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Archive for the ‘LGBT Rights’ Category

The Sad Irony of a Lesbian Commissioner at EEOC

Posted by gansie on January 5, 2011

Chai Feldblum, EEOC Commissioner

Just before Christmas, Chai Feldblum was confirmed for a full term as the first openly LGBT Commissioner of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Obama’s choice for a woman in this role is key as more and more women enter the workplace, and as such, need the proper protections.

However, there is a sad irony in the appointment of Feldblum. For if she was discriminated against at work for being gay, she wouldn’t have any rights.

The EEOC enforces laws that make it illegal to discriminate in the workplace. Discrimination – whether during hiring, firing or promotions – can not be because of: “race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.” (Source: EEOC)

What it lacks, however, is the ability to protect workers that are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. According to the Human Rights Campaign, a whopping 29 states allow legal firings if an employee is lesbian, gay or bisexual and 38 states allow the firing of transgender people.

With the much needed repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell behind us, shouldn’t the rest of the country finally decide that it is wrong to not allow LGBT Americans to become productive workers in this country? If the military, known for its conservative values, makes it illegal to fire LGBT citizens, than it is surely time for the private sector to follow its lead. And for Congress to enact the appropriate laws. (>>>Learn More about Employment Non-Discrimination Act)

This is also one more hurdle placed on women veterans. Besides the host of other issues that women veterans face when transitioning to the civilian workplace – such as unequal pay, as women and men are paid equally in the military – allowing lesbians to safely work in the military, and then be wrongly fired in the civilian world, is another setback.

While Felblum as a Commissioner of the EEOC does not have any power to make laws, she does have a pulpit. And as a gay woman she should make it her priority to advance the cause to end LGBT discrimination in the workplace.

photo credit

Posted in Diversity, LGBT Rights, Politics, Successful Workplaces, Workforce Development/HR | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Tell ’em Thank You…

Posted by joyinhome on December 20, 2010

Thank the Senate AND our veterans.

The successful repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” signifies a win for so many veterans who have fought for this country and its promise of freedom and fairness. By repealing this law, we are thanking ALL veterans for their service. Because… “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Let’s also take a moment to thank the brave Senators who took this on.

Posted in Advocacy, Diversity, Families, LGBT Rights, Uncategorized, Veterans, Women Veterans | 1 Comment »

News to Chew On: Link Love for Lunch

Posted by sherrysaunders on July 2, 2010

Closing the venture capital gender gap [Business Week]

Fact and fiction about Kagan [Media Matters]

Why friends matter at work and in life [Harvard Business Review Blog]

PEW study: Globally gender equality embraced but inequities acknowledged [New York Times]

How we fail our women vets  [Time]

How women changed the Supreme Court and didn’t [NPR]

Polls and public ignorance.  Should not be surprising [NY Times Blog]

Family leave policies: moving towards fairness by including LGBT [InTheseTimes]

Woman CEO explains why companies should hire women for companies own success [Forbes]

NY’s new nanny legislation causing problems with working parents [Wall Street Journal]

Is flexibility a casualty of the recession? [Wall Street Journal]

Diversity programs benefit companies and employees [BostonGlobe]

Labor organizations seeking to provide protections under the law for wider range of employees [Scottrade]

Clothes that fit the workplace [Appeal Democrat]

First women to be inducted into Hockey Hall of Fame [New York Times]

Posted in Diversity, Feminism, Financial Security, Friendship, LGBT Rights, Link Love, sports | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

What Is Family?

Posted by joyinhome on June 23, 2010

My family consists of me and my two children. Growing up, my nuclear family included my mother, my aunt and my cousin but my definition always included my extended family of grandparents, aunts, cousins and uncles.

Family is no longer a husband, a wife and 2.5 children- perhaps the average family never was. Family supercedes blood lines, marriage/divorce, death and household.

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Labor took a huge step in providing an updated definition for today’s family; more specifically, those who care for children and would be eligible for using the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). ‘In loco parentis’ was clarified to mean anyone who cares for a child and needs time off (unpaid) to care for them when they are ill: aunties, uncles, grandma, grand-dad, same-sex parents. In DC, social service benefits were updated this past year to account for so many grandparents who have guardianship of their children’s children.

Everyone has a family and everyone should be able to take care of them…even if that family looks “different.”

Posted in Diversity, Families, Health, LGBT Rights, Uncategorized, Worklife Balance | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

I Believe in Quotas

Posted by gansie on April 13, 2010

Last summer, I was not shy about my criteria for the Supreme Court justice replacing David Souter.

When Justice David Souter announced his resignation from the Supreme Court I immediately  knew what I wanted out of Obama’s nominee. There were only five things, really. And I was hoping that Obama would feel the same way. I rattled my requirements off to anyone that would listen:

  • LGBT rights
  • Progressive
  • Woman
  • Of  Color
  • Pro-choice
  • This time around, with Justice John Paul Stevens vacating the bench, I want the same demographics and points of view. Because, like Sonya Sotomayor and President Obama, I do believe that a persons background and culture will enhance and contribute to a judge’s tenure on the bench.

    A progressive, black lesbian would be my ultimate choice.

    I have a feeling though, since we can’t even allow gays full rights in this country, the Senate probably won’t let an out judge to be on the Court.

    I will not, however, back down on needing another woman and another African American. I told my mom my dream justice and she replied, “But Obama just placed a woman on the court.”

    “Yes, mom,” I instantly replied, “but we still only have 2 females out of 9 on the Court. That is not even. It doesn’t matter if we need to put 3 more females on in a row, we need the court to look like America.”

    The press has floated plenty of potential replacements, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but the three leading candidates are: Solicitor General Elena Kagan, Judge Diane Wood and Judge Merrick Galand, all white, two women.

    Let’s see what criteria Obama will choose this time.

    UPDATE: Looks like Clinton is not on the list.

    Posted in Diversity, Feminism, LGBT Rights, Politics, Rant | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

    In Support of All Allies

    Posted by gansie on January 21, 2010

    Monday through Friday there a few things I do each day.

    I eat. Go to work. Adore my boyfriend.

    If I happened to be gay, two out of three of those must-dos would be in jeopardy.

    There’s a trial going on right now – Perry v Schwarzenegger – that is a challenge to Prop 8. In 2009, the voters of California decided people of the same sex could not marry. This trial will determine the legality of same sex couples marrying. Regardless of the outcome, it is expected to reach the Supreme Court.

    In Congress the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is stalled (like all bills sans health care) to protect gay workers from discrimination. In 29 states it is still legal to fire someone for being gay. Just being gay.

    The court case is bring some unlikely allies to the cause of LGBT rights. Ted Olson, <insert curse word of your choice>, who won the Supreme Court case that launched W into the White House is now fighting for the progressives. Mr. Olson is on team fair. He is helping to what’s right.

    “I personally think it is time that we as a nation get past distinguishing people on the basis of sexual orientation, and that a grave injustice is being done to people by making these distinctions…I thought their cause was just. –Ted Olson [Washington Examiner]

    At first I thought we were being duped. How could the man that brought us W also be the man that would bring equality to the country? I guess this made me face my own prejudices of conservatives. Maybe there are no real lines of red and blue. Just decisions  we all make to choice the best  for ourselves, our families and our world.  Shit, even Cindy McCain is on board.

    For real-time updates, follow National Center for Lesbian Rights @NCLR

    photo credit

    Posted in Diversity, Families, LGBT Rights, Successful Workplaces, Woman Misbehavin' | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

    News to Chew On: Link Love for Lunch

    Posted by gansie on December 17, 2009

    Annise Parker wins for Houston mayor. Houston is now the largest city to elect an openly gay candidate for mayor. [Houston Chronicle]

    Firedoglake calls for Susan G. Komen for the Cure to fire spokesperson Hadassah Lieberman for her connections to big PhRMA and her senator husband. [Salon]

    200 green business ideas. [Fast Company]

    Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chris Henry dies in what authorities are calling a domestic dispute with his fiance. [ESPN]

    Senate passes historic funding for violence against women programs. [The Baynet]

    Abuse of immigrant workers (women, many underage) by a meat plant – SHOCKING! [Women’s eNews]

    Top 5 green jobs stories of 2009. [Mother Nature Network]

    Brazen Careerist and PayScale release study on best companies for Gen Y workers. [PR Web]

    Kurt Vonnegut is now an HR professional [Punk Rock HR]

    Employers more worried about brain drain than delayed retirement, says MetLife study. [Insurance Broadcasting]

    Debunking generational differences at work. [Nonprofit Quarterly]

    Plenty of women are up for the 2009  Eater of the Year, including Rachel Maddow, Meryl Streep and Michelle Obama. [Endless Simmer]

    Chronic discrimination in the workplace against women and children still endemic. [HuffPo]

    Man who punched Jersey Shore‘s Snookie in the face apologizes. [Jezebel]

    Hearing on rape kit backlog legislation is step in right direction. [Human Rights Watch]

    Should working caregivers as a protected class? [SEIU blog]

    “But grandma, I don’t get what the big deal is with you being Secretary of State — aren’t all women secretaries?” —Madeline Albright’s four-year-old granddaughter [AAUW Dialog]

    Men against rape: Sen. Franken’s anti rape amendment survives in Senate committee. [HuffPo]

    Women reshaping union agendas to stress work-life issues. [Human Resources Executive]

    Now women’s success is a negative: civil rights panel names 19 colleges it will investigate for gender discrimination. [The Chronicle]

    Finding help for women vets with difficult problems including homelessness [Post and Courier]

    Posted in Career Advancement, Diversity, Families, Feminism, green, LGBT Rights, Lifestyle, Link Love, Politics, sports, Worklife Balance | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Hoping to Celebrate America’s Diversity

    Posted by gansie on December 10, 2009

    It was what I like to call an off-off year. 2003 featured few political races, in few states, and none of them for President, House or Senate. But that’s the year that I graduated college so that’s the year I joined a campaign.

    In the midst of a week-long campaign training through EMILY’s List‘s Campaign Corps program, participants were asked to choose a few races to be placed on. EMILY’s List identified progressive and viable candidates throughout the country and would be sending off their recent Campaign Corps graduates to these races.

    Like I said, only a few states were possibilities: New Jersey, Virginia and Texas and maybe 4 or 5 others. I’d already lived in New Jersey for most of my life and for four years I lived just north of Virginia in DC so I opted for Texas.

    I took this campaign job as not only an opportunity to learn about politics, but to explore the country and meet new people.

    After days of driving, Alegra and I landed in Houston. It was August. It was HOT. Like the hottest environment I’ve ever been in. Hot. Hot. Hot.

    I’d only known Alegra for that short training week but we had plenty of time to share stories and to talk about our pending jobs. We both couldn’t believe we’d be living in Houston for at least 3 months. She was also from the coast (San Jose) and we had no idea what to expect living in the reddest of red states, Texas (although this was before we assigned states colors.)

    What we also couldn’t figure out was how Annise Parker would win Houston City Controller. Annise is an open lesbian. Democrat. In Texas. How could this work?!?!

    We didn’t have much time to think about it. We were thrown into a 7-day, 12-hour-a-day, work week. We also had a campaign office pet, Gwennie the guinea pig, to care for.

    While we never became accustomed to the oppressive heat, we did realize how possible it was for Annise to win. She’d already been re-elected as a city council member.  She had many organizational and press endorsements. She and Grant, the campaign manager, collected a fantastic following of volunteers, many of them also gay.

    Houston is a huge, huge city. The 4th largest in the country to be exact. If Annise won she’d govern more people than some state-wide officials. Houston is incredibly diverse, housing all ethnicities and even some dudes wearing cowboy hats and boots. I learned a lot on this campaign: how to hold down a job, how to live on basically no money and little sleep, how to cook, how to not talk in my very fast Jersey accent and how to handle calls of bigotry.

    While most of the city didn’t take her sexual orientation into consideration when deciding how to vote, some did. And it hurt. But that was the minority and although Texas may have an ugly connotation for many, I will always remember the kindheartedness of Annise’s supporters. Annie won that race in a December run-off (doubling my expected time in Houston.)

    Let me explain the run-off. Basically, Houston doesn’t run their city elections by party. There is no party affiliation on the ballot making primaries non-existent. The general election usually hosts about 4 or 5 candidates and to be deemed winner the candidate must win a majority (so the general is more like a non-partisan primary.) With more than 2 people running in a race, it’s tough to get to that percentage. While Annise did win the most votes, she didn’t reach a majority so we were entered into the run-off (which is really more like a general election in other states.) Annise also won the run-off. It was awesome.

    I left Texas soon after but my dedication to LGBT rights continued.

    I think gay rights is the civil rights issue of our generation. And I believe that gays in America should not be able to be fired from their job for being gay.  In fact, in 29 states it is legal to fire someone for being gay. I know. It is CRAZY.

    Annise won re-election for controller and is now in a run-off election for MAYOR!


    While much of the (liberal) country is deciding that gays do not have the same rights as other Americans, Houstonians may be electing a lesbian to be the leader of their city.

    Annise is only up 5.5% in the polls and her opponent has been accused of being tied to some anti-gay groups. Election day is this Saturday, December 12th. (If you know anyone that lives in Houston and hasn’t voted yet. Yes, I said yet. Houston allows early voting.)

    If Annise wins, Houston will be the largest city to have elected an openly-gay candidate. It’s something all of Texas could be proud of. America could be proud too.We could finally be embracing our country’s beautiful diversity (again).

    Go Annise!

    And I just have to give another plug for EMILY’s List and Campaign Corps. This video features a bunch of my friends and fellow campaign staffers, including Annise.

    Posted in Diversity, LGBT Rights, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , | 7 Comments »

    Woman Misbehavin’: NY State Senator Diane Savino

    Posted by gansie on December 4, 2009

    Because everyone deserves the right to marry the person they love.
    Because the government is not in the business of judging the validity of joining into a union.
    Because we are all equal.
    And because she’s wearing awesome nail polish.

    [via Sarah D.]

    Posted in Families, LGBT Rights, Politics, Woman Misbehavin' | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »