Tag Archives: Violence against LGBT

Employment Discrimination Against LGBT Community

7 Aug

Equality in the Workplace

I want to thank my friend Allison Cleveland for inspiring me to write this story.  She is such a consistent champion for human rights!  The Williams Institute just published a report that addresses Employment Discrimination and Its Effects on LGBT People. I, for one, am very grateful to have documented evidence of what I and others have experienced.

Before I get to the actual report, allow me to relay just a couple of incidents that I experienced in the past 20 years.  Many years ago I was teaching a history class and the conversation around civil rights came up.  Several of the African-American girls started to quote bible verses and said that “gays had no right to talk about civil rights.” I questioned the entire class and encouraged them to think outside of their religious beliefs and think about what civil rights meant and why should gays be denied civil rights.  The next day, a father of one of those girls cornered me in an office and stood over me with his bible in hand and started to yell at me about how I was an abomination and that I would burn in hell.  (Hmm, who would Jesus hate?)

Many years later, I was teaching a Student Success Class at a small university in Oregon.  I had a Mormon colleague there who felt compelled to come into my office and tell me: “I don’t hate you, but I do hate your sin and I want you to know I pray for you.” Really?  Really? You are going to pray for me?  All I could think was: “You are wearing double knit polyester–you need my prayers more than I need yours.”  Needless to say, my stint at the university was not a good fit; it was not a safe environment for the LGBT community.

After reading the report from the Williams Institute, I felt both sad and validated. I was not alone in being discriminated against. Unfortunately, every time I had something bad happen to me because of sexual orientation, I usually blamed myself and would, for the longest time, try to return to the closet and “butch it up,” as much as I was able.

Here is the summary of the report:

Although sexual orientation and gender identity have no relationship to workplace performance, during the past four decades a large body of research using a variety of methodologies has consistently documented high levels of discrimination against lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgender (LGBT) people at work.  Evidence of discrimination has been reviewed and summarized in two recent reports by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law: a 2009 report focused on discrimination in the public sector and a 2007 report focused on employment discrimination in the private sector.  This review excerpts key findings from those reports and updates those findings with results from recent studies.  In addition, it presents for the first time, data documenting discrimination against LGB employees from the 2008 General Social Survey (GSS), a national probability survey representative of the U.S. population.

I also found this graph to be helpful:

As a matter of safety, I would strongly encourage my LGBT sisters and brothers to look at both non-discrimination clauses and diversity statements when applying for jobs.  Hopefully you live in a state where sexual orientation is a protected class, if not get out and vote.  Here is where the personal is political!  Click here to see the full report.  This report nicely dovetails with the recent USA Today article: Crimes against LGBT community are up, despite social gains.  The article addresses increased violence against people in the LGBT community.

Correlation Between Bachmann’s Homophobia and LGBT Suicides

28 Jul

Ramifications of Bachmann's Homophobia

Thank you to friend and ally Jennifer Lockett for inspiring me to write this story.  For those that follow TSM, you will remember the article about the increase in violence against the LGBT community.   TSM also published an article about the correlation between bullying of LGBT youth and suicide, so it should come as no surprise that there have been nine reported suicides of youth that were either gay or perceived as gay, due to bullying, in Michele Bachmann’s district.

Of course, there is going to be bullying of LGBT youth and gender non-conforming youth in Bachmann’s district. Parents and students in her district are very aware of the homophobia and damage done by the Bachmann family.  Fortunately, the Department of Justice and the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights are investigating the schools in Bachmann’s district.

I worry about all of the kids that see the lack of leadership from Bachmann and how her bigoted views work to deny the civil rights of other humans.  I worry even more that her bigoted views inspire others to bully an already targeted group of kids.  We clearly have not learned how dangerous bigotry can be.

Violence Against LGBT Community Up by 13%

18 Jul

The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs just released its new study from data collected in 2010.  The coalition works to protect Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and HIV affected communities. Not surprising is that the study found transgender people and LGBT people of color were disproportionately impacted by violence.

Other key items people need to know that the study revealed were: Violence that was reported (the key word being reported) against the LGBT community increased by 13% from 2009 to 2010. Murders committed against the LGBT community increased by 23%; 70% of those murdered were LGBT people of color.  50.1% of survivors did not report attacks to the police and transgender women were the least likely to report to police.  The largest population of survivors of violence were gay men–48.4%.

The most impacted identities were:

 People who identified as either transgender or people of color were 2 times as likely to experience assault or discrimination as non-transgender white individuals. People who identified as transgender people or people of color were 1.5 times more likely to experience intimidation than non-transgender white individuals.
People who identified as both transgender and people of color were almost 2.5 times more likely to experience discrimination than non-transgender white individuals. Transgender people of color were 2 times as likely to experience intimidation as non-transgender white individuals.
Transgender people represented a higher proportion of hate violence survivors with injuries: Transgender survivors experienced higher rates of serious injuries (11.8%) as compared to non-transgender men (6.2%) or non-transgender women (1.3%).

The report does a marvelous job of showing how people who are gender non-conforming (including our heterosexual brothers and sisters) are at high risk for violent attacks.  For me, the take away is, we need to look at how we very narrowly define masculinity. As one can see, we have a long way to go in eradicating homophobia and transphobia, which I believe are both deeply rooted in misogyny.  One cannot overlook how connected racism is to issues around the LGBT community.  I am not on a crusade to get people to embrace those of us within the LGBT community.  I am, however, on a crusade to stop the violence against our community and to promote granting us our civil rights. Click here to see the full report and the recommendations made.

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