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The Battles of LGBT

1. Employment discrimination: No state in the union can deny you a marriage license,
but in 32 states, you can still be forced out of your job for having a different sexual
orientation or gender presentation than your employer thinks you should.
Tristan Broussard is a Louisiana trans man who is suing his former employer for firing him.
Financial services company Tower Loan dismissed Broussard for refusing to return to a
female gender presentation and for not wearing dresses and other feminine attire. Under
current Louisiana law, this is perfectly legal.
Many local governments throughout the U.S. are currently enacting nondiscrimination laws
that forbid discrimination against LGBT people in employment, housing, health care and a
myriad of other situations and services that straight, cisgendered people take for granted
every day.
Sadly, however, angry Christian conservatives are doing everything in their power to strike
down and invalidate these laws in places like North Carolina, Texas, and Arkansas.
2. Trans rights: Few communities remain as marginalized and misunderstood in the United
States as trans men and women. Argentinian psychologist Graciela Balestra estimated in
2012 that transgender persons worldwide have an average life expectancy of 30 to 32
years. In the first six weeks of 2015, five trans women of color were murdered in the United
States, and those are just the deaths that were reported.
Even with the visibility of trans superstars like Laverne Cox and Caitlyn Jenner, anti-trans
animus is still sadly common. Fox News has devoted an entire subset of its programming
schedule to anti-trans alarmism, echoing angry bigots like Michelle Duggar, who insist that
allowing transgender people to use facilities that correspond to their expressed gender is
going to expose children to sexual predators.
And frankly, who would know better about exposing children to sexual predators than the
3. Discrimination in our own ranks: Its time for all you guys with No fats, no femmes
or Whites only, please: Its not racist, its just a preference! on your Grindr profiles to get
woke, as the kids say. If youre a whiter-than-white one percenter who writes huge checks
to anti-LGBT crackpots like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) when youre not cleaning dead twinks out
of your bathtub, youre not helping the cause. In fact, youre part of the problem.

4. #BlackLivesMatter: Earlier this month, it emerged that the nations largest and most
powerful LGBT rights organization, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), did an internal audit
and found that, essentially, the group is a club for wealthy white men.
BuzzFeeds Chris Geidner said, Staff at the Human Rights Campaign last fall described the
working environment at the nations largest LGBT rights group as judgmental,
exclusionary, sexist, and homogenous, according to a sharply critical report that was
commissioned by HRC and obtained by BuzzFeed News.
HRC has run into intense criticism in the past from activists who see the organization as too
corporate, too white, and too interested in furthering the interests of the wealthy and well-off
members of the LGBT community and ignoring the panoply of difficulties facing community
members of color and those living in poverty.
Esperanza Garcia and Ty Brooks wrote earlier this year in the Advocate, Push has come to
shove. As the Black Lives Matter movement gains strength nationwide, white gays and
lesbians can no longer stand on the sidelines. The assault on black lives is an LGBT issue.
The average life expectancy of a black transgender woman is 35 years. The National
Coalition of Anti-Violence programs reported that in 2013, 72 percent of anti-LGBT
homicides were against trans women, 89 percent of whom were transgender women of
Will white gays and lesbians join the struggle for black lives? they asked. Or will they
remain complicit with a status quo in which black people are killed weekly by police or
vigilantes in the United States?

5. Equal pay for everybody: When Patricia Arquette made her impassioned speech at
the 2015 Oscars ceremony about equal pay for women, then somewhat clumsily urged all
the women in America and all the men that love women, and all the gay people, and all the
people of color that weve all fought for to fight for us now to help ensure that all people are
paid the same amounts for the same work, regardless of gender.
Black activists angrily responded that Arquette seemed to be assuming that women of color
have not hitherto been a part of this battle, in spite of the fact that black and hispanic women
make even less money than white women do for every dollar made by a white man.
LGBT activists argued that we are also victims of wage discrimination in this country.
In the U.S. and Canada, gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men make less
money than their heterosexual counterparts. About five percent less income per year,
A study recently published in Gender and Society found that in Canada, gay men with
partners earn about 5 percent less than straight men with partners, while coupled lesbian
women earn roughly 8 percent more than coupled straight women, wrote Joe Pinsker in the
In the American pay hierarchy, the pattern is the same, Pinsker continued. Heterosexual
men typically earn more than gay men, who earn more than lesbian women, who in turn
earn more than heterosexual women. In the U.S., there is currently no federal legislation that
prohibits employers from discriminating against workers based on their sexual orientation or
gender identity. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act, first introduced to Congress in
1994 and reintroduced many times since then, still hasnt passed.
So, while Arquette may have ruffled feathers in some quarters with her wage-equality call to
arms, she had a point. Pay disparity is an issue that crosses lines of color and orientation.
People of all races, genders, and orientations should work together to see that everyone is
paid fairly for their work.

6. The stragglers: And finally the bad news. Just because the Supreme Court says that
there are no sound legal justification for denying a whole subset of American society the right
to marry, it doesnt mean that everyone is going to cooperate.
In Texas, Republican lawmakers are urging Gov. Greg Abbott (R) to pass legislation that will
allow them to defy any court ruling that supports marriage equality.
North Carolina and Utah have passed laws that allow court officials to refuse to issue
marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Some Florida counties stopped issuing marriage
licenses altogether rather than allow same-sex marriages to proceed.
Just like certain Southern states adopted extreme measures to fight the Supreme Courts
order to desegregate in 1954s Brown v. Board of Education ruling, it should not surprise
anyone when, in the months ahead, the former slave states come up with a array of legally
questionable ways to try and prevent same-sex couples from formalizing their relationships
under the law.