Full EQUALITY BEFORE THE LAW For LGBTQIA Nebraskans

Archive for May, 2014

Queer Alphabet Soup


OMAHA, NE – The LGBT community is growing as more and more people begin using LGBTQIA.  Many people get confused by the additional letters because they don’t know why they are included. Well, this article will attempt to remedy that.

L is for Lesbians, who are persons who self-identify as females who are sexually and romantically attracted to other females.

G is for Gay Men, who are persons who self-identify as males who are sexually and romantically attracted to other males.

B is for Bisexuals who are persons who can be sexually and romantically attracted to both men and women.

T is for TransGender who are persons whose gender identity differs from their assigned sex at birth. TransGender persons may not self-identify as transgender.  Transgender people may or may not use a different name or pronoun than the one they were assigned at birth, and they may or may not pursue hormone therapy or surgery.  The term GenderQueer fits under this category, and refers to people who do not identify as, or who do not express themselves as completely one gender. Genderqueer people may or may not identify as transgender or transsexual.  When in doubt, always defer to the way a person self-identifies. Transgender people may also identify their sexual orientation as straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, or even pansexual.

Q is for Queer which is an umbrella term which embraces a variety of sexual preferences, orientations, and habits of those who do not adhere to the heterosexual and cisgender majority. The term queer includes, but is not exclusive to lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender persons, and intersex persons, traditionally, this term is derogatory and hurtful, however, many people who do not adhere to sexual and/or gender norms use it to self-identify in a positive way.  The term Queer was taken back by gay activists during the nineties. Pansexuals would also fit under this term.  Pansexuals can be sexually and romantically attracted to people of any sexual orientation or any gender, they can be attracted to the broad spectrum of people in existence.

Q is also for Questioning, for those who are still finding the identity that fits them.

I is for Intersexed and is used for those whose anatomy is not exclusively male or female.

A is for Asexuals, who are persons who do not have sexual attraction. Asexuals may or may not consider it to be a sexual orientation.

A is also used for Ally, someone who is not LGBTQIA, but supports full equality for those who are.

HELP FUND LGBT EQUALITY

Rainbow LGBTQIA

Rainbow LGBTQIA

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Changing the LGBT Equality Conversation.


OMAHA, NE –  The LGBT community has fought for equality for decades, yet a significant amount of LGBT discrimination remains: 51% of Americans live in the 34 states that ban marriage equality. In 29 states, you can be fired based on your sexual orientation, in 33 states based on your gender identity. In 30 states, you can be denied housing based on your sexual orientation, in 34 states based on your gender identity. In 29 states, you can be denied public accommodations based on your sexual orientation, in 34 based on your gender identity. *Source: ACLU, Marriage Equality USA, Get Equal, HRC, State Government websites.

Unfair treatment and discrimination lead to higher rates of poverty and distress in the LGBT community. This is not acceptable. LGBT Americans are entitled to full and equal federal protection as a matter of international human rights law, the 14th Amendment and as an urgent matter of public health, to stop the suffering caused by anti-LGBT stigma in society. The time to stand for the full spectrum of rights and protections we deserve as Americans is now.

A real solution to inequality is The Equality Pledge and the American Equality Bill, an omnibus bill to add sexual orientation and gender identity as federally protected classes under a broad list of areas where other classes are already federally protected. These areas include public accommodations, public facilities, federally funded programs, employment, housing, education, credit, federal marriage equality, immigration, disability, and family leave. Adding Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity as protected classes when it comes to federally funded programs is probably the single most important civil rights issue never talked about in the LGBT community. Current laws covering the other protected classes include; the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, Fair Housing Act, Education Amendments Act of 1972, and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.
See the Pledge: http://www.actonprinciples.org/thepledge

May 17 is the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia or IDAHOT. IDAHOT is a day to stand against violence, oppression and to promote freedom, diversity, and acceptance. Last year, IDAHOT was celebrated in 113 countries. Members of the Omaha area’s LGBT community will rally at 72nd and Dodge Streets at 2pm this Saturday, May 17th, where they will also advocate for full federal equality through the omnibus bill, or one-bill strategy.
See also: http://dayagainsthomophobia.org
See also: https://www.facebook.com/events/281157485379314

Sincerely,
Ken Riter
Nebraskans For Equality

Fight For Full Federal Equality


OMAHA, NE – Equality for all Americans is important, and of particular importance to our nation’s LGBT community. I am excited to donate some of my time to take on the task as a state lead for Nebraska for The Equality Pledge. and the American Equality Bill.

The time to push for Full Federal Equality has arrived.  ENDA has been introduced in every session of Congress since 1994, and has failed to pass.  The LGBT movement has been “piecemealing” our civil rights for so long, that people have forgotten that Marriage Equality and NonDiscrimination in Housing and Employment are just a small part of what we in the LGBT Community deserve as true and equal Americans. I say the people are growing weary. There is also a need to look to fairness in education, public accommodation, federal funding, and credit, among an entire list of civil rights that we should be demanding now and discussing everyday within our respective communities.

A day of action is coming.  May 17th is our first day of action to stand against homophobia and transphobia in cooperation between the people of the Full Equality Pledge and IDAHOT 2014. Omaha will have rally May 17th 2014, from 2pm-7pm on the NorthWest corner of 72nd and Dodge.  According to The Equality Pledge leader Todd Fernandez, “The key objective on May 17th is to bring local Pledge groups together to discuss and create a plan for coalition work focused on the Pledge, and on other state nondiscrimination priorities you may have.  It’s time to organize to win.  And July 2nd is the 50th Anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act – so if not now, when?”
(FB Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/281157485379314)
See also http://dayagainsthomophobia.org

A new arm in the LGBT movement is rising to take up this responsibility of discussing and pushing the need for Full Federal Equality and that is The Equality Pledge.  Our message is that LGBTQIA Americans are entitled to full and equal federal nondiscrimination protection; first, as a matter of international human rights law, and urgently, as a matter of public health, to stop the horrible suffering caused by anti-LGBTQIA stigma in society.

The Equality Pledge supports the passage of an omnibus LGBT equality legislation that grants full non-discrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity equal to those accorded other statuses under existing civil rights laws and Supreme Court jurisprudence, specifically including:

  1. Public Accommodations (Title II, 1964 Civil Rights Act)(e.g., restaurants, hotels, theaters)
  2. Public Facilities (Title III, 1964 Civil Rights Act) (e.g., courthouses, jails, hospitals, parks)
  3. Federally-Funded Programs **Possibly the single most important one**(Title VI, 1964 Civil Rights Act) (e.g., adoption, police, schools, homeless youth, health care)
  4. Employment (Title VII, 1964 Civil Rights Act; 1978 Civil Service Reform Act; 1991 Government Employee Rights Act; 1995 Congressional Accountability Act; 10 U.S.C. Ch. 37) (e.g., civilian and military government, private sector)
  5. Housing (Title VIII, 1968 Civil Rights Act, aka the Fair Housing Act) (e.g., rental, purchase, finance)
  6. Education (Title IX, 1972 Education Amendments Act) (e.g., schools, bullying)
  7. Credit (1974 Equal Credit Opportunity Act) (e.g., credit cards)
  8. Federal Marriage Equality (based on gender, SO) (e.g., 1967 Supreme Court Decision, Loving v. Virginia)
  9. Immigration, Disability, and Family Leave (Uniting American Families Act (proposed), the American With Disabilities Act, and the Family and Medical Leave Act)

This is an important turn in the history of the LGBT movement. Every individual and every group is warmly welcomed to this organizing that respects autonomy and diversity in strategy, messaging and tactics.  Retired organizers are rising up again, able to work by phone and email these days.  And LGBT community centers, state equality groups, and grassroots marriage equality groups, to name a few, are taking leading roles for May 17th.  The Equality Pledge has already received endorsements from over 225 groups from 44 states and the District of Columbia. These groups represent the full array of advocacy, direct action, faith-based, statewide, local, marriage, immigration, pride, transgender/gender-nonconforming, community centers, and other community constituencies.  See also: http://www.actonprinciples.org/thepledge

If you are interested in bringing your group into this vast and growing network, please contact Ken Riter at 4o2-686-6389 in Nebraska or Mika Covington at 712-314-8258 in Iowa.

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