Tag Archives: Pacific Northwest

Where Is It Safest to Be Gay? Ranking the States

12 May

Come for the scenery, stay for the civil rights

Despite President Obama’s wonderful declaration of support for marriage equality, the devastating passage of Amendment One in North Carolina shows how far we have to go as a nation. It is also imporant to understand how your rights are protected based on where you live. Now there’s a handy tool to look at gay rights by state.

In a very thorough analysis this week, British news daily The Guardian, published a ranking of all 50 states (plus the District of Columbia) on seven key areas of civil rights. The factors rated by The Guardian include:

  1. Marriage, indicating whether it is fully allowed or banned and including partial credit for domestic partnerships.
  2. Hospital visitation rights, including how same-sex partners are respected as family members.
  3. Adoption rights, indicating whether LGBT couples can jointly adopt (or are explicitly banned from doing so).
  4. Employment, indicating what workplace protections exist based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
  5. Housing, indicating laws requiring fair treatment based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
  6. Hate crimes, indicating laws providing for harsher punishment of crimes motivated by the victim’s real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
  7. Schools, indicating laws that protect students based on sexual orientation and gender identity and any explicit anti-LGBT bullying provision.

The analysis also compares states by region. Generally speaking, the Northeast has the strongest, most consistent protections (including three states with perfect scores – CT, MA, and VT) and the Southeast has the weakest (followed closely by the Midwest). Using a distinctly British approach to the regions, The Guardian identifies six Northwest states (OR, WA, ID, AK, MT, and WY). Washington received a perfect score; Oregon fell short on marriage equality but was otherwise perfect, ranking in the top 10. Only Oregon and Washington meet any of the categories other than some school protections. It’s also nice to know that many elected officials in Oregon responded positively to the President’s announcement on Wednesday.

Of course day-to-day safety and success for LGBT Americans varies based on more than the state or region in which one lives. Metropolitan areas are generally safer and more accepting than more rural areas, regardless of the state. But knowing how a region demonstrates its support (or hostility) to gay rights is an important factor in daily life.

Celebrating Women’s History Month: March 24

24 Mar

Honoring Nancy Amidei

Today I would like to honor and pay tribute to Nancy Amidei. Amidei was actually brought to my attention by my friend and fellow do-gooder, Marla Moore. Amidei is best known as a social reformer and a, “relentless advocate for changing public policy to better serve the most vulnerable populations.”   I admit, I aspire to be the social reformer Amidei is currently;  I aspire to be a combination of Ida Tarbell, Amidei and Howard Zinn. Let us hope that more people will choose to give voice to the marginalized and disenfranchised–to help all of our brothers and sisters. Let us hope that the generations following mine will use their collective voice to drown out the ugly, bitter voices of bigotry and hate. Here is to speaking truth to power. To learn more about Amidei, click here.

Stop Bullying of LGBT Youth

1 Mar

Thanks to JoeMyGod for sharing this inspirational and educational video. I hope that the voices of reason, compassion, and love will drown out the voices of hate and bigotry. Click here to see the video. One in four students is harassed because of their sexual orientation. 70% of LGBT students feel their schools are not safe!  We must join together and help stop bullying of LGBT Youth.

We Can Stop Bullying

Target: Courting the Gay Dollar (?)

17 Feb

Is it safe now?

For those of you that have been following this blog, you are aware of my promotion of the Target Boycott. After Target executives made the decision last fall to gave $150,000 to Tom Emmer, the anti-gay gubernatorial candidate in Minnesota, there has been a significant amount of justifiable backlash, including the boycotting of Target stores. The latest news is that Target has now published new guidelines to corporate giving. Click here to see the full article. I hope they have developed the new guidelines because it was the right thing to do, but I am rather cynical.  I am happy to say they did consult with LGBT rights groups in developing the new guidelines. While I know, from personal investigation, that most of the Target stores in the Pacific Northwest are very solid in their support of the LGBT community, I would encourage people to investigate the Target store nearest you before ending your boycott. Also visit here on  where are safe places to spend your LGBT dollars.

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