What’s Still Missing From The Democratic Primary Debates: Questions About LGBT Rights

What’s Still Missing From The Democratic Primary Debates: Questions About LGBT Rights

Saul Loeb / Getty Images The fifth Democratic debate came and went Wednesday without a single question about the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans — a topic that no debate moderator has brought up at any debate this year, with the exception of a June question directed only at Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

The ten Democrats answered an unusually broad range of questions that varied from abortion rights to white supremacist violence to chants of “Lock him up” at Democratic rallies. None of the questions touched on LGBTQ rights — despite the presence on stage of the country’s first viable openly gay candidate for president, Pete Buttigieg, as well as an openly lesbian moderator, Rachel Maddow.

Wednesday also marked the Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day to mark the memories of transgender people who were killed in anti-trans violence. Former housing secretary Julián Castro, who is running for president but did not qualify for the night’s debate, tweeted to note that the day had not been mentioned onstage.

LGBTQ activists have grown increasingly frustrated with the lack of questions about queer rights on the Democratic debate stage. A case is looming before the Supreme Court that could determine whether LGBTQ Americans are protected from employment discrimination, and there is a spate of ongoing violence against black transgender women.

In the first debate, Gabbard, who has a checkered history over gay rights from her earliest days in politics, was asked about her own record.

The topic has otherwise been relegated to two forums focused on LGBTQ rights, including a CNN town hall in October, where nine candidates appeared. Buttigieg gave a moving answer in those forums about his experience being prevented from donating blood at an annual blood drive hosted by his own office, calling for the overhaul of rules prohibiting gay men from blood donation.

Buttigieg, in responding to a question about appealing to diverse voters, did bring up his sexuality Wednesday night. “I do have the experience of sometimes feeling like a stranger in my own country,” he said, “turning on the news and seeing my own rights come up for debate.”

‘Rectifying the historic wrong’: LGBT advocates wanted sexual orientation included on the next Census

'Rectifying the historic wrong': LGBT advocates wanted sexual orientation included on the next Census

Scotland’s census will give individuals up to 21 options under this category including skolisexual and demiromantic.

Image: Shutterstock/Africa Studio GROUPS AND ADVOCATES for the LGBT+ community requested an option to address sexual orientation and gender identity on the Census 2021 in order to “provide an honest view of Irish society” and rectify a “historic wrong”.

In 2017, the Government launched a public consultation to decide what should or should not be included on the Census 2021 survey. The final draft was signed off on earlier this year and includes new questions around childcare, household smoke alarms, and access to the internet.

But during the public consultation, questions were raised around whether a possible sexual orientation question would be included, a question which appears on the national Census of other European countries.

At present the current Irish Census asks ‘what is your sex?’ with an option for ‘male’ and ‘female’ available in response.

The CSO has decided that a question on sexual orientation will not appear on Census 2021 in Ireland. A Census spokesperson said it would be considered again ahead of the 2026 Census in seven years’ time.

Last month, Scotland announced it was planning to include sexual orientation on its 2021 Census with a question including four options: heterosexual, gay or lesbian, bisexual, and other.

Under the ‘other’ category, the Census – which is carried out online – will offer further categories including options like scolisexual, demiromantic, gynephilic, and polysexual.

While these options were not mentioned in submissions for the Irish Census, a number of issues were raised about recognition and visibility of LGBT people in Ireland.

‘Invisibility’

One submission from a member of the public and seen by TheJournal.ie under Freedom of Information suggested it would be an “invaluable resource” and would act as a way of “rectifying” issues around the treatment of the LGBT community in Ireland.

“I was disappointed that no attempt was made to determine the sexual orientation of respondents to the 2016 Census,” they said.

“The LGBTQ community continues to deal with issues relating to invisibility and erasure from the public record and this information would contribute significantly to rectifying the historic wrong.”

Another submission from charity BeLong To suggested the public should be able to select whether they were male, female or non-binary under the heading of gender identity, as well as answering another question on sexual orientation with options including gay, straight, queer, or other.

Issues were also raised about other vulnerable groups during the public consultation.

Disability charity Inclusion Ireland said it would also have been of benefit to members of the public with a disability as there is a lack of data in relation to this group and sexual identity.

“People with disabilities who identify as LGBTQI+ may experience discrimination because of their disability, their sexual or gender identity, or other parts of their identity,” it said.

“The availability of data would help public bodies to ensure that they are complying with the Public Sector Duty and help civil society to monitor this and hold the public sector to account.”

While members of the public and organisations such as Belong To and the Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) formed much of the correspondence received by the CSO, government departments also weighed in with their support.

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs said “eight of the nine grounds for discrimination are covered by the existing Census form and sexual orientation is the only ground that is not”.

“Data on gender and sexual identity at a small area level may be useful for planning for sexual health resources.

“We understand that the UK’s ONS are considering including a sexual and gender identity question in the 2021 Census of England and Wales. The ONS are currently conducting further research on same.”

The Department of Justice also recommended including a question on sexual orientation.

A Census spokesperson said it is carrying out a trial involving a question on sexual orientation in the Quarterly National Household Survey, and data collected will inform discussions on the issue for future Census surveys.

“The aim is to see how it goes with other CSO surveys with a view to maybe having a question like this in future,” they said.

Democratic Debate: Buttigieg Surge Gives Hope to SoCal LGBT Voter

Democratic Debate: Buttigieg Surge Gives Hope to SoCal LGBT Voter

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – Mondays are a drag wherever you are. But especially at the Abbey.

Which is why the famed gay bar in West Hollywood is one Sean Panzer’s favorite places to blow off steam.

“I love coming and seeing the queens like, do what they do best,” Panzer told Spectrum News 1.

It started off as just another night out with friends. But in recent years, Panzer’s monthly ritual has taken on a much deeper meaning.

"I think nights like this celebrate who we are,” he said.

The last few years have seen a dramatic rise in hate crimes against LGBTQ people. According to a recent report by the FBI , incidents targeting gay males increased by nearly 7 percent last year, and anti-transgender hate crimes rose nearly 34 percent.

An openly gay man from Sherman Oaks, Panzer has been carefully weighing his options for the 2020 election. He’s leaning towards Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

The out mayor of South Bend, Indiana has rocked the political establishment in recent days, surging 16 points to land at top of the Democratic field in Iowa .

“To see the first openly gay candidate as a frontrunner in a poll, I honestly wasn’t sure if America was ready for this,” Panzer said. “To see the first openly gay candidate as a frontrunner in a poll, I honestly wasn’t sure if America was ready for this,” Panzer said.

He’s been following the impeachment hearings but says his focus is on 2020. The next debate, he says, will be crucial to making his decision.

“I hope they keep it civil," he said. "I feel like the questioning in the last couple of debates hasn’t fostered that kind of civil discussion that I would like to see from the candidates."

How dare they cast out this councillor for holding to her principles on LGBT

How dare they cast out this councillor for holding to her principles on LGBT

BBC News carried a story on November 13 – first reported in the Salisbury Journal on November 12 – about Mary Douglas , a Conservative member of Wiltshire County Council.

Councillor Douglas held the portfolio for social mobility and skills. On Monday November 4, the Salisbury Area Board considered funding requests from community groups from the council.

One of the groups were the organisers of Salisbury Pride, represented by Salisbury deputy mayor and Pride organiser Caroline Corbin, who asked the council to contribute £1,000 towards their budget of £18,000 for their event in June 2020.

In the discussion, Councillor Douglas is reported to have said: ‘I cannot support this. I am not saying I do not accept or respect or love people who identify as LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning) because I do. I support completely their right to make choices, however I do not support those choices themselves, nor the ideology and world view they represent.

‘These are wonderful people, well-meaning and sincere, but misguided by a powerful ideology. I do not want to be a part of promoting this, and I want to be clear this is not just my view, I represent a large number of people, some who are afraid to say something.’

The Tory leader of the council, Philip Whitehead said: ‘I have taken the decision to remove Councillor Mary Douglas as Portfolio Holder for Social Mobility and Skills. I would like to thank her for her work during her time as Portfolio Holder. She will step down from the role with immediate effect, but remains a Wiltshire Council councillor.’

Councillor Corbin described Councillor Douglas as ‘an embarrassment to the public office who is just not fit for that role any more’.

This latest incident is a further challenge to liberal democracy, which is founded on the principle, among others, that the free expression of political ideas, as distinct from slavish bondage to an imposed party line, is the most conducive to political freedom and establishment of truth.

Our British constitution allows for principled opposition at the highest level of governance in our Houses of Parliament in order that the actions of the government in power can be subject to scrutiny and tested in debate.

Ed Costelloe, chairman of Grassroots Conservatives, said: ‘I wonder whether Philip Whitehead has any idea of what the vast majority of Conservative Party members will think of his decision which is contrary to conservative principles, free speech and a tolerant society.’

The long march through our institutions of an ideology from any source, be it unrestrained free-market capitalism, or any other, that brooks no debate or challenge from elected representatives of the people is a very worrying development.

Mrs Douglas is a vocal supporter of human rights. She is on record as saying: ‘As sons of God, we have unconditional value to the creator God who is our father. This is the highest account of a human being and the strongest foundation for human rights’. See here five minutes in.

Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern, responded to the news by saying: ‘Councillor Douglas has served her community faithfully for many years. She is the latest in a long line of victims who are cast out from public life for daring to air another view.

‘Councillor Douglas is kind and sacrificial and cares deeply about the gay community. She is strong enough not to be taken in by their radical agenda and what it brings. For that she is punished. Britain 2019.’

The Reverend Lynda Rose, of Voice for Justice UK, said: ‘The medical risks and harm attaching to LGBT+ behaviours and sexual promiscuity are well documented.

‘So Councillor Douglas is surely justified in her comment that she accepts and respects people who identify as LGBTQ+, but does not support their behavioural choices. The proper question is: “Should public funds be used to celebrate high-risk behaviours known to cause harm?”’

Those who favoured the sacking of Mrs Douglas should note Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quote: ‘Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.’ And Mrs Douglas may take comfort from George Orwell’s observation: ‘The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.’

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FBI report shows increase in anti-LGBT hate crimes

FBI report shows increase in anti-LGBT hate crimes

‘Bias-motivated crimes are a real, frightening problem in the United States,’ said HRC’s Alphonso David. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key) The number of hate crime incidents targeting gays, lesbians, and bisexuals in the United States in 2018 increased by nearly 6 percent over the previous year and the number of anti-transgender hate crime incidents increased by 41 percent during that same period, according to the FBI’s newly released annual Hate Crime Statistics Report.

The report, which covers 2018, the most recent year for which the FBI has released hate crimes data, shows that participating law enforcement agencies throughout the country reported to the FBI a total of 7,120 hate crime incidents for 2018.

Under guidelines set by the FBI, the incidents are broken down into six categories of “bias motivation” – Race/Ethnicity/Ancestry, Religion, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Gender, and Disability.

The report released by the FBI last week shows that out of 7,036 “single bias incidents” reported in 2018, 57.5 percent were motivated by a race/ethnicity/ancestry bias; 20.2 percent were motivated by a religious bias; 17.0 percent were prompted by sexual orientation bias; 2.4 percent were motivated by gender identity bias; 2.3 percent were motivated by disability bias; and 0.7 percent (47 incidents) were motivated by gender bias.

The 2018 report shows participating law enforcement agencies reported 1,196 sexual orientation related hate crime incidents for that year, an increase of 5.8 percent over the 1,130 incidents related to sexual orientation reported in 2017.

According to the report, there were 168 incidents in 2018 in which a victim was targeted for a hate crime based on their gender identity, an increase by 41.1 percent over the 106 gender identity related incidents in 2017.

In its 2018 report, the FBI says the 1,196 incidents based on sexual orientation included 726 anti-gay male incidents, 129 anti-lesbian incidents, 303 anti-LGBT “mixed group” incidents, 21 anti-bisexual incidents, and 17 anti-heterosexual incidents.

Among the 168 gender identity related incidents, the 2018 report says there were 142 anti-transgender incidents and 26 reported anti-gender non-conforming incidents.

In its data on hate crime incidents in individual states and D.C., the report shows there were a total of 213 reported hate crime incidents in D.C. in 2018, with 68 targeting the victim based on their sexual orientation and 33 related to the victim’s gender identity.

The FBI report shows there were a total of 143 hate crime incidents reported in Virginia in 2018, with 23 related to the victim’s sexual orientation. The report shows there were no reported hate crime incidents in Virginia related to a victim’s gender identity in 2018.

For Maryland, the FBI report shows a total of 50 hate crime incidents in 2018, with nine related to the victim’s sexual orientation and five related to the victim’s gender identity.

In Delaware, the report shows a total of 16 hate crime incidents in 2018, with two related to sexual orientation and none related to gender identity.

Similar to nearly all 50 states, the 2018 report shows that large numbers of law enforcement agencies in medium to smaller cities and towns in Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware did not submit any hate crimes data to the FBI for purposes of its annual hate crimes report. The FBI report places these non-reporting jurisdictions into a category it calls “Hate Crime Zero Data Submitted.”

Among the jurisdictions falling into that category in Delaware was Rehoboth Beach and nearby Lewes, both of which are popular summer resort destinations for LGBT people in the mid-Atlantic region.

Sal Seeley, director of Health and Wellness for the Rehoboth Beach LGBT community center CAMP Rehoboth, said he was not aware of any hate crimes occurring against LGBT people in Rehoboth in recent years. But he said he was surprised that Rehoboth’s LGBT-friendly police department would not have submitted information to the FBI stating whether or not any hate crimes have occurred in the town recently.

Rehoboth Police Chief Keith Banks couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

“Bias-motivated crimes are a real, frightening problem in the United States, and LGBTQ people continue to be targeted because of who they are,” said Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, the national LGBT advocacy organization based in D.C.

Donald Trump’s latest adviser is a right-wing commentator who thinks homosexuality is an ‘abomination’

Donald Trump’s latest adviser is a right-wing commentator who thinks homosexuality is an ‘abomination’

Clarence Mason Weaver with Donald Trump Donald Trump has appointed a commentator who has raged about the “abomination” of homosexuality to serve on his advisory board.

Clarence Mason Weaver was appointed to serve in an advisory position on the president’s re-election campaign as a member of the so-called Black Voices for Trump coalition.

The activist, a vocal online Trump supporter, is also extremely anti-LGBT+. New Donald Trump race adviser Clarence Mason Weaver is avowedly anti-LGBT+.

In a video posted in November 2018, found by Media Matters , Weaver raged about a Best Buy advert featuring a same-sex couple.

He said: “There was no reason for that ad to have a homosexual topic, that ad was placed to make me think it is normal to be homosexual.

“I said [to my granddaughter], ‘No, homosexuality is an abomination. Not just a sin, an abomination’… as a Christian we have to stand up for God whether it hurts someone’s feelings or not. How can you find common ground with evil?” Clarence Mason Weaver with Donald Trump The regular Fox News guest added: “I will not appear on a programme with a homosexual host and pretend like that’s normal.”

In another video the activist said that he homeschools his children, “where we don’t have to worry about homosexual training”.

Stars you didn’t know are gay or lesbian

Celebs you didn’t know have an LGBT sibling

In other posts on Twitter, he has asked: “WHAT IS WRONG WITH BEING HOMOPHOBIC.”

Addressing a transgender Miss Universe contestant in 2018, he wrote: “This is not gender equality, it is gender delusion. You are a man. You don’t have a womb, you are a guy. It is not gender equality because you don’t equal a women.”

Weaver previously supported California’s notorious Proposition 8 to ban same-sex weddings, and attacked the election of the “openly homosexual” Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot earlier this year. Black Voices for Trump coalition is packed with anti-LGBT+ voices.

The Black Voices for Trump advisory board also includes Ken Blackwell, an anti-LGBT+ lobbyist for a listed hate group, the Family Research Council. Blackwell has blamed the Obama administration’s pro-gay policies for a rise in terrorism.

Another adviser is Stacey Dash, a former actress who starred in Clueless and who previously told transgender women to pee in the bushes outside, rather than use public bathrooms.

The coalition is apparently co-chaired by failed Republican Presidential candidate Herman Cain , who has published blogs comparing gay people to the Borg from Star Trek.

Fox News contributor Deneen Borelli, also listed on the board, previously claimed that Barack Obama threw African-Americans “under the bus” by supporting same-sex marriage.

Labour’s Dawn Butler vows to build a world where transphobia is a thing of the past

Labour’s Dawn Butler vows to build a world where transphobia is a thing of the past

Dawn Butler addresses Labour Party members and supporters during a rally in Parliament Square calling for a general election, July 2019 (WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto/ Getty) Labour’s shadow women and equalities secretary, Dawn Butler, is one of the LGBT’s community’s fiercest allies in parliament.

She used her platform at the 2019 PinkNews Awards to deliver a powerful and rousing speech in condemnation of the continuing delays to reform of the Gender Recognition Act, declaring: “Who gives a s**t? Just amend the act already.”

Today, on the Transgender Day of Remembrance , she pledges to help build a world where transphobia is a thing of the past, and tells PinkNews readers that Labour is declaring “time’s up” on the GRA delays. (Jack Taylor/Getty) Dawn Butler, shadow women and equalities secretary.

As we mark the 20th Transgender Day of Remembrance, another 330 trans people have been reported killed in the last year, and the true figure is likely to be much higher.

In the UK in 2018/19 there were 2,333 reported hate crimes against transgender people or people who were perceived to be transgender, an increase of 37 per cent on the previous year.

These figures cannot describe the human tragedies contained within them. Nor do they describe the pain and fear that trans people are forced to live with simply for existing; for trying to live in a way that is honest and true to who they are.

As Labour’s shadow women and equalities secretary I want to be very clear; trans women are women, trans men are men, and trans people deserve unconditional solidarity and support for their right to exist in the gender with which they identify.

It is critical for politicians to show leadership on this issue in a particularly grim period, with some in public life mobilising to use trans people as a punch bag. The kind of rhetoric used by many in the media and politics who should know better has contributed directly to the climate of fear and violence which trans people face.

At the beginning of this general election a Downing Street insider suggested that Boris Johnson’s team were polling trans issues to see if they could be weaponised against Labour . Johnson’s office deny these claims, but their public record is little better. At the 2019 PinkNews Awards Butler called out Baroness Williams for saying that GRA reform is “contentious.” (Paul Grace) In early 2016, a government select committee chaired by the then Conservative MP Maria Miller released a report recommending changes to the Gender Recognition Act 2004 (GRA).

It recommended a simple system of self-identification to replace the current needlessly medicalised, difficult and demeaning process which costs more than other administrative applications such as obtaining a passport. In July 2017, the government launched a survey to gather more information about the experiences of LGBT+ people in the UK.

The survey response was unprecedented – more than 108,000 people participated, making it the largest national survey of LGBT+ people in the world to date. Then they decided to do another consultation which closed in 2018 and since then nothing has happened.

I wrote to women and equalities minister Liz Truss in October calling on the government to publish the results of the consultation. But the government’s refusal to include GRA reform in the Queen’s Speech means that people must still supply a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria and two years’ worth of evidence that they have lived as that gender in order to be recognised.

In reality, NHS patients struggle to gather such proof and the process of jumping through hoops simply institutionalises trans people’s struggle to be recognised. Meanwhile waiting lists for gender reassignment surgery are prohibitively long.

Two in five trans people have experienced a hate crime or incident because of their gender in the last year, adding to the pressure is irresponsible and dangerous.

This government has done nothing to combat the transphobic rhetoric spewed by many of its supporters in the press. The prime minister hardly has a sterling record on LGBT+ rights either, describing gay men as “tank-topped bumboys” and comparing equal marriage to “three men marrying a dog”. Earlier this year he lambasted the police for “wasting time” on transphobic hate crimes.

Within Johnson’s parliamentary party, a ComRes survey found 70 per cent of MPs were opposed to self-identification.

A Labour government will get serious about addressing the discrimination trans people face. We will reform the Gender Recognition Act and change some of the wording in the Equality Act 2010 to ensure they protect trans people by changing the protected characteristic of ‘gender assignment’ to ‘gender identity’ and removing other outdated language such as ‘transsexual’.

We will bring the law on LGBT+ hate crimes into line with hate crimes based on race and faith, by making them aggravated offences. Dawn Butler at UK Black Pride (Dawn Butler) Meanwhile, we will ensure that all teachers receive initial and ongoing training on the issues students face and how to address them, and we will ensure that the new guidance for relationships and sex education is LGBT+ inclusive.

We will also ensure all frontline health and social care professionals receive ongoing training to understand and meet the needs of LGBT+ patients and service users .

The measure of a decent society is how we treat the most marginalised and disenfranchised, and so the physical and mental harm that trans people endure today is a reflection of the kind of society we live in, and highlights the real change we need to bring about.

On this year’s Transgender Day of Remembrance I will be thinking of all those people who as a society we have failed, and vowing to do all I can to help build a world in which transphobia is a thing of the past.

The opinions within this article do not necessarily reflect the views of PinkNews.

A Texas Republican – yes, a Texas Republican – just came out with an infallible argument why Supreme Court must protect LGBT workers

A Texas Republican – yes, a Texas Republican – just came out with an infallible argument why Supreme Court must protect LGBT workers

Former Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives Joe Straus (Creative Commons photo/David Martin Davies) Joe Straus, the former Republican Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, has publicly come out in support of LGBT+ rights protections.

The Republican politician, who served until January as the most powerful Republican leader in the GOP-dominated state, penned an article for Newsweek revealing his surprising stance.

Straus, who led the Texas House for a decade, spoke out as the US Supreme Court prepares to rule on whether existing civil rights laws provide federal protections to LGBT+ people. Texas Republican: Discrimination against LGBT+ people has a human cost

He wrote: “The Supreme Court should reaffirm these protections for our LGBTQ neighbours, who deserve the same opportunity as everyone else to be judged on their merits, and to work, earn a living and contribute to their communities.

“This may not be a common public position for a Texas Republican politician, but it reflects majority opinion in the state, including majorities of Republicans and Democrats, and people of every race and every major faith tradition.”

Explaining his stance, Straus said: “Over the years, I have watched Texans grow and learn and change on LGBTQ rights.

“I’ve gone through that learning and growth myself, especially in recent years, when we forged a diverse coalition—from the business community to faith leaders to law enforcement—to push back against wrongheaded efforts to discriminate against LGBTQ people.”

As Speaker, the politician was responsible for blocking some of the worst excesses of anti-LGBT legislation in the state, including a ‘bathroom bill’. Texas Republican House Speaker Joe Straus killed a bathroom bill (Robert Daemmrich Photography Inc/Corbis via Getty Images) Of the Supreme Court case, he explained: “The cases now before the Supreme Court deal specifically with discrimination in the workplace, where the economic impacts are clear: Discrimination can shatter morale, harm productivity and contribute to higher employee turnover.

“But the human cost is real, too: Discrimination can strip people of their pride and rob them of the opportunity to do good work and earn a living for their families.

“In these cases, respect for our common humanity and for the dignity of every individual should prevail.” Trump administration argues in favour of discrimination

Straus’ position puts him at odds with the Trump administration, which has intervened in the Supreme Court battle to argue that discrimination laws do not afford any protections to people based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Trump administration’s amicus brief argues: “An employer who discriminates against employees in same-sex relationships thus does not violate Title VII [discrimination rules] as long as it treats men in same-sex relationships the same as women in same-sex relationships.”

The three cases under joint consideration by the court revolve around three employees who were fired from their respective jobs for being LGBT+.

The first case, Altitude Express, Inc. v. Zarda , concerns Donald Zarda, who was fired from his job as a skydiving instructor because he is gay.

The second, Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission , concerns Aimee Stephens, a transgender woman who was sacked from her job at a funeral parlour after transitioning.

The third case, Bostock v. Clayton County , revolves around Gerald Bostock, a child welfare services coordinator who was sacked for joining a gay softball league.

8 Colorado cities rank highly in LGBT equality report

8 Colorado cities rank highly in LGBT equality report

For the first time, a Pride flag was flown on the Colorado Capitol, across the street from the park where thousands of people celebrated the LGBTQ community in June. The Human Rights Campaign has highlighted eight Colorado municipalities in its “Municipal Equality Index,” a nationwide ranking of how cities’ policies, services, laws, and benefits promote LGBT equality.

Denver received the top score of 100, on par with gay-friendly meccas like West Hollywood and San Francisco.

Boulder and Fort Collins scored in the high nineties. Aspen, Aurora, Colorado Springs, Lakewood, and Littleton all received above 50 points.

The report, released Tuesday, noted that a record number of localities earned a perfect score compared to years past.

“These local leaders also understand that to advance LGBTQ rights, they have to make sure that their own employment practices and policies are progressive and equitable,” wrote HRC Foundation President Alphonso Davis. “A record-breaking 164 out of the 506 cities we scored now offer transgender-inclusive health benefits to city employees.”

The rankings were calculated from scores in five categories, which included the relationship between police departments and the LGBT community; whether local governments sought to be civically inclusive; the extent of LGBT-specific services; nondiscrimination policies for city employees; and nondiscrimination laws more broadly in areas of housing or provision of services. The latter category also took into account prohibitions on conversion therapy.

All of Colorado’s listed municipalities scored perfectly in their broad prohibitions against discrimination.

HRC cautioned that the index was not a "quality of life" guide for LGBT individuals. Cities that ranked highly because of their policies may not necessarily feel welcoming, and the opposite might be true for cities with few policies in place.

The report came one day after Attorney General Phil Weiser and representatives from Colorado faith and anti-hate organizations announced a push to increase reporting of hate crimes.

Twenty-one percent of the state’s hate crimes in 2018 arose from sexual orientation or gender identity.

Ireland slips in global LGBT safety poll

Ireland slips in global LGBT safety poll

Ireland’s reputation among LGBT holidaymakers has fallen slightly, according to a new global poll.

Gallup asked 1,000 Irish participants ‘Is the city or area where you live a good place or not a good place to live for gay and lesbian people?’

In 2017, 84% of respondents said it was a "good place", while the latest 2018 poll only has 82% of people said the same thing.

It is part of a wider survey using data from a variety of international sources, which makes up an ‘LGBTQ+ Danger Index’ for 150 countries.

The index is calculated using eight factors – such as legalised same-sex marriage, criminalisation of hate-based violence and illegal LGBTQ+ relationships and propaganda/morality laws.

Ireland stands at 15th overall, beating other nations such as Australia, Germany, Hungary and Italy for perceived LGBT safety.

The top five countries are Norway, Portugal, Belgium, the United Kingdom and Finland. Dublin’s Liberty Hall (left) is lit up in Pride colours in February 2015 | Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland Countries at the bottom of the index include Nigeria, Qatar, Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

The index notes: "There are some places on the planet where it’s perfectly ordinary to kiss or hold hands with a same-sex partner in public, but in other places, that action could result in fines, imprisonment, hard labour, whipping, or, in some cases, death. "These countries where homosexuality is illegal are also often severe human rights violators, usually penalising male/male sexuality and/or trans women most harshly." "Unfortunately, some countries where it’s illegal to be gay or trans also happen to be popular vacation spots.

"For instance, it’s illegal to be gay in Jamaica; the ‘buggery law,’ which is leftover from the colonial era, allows for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison including hard labour."

Jamaica was called ‘the most homophobic place on Earth?’ by Time magazine back in 2006. A couple kiss during a march in Kolkata, India in September 2019 | Image: SOPA Images/SIPA USA/PA Images The index also says that those looking for trans- and gay-travel-safe countries should "reconsider" destinations like Malaysia, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Myanmar, and Egypt – as well as some of the more popular beaches in the Caribbean, like Saint Lucia and Barbados.

While the index also says that 45 of 67 countries that have illegal same-sex relationships were part of the former British Empire.

The authors say: "This isn’t a coincidence. In almost all cases, the laws outlawing consensual gay sex were put into place under British rule and were left in place following independence. "India is an example country that has only in 2018 managed to annul Section 377, a British colonial-era law prohibiting "unnatural acts," in order to legalise consensual gay sex." Another country that does not rank highly on the list is the United States.

"One reason for that is, of course, that there is a great deal of variation in gay rights depending on the state you’re in.

"There are also no constitutional or broad protections for LGBTQ+ rights under federal law in the US.

Also, in some states, LGBTQ+ youth do not have access to helpful information, with these so-called ‘no-promo homo’ laws counting in the ‘propaganda/morality’ category.
"The US might have come far, but it has a long way to go in terms of LGBTQ+ rights, especially for young transgender people."

The US ranks 24th overall on the index.