It was exactly a year ago when I allowed myself to be fully seen by the world as the woman that I am: a proud transgender female. For a long time, I was paralyzed by fear in accepting my truth. I finally decided that I could not be paralyzed anymore. I realized that to accept vulnerability is to allow your authenticity to shine.
If there's an upside to Gov. Mike Pence signing the pro-discrimination SB101 "Religious Freedom Restoration Act" into law last week, it's this: the bigots, homophobes and neo-segregationists have been coaxed out of the woodwork, exposing themselves for what they really believe.
We have a significant problem brewing when transgender people who do have passing privilege are made to feel as though their voice can't have an impact.
For far-right activists and legislators concerned about marriage equality and other LGBT rights, Hobby Lobby provided the perfect opportunity: Pass state Religious Freedom Restoration Acts and effectively grant a religious-exemption claim from LGBT anti-discrimination laws, based on the Supreme Court's rewriting of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.
Today the San Francisco Board of Supervisors will vote on groundbreaking legislation protecting LGBT seniors who are living in long-term care facilities, whether nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, or other similar housing. This legislation, which prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, and HIV status, is long overdue.
It is heartening to see the swift condemnation against Indiana's new law from state governments, technology leaders, athletic organizations and community organizations. The pressure should be kept up, even as the governor and lawmakers say they want to "clarify" the law's intent.
If you're straight and you need time off to care for a sick spouse, federal law requires that you get Family and Medical Leave. If you're gay, you could get denied that right, depending on what state you live in.
Without proving any burden or hardship or even demonstrable faith, people now get to turn away people like us and families like mine, just as they've wanted to all along.
The fact is that most people of faith understand in their bones that our religions call us to care for the marginalized and the vulnerable, include everyone, and welcome all.
Why would a gay person want a wedding cake baked by bigots? I don't think any of us would. I certainly wouldn't. But if it's legal for a business owner to discriminate, like it currently is in Indiana, then wedding cake shoppers have to be on the defense.
I would not be here today if it wasn't for the free, quality health care I was given in the form of Medicaid. I support the ACA and I advocate for a single payer national health insurance system. This is what we all need in order to be a society in which our ideals are realized rather than sold off. We can't go backwards, there's just too much at stake.
I don't know what religion Mike Pence is, but the Christian religion does not call for tolerance, regardless of what a political party with a persecution complex would have him believe. The Christ of the gospels did not exhort his disciples to "tolerate thy neighbors," but to love them.
I have benefitted from black gay privilege throughout my career as a senior human resources, financial and diversity officer. I have accessed spaces and opportunities that "stereotypical" black men were not able to access.
The theatre community has historically been a place where many LGBT people call home, but also a community that does not stand for oppression or discrimination of any kind.
We agreed that President Barack Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden have been the most trans-friendly administration ever in U.S. history. There has been much progress, but in 2015 there is still much work to be done to gain full equality and rights.
Two friends named Neal and Bob lived in Indiana and were very excited when Governor Mike Pence signed the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law.
Besides the educational component, Impulse encourages HIV prevention by facilitating testing opportunities, providing condoms and other materials for safe or safer sex. The group also provides resources for those who learn they are HIV positive.
The bill's supporters clearly meant to target LGBT people, and it didn't help that Governor Pence's surrounded himself with anti-LGBT activists when he signed the bill.
You might be thinking, "Amelia, this isn't going to go anywhere. It's California! It's not like it's going to become law." And you are right. But it doesn't take away from the fact that there are thousands of people in this country just like Mr. McLaughlin, who think a bullet in his head is exactly what my son deserves.