This month marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The law is often recognized as a repudiation of racial segregation in the southern states. But this common association overlooks the reality of discrimination in public accommodations in the North, including in America's largest city.
ENDA is to employment nondiscrimination what civil unions are to marriage -- a token, but ultimately simply another reminder that LGBT persons are regarded as less-than, and that discrimination against us is regarded as more legitimate than it is against nearly any other group in the United States today.
The good news of the past year has been accompanied by a number of disturbing developments. One is the fact that it is still perfectly legal in the majority of U.S. states to fire people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) or to deny them housing or a loan, simply because they are LGBT.
In the United States, women of color frequently experience the double burden of discrimination. They are discriminated against by race and also by gender. The same applies to Roma women in East-Central Europe. And sexism imposes its own double burden, for Roma women must confront not only the prejudices of society as a whole but also discrimination within traditional Roma families.
The movement for international LGBT rights is not going to be won overnight. And while meetings in Stockholm or Washington, D.C. are important, the real work is being done by the on-the-ground activists in countries like Uganda, India, Myanmar, Lebanon, and Russia, many of whom risk their lives on a day-to-day basis.