Year: 2015

Our Voices blog

AB 960: Protecting Families Using Assisted Reproduction Equally

Beginning January 1, 2016, California law will fully protect families conceiving children through assisted reproduction, regardless of how they conceive. California law already recognized many families using assisted reproduction, but it only provided protections to certain families. Assembly Bill 960—signed into law by California Gov. Jerry Brown in late 2015—provides several important new protections to ensure that all families are treated equally by the law. First, California did not...


Trump and the Déjà Vu of Our Shameful History

When leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump suggested that we respond to the mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., by barring Muslims from entering the U.S., most Americans, even many in the Republican Party, were rightly appalled if not completely surprised. Trump’s preposterous and shocking pronouncements are, at this point, predictable. But what is truly disturbing is his boisterous refusal to be accountable to facts and the significant percentage of Republican voters...


NCLR Urges Broader Federal Protections in Health Care

In September of this year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through its Office for Civil Rights (OCR), issued a proposed rule implementing Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that will prohibit discrimination in certain health programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. The new rule has the potential to eradicate numerous forms of discrimination and mistreatment that LGBTQ people often face in our health care...


I Quit: I’m Leaving the Mormon Church

I just did something I thought I would never do. I resigned my membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons) and asked that my name be removed from the records. Even at the height of church involvement in the passage of Proposition 8 in California, I never seriously considered removing my name. It just didn’t matter that much to me. Spiritually and emotionally, I left the church I grew up in decades ago. And despite being a “known gay activist” to the church, I...


Embracing the Well-Being of Transgender Foster Youth

Earlier this month, California became the first state in the nation to enact legislation giving transgender children and youth in foster care the right to live in settings that reflect and respect their gender identity. Senate Bill 731 is a clear articulation of the state’s explicit commitment to treat all foster youth equally and to prohibit identity-based discrimination in foster care settings. The legislation erases any remaining confusion or uncertainty: child welfare workers who...


When Religion Does Right

The past 10 days have been filled with a lot of religion. Ten days ago, I spoke at the International Affirmation Conference, the LGBTQ Mormon gathering in Provo, Utah. And last week it was 24/7 Pope Francis. Both of these events left me a bit unmoored. The church of my childhood, the Mormon church, and the Catholic church I thought I knew, have transformed in ways more fully embracing of dignity justice and belonging. Yes, as a politically progressive, vaguely agnostic, lesbian feminist, there...


New Guide Promotes the Safety and Well-Being of LGBTQ Youth in the Justice System

NCLR has written a new practice guide for the Annie E. Casey Foundation entitled “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth in the Juvenile Justice System,” which provides juvenile justice agencies the tools they need to ensure the safety and well-being of LGBTQ youth in their care. This groundbreaking publication documents the vulnerability of LGBTQ youth in our communities and in juvenile justice systems. Social stigma, family rejection, and discrimination subject LGBTQ youth to increased...


I am the B in LGBT

Three days ago, I had the privilege of visiting the White House for the first-ever Bisexual Awareness Policy Briefing. This honor came to me as a board member of BiNet USA, an organization dedicated to raising the visibility of the bisexual community and awareness of issues affecting them. Being at the White House this week, with more than 100 activists who identify as bisexual and bi plus was exhilarating—and a long way from the day seven years ago  when I came out as bi. Like a lot of...


Beyond the Schoolhouse Gates: The Need to Educate the School Community about Transgender Students

Each year, as the new school year begins, my social media feeds are filled with stories of families of transgender youth asking school and district administrators to respect and affirm their child’s gender identity. Overwhelmingly, administrators and teachers are stepping up, educating themselves about how to meet the unique needs of transgender students in school. Some school systems have even devoted precious staff training time on this topic. Taking these steps fosters a safe and welcoming...


We Still Need Full Equality for LGBTQ Families

The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent marriage equality ruling has brought the freedom to marry to the entire country, recognizing the equal dignity of our families. However, there is a lot more we need to do to achieve true family equality that fully respects the rights of LGBTQ parents and their children. Let me share the story of Marisol and her spouse, Elena (names have been changed to protect their family). They decided to have a child and asked one of Marisol’s friends to be their sperm donor....


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