Wesley Cullen Davidson https://wesleycullendavidson.com Author and Writer Fri, 26 Feb 2021 15:16:29 +0000 en hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.6.2 https://wesleycullendavidson.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/cropped-favicon-32x32.png Wesley Cullen Davidson https://wesleycullendavidson.com 32 32 Please Don’t Let The Equality Act Be Buried in the Legislative Graveyard https://wesleycullendavidson.com/2021/02/please-dont-let-the-equality-act-be-buried-in-the-legislative-graveyard.html?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=please-dont-let-the-equality-act-be-buried-in-the-legislative-graveyard https://wesleycullendavidson.com/2021/02/please-dont-let-the-equality-act-be-buried-in-the-legislative-graveyard.html#respond Fri, 26 Feb 2021 15:16:29 +0000 https://wesleycullendavidson.com/?p=1565

 A bipartisan majority in the U.S. House of Representatives just voted, 224-206, to pass the Equality Act.  Known as H.R.5 and sponsored by Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI.) who has introduced versions of this bill since 2015 in each Congress sessions, the Equality Act is sweeping legislation that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual…

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 A bipartisan majority in the U.S. House of Representatives just voted, 224-206, to pass the Equality Act.  Known as H.R.5 and sponsored by Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI.) who has introduced versions of this bill since 2015 in each Congress sessions, the Equality Act is sweeping legislation that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation and gender orientation.

Why We Need The Equality Act:  How It Differs from The Civil Rights Act

H.R. 5 legislation would amend the federal Civil Rights Act of ’64 that had banned discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion and national origin, so it can include protections on the basis of sex, sexual orientation and gender identity.  The Equality Act would prohibit discrimination, harassment and victimization in public places, on transportation and in government-funded programs, housing, public accommodations, including online retailers, public education, federal funding, credit, and the jury system. It also spells out laws based on age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, adoption, race, religion, sex, and sexual orientation.

How It Differs From ENDA

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is legislation that was proposed in the U.S. Congress that would prohibit discrimination in hiring and employment on the basis of sexual orientation or, depending on the bill’s version, gender identity by employers with at least 15 employees.

Since 1994, ENDA has been introduced in every Congress except the 109th. (2007-2009).  In 2007, gender identity protections were added to the legislation for the first time. It died in the Senate after transgender inclusions were added.  In 2013, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced ENDA in the Senate.  By a vote of 64-32, Merkley’s bill passed the Senate. President Barack Obama supported the bill’s passage, but the House Rules Committee voted against it.

From 2015 on, LGBT rights advocates moved to support the Equality Act with more comprehensive protections than ENDA.  On June 15, 2020, the Supreme Court ruled in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees from discrimination based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.  Like ENDA, it only safeguarded employment.

LGBT rights advocates such as The Human Rights Campaign called on Congress to pass the Equality Act so that the LGBT population can have equal rights in all areas.  As of 2020, 29 U.S. states do not have the full protections that the Equality Act would provide for the LGBT community.

House Majority Leader, Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told reporters yesterday that the bill makes sure that LGBTQ community is protected in all of its rights.  Senator Schumer(D-NY) leader in the Senate, called the Equality Act “long overdue,” and that “the Senate has some catching up to do.” The late Senator John Lewis (D-GA), civil rights advocate, remarked that the Equality Act is “all about freedom and sense of urgency,” particularly with the disproportionate transgender individuals and people of color being vulnerable to attacks.

Those Opposed

The climate for the Equality Bill is ripe.  A Gallup poll shows that 82% of Americans support it and 68% of Republicans are in favor.  According to Gallup, 5.6% of adults identify as LGBTQ, an increase due to the younger population’s non-binary orientation.

The Senate is split between Republicans and Democratic Caucus members.  Vice-President Kamala Harris would be able to cast her vote in case of a tie.  Three Republicans are expected not to vote for the Equality Act:  Lisa Ann Murkowski of Alaska, Jeff Portman of Ohio, and Mitt Romney of Utah.  However, there is a need  for at least 10 Republicans to vote with all the Democrats to advance the Senate legislation, introduced by Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), past a key procedural obstacle, the filibuster. Fifty-one percent of 100, a simple majority passes the bill.

Conservatives oppose the legislation because it could infringe upon religious liberty or lead to inequality in sports if transgendered athletes compete with girls, giving the former an unfair advantage.

The conservative Heritage Foundation is opposed to the measure as they think that the Equality Act would give government the power to dictate how Americans think and act regarding gender and sex.  In an article in the conservative newspaper, The Wall St. Journal, 2/24/21, “The Equality Act Makes Women Unequal” by Inez T. Stepman, the author reports that the Equality Act would go much further by making it illegal to distinguish “identity” from biology and thereby prioritize transgender people over women.  The Equality Act would forbid policy makers from ever taking into consideration the differences between men and women that are necessary in order to guarantee safety and equality of sexes.”

President Biden is making the Equality Act a priority and with his pen will give the LGBTQ people their dignity and “rid the dark history of prejudice.

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When LGBTQ Kids Feel Rejected At Home https://wesleycullendavidson.com/2021/02/when-lgbtq-kids-feel-rejected-at-home.html?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=when-lgbtq-kids-feel-rejected-at-home https://wesleycullendavidson.com/2021/02/when-lgbtq-kids-feel-rejected-at-home.html#respond Wed, 17 Feb 2021 02:52:18 +0000 https://wesleycullendavidson.com/?p=1548

Rob Todaro, Press Secretary of the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ youth, The Trevor Project, reported alarming statistics from a recent Morning Consult Survey.  One-third of LGBTQ young Americans felt they couldn’t be themselves at home with their parents for fear of rejection or worse being “kicked out” of the…

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Rob Todaro, Press Secretary of the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ youth, The Trevor Project, reported alarming statistics from a recent Morning Consult Survey.  One-third of LGBTQ young Americans felt they couldn’t be themselves at home with their parents for fear of rejection or worse being “kicked out” of the house.

Because of the Covoid Pandemic, many of the LGBTQ youth are forced to move back in with their parents after living freely on their own, perhaps at college or in an office. Once home, they feel as if they are “walking on eggshells” because they are not appreciated for their true selves.  They feel closeted once again.  They revert to pre-coming out tactics so they will be accepted.  It’s a strain on their mental health.

Effects of Parental Rejection On LGBT Kids

Research in January Pediatrics (volume 123, No. 1) found that LGB adults who reported high rates of parental rejection in their teens were:

  • 8.4 times more likely to report having attempted suicide
  • 5.9 times more likely to report high levels of depression
  • 3.4 times more likely to use illegal drugs
  • 3.4 more likely to have unprotected sex than LGB peers who reported no or low levels of family rejection.

Family Acceptance Project

Director of the Family Acceptance Project, a research, education, intervention and policy project to help ethnically, racially and religiously diverse families support their LGBT children, Caitlin Ryan, Ph.D., affirms that “because families play such a critical role in child and adolescent development, it’s not surprising that adverse, punitive and traumatic reactions from parents and/or caregivers would have such a negative influence on young people’s risk behaviors and health status as young adults.”  Dr. Ryan and her team have developed the first evidenced-informed family support model and a range of research-based material to help families support their LGBT children.  Many of these publications are directly available in PDF form from the Family Acceptance Project  (contact fap@sfsu.edu).

From her research, Dr. Ryan, found that family acceptance helps buffer adolescents against suicidal behavior, depression and substance abuse.  Young people report higher self-esteem, social support and overall health when their families are accepting of their sexual orientation.

What Can A Parent Do?

Even if parents are not accepting of their children’s identity, Ryan suggests that parents make these small, but important, steps that demonstrate more accepting behavior:

  • Listen to them without interrupting or arguing.
  • Ask them about their LGBT experience and how you can help them feel supported.
  • Tell them you love them and show affection.
  • Learn together about LGBT issues and family support organizations such as PFLAG, Gender Spectrum, Gender Odyssey or Strong Family Alliance.
  • Look for role models for your child from within family or PFLAG.
  • Get to know LGBTQ friends and romantic partners.

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Planes, Trains, and Automobile Remake by Pete Buttigieg https://wesleycullendavidson.com/2021/02/planes-trains-and-automobile-remake-by-pete-buttigieg.html?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=planes-trains-and-automobile-remake-by-pete-buttigieg https://wesleycullendavidson.com/2021/02/planes-trains-and-automobile-remake-by-pete-buttigieg.html#respond Fri, 05 Feb 2021 19:09:56 +0000 https://wesleycullendavidson.com/?p=1536

On February 2, 2021, Pete Buttigieg was confirmed, by a vote of 86 to 13, as the Secretary of Transportation. The youngest Senate member at age thirty-nine, he has the distinction of being the first out LGBTQ official cabinet member to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate to a cabinet position. Since 2008, Buttigieg has…

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On February 2, 2021, Pete Buttigieg was confirmed, by a vote of 86 to 13, as the Secretary of Transportation. The youngest Senate member at age thirty-nine, he has the distinction of being the first out LGBTQ official cabinet member to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate to a cabinet position.

Since 2008, Buttigieg has been married to (James) Chasten Buttigieg, a school teacher, writer of I Have Something To Tell You, a memoir. Chasten is an LGBT rights advocate and was advisor, spokesperson and social media campaigner during Buttigieg’s presidential 2020 campaign. During his acceptance speech on Tuesday, Buttigieg thanked his husband for “his many sacrifices and his support in making it possible for me to pursue public service.”

A Snapshot of What The Job Entails

Buttigieg will oversee the overhaul of the nation’s infrastructure: aviation, highways, vehicles, pipelines and transit as well as efforts to ensure safe transportation. Once Biden’s adversary for presidency, Biden now calls Buttigieg a “new voice.”

Sharing President Biden’s beliefs in climate change, racial justice, job creation and economic recovery, Buttigieg has pledged to work with the nation’s state, local, and tribal leaders. He will be aided by Deputy-Secretary-Designate Polly Trottenberg, who ran the New York City Department of Transportation.

President Biden has a $2 trillion climate and infrastructure plan. The Transportation Department has 55,000 employees and a budget of tens of billions of dollars.

Secretary Buttigieg will be promoting Biden’s sweeping “green” initiative, helping to oversee stronger automotive fuel-economy standards to reduce green house gas emissions. He will investigate the Federal Aviation Administration’s measures that govern aviation safety and boost them, particularly after two fatal Boeing 737 Max crashes. He plans to fulfill Biden’s wishes to install 500,000 electric vehicle -charging stations across the country.

Will he decide whether to fund a planned $13 billion tunnel connecting New York and New Jersey in heavily travelled N.E. rail corridor and will he greenlight congestion pricing in Manhattan?

Former Mayor Pete

While Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, in a state, where former Vice-President Pence lived, Buttigieg’s signature transportation achievement transportation achievement was a $25 million project “Smart Streets.” It converted S. Bend’s one-way roads into two-way streets with bike lines and sidewalks for foot traffic and downtown commercial activity. Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington says “Buttigieg dealt with the infrastructure where the rubber meets the road, managing state, federal, and local resources, to help build the infrastructure in his community.”

Although he was criticized for the firing of a black police chief when he was elected Mayor (2015) and did not diversify South Bend’s majority white police force, Mayor Pete, with little federal experience, tied with Bernie Sanders to win the Iowa Caucus while running for Democratic President. In 2017, Buttigieg ran the Democratic National Committee Chairmanship election.\

Popularity

Former Houston Mayor Annise Parker, head of the LGBTQ Victory Institute, that trains LGBTQ leaders to run for office and win, said “Pete shattered a centuries-old political barrier with overwhelming bipartisan support and that paves the way for more LGBTQ Americans to pursue high-profile appointments.”

A graduate of Harvard College (2004) and a Rhodes Scholar at Pembroke College, Oxford University (2007), and Naval Intelligence Officer in Afghanistan in 2014, Buttigieg is articulate and can “think on his feet” without exploding at his opponents. We saw that capability during the Presidential debates last year.

Greg Regan, Secretary-Treasurer of Transportation Trades Department (AFL-CIO), saw in Buttigieg’s confirmation hearing ” how detailed his transportation infrastructure policy platform was and that he cares about the details. He’s interested in getting to the bottom of these issues and finding how to solve the problems that are facing us right now.”

Especially popular with the young, Buttigieg, after his confirmation, wrote on Twitter, “I’m honored and humbled by today’s vote in the Senate – and ready to get to work @USDOT. “ 74.5K followers liked this tweet. (His Senate acceptance speech that the tweet was based on, was: “I’m honored to serve as Secretary of Transportation and help build the kind of infrastructure that creates jobs, empowers all, and keeps travelers and workers safe. It’s time to get to work.”).

Unlike the original movie “ Trains, Planes, and Automobiles,” with Steve Martin and John Candy, Pete Buttigieg’s performance as Secretary of Transportation will not be a comedy, but a concerted effort to get this country travelling safely.

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Biden Signs Away Trump’s Ban on Transgender Troops https://wesleycullendavidson.com/2021/01/biden-signs-away-trumps-ban-on-transgender-troops.html?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=biden-signs-away-trumps-ban-on-transgender-troops https://wesleycullendavidson.com/2021/01/biden-signs-away-trumps-ban-on-transgender-troops.html#respond Fri, 29 Jan 2021 16:18:36 +0000 https://wesleycullendavidson.com/?p=1528

 On his first day in office, forty-sixth President Joseph Biden, Jr. directed all agencies to address any policies in place that discriminated against individuals on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity (a person’s innate, deeply-felt psychological identification as a man, woman or some other gender), including housing, education, employment and health care. As…

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 On his first day in office, forty-sixth President Joseph Biden, Jr. directed all agencies to address any policies in place that discriminated against individuals on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity (a person’s innate, deeply-felt psychological identification as a man, woman or some other gender), including housing, education, employment and health care.

As part of that vision, on January 25, Biden directed Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to put into action a policy that prohibits discrimination against transgender troops based on their gender identity.  Within two months, the Pentagon is supposed to report the progress of reversing Trump’s ban that was announced by the former president in a tweet in July 2017 and surprised many of the high-ranking brass. Austin affirmed that the Pentagon will ensure transgender troops are not discharged or denied reenlistment based on gender identity. Their military records will be corrected if those outdated provisions are faulty and resulted in being forced out of the military.

“It’s the right thing to do. It’s also the smart thing to do,” said Austin. “I truly believe”, confirmed Austin, “that if you’re fit and you’re qualified to serve and you can maintain your standards, you should be allowed to serve.” Biden commented that “America is safer when everyone qualified to serve can do so openly and with pride.”

The History of Transgender Troops In The Military

In 2016, under President Obama, the Pentagon repealed a long-standing policy that prohibited transgender troops from serving openly (“don’t ask, don’t tell” policy from the Clinton Administration in 1993).  In 2011, openly gay Americans were allowed to serve.

Obama’s policy allowed transgender troops to receive counseling and medical treatment, including surgery to align their physical gender with their gender identity when they have gender dysphoria

Gender Dsyphoria

Gender dysphoria is the distress a person feels due to a mismatch between their gender identity and their sex assigned at birth.  It was listed as a disorder in DMS-5, a psychiatric manual of diseases, until 2013 when the language was found stigmatizing. According to the American Psychiatric Association, the critical element of gender dysphoria is “clinically significant distress.”  It is NOT a mental disorder.

Some people who are transgender will experience gender dysphoria.  When the condition is diagnosed by a medical professional, reassignment surgery and transition therapy is considered by some insurers and states as a medically necessary treatment.

The Rand Corporation’s 2016 study for the Pentagon figured that medical costs for the military to include transgender members costs between $2.4 million and $8.4 million annually, a small fraction of the overall health expenditures of the military’s health-care budget.

In 2016, the Pentagon estimated that there were 9,000 transgender troops.  Out of that number, only 1,000 or fewer had been diagnosed as gender dysphoria.

After Trump banned transgender service in the military, a Gallup poll taken in the summer of 2019, found that 71 percent of all Americans disagreed with that directive.

Misunderstood

 The transgender population has a high rate of suicide, lower income level, and is prone to stigma, particularly those of color. For a minority population, there is a high incidence of murder.

The myths surrounding transgenders are numerous:

  • They are cross-dressers. Many people who cross-dress are comfortable with their assigned sex and generally do not wish to change it.
  • They all take hormones and have surgery to change their sex. Some may or may not include hormone therapy, sex reassignment surgery and other medical procedures. They don’t physically transition.
  • They cannot be attracted to cisgender people (those whom identify with the sex assigned at birth (i.e. male or female).

Two truths that unite transgenders are undisputable: Transgenders don’t feel comfortable with the sex they were assigned with at birth.  Some wish to be  addressed by certain pronouns not typically assigned to the general population.  For example, rather than use a gender binary, they would prefer if people simply used their names or used a non-gendered pronoun such as “hir” or “they “rather than him for men and her for women.  Best to ask!

Biden may come up resistance in Congress, but according to LGBT activists, the military, he is moving in the right direction.

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LGBTQIA: What Does the A Stand For? No, It’s Not Ally! https://wesleycullendavidson.com/2021/01/lgbtqia-what-does-the-a-stand-for-no-its-not-ally.html?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=lgbtqia-what-does-the-a-stand-for-no-its-not-ally https://wesleycullendavidson.com/2021/01/lgbtqia-what-does-the-a-stand-for-no-its-not-ally.html#comments Fri, 08 Jan 2021 16:10:17 +0000 https://wesleycullendavidson.com/?p=1501

The correct answer is Asexual.  In our sexually-charged society and social media, it is possible to be asexual.  In fact, 1% or nearly three million people refer to themselves as asexual or “aces,” according to Lisa Zhang at TED X Gunn High School Talk on YouTube (3-26-2014). What Is Asexuality? Asexuality is a term for…

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The correct answer is Asexual.  In our sexually-charged society and social media, it is possible to be asexual.  In fact, 1% or nearly three million people refer to themselves as asexual or “aces,” according to Lisa Zhang at TED X Gunn High School Talk on YouTube (3-26-2014).

What Is Asexuality?

Asexuality is a term for not desiring sex, for not experiencing sexual attraction.  In another YouTube Ted Talk:  Asexuality: My Story of Self-Exploration, Chantal Kelly (TED X Youth @LAS), March 16, 2016, reveals to the audience that she regards “the thought of having sex about as exciting as washing dishes.” In her high school, she says, “there is such pressure on girls to have sex by the age of sixteen.” On the other hand, “Foster,” on an asexuality media site, says “being asexual, has been freeing for him to realize that he doesn’t need to perform sexually to be worthy of love and affection.”

Asexuals can be straight, gay, bi, trans, questioning or intersex.  You can’t tell on the surface if someone is an “ace.” He/She/They may be born asexual or become asexual through trauma such as rape.  They may want to date, get married, be romantic, they just don’t want to have sex although they may engage in it.  It’s NOT the same as celibacy which is a choice to abstain from sexual activity.  It’s an intrinsic part of who they are and defines them.

Some people know they are asexual at a young age.  Some figure it out later.  Being asexual is not a mental disorder or condition.  If you’re wondering if you are asexual, these guidelines from Healthline.com may help:

  • Have you ever been sexually attracted to another person?
  • Do you want to have sex or engage in sexual practices?
  • If you want to date or get married at some point, do you want sex to be part of that relationship?
  • If you’ve had sex before, was it something you liked?  Would you want to do it again?
  • How were your feelings different or similar to your friends’ or partners’ experiences?

Lack of Education About Asexuality

Most schools do not cover asexuals in their health sex education classes.  As a concerned parent or asexual student, you can look up the laws and policies in your state and school.  If not, you can find a community of youth activists who are working for acceptance and legal rights for the LGBTQIA population in an organization called Advocates for Youth that partners with youth leaders, adult allies and youth serving organizations to advocate for policies and champion programs.

Other support organizations are:

  • AVEN ( The Asexual Visibility and Education Network).  It has a large archive of resources on asexuality and is the largest community of asexuals.
  • Aces & Aros is a peer-led support group for students who are on the Asexual and/or Aromantic spectrums.  It is a safe group in which to identify with others on the spectrum.

Of course, the biggest support system is the parent.  What do you say to your asexual child who comes out to you:

  • As with any coming out, don’t doubt the revelation.  Who knows better than the child?
  • Show interest, ask questions, but let the child have the reins!
  • Realize that an asexual can love, be in a romantic relationship, even marry.
  • At the same time, they may feel lonely, misunderstood, pitied.

Although the A in LGBTQIA stands for Asexual, in your home, it can also stand for ally.

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State of The Union Before 2021: How’s the LGBT Community Doing? https://wesleycullendavidson.com/2020/12/state-of-the-union-before-2021-hows-the-lgbt-community-doing.html?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=state-of-the-union-before-2021-hows-the-lgbt-community-doing https://wesleycullendavidson.com/2020/12/state-of-the-union-before-2021-hows-the-lgbt-community-doing.html#respond Wed, 30 Dec 2020 14:41:32 +0000 https://wesleycullendavidson.com/?p=1492

It has been a tough year for many people: unemployment, isolation, escalation in drug abuse, a world-wide pandemic taking so many lives, schools shut. Yet despite all the social problems of this year, there have been some bright spots in this trying time. The LGBT community made some strides and should continue to do so…

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It has been a tough year for many people: unemployment, isolation, escalation in drug abuse, a world-wide pandemic taking so many lives, schools shut. Yet despite all the social problems of this year, there have been some bright spots in this trying time.

The LGBT community made some strides and should continue to do so with President-Elect Biden and the new Administration. Witness these recent victories:

  • Human Rights Campaign’s National Press Secretary, Sarah McBride, became the first openly transgender person to serve in the upper chamber of the Delaware legislature in U.S.
  • Ritchie Torres (NY-15) became the first-ever openly LGBTQ Afro-Latin American member of Congress and Mondaire Jones (N.Y.-17) became the first-ever openly LGBTQ member of Congress.
  • Shervin Jones (SF-35) became the first LGBTQ person elected to the Florida state Senate and Michele Rayner (HD-70) became the first Black LGBTQ woman in the Florida Legislature.
  • Forty-six states have now elected candidates who openly identify as LGBTQ.
  • According to data compiled by LGBTQ Victory Fund, 1,000 LGBTQ Americans ran for office. 334 of 782 general election candidates won their November races.

LGBT Community During COVID-19. The LGBTQ Community was more likely to lack the resources to effectively combat COVID. It was less likely to work in an industry affected by the virus. HRC ‘s 2020 Healthcare Equality Index highlighted healthcare institutions that are adopting LGBTQ-inclusive policies and practices. The legislative and policy changes resulted in:

  • Additional $90 million for the Ryan White Care Act for HIV/AIDS care and treatment.
  • Additional $65 million for housing for people living with AIDS.
  • Additional $25 million to carry out activities under the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act.

Winnings of the U.S. Supreme Court for LGBTQ Workers:

  • The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed in Bostock v. Clayton County that sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination are prohibited under Title VII of the Civil RIGHTS ACT of 1964.
  • In the state of Virginia, the Virginia Values Act was passed last summer. It was the first state in the South to have non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people, the first state in 27 years to add a prohibition on discrimination in public accommodations, and add both sexual orientation and gender identity to existing non-discrimination law in over a decade.

Undoing Trump’s Actions re: LGBT

  • The Transgender Community, particularly, those of color, is the most marginalized of the LGBT community and is the most victimized. President-elect Biden plans to reverse Trump’s policies and allocate federal resources to help curtail this violence.

He will help the Transgender community by:

  • Lifting Trump’s near-total ban on military service for transgender People.
  • Reinstating Obama administration guidance directing public schools to allow transgender students to access bathrooms, locker rooms and sports teams in accordance with their gender identity.

Biden said his top legislative priority for LGBTQ issues is the Equality Act, passed by the House of Representatives. It would extend to all 50 states the comprehensive anti-bias protections afforded to LGBTQ people in 21 states. The Equality Act covers housing, public accommodations and public services.

Other advances in LGBT rights include:

  • 370 religious leaders called an end to conversion therapy and anti-LGBTQ+ violence. Most of the U.S. states now ban conversion therapy.
  • According to GLSEN, there are more representations of same-sex couples on television and the movies. Hallmark shows a holiday-themed Ritz cracker commercial that features a gay couple. Jonathan Bennett stars in Hallmark’s 1st LGBT holiday movie.
  • Oscars introduced an LGBT+ representation quota.
  • Fueled by its popularity, Schitt’s Creek is a show with Daniel Levy as Director, Producer, Writer, and star who portrays a non-binary character.

In other parts of the world, the year ended on a positive note: Marriage equality came to Northern Ireland, Switzerland, Costa Rica. Gabon and Bhutan decriminalized homosexuality. The United Kingdom lifted restrictions on blood donations from gay and bisexual men.

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National Homelessness Youth Awareness Month: November https://wesleycullendavidson.com/2020/11/national-homelessness-youth-awareness-month-november.html?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=national-homelessness-youth-awareness-month-november https://wesleycullendavidson.com/2020/11/national-homelessness-youth-awareness-month-november.html#respond Sat, 28 Nov 2020 16:45:10 +0000 https://wesleycullendavidson.com/?p=1476

Did you know that: LGBT Youth are 120% more likely to experience homelessness. LGBTQ youth are over represented in the foster care system.  They are more likely to become homeless, according to http://pflag.com. One in three transgender Americans have been homeless at some point in their lives. According to Covenant House, LGBT youth comprise 40%…

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Did you know that:

  • LGBT Youth are 120% more likely to experience homelessness.
  • LGBTQ youth are over represented in the foster care system.  They are more likely to become homeless, according to http://pflag.com. One in three transgender Americans have been homeless at some point in their lives.
  • According to Covenant House, LGBT youth comprise 40% of all who are homeless, but just 7% of total youth. http://www.convenanthouse.org/homeless-issues/lgbtq-homeless-youth.
  • Gregory Lewis, Executive Director and CEO of Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors United, states that “LGBT youth are more than twice as likely to experience homelessness than their straight and cisgender peers.”

According to the Williams Institute, a think tank at UCLA:

  • 40% of the homeless youth served by agencies identify as LGBT.
  • 43% of clients served by drop-in centers identified as LGBT
  • 3% of streets outreach clients identified as LGBT.
  • 30% of clients utilizing housing programs identified as LGBT.

What’s going on?

LGBT youth face continued social stigma, discrimination and rejection by families.  The youth, especially trans people of color, face heightened risk of violence, abuse, and exploitation on the streets. Some commit suicide, some trade survival sex for drugs and warm beds.  It’s not a pretty picture!

With COVID-19, there is more tension in homes and less money as work hours are reduced. Yet, even with shelters, some LGBT shelters turn away homeless LGBT youth, particularly trans people of color who are particularly subject to violence on the streets.  The Salvation Army has been known to reject the LGBT population from its shelters due to the Church’s homophobic views.

Everyone has a right to safe housing.  Shelters, particularly those that receive taxpayer funds, should not engage in government sanctioned discrimination against LGBTQ people during their time of need. No one should have to fear losing social services based on their identity as an LGBTQ person.  Nevertheless, HUD ( The Dept. of Housing and Urban Development) is currently working to undo rules protecting transgender people from discrimination in homeless shelters and other HUD-funded services by making sure that people can access services consistent with their gender identity, rather than just their sex-assigned-at-birth.  Otherwise, homeless service providers to make determinations about if and how to house people based on their assumption of a person’s sex assigned at birth.

Three hundred anti-sexual violence and anti-domestic violence organizations, many of whom operate shelters, signed a joint statement in 2016 supporting nondiscrimination protections like the current Access Rule.  Hopefully, it won’t be rescinded.

http://true colorsunited.org/2020/07/01/joint-statement-on-the-equal-access-rule/.

There are youth shelters such as Ali Forney Center and Convenant House, but with Covid-19 and donations decreasing, it’s harder to get a bed and meals.

Help for LGBT Homeless

There are resources such as The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) https://www.nctsn.org that provides resources to help communities, families, educators, mental health and child welfare professionals and policy makers and advocates better understand and deal with homeless youth. The National Network for Youth (nn4y)https: NN4yyouth.org 

helps runaway, homeless, and other disconnected youth.  The programs include street-based services, emergency shelter and transitional living programs, a 24 hr. crisis line, a link to a database of more than 10,000 youth and family agencies.

Of course, the best way to keep your LGBT child off the street is to make your home a haven and to provide unconditional love so they are not living on the streets.  For more advice, see psychiatrist Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D. suggestions in When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know ( Sterling: 2016).

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Why We Need Transgender Awareness Week November 13-19 https://wesleycullendavidson.com/2020/11/why-we-need-transgender-awareness-week-november-13-19.html?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=why-we-need-transgender-awareness-week-november-13-19 https://wesleycullendavidson.com/2020/11/why-we-need-transgender-awareness-week-november-13-19.html#respond Tue, 17 Nov 2020 17:23:22 +0000 https://wesleycullendavidson.com/?p=1464

Yearly, you can count on the third week in November being celebrated as National Transgender Awareness Week.  Between November 13-19, people and organizations in the U.S. help raise visibility about transgender people.  As allies of the trans community, we need to address the issues members of that community face such as social stigma, discrimination and…

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Yearly, you can count on the third week in November being celebrated as National Transgender Awareness Week.  Between November 13-19, people and organizations in the U.S. help raise visibility about transgender people.  As allies of the trans community, we need to address the issues members of that community face such as social stigma, discrimination and harassment when they tell other other people who they are.

Some of these issues result in:

  • Being fired or denied a job.
  • Facing harassment and bullying at school.
  • Becoming homeless or living in extreme poverty
  • Being evicted or denied housing or access to a shelter.
  • Being denied access to critical medical care
  • Being incarcerated or targeted by law enforcement.
  • Facing violence and abuse.

https://transequality.org/issues/resources/understanding-transgender-people-faq-

Sobering Statistics

The Trevor Project reports that 59% of Black transgender and non-binary young people have seriously considered suicide and 45% have experienced homelessness. According to The Advocate Magazine, between October 2019-September 30, 2020, there were 350 murders of transgender people, most of them Black and Latino women.  These horrific figures were taken from the Trans Murder Monitor.

Transgender Day Of Remembrance

National Transgender Awareness Week culminates in The Transgender Day of Remembrance, usually held on November 20th. This day honors the memory of transgender people whose lives were lost in anti-transgender violence that year.  Vigils are hosted by local transgender advocates or LGBTQ organizations and held at community centers, parks, places of worship and other venues.  The vigils include reading a list of those who have died that year.

There are documentaries to explore such as Disclosure on Netflix.  It shows the “dynamic interplay” between trans representation on screen, resulting cultural attitudes off-screen, and real-world consequences.

Transhood is a 2020 American documentary film directed by and produced by Sharon Liese.  It follows four children, beginning at ages four, seven, twelve and fifteen.  Since November 12, you can see it on HBO Max.

Definition of A Transgender

Many transgender people are misunderstood by the straight population.  They are NOT the same as cross dressers who tend not to associate with LGBTQ+ community.  Most identify as heterosexuals.  Cross dressing is a form of gender expression.

They are people whose gender identity is different from the gender they were thought to be at birth. Sexual orientation has to do with whom you’re attracted to.  Transgender people can have any sexual orientation.

Although some have the following medical treatments such as hair growth or removal of hair, hormone therapy or chest surgery, it is not necessary to do so if you are transgender.  The operations such as bottom surgery are expensive.

How Many Transgenders Are There In the U.S.?

The Williams Institute, an LGBTQ policy program at UCLA Law, using data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, in 2016, estimates that there were 1.4 million transgender people (but that was four years ago).  Hawaii, California, Georgia, New Mexico, Texas and Florida have the highest percentages of adults who identify as transgender.

The youngest group, 18 to 24, are more likely to identify as transgender.  There were encouraging winnings in this year’s elections by transgenders who were “out:”

  • Sarah McBride, 30, is the first trans state senator in Delaware.  She is the highest ranking openly trans lawmaker in the U.S.
  • Taylor Small, 26, Director of Health and Wellness program at The Pride Center in Burlington, won a seat in the Vermont Legislative.
  • Brianna Titone, 27, scientist and  first openly transgender state legislator for The House of Representatives, elected in Colorado.
  • Lisa Bunker, children’s book author, won a seat as a Democratic Legislator in New Hampshire.
  • Stephanie Byers, 57, a member of the Chickasaw Nation in Kansas, is the first openly trans member of the Kansas State Legislature.

How To Be A Trans Ally

  • Don’t use a term if you don’t know what it means. Ask what it means.
  • Ask what pronouns a person prefers ( see my post about pronouns).
  • Show empathy and interest in their stories.
  • As GLAAD notes on its tip sheet (@glaad),”being an ally is a sustained and persistent pattern of action, not an idle or stable noun!”

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Pronouns Aren’t Just Good Grammar https://wesleycullendavidson.com/2020/11/pronouns-arent-just-good-grammar.html?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=pronouns-arent-just-good-grammar https://wesleycullendavidson.com/2020/11/pronouns-arent-just-good-grammar.html#respond Wed, 04 Nov 2020 17:09:17 +0000 https://wesleycullendavidson.com/?p=1448

If you have an LGBT child, you need to address them by the right pronouns.  It not only demonstrates acceptance but acknowledges their identity.  It is particularly troublesome for a transgender child or gender non-conforming child to hear the more common pronoun she/her/he/him that is applied to cis-gender kids (those who identify with the sex…

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If you have an LGBT child, you need to address them by the right pronouns.  It not only demonstrates acceptance but acknowledges their identity.  It is particularly troublesome for a transgender child or gender non-conforming child to hear the more common pronoun she/her/he/him that is applied to cis-gender kids (those who identify with the sex of their births).   Whether it is applied at home, school or work, it feels like evidence of harassment and hostility.

Why It Matters

  • The anti-suicide Trevor Project found that trans and non-binary youth who report having their pronouns respected by all or most of the people in their lives attempted suicide at half the rate of those whose pronouns weren’t respected.
  • The Williams Institute, a think tank at UCLA Law, dedicated to conducting research about sexual orientation, gender identity law, estimates that 150,000 youth, ages 13-17 in U.S.are classified as transgender.
  • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 2/% of high school students now identify as transgender. (This figure could be low as they may not want to come out as transgender and fear bullying).

Kids Coming Out Younger

According to Psychologist, Col Williams, Ph.D., Gender Management Service ( GeMS), the first major program in the U.S. to focus on patients 3 to 25 who are gender-diverse and transgender adolescents at Boston’s Children Hospital, says that “we are starting to see more kids at younger ages identify as “non-binary.”  Dr. Williams advises that you ask your children how they personally define “non-binary.”

During this past September, the  Merriam-Webster  added “they” to its dictionary as a grammatically correct way to describe a non-binary person.

Non Cis-gender Pronouns

As a straight parent, I use the standard pronouns she/he.  How do you know what pronoun to call your child?

  • Ask your child.  They is the most common gender-neutral singular pronoun: they, their, and them.
  • The more common non-standard pronouns are hir, co, ze, sie and ey.  Ze replaces she/he/they. Ze/hir/hirs. Basically, ze=her.  ey/em/eir, xe/xem/xyr.
  • As it can be confusing, refer to https://www.mypronouns.org/resources. It’s almost like learning a foreign language.

Encouraging Signs About Transgender Acceptance

While the news focuses on murders of transgenders, particularly those of color, emphasize to your child that some progress has been made, such as:

  • Fourteen states, New York City and District of Columbia offer a third gender option on driver’s licenses so your child doesn’t have to identify as male or female.
  • Credit cards such as Master Card allows you to have a card in your non-cisgender name.
  • There is a Pride flag that is yellow, purple, black, and white, reflecting diverse orientations.
  • Every third week in October, volunteer in your community on International Pronouns Day, to spread the word about how important it is to share, educate, and respect every person’s personal experience.

What You Can Do At Home

  • Practice your child’s new pronouns.  It’s a change.
  • Use pronouns on your own website that pertain to you.

Take your lead from your child.  They know better.  Your usage of the new pronouns will help inoculate them against the risk of depression and suicide.

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What Can You Do If Your School Isn’t An Ally To Prevent Bullying https://wesleycullendavidson.com/2020/10/if-school-isnt-an-ally-to-prevent-bullying.html?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=if-school-isnt-an-ally-to-prevent-bullying https://wesleycullendavidson.com/2020/10/if-school-isnt-an-ally-to-prevent-bullying.html#respond Fri, 30 Oct 2020 15:05:51 +0000 https://wesleycullendavidson.com/?p=1443

National Bullying Prevention Month is coming to a close.  Your kids have hopefully been able to attend school these last two months.  While the opening of schools may be a blessing for you as a parent, it may be hellish for your LGBT child if he is being bullied.  Although the school climate is better…

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National Bullying Prevention Month is coming to a close.  Your kids have hopefully been able to attend school these last two months.  While the opening of schools may be a blessing for you as a parent, it may be hellish for your LGBT child if he is being bullied.  Although the school climate is better in 2020 for LGBT students, according to a GLSEN (Gay, Straight Education Network) survey, particularly if there are a Gay-Straight Alliance in your child’s school, trained teachers to spot bullying, an inclusive LGBT curriculum, bullying can still be a problem in your school.

Kick It Upstairs

In my last blog “Making The School Your Ally,” October 20, 2020, I wrote about preparation for a school meeting when the school is the problem and your child is the victim.  You need to know your district’s policies and relevant state and federal laws.  What are your state’s laws?  What are your school district’s policies on safety, bullying and non-discrimination?

When the school ISN’T your ally, you need to present your notes that have documentation of every infringement: date, time, outcome as well as statement from your child, witnesses, your child’s emotional state and if your child has reported it to a teacher or principal.   You may need them for the police if physical assault, vandalizing, stalking or cyberbullying take place.

You don’t want to attack the school employees.  They could be potential allies, but right now you are at school because they aren’t protecting your child.

File A Complaint If Bullying Continues

You can file a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Education Department.  Public schools receive federal funding and are consequently protected under Title IX.  You have to file within 180 days of when the bullying occurred. Fill out the entire form or it will be dismissed.  After reading the instructions, click Continue to Complaint Form at the bottom of the page to get started.

  • Your claim will not be shared without permission.  It is confidential.
  • A third party (family member, school faculty member or a friend) can file the complaint.
  •  The school cannot retaliate against anyone who has made a complaint or testified, assisted or participated in any investigation or proceeding under Title IX.

Questions?  You can call:

  • Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) Public Policy Office.  202-621-5815.
  • Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, Metro office: 202-453-6020.
  • The Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education is headquartered in Washington.  The Customer Service Hotline: (800) 421-3481.

After the Claim…

Be persistent and follow up.  You are not being a pest.  Your child deserves to learn in a safe environment.

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