Centers in Action: The Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center welcomed U.S. Senator Bob Casey of PA to their building last week, where they had an in-depth discussion about LGBTQ health issues and priorities. Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center creates a vibrant LGBT community in the Lehigh Valley through exciting LGBT arts & culture programs, leading-edge LGBT health programs, daily LGBT youth programs, critical supportive services and an informative Training Institute.
2020 Census: The 2020 census is soon approaching, and will have major consequences for policy and funding decisions over the next decade. It will count LGBT people in relationships, which will provide useful statistical insight. But a huge portion of the LGBTQ community remains unaccounted for. Gender identity and sexual orientation questions need to be included as census questions so we can understand and rectify disparities in employment, housing, and other areas affecting LGBTQ communities. Call your representatives (use this link to find them) and utilize this script to request a more inclusive census:
Hi, my name is ____ and I’m a constituent from ________. I’m calling to urge you to ensure that the 2020 Census include questions about gender identity and sexual orientation. The census must accurately count the LGBTQ population to help policymakers address the discrimination this community still faces in areas like housing and employment. Thank you for all of your hard work.
Every Child Deserves A Family: The Every Child Deserves a Family Act focuses attention on the best interests of children in the foster care system. By eliminating state laws, policies, practices and procedures that exclude potential adoptive and foster parents because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status this bill will dramatically increase access to permanent, loving homes for children living in foster care. 68% of Americans from all across the political spectrum support the bill – now we need members of Congress to step up to the plate on behalf of children who need good homes. With one click here, you can email your members of Congress – and then be patched through to call and tell them: “Please cosponsor the Every Child Deserves a Family Act.”
An LGBTQ-Inclusive Community: Municipalities across the country use the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index (MEI) as a roadmap to make their communities more inclusive of the LGBTQ people who live, work and travel there. The MEI scorecard assesses cities in five categories: non-discrimination laws, the municipality as an employer, municipal services, law enforcement and the city leadership's public position on LGBTQ equality. Scoring criteria for the MEI will undergo significant changes in 2018. For the first time, points will be deducted if religious exemptions in non-discrimination protections specifically target the LGBTQ community. More emphasis will be placed on city employee nondiscrimination protections. Two new criteria—committing to all-gender single-occupancy facilities and protecting youth from conversion therapy—will be added as bonus points. Cities that don’t fall within the MEI's city selection criteria are welcome to complete the self-submit process. Encourage your city officials to email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about the MEI scorecard and how to improve their score ahead of the 2018 publication release.
Religious Exemptions: In its first year, the administration has redefined the right to religious exemptions, creating broad carve-outs to a host of vital health, labor, and anti-discrimination protections. Among its other directives, the guidance on “Federal Law Protections for Religious Liberty,” which Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued in October 2017, purports to clarify existing religious liberty protections. However, in practice, it expands those provisions to improperly elevate the right to religious exemptions above other legal and constitutional rights and to shield those who would seek to use federal dollars while denying necessary services to and discriminating against LGBTQ people, women, and religious minorities. A new report by Center for American Progress (CAP) discusses how the Department of Justice’s guidance opens the door to an extreme rewriting of the concept of religious liberty. The guidance—and the numerous agency rules, enforcement actions, and policies that it is influencing—will shift the balance of individual religious protections across the federal government toward a new framing that allows religious beliefs to be used as a weapon against minority groups. Share this report on social media and urge your friends to do the same.