Tag Archives: Equality

Gay History - April 17, 1965: Frank Kameny Leads The First Gay & Lesbian Protest At The White House

Gay History – April 17, 1965: Frank Kameny Leads The First Gay & Lesbian Protest At The White House

On April 17th, 1965 Dr. Frank Kameny along with gay rights pioneer Jack Nichols, who co-founded the Mattachine Society of Washington, DC  bravely led the first “homosexual rights” protest at the White House at a time in history when being gay and lesbian was viewed as an abomination in this country.

The Mattachine Society fought for the equal treatment of gay employees in the federal government, the repeal of sodomy laws, and the removal of homosexuality as a mental disorder in the American Psychiatric Association’s manual of mental disorders..

Ten MSW members along with members of the Daughters of Bilitis picketed in front of the White House against Cuban and the US governments repression of homosexuals.

The group also included:  Gail Johnson,  Gene Kleeberg, Judith Kuch, Paul Kuntzler, Perrin Shaffer, Jon Swanson, Otto Ulrich, Lilli Vincenz (editor of MSW’s quarterly).

Of the protest, Jack Nichols wrote “Never before had gay people as an organized group paraded openly for our rights.”

Nichols recalls:

The picket took place during mid-afternoon. It was the Saturday before Easter, and tourists walked the downtown streets. Lige [Clarke], driving the convertible, took me to the White House curb and helped me unload signs. Then he drove off to work the afternoon shift at the Pentagon. Gail arrived at the site on the back seat of Ray’s motorcycle. It was agreed I should lead the picket line. The reason for this was that I was tall and an all-American sort. Also, I suppose, because I’d conceived the event. Frank Kameny marched behind me and Lilli Vincenz behind him ..

As we marched, I looked about at our well-dressed little band. Kameny had insisted that we seven men must wear suits and ties, and the women, dresses and heels. New Yorkers later complained that we Washingtonians looked like a convention of undertakers, but given the temper of the times, Kameny’s insistence was apropos. “If you’re asking for equal employment rights,” he intoned, “look employable!” In the staid nation’s capital, dressing for the occasion was, in spite of New York critics, proper.

We paraded in a small circle. Behind lampposts stood unknown persons photographing us. Were they government agents? Perrin and Otto wore sunglasses so absolute identification would be difficult should they fall prey to security investigations. We walked for an hour that passed, as I’d predicted, without incident. A few tourists gawked and there were one or two snickers, more from confusion than from prejudice.

We’d hoped for more publicity than we got. Only “The Afro-American “carried a small item about what we’d done. But we’d done it, and that was what mattered. We’d stood up against the power structure, putting our bodies on the line. Nothing had happened except that we’d been galvanized, and, to a certain extent, immunized against fear.”

The Mattachine Society protest was not welcomed by the even more conservative leaders of the gay movement who felt picketing would draw adverse publicity and even greater hostility. 

The Mattachine Society’s protest of the White House, along with the Stonewall Riots are among two of the most significant events in LGBT History. But sadly as we look at the pictures and read the slogans on the picket signs of our LGBT activist forefathers and we realize many of the slogans on these signs could still be carried in protests today almost 60 years later.

This is still our time.  This is still our fight.

Homophiles': The LGBTQ rights movement began long before Stonewall

Hass Foundation To Halt Grants $$$'s to LGBT Non-Profits

Hass Jr. Foundation To Halt Grants $$$’s to LGBT Non-Profits

After 21 years The Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund announced on January 28 that it is commencing a “two-year wind-down” of its grants for LGBT equality non-profits.

To date the fund has invested a total of $105 million over the years to LGBT programs.

“Recognizing the challenges in achieving nationwide federal protections, and citing a new wave of anti-transgender laws in the states, Cathy and Robert acknowledged that the LGBT movement’s work is far from over. In the coming two years, the fund will be providing its LGBT grantees with the transitional support they need to prepare for the next chapter in their work. This will include unrestricted general operating support and capacity-building support for fundraising.” – via Bay Area Reporter

The Haas Jr. fund is shifting its focus “to be more rooted in our home state of California.” When asked why this won’t include funding LGBTQ equality efforts in California, Sadiq stated, “We are a policy and outcomes oriented foundation and California already has by far the strongest pro-LGBT laws in the nation.”

Roger Doughty, president of Horizons Foundation, a San Francisco-based philanthropic that also makes grants to LGBT nonprofits called the funds halting its donations as a “bad news” for the LGBT community.

“The bad news is that the exit of any major funder is a loss, since funding for everything from LGBT legal equality to LGBT health care, from support for LGBT elders to empowering queer youth — and so much more — remains terribly underfunded. 

This is a devastating loss to LGBT equality non-profits across the country.

In 2019 the Evelyn and Walter Haas Fund had a total net worth of $462,643,912


Supreme Court Rules That LGBT Americans Are Covered Under the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Cannot Be Fired For Being Gay

NBC News reports:

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that existing federal law forbids job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, a major victory for advocates of gay rights — and a surprising one from an increasingly conservative court.

The decision said Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which makes it illegal for employers to discriminate because of a person’s sex, among other factors, also covers sexual orientation. It upheld rulings from lower courts that said sexual orientation discrimination was a form of sex discrimination.

Across the nation, 21 states have their own laws prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Seven more provide that protection only to public employees. Those laws remain in force, but Monday’s ruling means federal law now provides similar protection for LGBT employees in the rest of the country.

The 6-3 opinion was written by Justice Neil Gorsuch and joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and the court’s four liberal justices.

“An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids,” Gorsuch wrote.

You can read the historic ruling by clicking HERE

Polish Police Use Water Cannons Against Anti-LGBT Protesters During PRIDE March in Lublin - VIDEO

Polish Police Use Water Cannons Against Anti-LGBT Protesters During PRIDE March in Lublin – VIDEO

Polish Police used water cannons and pepper spray and arrested dozens of far-right anti-LGBT protesters who tried to disrupt an Equality Pride march in eastern city of Lublin, Poland. 

On Tuesday, the the mayor of Lublin, Krzysztof Zhuk banned the rally due to security concerns.  Friday the Polish Court of Appeal upheld the district court’s decision to allow the march to go ahead.

Over 400 participants of the Equality March gathered at 2:00 pm on one of the central streets of Lublin, which they planned to march along, but counter-demonstrators who wanted to block the rally were already waiting for them not far from them.

The far right nationalist ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party has used anti “LGBT ideology” a key issue in its campaign ahead of the Oct. 13 parliamentary elections, saying it is an invasive foreign influence that undermines traditional Polish values.

“We’ve had death threats, (this violence) was about forcing us not to have this march,” Bartosz Staszewki, organizer of Saturday’s march, told Reuters.

Television footage showed, riot police backed up a by water cannon separating the brave marchers, who brandished rainbow flags and signs with slogans such “Love is love.” from the protesters who had tried to block their route.

A sign in the crowd of anti-gay protesters carried a picture of two naked men and the words: “Such people want to educate your children. Stop them.”

PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski has publicly urged Poles to resist the “traveling theater” of Pride marches which he described as “a real threat to… the Polish state”.

Over 8000 March in Kiev, Ukraine Pride Parade

Over 8000 March in Kiev, Ukraine Pride Parade – [Video]

Over 8,000 people people turned out on Sunday for Kiev’s annual Gay Pride parade amid tight security as far-right activists sought to disrupt the celebration.

Hundreds of far-right and Orthodox religious counter-protesters, were kept away from the march, held up anti-gay banners and shouted “Shame!” as the procession began.

Parade participants waved rainbow and Ukrainian flags as they marched through the center of the capital as thousands of police and National Guard troops stood by to ensure order.

The Ukraine, which ousted a pro-Russia regime in a uprising in 2014, hopes to become a member of the European Union as it seeks to overcome widespread poverty and corruption.

Homophobia backed by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is still commonplace, even though Kiev authorities have allowed gay pride marches to be held, unlike in neighboring Russia.

At least nine counter-protesters were arrested on suspicion of preparing attacks against participants in the Kiev Pride event, police said.

The Equality Act Gets Reintroduced to Congress. Again.

Supreme Court Set to Decide If The 1964 Civil Rights Act Applies to LGBT Workers

The Supreme Court announced on Monday that it would decide whether the Civil Rights Act of 1964 guarantees protections from workplace discrimination to gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans Americans.

The three cases have been accepted by the court to be heard.  One of them is Altitude Express Inc. v. Zarda, No. 17-1623:

The New York case was brought by a skydiving instructor, Donald Zarda, who said he was fired because he was gay. His dismissal followed a complaint from a female customer who had voiced concerns about being tightly strapped to Mr. Zarda during a tandem dive. Mr. Zarda, hoping to reassure the customer, told her that he was “100 percent gay.”

Mr. Zarda sued under Title VII and lost the initial rounds. He died in a 2014 skydiving accident, and his estate pursued his case.

Last year, a divided 13-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit allowed the lawsuit to proceed. Writing for the majority, Chief Judge Robert A. Katzmann concluded that “sexual orientation discrimination is motivated, at least in part, by sex and is thus a subset of sex discrimination.”

The arguments in the Second Circuit had a curious feature: Lawyers for the federal government appeared on both sides. One lawyer, representing the E.E.O.C., said Title VII barred discrimination against gay people. Another, representing the Trump administration, took the contrary view.

The second case: Bostock v. Clayton County, Ga., No. 17-1618. was brought by a child welfare services coordinator who said he was fired for being gay. The 11th Circuit, in Atlanta, ruled against him in a short, unsigned opinion that cited a 1979 decision that had ruled that “discharge for homosexuality is not prohibited by Title VII.”

The third case: R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, No. 18-107, concerns Aimee Stephens, who was fired from a Michigan funeral home after she announced in 2013 that she was a transgender woman and would start working in women’s clothing.  Ms. Stephens had worked at the funeral home for six years.  Two weeks after her announcement the funeral home’s owner, Thomas Rost, fired Ms. Stephens. Asked for the “specific reason that you terminated Stephens,” Mr. Rost said: “Well, because he was no longer going to represent himself as a man.

The cases mark a pivotal moment in the fight for gay civil rights, but the current composition of the court with its two new Trump appointees ― Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch ― has many LGBT advocates and Americans worried.

Currently, 30 states lack laws that explicitly prohibit discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations on the basis of both sexual orientation or gender identity

The three cases will be heard sometime in the fall of 2019.

ALL Major Airlines, Uber, And Amtrak Drop Mask Mandate

Southwest Airlines Deny Family Boarding Privileges To Gay Couple With Their Children

A same-sex family  from Florida say they were discriminated against by Southwest Airlines after reportedly being denied access to pre-board as a family.

Grant Morse and his husband were flying from Buffalo, N.Y. to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. over the weekend with their twin three-year-old boys, five-year-old daughter and Grant’s 83-year-old mother.

As the family of five approached the gate, Morse told WGRZ, a gate agent reportedly stopped them, saying “this is for family boarding only.”

“This gate agent immediately approached my spouse and said this is for family boarding only, and my spouse looked up and said, ‘Well, we are a family. It’s myself, my spouse, and our three children.’ She said it’s family boarding only and got very sarcastic.” said Morse who travels between the New York capital and Florida on Southwest but his family has never experienced anything like this before.

According to Southwest’s “family boarding policy” as stated online, one adult can board with any traveler who is “six years old or younger….during Family Boarding, which occurs after the “A” group has boarded and before the “B” group begins boarding.”

Southwest stated the following, ” typically our employees allow both parents to board,” the spokesperson said.  But the airline denied in a statement that discrimination was a factor:

Our Operations Agent informed two parents that another member of their group was ineligible to board under Family Boarding and asked that she board in her assigned boarding group. This conversation in the boarding area had nothing to do with discrimination, we welcomed both parents to board the aircraft with their children. The parents expressed disappointment that the Family Boarding policy was not applicable to another member of their group. The two parents did not agree with our policy, and our Flight Crew worked to save seats together on the aircraft for the family as the conversation continued in the gate area.

Grant Morse said after his family was turned away, a traditional family of a mother, father and toddler were then allowed to board together as a family.

Amazon Tells GOP Senators It Won’t Sell Books That “Frame LGBTQ+ Identity As Mental Illness”

Seventh Circuit Federal Court Strikes Huge Blow For Equality, LGB’s Covered Under 1964 Civil Rights Act

Seventh Circuit Federal Court Strikes Huge Blow For Equality, LGB's Covered Under 1964 Civil Rights Act

In an 8-3 ruling, the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit on Tuesday struck a massive blow for LGBT equality when it  concluded that federal civil rights law — specifically, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — protects workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation. So, the court decided, it’s not legal in the US for an employer to discriminate against gay workers — making it the first federal appeals court to conclude that gay people are protected under existing civil rights law.

The argument: Federal civil rights laws prohibit sex discrimination, and this, based on the Seventh Circuit Court’s interpretation of the law, encompasses sexual orientation. “It would require considerable calisthenics to remove the ‘sex’ from ‘sexual orientation.’ The effort to do so has led to confusing and contradictory results,” Chief Judge Diane Wood concluded in the majority opinion.

The case related to Kimberly Hively, an openly lesbian woman who had applied for multiple positions at Ivy Tech Community College in Indiana, only to never be hired full time. She believed the rejections were related to her sexual orientation, so she filed a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and a lawsuit — arguing this anti-gay discrimination was illegal under federal law. The Seventh Circuit Court sided with her, reversing previous decisions on the topic.

The ruling as of this time only applies to the Seventh Circuit, which is made up of Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin and can be overturned when/if the matter makes it to the Supreme Court.


Congressional Democrats To Introduce LGBT Equality Act This Month

Via Buzzfeed:

Democrats in Congress plan to reintroduce legislation this month that would ban LGBT discrimination nationwide, despite facing a conservative majority that’s been generally hostile toward the issue. While the bill has little shot of passage, progressives hope inaction by Republicans can illustrate a chasm between the major political parties as they approach the 2018 mid-term election.

“It’s important for Americans to know whether members of Congress support full equality for our community or whether they support continued discrimination against LGBT Americans,” Rhode Island’s David Cicilline, a Democrat who will sponsor the bill in the House, told BuzzFeed News. A companion bill will be re-introduced in the Senate by Oregon’s Jeff Merkley, a Democrat, who said colleagues opposed to the bill “should have to stand up and explain why.”

Ooooh, a gesture. Goody!

Funny how they never introduce ENDA or any LGBT Equality Acts when they are in actually in control of anything.


Federal Judge Rules That Gay Discrimination Violates Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act

Federal Judge Rules That LGB Discrimination Violates Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act


A federal judge has ruled that discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation is a form of illegal gender stereotyping, rejecting a Pennsylvania medical clinic’s bid to dismiss one of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s first lawsuits on behalf of a gay worker.

U.S. District Judge Cathy Bissoon in Pittsburgh on Friday said shifting social norms, including the legalization of gay marriage nationwide, had made it increasingly difficult to justify depriving gay employees of the protections of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The employer, Scott Medical Health Center, argued that Dale Baxley’s case, taken up by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, should be thrown out because sexual orientation isn’t protected by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

However, Bissoon wrote in her ­opinion that discrimination based on one’s ­sexual orientation and sexual stereotyping quintessentially implicates sex, and is ­therefore protected by civil rights law.

“There is no more obvious form of sex stereotyping than making a determination that a person should conform to heterosexuality,” Bissoon said. “As the EEOC states, ‘[d]iscriminating against a person because of the sex of that person’s romantic partner necessarily involves stereotypes about ‘proper’ roles in sexual relationships—that men are and should only be sexually ­attracted to women, not men.'”

Bissoon called such discrimination “evil” and added, “discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is, at its very core, sex stereotyping plain and simple; there is no line separating the two.”

Baxley claimed he was subject to homophobic slurs from his boss several times a week. Baxley’s boss allegedly called him a “‘fucking faggot,'” “‘queer,'” and upon learning that Baxley had a partner, told him that he didn’t understand how homosexual intercourse worked.

In March, the EEOC took up the case on Baxley’s behalf after investigating discrimination claims from five of Baxley’s female co-workers.

Bissoon pointed to the Supreme Court’s 2015 marriage equality ruling to illustrate the broadening definition of discrimination.

“That someone can be subjected to a barrage of insults, humiliation, hostility and/or changes to the terms and conditions of their employment, based upon nothing more than the aggressor’s view of what it means to be a man or a woman, is exactly the evil Title VII was designed to eradicate,” she added.

Scott Medical’s attorney, Charles Saul of Margolis Edelstein, said he was ­”exploring the possibility of special appeal.”