It's easy to get swept up in all the things that are wrong with civil rights in the United States. But at Equality Vodka, we believe positivity breeds positive action, which is precisely what we need in the quest for LGBT equal rights.
We invite you to take a look at all of the wonderful wins we experienced in the fight for equality in 2018.
The Equality Act
The Equality Act was first introduced to the Senate in May 2017. Building on the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fair Housing Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, and several other equal rights laws that protect people on the basis of other diversity factors, the Equality Act would expand to include LGBT equal rights.
In particular, The Equality Act would protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in matters, including:
- Public spaces and services
- Federally funded programs
- Jury service
This year, the Equality Act is still alive and well – and gaining supporters! Not only is the Equality Act gathering greater numbers of civilian supporters as more and more people become aware of its potential to improve LGBT equal rights, but also the bill is gaining sponsors in the Senate.
In 2018, Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) and Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) added their names to the list of sponsors for the Equality Act.
As we enter 2019, keep an eye out for news about the Equality Act and all the positive change it could bring to our country. For more information on the Equality Act or to get updates as it moves through the legislative process, visit Congress.gov.
Better LGBT Equal Rights for Homeless Youth
In March 2018, the New York City Council considered a collection of new policies that would improve the social services available to homeless youth throughout the city.
Sadly, many LGBT youth are homeless due to being ostracized from their families. Hence, this collection of new ordinances was especially important in the LGBT community. Homeless young LGBT men and women face disproportionate risk on the streets as they try to find their way in the world – all while searching for their own personal identity and resources to survive.
The most notable of the policies proposed to raise the cut-off age for homeless youth services from 21 to 25. The proposal was a success! In May 2018, First Lady and New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson announced the first ever youth shelter for people ages 21-24.
The $9.5 million investment is designed specifically to prevent homelessness among young LGBTQ New Yorkers. It also provides services for those individuals who are homeless and struggling.
During adolescence, many LGBT individuals struggle to clarify their personal identity and find acceptance within their families and social groups. New York took a major step in setting a positive example for the rest of the country. These new measures demonstrate just how powerful LGBT and ally cooperation can be to achieve LGBT equal rights.
New Guidelines for Physicians & Intersex Patients
Thanks to groundbreaking work from Lambda Legal and interACT, new healthcare guidelines are being developed and implemented to help intersex patients. Due to the complicated nature of intersex gender identity, physicians have been operating under vague or misinformed guidelines for decades.
Now, however, physicians are being provided with guidelines that focus on the care, discretion, and best interests of intersex individuals first. The new guidelines also open channels of communication that will allow policymakers to make informed decisions in the future.
Later in the year, California passed a ruling condemning unnecessary surgery for intersex children. Rather than leaving surgical decisions up to physicians or parents early in the child's life, the new ruling insists on delaying any surgery until the child can decide the best course of action.
We'll put one more check mark in the "WIN" column for LGBT equal rights and autonomy, thank you very much.
Our First Openly Gay Governor
It's no secret that this year's political races were heated throughout the country. Many were nail-biters all the way up until the final vote was counted (and recounted).
However, none were as groundbreaking as the Colorado governor's race.
On November 6, 2018, US Representative Jared Polis (D) was elected the new governor of Colorado. He is officially the nation's first openly gay man to be elected governor and we're still popping bottles in celebration!
Don't worry, there were so many more wins for LGBT equal rights in 2018. To learn about those and wins from past years, check out the CNN Library's running list here. Of course, we still have a long road to travel to achieve equal rights for all. With your support and by supporting the LGBT organizations that champion equal rights every day, we can continue to add to that list until equality is a reality.
What other LGBT equal rights wins did you witness in 2018? From the individual to the national, every win counts! Share the news with us in the comments below – because each win deserves celebration as we work toward absolute equality.