Pdf issues facing an ally s guide to lgbt americans

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  • PDF Issues Facing an Ally'S Guide to Lgbt Americans
  • PDF TERMINOLOGY AN ALLY'S GUIDE TO - Advancement Project

PDF TERMINOLOGY AN ALLY'S GUIDE TO - Advancement Project

AN ALLY'S GUIDE TO ISSUES FACING LGBT AMERICANS
I
August 2012
AN ALLY'S GUIDE TO
L
SSUES FACING
GBT AMERICANS
This report was authored by: gender identity - and to improve the Democratic Party
2 on issues important to LGBT Democrats. For more
Movement Advancement Project information, visit .
The Movement Advancement Project (MAP) is an
independent think tank that provides rigorous Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and Institute
research, insight and analysis that help speed equality The Gay & Lesbian Victory Institute works to achieve
for LGBT people. MAP works collaboratively with full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender
LGBT organizations, advocates and funders, providing people by building, supporting, and advancing a
information, analysis and resources that help coordinate diverse network of LGBT public leaders. Through its
and strengthen their efforts for maximum impact. MAP training and professional development programs, the
also conducts policy research to inform the public and Victory Institute assists hundreds of individuals who
policymakers about the legal and policy needs of LGBT go on to influential careers in politics, government,
people and their families. For more information, visit business and advocacy each year. Many of the Victory
. Institute's trainees join the more than 1,000 openly
LGBT elected and appointed officials now serving
Human Rights Campaign around the world. The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund
HRC seeks to improve the lives of LGBT Americans by works to elect LGBT leaders to public office. For more
advocating for equal rights and benefits in the workplace, information, visit .
ensuring families are treated equally under the law and
increasing public support among all Americans through
innovative advocacy, education and outreach programs. About this report:
HRC works to secure equal rights for LGBT individuals
and families at the federal and state levels by lobbying An Ally's Guide to Issues Facing LGBT Americans is a primer
elected officials, mobilizing grassroots supporters, for allies that introduces the major areas in which LGBT
educating Americans, investing strategically to elect Americans face challenges in fully participating in life
fair-minded officials and partnering with other LGBT and provides a summary of what advocates are doing
organizations. For more information, visit . to work for change. This report incorporates information
current as of August 15, 2012.
Log Cabin Republicans
Log Cabin Republicans are proud members of the
GOP who believe inclusion wins. Log Cabin works to
build a stronger, more inclusive Republican Party by MAP thanks the following funders, without
promoting the core values of limited government, whom this report would not have been possible.
individual liberty, personal responsibility, free markets
and a strong national defense while advocating for the David Bohnett Foundation
freedom and equality of gay and lesbian Americans. Log David Dechman
Cabin Republicans is the only Republican organization David Geffen Foundation
dedicated to representing the interests of LGBT Ford Foundation
Americans and their allies. The 30-year old organization Gill Foundation
has state and local chapters nationwide, a full-time Esmond Harmsworth
office in Washington, DC, a federal political action Jim Hormel
committee and state political action committees. For Johnson Family Foundation
more information, visit . Amy Mandel and Katina Rodis
Weston Milliken
National Stonewall Democrats Kevin J. Mossier Foundation
National Stonewall Democrats is the national voice of The Palette Fund
lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and allied Democrats, Mona Pittenger
with more than 80 local affiliates across the nation. Two Sisters and a Wife Foundation
Stonewall Democrats works to elect more pro-equality H. van Ameringen Foundation
Democrats regardless of their sexual orientation or
TABLE OF CONTENTS
3
INTRODUCTION.................................................................................................................................1
Who are LGBT Americans?............................................................................................................................................ 1
EQUAL OPPORTUNITY FOR LGBT AMERICANS...............................................................................2
The Opportunity to Earn a Living and Provide for Ourselves and Our Families ......................................... 2
Fair and Inclusive Workplaces...............................................................................................................................................2
Access to Workplace Benefits................................................................................................................................................3
The Ability to Pursue Health and Happiness.......................................................................................................... 3
Access to Health Insurance....................................................................................................................................................3
Physical and Mental Health....................................................................................................................................................3
Access to Competent and Welcoming Health Care Providers...................................................................................3
Access to Identity Documents Needed for Daily Living..............................................................................................3
Freedom from Discrimination...............................................................................................................................................4
The Ability to Take Care of the Ones We Love........................................................................................................ 4
Freedom to Marry......................................................................................................................................................................4
Securing Legal Ties between Parents and Children......................................................................................................5
Caring for a Sick Partner or Child.........................................................................................................................................7
The Ability to Be Safe in Our Communities............................................................................................................. 8
Inclusive Hate Crime Laws......................................................................................................................................................8
Safe Schools.................................................................................................................................................................................8
Welcoming Faith Communities............................................................................................................................................9
The Chance to Serve Our Country ............................................................................................................................ 9
Military Service...........................................................................................................................................................................9
Public Service..............................................................................................................................................................................9
PROGRESS TOWARD EQUALITY.......................................................................................................10
REFERENCES......................................................................................................................................11
Note to Reader: This report aims to provide a high-level, easy-to-read summary of many of the key issues facing LGBT Americans. The
authors advise the reader that this type of snapshot report cannot adequately do justice to the nuance and complexity of the issues--
nor the LGBT community. This report aims only to lay some basic groundwork and create a high-level understanding. For readers
wishing to deepen their understanding, we provide a resource list and link to an online resource page at the end of this report.
INTRODUCTION of the adult U.S. population identifies as lesbian, gay or
1 bisexual, and 0.3% identifies as transgender.1 Applying
People who are unfamiliar with how current laws these figures to the total number of adults in the U.S.,
and social stigma affect lesbian, gay, bisexual and this research suggests that there are nearly 9 million
transgender (LGBT) Americans often have a simple LGBT adults.2
question--what exactly is it that LGBT Americans want?
The answer is just as simple. LGBT Americans want the The LGBT community is diverse and lives throughout
same chance as everyone else to pursue health and the U.S.; same-sex couples can be found in every state
happiness, earn a living, be safe in their communities, and in 93% of all U.S. counties.3 Data from the Census
serve their country, and take care of the ones they love show that one in five same-sex couples (21%) are
(see Figure 1). interracial or interethnic compared to 10% of married
heterosexual couples.4 A recent survey of more than
Unfortunately, unfair laws, lack of legal protections 6,400 transgender Americans found that 24% identified
and stigma stand in the way of this very basic goal. This as people of color.5
report provides a high-level overview of the added
burdens facing LGBT Americans, as well as a look at LGBT people are neighbors, partners, parents,
how those who believe all Americans should be treated coworkers and service members. Today there are roughly
equally and fairly are working to make things better. 2 million children living with LGBT parents.6 More than
1 million lesbians and gay men are veterans, and an
Who are LGBT Americans? estimated 71,000 currently serve in the U.S. military.7
Despite the fact that LGBT people have higher levels
Just like other Americans, LGBT Americans have of education and are more likely to be employed than
families, work hard to earn a living, pay taxes, and serve straight Americans,8 research finds that LGBT Americans,
their communities and their country. Recent research particularly LGBT families with children and LGBT families
by the Williams Institute finds that approximately 3.5% of color, have higher rates of poverty.9
Figure 1: The Goal: Equal Opportunity to Participate in American Life
Work Family
The chance to earn a living and The ability to take care of the ones we
provide for ourselves and our love. This means the freedom to marry
families. This includes protections the one we love; securing legal ties to our
from workplace discrimination or children; being able to take time from work
unfair firing from a job and equal or care for a sick partner or child; and full
access to workplace benefits. participation in family healthcare decisions.
Health & Happiness Community
The ability to pursue health The ability to be safe in our communities.
and happiness. This includes This includes being free from harassment
competent and welcoming health and threat of violence and feeling safe in our
care providers and freedom from communities, schools, and places of worship.
stigma and discrimination in all
aspects of our daily lives.
Service
The chance to serve our country. This
includes military service, service in public
office, and the ability to volunteer in our
communities.
EQUAL OPPORTUNITY FOR
LGBT AMERICANS Understanding the Terminology: Lesbian, 2
Gay, Bisexual and Transgender
The Opportunity to Earn
a Living and Provide for The terms lesbian, gay, and bisexual describe a
Ourselves and Our Families
person's sexual orientation. Lesbian and gay refer,
respectively, to women and men who are attracted
to individuals of the same sex; bisexual refers to
Fair and Inclusive Workplaces those who are attracted to both men and women.
The vast majority of Americans (73% according The term transgender is independent of sexual
to the latest poll by the Center for American Progress) orientation and describes individuals whose
believe that workers should be treated fairly and equally gender identity (their inner sense of being male or
and that no one should be fired for reasons that have female) and/or gender expression (their behavior,
nothing to do with their job performance.10 Yet LGBT clothing, haircut, voice and body characteristics)
people continue to face pervasive discrimination in the is different from what is stereotypically associated
workplace. According to an analysis of the 2008 General with the sex that was assigned to them at birth. At
Social Survey by the Williams Institute, more than one- some point in their lives, most transgender people
in-four lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) employees (27%) decide they must live their lives as the gender they
reported experiencing employment discrimination know themselves to be, and often transition to
based on their sexual orientation in the past five years.11 living as that gender.
The National Transgender Discrimination Survey found
that 50% of transgender employees had been harassed
at work.12 There is no federal law explicitly prohibiting As shown in Map 1, only a minority of states have
discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender legislation that protects workers for being unfairly
identity. Decisions by a number of federal courts, as fired just because they are transgender, though
well the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission a small majority protect workers who are gay. In
(EEOC), however, indicate that transgender people are remaining states, advocates are working to pass non-
protected by federal sex discrimination laws.13 discrimination laws. At the federal level, advocates are
Map 1: Employment Non-Discrimination Laws
Washington
New Hampshire
Montana North Vermont Maine 16 states + D.C. have laws
Dakota covering sexual orientation
Oregon Minnesota and gender identity
Idaho South Wisconsin
Dakota New York Massachusetts 5 states have laws covering
Wyoming Michigan Rhode Island only sexual orientation
Nevada Nebraska
Iowa Pennsylvania Connecticut
Utah Illinois Indiana
Ohio New Jersey 29 states have no laws
California Colorado West Delaware covering sexual orientation
Kansas Missouri Virginia Virgina or gender identity
Kentucky Maryland
North Carolina District of
Tennessee Columbia
Arizona New Mexico Oklahoma Arkansas South
Carolina
Georgia
Alabama
Alaska Texas Mississippi
Louisiana
Florida
Hawai'i
Note: A 2012 ruling by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission extends Title VII's prohibition on sex discrimination to prohibit discrimination against transgender people.
working to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Physical and Mental Health
3 Act (ENDA), which would protect workers across the
country from unfair discrimination based on sexual Adding to the burden of lesser rates of health
orientation and gender identity. At the local level, insurance, LGBT people also face some significant health
advocates are working with cities and counties to disparities. These include increased incidence of HIV/AIDS,
pass non-discrimination ordinances that prohibit mental health disorders, and chronic physical conditions.
employment discrimination by local governments LGB adults indicate that they are more likely to delay
and businesses. An estimated 133 cities and counties medical care, in part because of a fear of discrimination or
in states that lack legislation protecting LGBT workers lack of understanding by healthcare providers, which may
have passed such ordinances. explain why LGB adults are more likely to have serious
health conditions, including cancer.18
Access to Workplace Benefits HIV-related care remains costly, and securing
LGBT people are less likely to have health insurance adequate funding for care, prevention, and research
coverage.14 No federal law requires employers to offer is a constant challenge. Advocates are working to
health benefits to the same-sex spouses or partners improve treatment and care services, especially for often
of LGBT employees, and most employers do not offer overlooked at-risk communities, including older adults,
such benefits.15 Even when employers do offer such people in correctional facilities, people of color and
benefits, LGBT employees (unlike married straight transgender people.19
employees) and employers are taxed on the value of
domestic partner health insurance benefits, making Access to Competent and Welcoming Health
health insurance more expensive for LGBT employees Care Providers
and their families. The federal government's unfair Even when LGBT people and their families can
taxation and treatment of employer health benefits obtain health insurance, they may still face inhospitable
for domestic partners also punishes businesses for health care environments. Some professional
granting domestic partner benefits by imposing healthcare staff, including physicians, counselors, and
higher payroll taxes and administrative burdens. As receptionists, are hostile or unwilling to work with LGBT
a result, businesses are discouraged from offering people, while others are not trained to do so. And while
domestic partner benefits and fewer LGBT people have federal regulations require hospitals participating in
health insurance coverage. It is estimated that an LGBT Medicare and Medicaid to prohibit discrimination in
employee with a partner receiving benefits pays, on visitation based on sexual orientation and gender
average, over $1,000 per year in taxes-taxes that their identity, LGBT people still may face refusals to allow
straight coworkers are not required to pay.16 Advocates partners and children to visit in other facilities, such as
are working to pass the Tax Parity for Health Plan nursing homes and private hospitals.
Beneficiaries Act, which would end the taxation of
health benefits for same-sex couples. Access to Identity Documents Needed for Daily
Living
The Ability to Pursue Health Transgender people face substantial obstacles in
and Happiness daily life because they may be unable to obtain identity
documents that reflect their gender. Many states make
it difficult to obtain a new birth certificate or other
Access to Health Insurance identity documents with a corrected gender. Some
states will only issue an obviously amended birth
Transgender employees face extreme challenges certificate which can draw attention to the changes.
in obtaining health insurance coverage for even the most Additionally, states may require that transgender
basic care. Many insurance plans contain exclusions that people have proof of surgery or a court order in order
deny transgender people coverage for care related to to obtain accurate documents, which present costly
being transgender such as hormone therapy or certain and intrusive burdens. A revised birth certificate may
surgical procedures.17 In fact, some insurers have refused be required to make changes to a driver's license or
to provide them with health coverage entirely. other identification documents. When transgender

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