As this year comes to a close, we at CAN want to say thank you for your advocacy efforts and support. We sent our first action alert out in July and have been consistently expanding our messaging and reach ever since! We are proud to partner with 15 LGBT centers across the nation and look forward to increasing that number in 2018. 2017 brought many challenges. On social media #Resist was the most used hashtag of the year. With a nation divided and numerous attacks aimed at stripping the rights of the LGBTQ community, we learned that our strength lies in education, compassion for our most vulnerable, and the belief that together we are stronger. Here are some the issues we tackled in 2017:
Transgender people can continue to openly serve in the military. Three federal courts ruled that the President’s ban on retaining and recruiting transgender military service members was unconstitutional. Although these are preliminary injunctions, we are hopeful that justice will prevail as these cases continue to move through the courts.
8.8 million people enrolled in health insurance during this year's open enrollment period. That's nearly as many as last year (when 9.2 million people enrolled) - in spite of the administration's decision to shorten enrollment time and cut funding, as well as general confusion over the status of the Affordable Care Act.
Voter registration is at an all time high. On September 26, 2017, hundreds of organizations - including many LGBTQ community centers - participated in a coordinated effort to get eligible citizens registered to vote. We collectively gathered 124,290 new or updated voter registrations!
Our elders will be counted. When plans were announced to remove the LGBT community from the National Survey of Older Americans Act Participants; SAGE and its allies motivated some 14,000 comments against this change. The administration listened and restored lesbian, gay, and bisexual older people to the survey. We are now working to include the transgender older adult population in future surveys.
We made history with over 80 LGBTQ community centers signing CAN's letter in support of passing the Dream Act. Dreamers like Karen from the Tacoma Rainbow Center were assured that their local center was a safe space for themselves and their families.
We told the world that it's about more than just a cake. By becoming a partner in the Open To All Campaign, we educated people on the importance of protecting our nation’s nondiscrimination laws. This was an early effort to draw attention to the Masterpiece Cakeshop case that went before the Supreme Court on December 5th and is awaiting a decision.
None of these accomplishments would have happened without you. You wrote letters, signed petitions, attended rallies, shared stories, registered voters, made phone calls, forwarded links, and supported your local centers. Together we CAN make a difference, and we look forward to working with you to make 2018 a year of change and progress.
With sincere thanks,
Lora, Terry, and Tanya
Center Action Network