New report reveals unequal opportunities for LGBT people in the US08 January 2015

AnewreportlaunchedbytheresearchandanalysisthinktankMovementAdvancementProject(MAP) hasrevealedthatdespiteadvancesinseveralareas, opportunitiesforLGBTpeopleintheUnitedStates continuetobe unequal.

The ‘2014 Momentum Report: A Snapshot of Progress and Setbacks for LGBT Equality‘ looked into the highlights and lowlights around LGBT equality in 2014, examining marriage, health, transgender equality, among other areas of progress, and provides an overview of some of the biggest remaining gaps in equality.

The findings:
At the end of 2014, 14 US states, including Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Montana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming, had marriage equality and no state-level protections from discrimination.

“At this time, LGBT people must navigate an unpredictable and nonsensical legal landscape. Same-sex couples can now marry in over a dozen states that otherwise lack almost any kind of other legal equality for LGBT people,” said Ineke Mushovic, MAP Executive Director.

“What this means is that a worker can get married over the weekend, then be fired on Monday because of his or her sexual orientation. Meanwhile, in over 30 states, a person can be denied service in a restaurant or denied housing because they are transgender.” she added.

Other findings include:
1. Marriage

– The total number of states extending marriage to same-sex couples doubled in 2014, from 17 states at the end of 2013 to 35 states in 2014. The percentage of same-sex couples with the freedom to marry rose from 42% (2013) to 71% (2014);

– The federal government announced that it would recognise the marriages of all couples married in states that offer the freedom to marry while the Department of Justice released a comprehensive list of the federal programs and agencies that extend the rights and responsibilities granted through marriage to legally married same-sex couples;

2. Health and HIV/AIDS

– Medicare’s ban on coverage of transgender-specific healthcare was lifted, and the federal government lifted the exclusion on coverage for transgender-specific medical care for its employees;

– The Food and Drug Administration shortened the ban on gay and bisexual men giving blood to twelve months after having sex with a man

3. Transgender Equality

– The US Department of Education issued guidance confirming that the federal prohibition against sex discrimination in education protects transgender students.

– Transgender service members are still not permitted to serve openly. In 2014, several public figures, including former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James, spoke about the need to update military regulations to allow open service by transgender people.

– States and local jurisdictions continue to ease the process for changing gender markers on one’s birth certificate.

4. Public Service & Cultural Visibility

– Many lesbian, gay, and bisexual elected officials were re-elected. Massachusetts elected the first openly lesbian attorney general in the United States, Maura Healey.

– Michael Sam came out as an openly gay college football player and became the first openly gay player to be drafted to the NFL.

– Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, came out as gay in October, becoming one the most powerful openly gay business leaders in the world.

From Windy City Times

Michael Sam

Michael Sam