Following the introduction of the Equality Act in July, questions have arisen about just how the bill is designed to protect LGBT people and its potential impact on employers, businesses and religious entities.
Following the Supreme Court’s recent historic decision to grant same-sex couples throughout the United States the freedom to marry and the right to recognition of their marriages in Obergefell v. Hodges, many questions have surfaced about just how the ruling will affect same-sex couples and families. In an attempt to answer many of these questions, legal teams at Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Freedom to Marry, Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD), Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) teamed up to develop a joint FAQ.
Q: Some friends and I are really interested in having a gay pride parade in our city this summer. We went to local officials to get a permit for the event, but we were told that the city would not let us hold the parade or display our banners and flags (as they do for other parades) because the event might “offend” some members of the community.
Q: My friend is a transgender woman in a men’s prison. Last year she was raped, and I’m afraid it’ll happen again. Why can’t she be moved to a women’s prison?
Your friend would probably be much less likely to suffer sexual assault if she was housed with other women in a woman’s facility. But unlike Laverne Cox’s character in Orange is the New Black, transgender incarcerated people in the U.S. are still usually housed according to the sex assigned at birth, instead of by gender identity. This practice makes transgender people more vulnerable to harassment or attack by staff or fellow incarcerated people. A California study found that transgender people were 13 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than non-transgender people in prison.
Q: I’m in high school, and I want to participate in GLSEN’s National Day of Silence (DOS). I’m out to my friends, but I’m not sure my teachers and school administration would approve – can I get in trouble?
A: First, congratulations on being out to your friends – it’s wonderful to accept yourself and feel supported by your friends and peers! Participating in the Day of Silence is a powerful way to raise awareness of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues in schools, and to help combat bullying and harassment. During this year’s DOS, which occurs on April 17th, students across the country will vow to take some form of silence during the school day. The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) provides materials to students who wish participate in the Day of Silence, as well as materials for schools that want to support participating students.
Q: I have been working at the same company for a few years, and am generally happy there. I recently tested positive for HIV, and was wondering – could I get fired if my boss found out about my HIV status?
Q: I have a cousin who was recently picked up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and she’s transgender. She is planning to apply for asylum in the United States because she is afraid she will be persecuted if she is deported. I heard that there are new rules to protect transgender people in immigration detention facilities. What are they?
Q: I just graduated college, and am looking for my first full-time job. I was very active on campus advocating for LGBT rights, and I’m concerned about how that may affect my chance to find employment. What are my rights with regards to being out while job seeking?
P : Acabo de graduarme de la universidad, y estoy buscando mi primer trabajo. Yo era muy activo en mi campus en defensa de los derechos lésbico, gay, bisexual y transgénero (LGBT), y estoy preocupado que eso afecte negativamente mi oportunidad de encontrar empleo. ¿Cuáles son mis derechos con respecto a estar fuera del closet, mientras que busco empleo?