We are quickly approaching the end of the year and many students are leaving school for winter break. At this time, when many of us are reflecting on the past year and celebrating holidays, we must remember that we still have much work to do to ensure that all students feel safe and respected in their schools. As part of this effort, we must continue to fight the harmful and discriminatory efforts to prevent transgender students from using the bathrooms and locker rooms associated with their gender.
Today, on the winter solstice – the darkest day of the year – some in the fight for LGBT rights seem to be mired in gloom. They despair that the great triumphs of 2015 – most notably marriage equality – are being followed by state and local legislative backlash efforts and ongoing Congressional deadlock and they fear that a false sense of “mission accomplished” is weakening support for our LGBT groups. While those of us at Lambda Legal have our eyes wide open about the challenges ahead, I for one am not ready to join in pessimistic group-think. It’s not just that I’m still feeling the glow of this past year’s victories; I’m too busy with the ongoing work and looking forward to what I believe the coming year will bring to be glum.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today announced new guidelines for blood donations that change the current lifetime ban for men who have sex with men (MSM) to a one-year ban. The guidelines also make clear that transgender individuals may self-report their gender for purposes of applying the MSM policy.
Today, on the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, sex workers and their allies will rally to “renew our commitment to the on-going struggle for empowerment, visibility, and rights for all sex workers.”