016]

 

 

Explanation: Gay/Trans Panic Defense

American Bar Association: The Gay/Trans Panic Defense

LGBTQ Bar: The Gay Panic Defense

 

The Gay/Trans Panic Defense

 

The LGBTQ "panic" defense (gay panic defense, gay/trans panic defense, homosexual panic defense) is a legal strategy in which a defendant claims they acted in a state of violent, temporary insanity, committing assault or murder, because of unwanted same-sex sexual advances. A defendant may allege to have found the same-sex sexual advances so offensive or frightening that they were provoked into reacting, were acting in self-defense, were of diminished capacity, or were temporarily insane, and that this circumstance is exculpatory or mitigating.

 

The LGBTQ “panic” defense has also been explained as a legal tactic that asks a jury to find that a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity/expression is to blame for a defendant’s violent reaction, including murder. It is not a free-standing defense to criminal liability, but rather a legal tactic used to bolster other defenses. When a perpetrator uses an LGBTQ “panic” defense, they are claiming that a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity not only explains (but excuses) a loss of self-control and the subsequent assault. By fully or partially acquitting the perpetrators of crimes against LGBTQ victims, this defense implies that LGBTQ lives are worth less than others.


One of the most recognized cases that employed the LGBTQ “panic” defense was that of Matthew Shepard. In 1998, Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old college student, was beaten to death by two men. The men attempted to use the LGBTQ “panic” defense to excuse their actions. Despite widespread public protest, the defense is still being used today.
 



Traditionally, the LGBTQ “panic” defense has been used in three ways to mitigate a case of murder to manslaughter or justified homicide.

 

Defense of insanity or diminished capacity

 

The defendant alleges that a sexual proposition by the victim – due to their sexual orientation or gender identity – triggered a nervous breakdown in the defendant, causing an LGBTQ “panic.” This defense is based on an outdated psychological term, “gay panic disorder”, which was debunked by the American Psychiatric Association and removed from the DSM in 1973. Sadly, while the medical field has evolved with our increasingly just society, the legal field has yet to catch up.
 

Defense of provocation

 

The defense of provocation allows a defendant to argue that the victim’s proposition, sometimes termed a “non-violent sexual advance,” was sufficiently “provocative” to induce the defendant to kill the victim. Defendants claiming a “provocative” advance stigmatize behavior which, on its own, is not illegal or harmful, but is only considered “provocative” when it comes from an LGBTQ individual.
 

Defense of self-defense

 

Defendants claim they believed that the victim, because of their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression, was about to cause the defendant serious bodily harm. This defense is offensive and harmful because it argues that a person’s gender or sexual identity makes them more of a threat to safety. In addition, LGBTQ “panic” is often employed to justify violence when the victim’s behavior falls short of the serious bodily harm standard, or the defendant used a greater amount of force than reasonably necessary to avoid danger, such as using weapons when their attacker was unarmed.

 



Some courts and legislatures have begun to curb the use of the LGBTQ “panic” defense, but many states are lagging behind. In order to ensure that the LGBTQ “panic” defense is not seen as a valid excuse, courts should instruct juries to make decisions without bias or prejudice. Jury instructions, however, are often not enough to ensure that people are not swayed by discriminatory appeals. Legislatures should specify that neither non-violent sexual advances nor the discovery of a person’s gender identity can be used as an adequate provocation for murder. Finally, local governments need to educate courts, prosecutors, defense counsel, and the public about the devastating individual and legal consequences of the LGBTQ “panic” defense.

Following the ABA’s resolution in 2013, The LGBTQ Bar is continuing to work with concerned lawmakers at the state level to help ban the use of this tactic in courtrooms across the country.

 

 

The LGBTQ “panic” defense has been banned in...
 

California, 2014
Illinois, 2017
Rhode Island, 2018
Nevada, 2019
Connecticut, 2019
Maine, 2019
Hawaii, 2019
New York, 2019
New Jersey, 2020
Washington, 2020
Colorado, 2020
District of Columbia, 2020


Legislation against the LGBTQ “panic” defense has been introduced, but not yet passed, in...
 

Minnesota, 2018
Pennsylvania, 2019 and 2020
Texas, 2019
Massachusetts, 2019
Wisconsin, 2019
Iowa, 2020
Virginia, 2021
Maryland, 2021
Nebraska, 2021
Florida, 2021
Oregon, 2021
New Mexico, 2021


[Source: LGBTQ Bar]

 

LGBTQ Rights by Country or Territory
Timeline: American Gay Rights Movement

Biden Announces Two Judicial Nominees Who Are Lesbians

Info: Money and Financial Matters

LGBTQ Rights in the United States

The Atlantic: Gay Rights and the Legal Mess Left Behind

Out Right International

SPLC: LGBTQ Rights for Students at School

LGBTQ Rights: 50 Years After Stonewall

Info: Career and Workplace Issues

Gay High Schooler Suspended for Wearing Nail Polish

In Gay We Trust: Queer Liberation is Far From Over

Mapping LGBTQ Equality in America

Washington Post: State Efforts to Limit LGBTQ Rights

LGBTQ Bar: The Gay Panic Defense

Info: LGBTQ Discrimination


HOME

 


QUEER CAFE │ LGBTQ Information Network │ Established 2017