This Week’s Developments in LGBTQ Nondiscrimination

November 2, 2018 • 11:17 am

MA voters head to the polls Tuesday to vote on transgender protections; Fallout continues from Trump administration’s plans to seemingly define transgender Americans out of existence

WASHINGTON – In just four days, voters head to the polls in Massachusetts to decide whether to uphold a law that protects transgender Bay Staters from discrimination. And a record number of LGBTQ Americans are running for office this year – Tuesday’s votes could result in the election of the nation’s first openly transgender governor (Christine Hallquist in Vermont), first openly gay governor (Jared Polis in Colorado), first openly lesbian governor (Lupe Valdez in Texas), and the first full term for an openly bisexual governor (Kate Brown in Oregon).

Rallies continued this week across the country in response to last week’s news that the Trump administration was considering changes to a legal definition for the word ‘sex’ — changes that would render transgender Americans out of existence in the eyes of the federal government. Freedom for All Americans’ Weekly LGBTQ Nondiscrimination Update has all the latest developments that should be on your radar:

Historic Election Day Looms With Important Ballot Measure in MA & a Record Number of LGBTQ Candidates:
This Election Day, much is at stake for LGBTQ Americans. In Massachusetts, voters will face the first-ever statewide ballot question on discrimination protections for transgender people. A Yes on 3 vote would keep the state’s protections for transgender people in place, affirming a law that enjoys bipartisan support and was signed by Republican Governor Charlie Baker in 2016.

Also, a historic number of LGBTQ candidates are on the ballot this year. A number of states will have the opportunity to elect the first LGBTQ congressional representative from their state — Lauren Baer in Florida, Angie Craig in Minnesota, Rick Neal in Ohio, Gina Ortiz Jones in Texas, Chris Pappas in New Hampshire, Sharice Davids in Kansas, Jamie McLeod-Skinner in Oregon, and Lee Castillo in Utah. In Arizona, Kyrsten Sinema stands to be the first openly bisexual person to ever serve in the U.S. Senate. According to the LGBTQ Victory Fund, there were more than 430 openly LGBTQ people who ran for office at every level of government in 2018, and after the primaries, at least 244 are still in the running, making 2018 a historic year for LGBTQ Americans seeking policymaking positions.

Fallout Continues in Wake of Leaked Memo Calling to Define Transgender Americans Out of Existence:
Backlash is mounting after last week’s New York Times report detailing the Trump administration’s plans to define transgender Americans “out of existence.” This week, a massive transgender pride flag was used at a rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial protesting the move, and a banner was unveiled at a World Series game in Los Angeles, reading “Trans People Deserve To Live.” According to the leaked memo, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is seeking to define sex as “a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth.” According to the report, HHS is trying to encourage several other major federal agencies to adopt the same definition.

To get a better sense of how transgender Americans experience discrimination every single day, please visit Faces of Freedom – a new LGBTQ movement-wide resource that elevates the stories of LGBTQ people and allies.

Faces of Freedom is a new resource that brings together powerful messengers and stories of discrimination, creating a one-stop resource for reporters, policymakers, advocates, and others who need to harness the power of storytelling and the diversity of the LGBTQ community. It includes more than 350 stories from nearly every state and will be continue to expand in the coming months. You’ll meet LGBTQ people who have faced discrimination, family members and friends who support their LGBTQ loved ones, and community members like business leaders and small business owners, people of faith and clergy, and Americans across the political spectrum who all support full equality under the law for LGBTQ people.

Freedom for All Americans is working to secure comprehensive nondiscrimination protections for all LGBTQ Americans, no matter which state they call home. For more information on state-specific legislation, or to browse our stories of discrimination, please visit www.FreedomForAllAmericans.org.

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