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Panel #2 on Trans issues

eQualityThinking-logoTonight we will hold the second panel of eQualityThinking: a  free, open, and virtual convention for LGBT legal equality.

The panel is titled:

DOES THE “T” IN “LGBTQ” MEAN ANYTHING MORE THAN “TOKEN”?

Panelists

Question Moderators

You can hear the panel live today Sunday from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm EST.  You can also post questions, that the question moderators will ask (whether you are able to attend live or not). Click here to get the dialing info (no registration required) and/or to post questions: http://www.equalitygiving.org/eQualityThinking-The-T-in-LGBTQ
Please forward this information to others who might be interested in this panel discussion.

BLOG for equality now

THE HARM CAUSED BY DISCRIMINATION AGAINST LGBT PEOPLE: A SNAP SHOT

This is a very quick overview of findings, and rough outline of various academic sources, indicating the nature and extent of “harm” caused by discrimination against LGBT people.  There are also various new reports listed below, including a new report out on Transgender discrimination, but the info in those has not yet been integrated into this overview (except the 41% suicide attempt).

Please review, and make comments, corrections and send more or better information along ([email protected]). This is a rough draft to get this conversation started.  It is far from exhaustive, particularly in exploring the precise types of psychological affects underpinning the mental health impacts such as depression, anxiety, etc. So more is needed, but once we expose the harm, the duty to remedy will be obvious and mandatory. Thank you for caring.

THE HARM CAUSED BY DISCRIMINATION AGAINST LGBT PEOPLE

“The US has fallen behind many other countries in the legal recognition of the basic human rights of LGBT people.” Amnesty International ‘05

“Persecution of people because of their sexual orientation .. is every bit as unjust as that crime against humanity, apartheid.”  Desmond Tutu ‘04

Homophobia Harms Mental Health poster

HOW MANY ARE WE? Roughly 15 to 23 million plus; somewhere between 2% and 7.5% of the population ((of 312 million population: 113 million adult men + 119 adult women + 80 million under 18), plus “encounters”
INDIANA UNIV. STUDY: 8% men; 7% women (approx. 23.4 million), identifying LGB, many more with same-sex encounters.

JOURNAL OF HOMOSEXUALITY (JH) – EXPERT REPORT ON SUICIDE:
TRANS: .02%. (624,000)
TRANSSEXUALS identifying as LGB (post transition): 31% MTF & 65% FTM are GLB.
ATTRACTION: 7.7% men (8.7 million); 3.5% women (4.2 million)– same-sex sexual attraction (1994) – appox. 13 million adults; (5.6% average) 18 million total population.
ACTION: 4.7% adult men (5.3 million); 3.6% women (4.3 million) – one same-sexed partner – approx. 9.6 million. (4.15%)
LIVING: 2.5% adult men (2.8 million); 1.4% women (1.7 million)– exclusively same-sex past year – approx. 4.5 million. (1.9%)
STUDENTS: 3% of students 9-12 LGB (age 14 to 17; 501th)
YOUNG ADULTS: 3.2% age 18-26 (up to 24; appox. 1 million)

SAME-SEX UNIONS: 600th (2000 Census; 62% under representative, real total: 1 million unions, 2 million people?)(sounds very low)
MILITARY: 36,000 (2.8%; 65,000th including guard/reserves)
SAME-SEX Bi-NATIONAL COUPLES: 36,000 (number disputed)
CLOSET: 1/3 of LGB people in closet at work (5.6 million people living in daily fear)

TOTAL LGBT Americans: 23.4 million, more with same-sex attraction
MY CONCLUSION: More same-sex behavior/attraction than identify as GLB = successful repression regime.

KEY FINDINGS ON HARMFUL IMPACTS OF DISCRIMINATION:
-LGBT people are roughly 4 times as more likely to attempt suicide (JH, 18)
-LGBT people suffer Gay Related Stress/Minority Stress, post-traumatic stress disorder (JH, 22)
-Prejudice, Discrimination and victimization is a major mental health concern (HP, 218) causes much higher rates of Major Depression, General Anxiety, Conduct Disorder, and Alcohol/Substance Disorder (HP; JH)
-LGBT are 6 times more likely to have multiple disorders (JH,22)
-30% of LGBT people have alcohol abuse, compared to 9% of general population. (Center for Am. Progress).
-LGBT are 20-40% of 2 million homeless youth (73% parental rejection) (JH, 22)
-LGBT youth experiencing parental rejection are 8 times more likely to commit suicde (JH, 22)
-33% of all teen suicides are LGBT (YI) (solutions: family connectedness, caring from other adults, school safety, GL community, positive sexual identity) (JH, 26)
-Transgendered: 41% suicide attempt rate (TransStudy); 60% attacked in violent assaults (CA report?) (All Trans numbers need updated from the new study just released, but the 41% suicide rate is from that doc)
-Denial of one’s true self?? Anger, Resentment? Twisted sense of loyalty to abusers/country? Disenfranchisement. Objectification. (Queer Theory literature needed).

ACTIVE INSTITUTIONAL DISCRIMINATION
-In states with NO hate crimes or employment discrimination laws, 5 times more likely to have 2 or more disorders (p. 24)
-In states with hostile political campaigns (anti-gay marriage campaigns), mood disorders increased by 1/3.
-1974 to 2009, 115 efforts to repeal protections, or mandate discrimination – 50% passed (WIpp), 23).
-Police Abuse: Amnesty International Report: there is profiling, selective enforcement; sexual, physical and verbal abuse; abuse in arrest and detention (including rape); fear of reporting; identity-based mistreatment.
-Elected officials in all 50 states show hostility towards G/L (PvS, 99).

ACTIVE SOCIETAL DISCRIMINATION
-Employment Discrimination. William’s Institute study: wide spread discrimination, state and local government employees (police departments), private, federal as well.
-44% LGB, 66% T – employment discrimination. Weekly; Steady fear. Fired/not hired, Harassment, Abused (41% in Topeka), Lower Earnings, Unfair Scrutiny (WI07, 4, 7; Utah, CA).
-Housing Discrimination (HUD). No national study. Michigan found 30% of same-sex applicants encountered different treatment, including harassment.
-School Safety. 61% felt unsafe at school because of SO, and 40% because of gender expression (GLSEN). Huge numbers of verbal and physical harassment, and almost 20%/12.5% assaulted (punched, kicked or injured with a weapon) (GLSEN). 5x more likely to commit suicide, lower goals, miss school.
-Religious beliefs that G/L relationships are sinful or inferior cause harm (PvS)
-Gays and lesbians have a long and on-going history as victims of discrimination (PvS, 96, 98)
-Violence directed against group is vicious and increasing (PvS, 97)

STATE PATCH WORK NON-DISCRIMINATION
-29 states with NO employment anti-discrimination laws for SO
-38 states with NO employment anti-discrimination laws for GI
-30 states with NO housing protections for SO&GI
-35 states with NO anti-bullying protections for SO&GI
-36 states have laws or Constitutional amendments against same-sex marriage

FEDERAL ACTION
-Sodomy de-criminalized by Supreme Court (June 2003)

-Hate Crimes Laws (enhanced penalties for violent attacks) (111th, 2009)

-DADT repealed, but not reversed legally (111th, 2010)

-DOMA Sec. 3 overturned by SCOTUS so federal government now recognizes same-sex marriages. But state non-recognition of other states still in place.

-NO FEDERAL LAW outlawing SO&GI discrimination in anything

-NO FEDERAL LAW ending state marriage discrimination

KEY RECOMMENDATION

CHANGE THE PUBLIC POLICY
Amnesty International, American Psychological Association:
Comprehensive Policy Change of Non-discrimination laws at the federal, state and local level (APA, p. 40; AI)
GLSEN:  Comprehensive Bullying/Harassment polices and laws.

“The American Psychological Association supports and urges the enactment of civil rights legislation at the local, and state and federal level that would offer citizens who engage in acts of homosexuality the same protections now guaranteed to others on the basis of race, creed, color, etc.” Conger, J.J. (1975). Proceedings of the American Psychological Association, Incorporated, for the year 1974: Minutes of the annual meeting of the Council of Representatives. American Psychologist, 30, 620-651. http://www.apa.org/about/governance/council/policy/discrimination.aspx

Amnesty International: “Federal, sate and local gov’ts should ensure that national, state and local laws prohibit all forms of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”

SOURCES (Please send others, corrections):

JOURNAL OF HOMOSEXUALITY (JH)
Suicide and Suicide Risk in LGBT Populations, (Jan. 8, 2011)
http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/title~content=t792306897

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL (AI)
1. USA: Stonewalled: Police Abuse and Misconduct against LGBT people in America (2005).
http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR51/122/2005
2. (Variation on #1 above): Stonewalled – still demanding respect (2006): (profiling, selective enforcement; sexual, physical and verbal abuse; abuse in arrest and detention; fear of reporting; identity-based mistreatment.)
http://www.amnestyusa.org/document.php?id=ENGAMR510012006&lang=e
“Federal, sate and local gov’ts should ensure that national, state and local laws prohibit all forms of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity”

GLSEN
2009 National School Climate Survey (harm to students)
Nearly 9 out of 10 – harassment. 2/3-unsafe. 1/3 skipped school.
Recommends legal response, implementation and GSAs.
http://www.glsen.org/cgi-bin/iowa/all/library/record/2624.html?state=research&type=research

WILLIAMS INSTITUTE (WI)
1. Employment. (Wide-spread discrimination, state and local gov’t employees. Same for private, fed and local govt.
http://www.law.ucla.edu/williamsinstitute/programs/ENDA/Testimony%20on%20R%20%20Bradley%20Sears%20HR%203091%20(2).pdf
3. State Employment Discrimination: http://www.law.ucla.edu/williamsinstitute/programs/EmploymentReports_ENDA.html (and powerpoint (WIpp))
4. General Employment (07 survey overview) (WIO7) (mentions an “public accommodation discrimination” study – but I’ve not found it):
http://escholarship.org/uc/item/5h3731xr#page-1

HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT (HUD)
1. Press release (1-20-11) http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/press/press_releases_media_advisories/2011/HUDNo.11-006
(No national information – HUD Conducting New Research).
2. referenced: State level: Michigan ‘07: http://www.fhcmichigan.org/images/Arcus_web1.pdf
(“27% same-sex couples ‘treated differently’ buying/renting housing”)

TRANSGENDER LAW CENTER
California 09: (CA) http://www.transgenderlawcenter.org/pdf/StateTransCA_report_2009Print.pdf

NATION CENTER FOR TRANSGENDERED RIGHTS & NGLTF

National Transgender Discrimination Report:  http://endtransdiscrimination.org/report.html

AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION, Office of LGBT Concerns (APA)
Psychological effects of anti-LGBT discrimination.
Policy Statements: http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/policy/index.aspx
Amicus Briefs: http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/amicus.aspx
Resolution opposing discriminatory legislation and initiatives (confirming harm): http://www.apa.org/about/governance/council/policy/discriminatory-legislation.aspx

SOCIETY FOR THE PSYCHOLOGICAL STUDY of LGBT ISSUES (Division 44)
All sorts of research angles and resources (more for academics)
http://www.apadivision44.org/resources/research.php

GAY & LESBIAN MEDICAL ASSOCOCIATION. “Healthy People 2010” (HP)
http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CB8QFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.glma.org%2F_data%2Fn_0001%2Fresources%2Flive%2FHealthyCompanionDoc3.pdf&rct=j&q=Healthy%20people%202010%3A%20companion%20document&ei=moc8TbaPNsT68Aa2zdjDCg&usg=AFQjCNHhyt1wen6_Tn7PNSjVYKDIJ3AMtg&cad=rja (higher rates of major depression and panic attack, p. 219)

FAMILY ACCEPTANCE PROJECT
School victimization, family rejection.
http://familyproject.sfsu.edu/publications

YES INSTITUTE (YI)
http://yesinstitute.org/resources/statistics_and_research.php

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA:
YOUTH FAMILY IN SYSTEMS OF CARE
http://rtckids.fmhi.usf.edu/rtcpubs/FamExp/lgbt-mono.pdf

URBAN INSTITUTE (demographics)
http://www.urban.org/toolkit/issues/gayresearchfocus.cfm
Unions: http://www.urban.org/publications/1000491.html

INDIANA UNIVERSITY (national sex study)
http://www.nationalsexstudy.indiana.edu/

FAITH IN AMERICA (religion teaching is cause of harm, anecdotal examples)
http://www.faithinamerica.com/

PUBLIC POLICY (ANTI-DISCRIMINATION) STATEMENTS BY MAJOR ORGANIZATIONS
APA: http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/policy/index.aspx
Various (NAACP, ACLU, posted by WI): http://www2.law.ucla.edu/williamsinstitute/programs/EmploymentReports_ENDA.html

Desmond Tutu, forward to Love, Sex & Homophobia (Amnesty Int’l).

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article451901.ece

http://www.afrol.com/articles/13584

FEDERAL COURT CASES
1. Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (26 June 2003) (sodomy laws unconstitutional)
Syllabus/Opinions: http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/02-102.ZS.html
2. Perry v. Schwarzenegger (PvS), Marriage Discrimination Unconstitutional (go team!)
Decision: http://documents.nytimes.com/us-district-court-decision-perry-v-schwarzenegger#document/p79
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perry_v._Schwarzenegger#Decision
3. Gill v. O.P.M., DOMA, Sec. 3 Unconstitutional (go team!), Decision: http://www.scribd.com/doc/34073588/Decision-in-Gill-v-OPM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gill_v._Office_of_Personnel_Management

NEW RESOURCES, NOT REFLECTED IN THE ABOVE:

1.  United States Commission on Civil Rights:  Violence & Bullying 2011 (possibly the 1st USCCR report including LGBT issues, thank you Roberta Achtenberg!). http://www.usccr.gov/pubs/2011statutory.pdf

2.  Movement Advancement Project:  All Children Matter: How Legal and Social Inequalities Hurt LGBT Families.  2011. http://www.lgbtmap.org/lgbt-families

3.  Public Health Implications of Same-Sex Marriage,  William C. Buffie, MD, Published by Am. J. Public Health. June 2011.  http://indianaequality.typepad.com/files/ajph.article.pdf

4.  Institute of Medicine of the National Academies:  “The Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People:  Building a Foundation for Better Understanding.” http://www.iom.edu/Reports/2011/The-Health-of-Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-and-Transgender-People.aspx

5.  Wyoming Bullying Study.  http://trib.com/news/state-and-regional/wyoming-students-report-increases-in-bullying-being-bullied/article_4e169be8-bd39-5fe0-b5c7-51c187ede1d9.html

6.  La Trobe University (Australia): http://bigpondnews.com/articles/National/2012/04/03/Gays_suffer_poor_mental_health_-_survey_735812.html#.T4WinKCB6dY.facebook

7. “Interactions of Latina Transgender Women with Law Enforcement”: http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/research/transgender-issues/interactions-of-transgender-latina-women-with-law-enforcement/

8.  Boston University:  Parental Support Helps Mitigate Harmful Effects of Discrimination: http://psychcentral.com/news/2012/04/11/parental-support-of-coming-out-improves-long-term-health/37203.html

9. LAMBDA Legal (Survey on Health Care discrimination): http://www.lambdalegal.org/news/ny_20100204_lambda-releases-health

10. NGLTF/NCLR Report Series on Native American Trans Discrimination: http://www.advocate.com/politics/transgender/2012/10/14/over-half-native-trans-people-have-attempted-suicide

11. LGBT Population Survey. http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/Gates-LLR-Spring-2012.pdf

12. Pride Institute. 20-25% of LGBT people are heavy alchol users. http://pride-institute.com/about/why-lgbt-treatment/

13. The Handbook of Psychology and Sexual Orientation. http://www.amazon.com/Handbook-Psychology-Orientation-Charlotte-Patterson/dp/0199765219

14. Anti-gay prejudice increases health risks. http://sdgln.com/health/2011/09/05/new-studyanti-gay-prejudice-increases-health-risks-gays-lesbians-and-bisexuals

15. Center for American Progress: Discrimination causes 30% LGBT to have Alcohol Abuse. http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/lgbt/report/2012/03/09/11228/why-the-gay-and-transgender-population-experiences-higher-rates-of-substance-use/

BLOG for equality now

Overview of Prior Legislative Agenda for REPACKAGING in 112th Congress

Hello Congress & Movement:

I’ve done a quick review and summary of bills filed last Congress on issues remaining. Most of what we need for “full equality” is being filed.

The big holes are:
A. non-discrimination in all federally funded programs, (though we’ve already tackled health, adoption/foster care, and schools), and
B. ending state marriage discrimination by federal statute.

What this shows to me is that the main task before us (as we refile everything in the new Congress) is that of coordination among the various members filing legislation, and some strategic packaging. Of course, duplicate individual bills could still be filed where desired.

The natural groupings are indicated below. Already our bills go to many different committees, so we’re scattered like the wind. What we don’t benefit from is the possible synergies, particularly of grouping the discrimination bills.

Using the word “Civil Rights Act” seems to make people nervous, though we are already seeking non-discrimination in many of the various laws covered under that general rubric, which really refers to the broad array of federal non-discrimination laws already applicable to “race, color, sex, national origin, religion, disability, marital status” (to varying degrees depending on the law).

I hope the filers of these bills will work together so at a minimum there is organization and coordination to our legislative effort. The AEB offers a good template, but more work needs to be done to reconcile and cover these various bills, particularly for enforcement features and new programs.

Please let me know of any corrections.

Tks, Tif

I. ENDING DISCRIMINATION

1. Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) in the House/Senate (Rep. Barney FRANK, D-MA; Sen. Jeff MERKLEY, D-OR) (Outlaws discrimination on SO+GI by govt & private employees, like Title VII of CRA and Gov’t Employees Rights Act do for other group-traits). (4 committees) (1994)

2. Freedom from Discrimination in Credit Act in House (Rep. Steve ISREAL, D-NY2, Frank, Baldwin, Polis) (adds SO+GI to Equal Credit Opport. Act)

3. Fair and Inclusive Housing Rights Act in House (Rep. NADLER, D-NY8, no GL Reps?) (adds SO+GI to Fair Housing Act, Title VIII of CRA)

4. Student Non-Discrimination Act in House/Senate (Rep. Jarrod POLIS, D- CO, Frank, Baldwin, Nadler) (end discrimination/harrassment based on SO/GI via federal programs (CRA, Title VI) hook; whistle blower; enforcement provisions; private right of action.

5. Equal Rights for Healthcare Act in House (Rep. Laura RICHARDSON, D-CA37) (prohbits discrim in fed. health care services/research programs on basis of ‘sex, race, color, nat.origin, so, gi, or disability’)(This may duplicate already existing protections for some traits).

6. Ending LGBT Health Disparities Act in House (Rep. Tammy BALDWIN, D-WI12) (10 committees) (pre-existing conditions; fed. Employee DP; Medicaid for HIV; spouse for Medicare; nondis for SO/GI in Medicaid/care, CHIP; grants for SO/GI studies and projects to improve health & mental health for so/gi minorities; ‘culturally competent’ care provisions; office of LGBT health; anti-violence programs/studies; teen pregnancy/stds grants; children of same-sex partners insurance benefits; veterans benefits and DOD programs.) (MOST probably covered by Title VI, CRA; except new programs)

Missing:
-Federally Funded Programs (CRA, Title VI) (except adoption/foster care; health, schools) (BIG pieces remain)
-Public Accommodations (CRA, Title II) (an issue critical to Trans)
-Public Facilities (CRA, Title III)
-Trans issues in American w/Disability Act (though probably impacted via health care bills) (no reason for controversy)

II. FAMILY RECOGNITION
7. Respect for Marriage Act (DOMA Repeal) in House (Rep. Jerrold NADLER, D-NY8) (repeals DOMA, recognizes valid state marriages)

8. Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) in the House/Senate (Rep. Jerrold NADLER, D-NY8; Sen. Patrick LEAHY, D-VT) (provides domestic partnership equivalent for spousal immigration process)

Missing:
Ending State Discrimination in Marriage (44 state laws against us)

III. RELATIONSHIP-EMPLOYMENT BENEFITS

9. Family Medical Leave Inclusion Act in House (Rep. Carolyn MALONEY, D-NY14) (creates Domestic Partner equivalent provisions)

10. Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations (DPBO) Act in the House/Senate (Rep. Tammy BALDWIN, D-WI2; Sen. Joseph LIEBERMAN, I-CT) (adds annuity/pension benefits for all gov’t employees, except armed services, but including DOD, Coast Guard) (Committee: Homeland Security)

11. Tax Equity for Health Plan Beneficiaries in House/Senate (Rep. James McDERMOTT, D-WA7; Sen. Charles SCHUMER, D-NY) (makes health insurance contributions for any ‘eligible beneficiary’ deductable).

IV. CHILD WELFARE (ADOPTION,/FOSTER; BULLYING; SEX ED)(beyond lgbt)

12. Every Child Deserves a Family (ECDF) Act in the House (Rep. Fortney STARK, D-CA13) (ends discrimination in federally funded adoption/foster care, based on SO+GI, marital status).

13. Safe Schools Improvement Act in House (Rep. Linda SANCHEZ, D-CA, Frank, Baldwin)(adds to definition of “violence”: bullying and harassment based on ‘race, color, nat. org, sex, SO/GI, disability” to the Safe & Drug Free Schools & Community Act; complaint procedures; evaluations.)(duplicates to some extent the SNDA)

14. Responsible Education About Life (REAL) Act in House (Rep. Barbara LEE, D-CA9; Sen. Frank LAUTENBERG, D-NJ) (sex education/HIV/STDs program, study, includes nondis SO+GI)

V. HEALTH CARE HIV DRUG PROVISION (not lgbt specific)

15. Early Treatment for HIV Act (ETHA) in House/Senate (Rep. Eliot ENGLE, D-NY17; Sen. Charles SCHUMER, D-NY) (committee: Energy/sub-Health) (insuring HIV antiviral treatment under Social Security).

PASSED 111th Congress: Hate Crimes;  DADT (repeal) (Yahoo)

-Sodomy decriminalized by Supreme Court (June 2003)

-NO FEDERAL LAW outlawing SO&GI discrimination

CURRENT STATE LAW PATCH WORK

-29 states with NO employment anti-discrimination laws for SO

-38 states with NO employment anti-discrimination laws for GI

-30 states with NO housing protections for SO&GI

-35 states with NO anti-bullying protections for SO&GI

-44 states have laws or Constitutional amendments against same-sex marriage

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Think Bigger and Act Differently

With the change in control of the House of Representatives and in many state houses and governorships in January 2011, there is a growing concern about how much we will be able to advance LGBT legal equality now. Different people are using different strategies:

- Some people are writing off the next two years and concentrating instead on electing the right candidates in 2012

- Other people are debating whether we should focus on marriage equality or employment non-discrimination

- Other leaders are saying that we have accomplished two goals (Hate Crimes and DADT) and we have two to go (ENDA and DOMA)

We believe that we have to Think Bigger:

- We can achieve significant gains in LGBT legal equality now if we put our mind to it

- The debate should not be about marriage equality OR employment non-discrimination

- We cannot continue asking for only ENDA and DOMA, which are both limited. We need to ask for FULL equality. If we continue asking less than full equality, we will never get equal.

And, of course, we need to Act Differently if we expect to get anything done now.

WHY eQualityThinking?

Since we are asking others to Think Bigger and Act Differently, we needed to apply it to ourselves.

In the past five years we have been very successful in implementing an online community of donors for LGBT legal equality. Our internet traffic exceeds all LGBT organizations except for HRC and GLAAD. We have organized conference calls with key members of the movement (including eight Members of Congress). We convened the Dallas Meeting that originated the Dallas Principles and later created – and entirely fund – Act On Principles.

So in trying to build upon this experience, we included the concepts of Thinking Bigger and Acting Differently in creating a virtual convention for LGBT equality which will be open to everyone for free.

Our movement already has some superb conferences. Some are open but not free and not virtual; while others are neither open, nor free, nor virtual. Each of these conventions has its necessary role in our movement and should continue.

But what we are trying to do here is something different: engage those interested in LGBT legal equality in thinking bigger and acting differently. To do so we have created, and entirely fund, this convention with three important aspects.

- Free: there is no cost to any participant

- Open: there is no registration; anybody can attend live; anybody can ask questions (even if not attending live); anybody can suggest panels and panelists (including themselves).

- Virtual: attend from anywhere, at any time. You can call in at the scheduled time and hear the panelists live (and be able to ask questions based on what they say), or you can participate at a later time by listening to the recorded audio. You can even download the audio and post it elsewhere.

To achieve these objectives we are putting together multiple panels, but the power lies in the fact that the discussion can continue elsewhere. Bloggers (or anybody else) can download the audio and extract relevant parts and engage their audiences in a discussion.

But the bottom line is simple: we need to be fully engaged in Thinking Bigger and Acting Differently.

eQualityThinking runs from January 24 to March 31, 2011. Get the schedule at www.eQualityThinking.org (which is continuously updated) and participate by asking questions before and/or during a panel, by being there live or listening after and blogging about it, and tell your friends and organizations to Think Bigger and Act Differently.

Respectfully,

Juan Ahonen-Jover, Ph.D.
Ken Ahonen-Jover, M.D.
Founders, eQualityThinking

http://www.eQualityThinking.org

BLOG for equality now

Legislation in the last Congress

I was cleaning up and archiving the whip counts in this site. In doing so, I noted that 25 pieces of LGBT legislation were introduced in the House and/or Senate in the 111th Congress. (In addition to this, there were the Hate Crimes in House and Senate and the Ryan White Act that precede the launch of the Act On Principles site.)

It is worth perusing through the list… I bet that many of us were not aware of the scope of legislation introduced. Mind you, only Hate Crimes, DADT repeal and Ryan White got a vote.

www.actonprinciples.org/lgbt-equality-in-the-111th-congress-2008-2010/

For instance, notice that there is already legislation presented about non-discrimination in credit and housing. This could be easily integrated with ENDA or could simply be replaced by the American Equality Bill.

Similarly, there are several pieces of legislation oriented to protect our children from harassment. This is the next logical step to the “It Gets Better Campaign.” Something like “We Made It Better” campaign by passing federal legislation.

Big thanks are due to Donald Hitchcock who is the webmaster for the site and set up all of these whip counts and negotiated with several partner organizations to actually carry them out.