Thank you to my friend Jennifer Carey, LGBT ally and social justice advocate, for inspiring me to write about Jay-Z. This week we were lucky enough to have a tie for HWA, with two very disparate events that both merit celebration. What a nice surprise!
Hip hop superstar and businessman Jay-Z earns his share of the award with his staunch support of marriage equality and of President Obama’s supportive statements. Having just celebrated his own wedding anniversary, he reflected
I have always thought of it as something that is still holding the country back. What people do in their own homes is their business… It is no different than discriminating against blacks. It’s discrimination, plain and simple… It was the right thing to do. It’s really not about votes. It’s about people. So whether it cost him votes or not, I think it was the right thing to do as a human being.
Given the rap industry’s history of homophobia and the black community’s uneasy relationship with LGBT rights, this strong support from a highly visible member of both camps is powerful indeed.
Meanwhile in Argentina… In a unanimous vote the Argentine Senate approved a law that makes it very easy for citizens to change their gender on legal documents in that country. Activists who track gender identity laws said that no other country has gone so far to embrace gender self-determination. In the United States and Europe, transgender people must submit to physical and mental health exams and must generally begin a physical transition to qualify to even petition for a legal change of gender. With this bold yet simple move, Argentina has become the most trans-friendly nation in the world, building on the progressive LGBT tradition begun two years ago with legal marriage equality. When will the U.S. catch up?