Obama, LGBT history

By |2012-03-15T09:00:00-04:00March 15th, 2012|Opinions|

Compiled by Howard Israel

S/he Said

“Recently, President Obama has been called on to issue an executive order prohibiting sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination by federal contractors. In considering such a policy, the president can rely upon a long and successful history of experience with similar ordinances adopted by Detroit and more than 61 other cities and counties. Detroit was a leader in adopting these policies. The city’s civil rights ordinances prohibited contractors from discriminating based on sexual orientation in 1979 and from discriminating based on gender identity in 2008. While the policies of cities and counties are successful and reaching thousands of employees, President Obama could help protect up to 16.5 million workers by requiring that the U.S. government only do business with companies that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. After all, a majority of states, including Michigan, do not have laws prohibiting such discrimination. The president should follow the leadership of the nation’s leading companies, like GM and Ford, and cities like Detroit, which have decades of experience to show that doing so is good for employees, good for business and good for government.”
-Christy Mallory, legal research fellow, Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law and Public Policy, University of California, in her guest commentary titled “Equality is good for business – and government,” Detroit Free Press, http://www.freep.com, Feb. 28.
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“After 30 years of AIDS, we know what works and, more importantly, what does not work. We know that first and foremost, education is the greatest deterrent to infection. Furthermore, we have seen the effect of readily available medication on the level of impact that HIV/AIDS has on an individual and on a community. And we have seen effective public health initiatives that have saved countless lives, domestically and internationally. Moreover, after 30 years of AIDS, we know that our leaders have a choice of when, how, and to whom any and all interventions are available. To the ultimate detriment of 20 million people each year, those interventions are often not available, sometimes due to funding, and sometimes due to normative culture values that punish those most in need: the world’s outcasts.”
-Ace Robinson, Managing Director of Community Health & Research, Public Policy, and Advocacy, Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), in his column titled “If We Knew Then What We Know Now…,” http://www.huffingtonpost.com, Mar. 07.
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“Ernest Hemingway indicated why he said a writer must learn to recognize ‘what you really felt, rather than what you were supposed to feel, and had been taught to feel.’ Which is what all gay people, not just writers, must learn before they can create their own lives. This book is about a few authors who decided to write about what they really felt, even when it made their working life more difficult.”
-From the Introduction of “Eminent Outlaws – The Gay Writers Who Changed America,” a new book by Christopher Bram, which explores World War II writers who pushed American literature out of the closet, http://www.twelvebooks.com, Mar. 01.
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“The LGBT community made significant advances in 2011, with the repeal of the ‘Don’t Act, Don’t Tell’ policy on gay men and lesbians in the military, the growing acceptance of same-sex marriage by Americans and the legalization of such bonds in New York state. But it was precisely these advances that seemed to set off a furious rage on the religious right, with renewed efforts to ban or repeal marriage equality and what seemed to be an intensification of anti-gay propaganda in certain quarters. American Family Association official Bryan Fischer, for instance, said that ‘gays are Nazis,’ claimed that HIV does not cause AIDS but gay men do. In another development, most of the religious right groups that started out opposing abortion but moved on to attacking LGBT people have recently begun to adopt anti-Muslim propaganda en masse. Overall, the number of anti-gay hate groups in the United States rose markedly, going from 17 in 2010 to 27 last year.”
-Mark Potok, reporting the findings in the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) Spring 2012 Intelligence Report, http://www.splcenter.org. This is the third consecutive year of extraordinary growth that has swelled the ranks of extremist groups to record levels.
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About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.