Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Friday, May 10, 2013

Activism at Historically Black Colleges and Universities

This posting is from Marco, who's not been able to post to the blog:

Upon researching LGBT activism and policy with respect to college campuses, I came across the Human Rights Campaign's Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU) Program. Their home website is here (http://www.hrc.org/issues/pages/historically-black-colleges-universities-hbcus). The program, expectedly, states that it "educates and organizes students, faculty and administrators at HBCU campuses on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues specific to each institution's needs. The program is centered around the greater Washington, D.C. area, and was founded in 2000 as a response to a surge of on-campus violence at HBCUs against LGBT students.

One interesting facet within the mission statement of the HRC's HBCU Program that stood out to me has to do with what separates it from other LGBT programs around the country. It states, "For many in the African American LGBT community, it is challenging to be who you are because you have additional cultural factors to consider - including having to deal with strong family foundations that emphasize heterosexuality and strong conservative religious ties within the Black Church." The religious aspect of this statement got me thinking about the great role that religion plays within LGBT civil rights, and reminded me loosely of
The Anita Bryant Story with respect to the power of religion.

The HRC's HBCU Program's crowning event is its annual Leadership & Career Summit every fall. The Summit is recapped in this video here (
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdZ6Pfrhaoo) and also detailed on the HRC's blog here (http://www.hrc.org/blog/entry/wrapping-up-hrcs-hbcu-leadership-career-summit-2012). 

The Good Bigoted People

I just read this article from Thought Catalog and though it's not the most informative, I thought it was a touching attempt of starting discussion on subtler forms of bigotry.


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Straight people answer when an age old question for gay people

Hey class,

I found this video that films people as they answer whether they believe that gay people choose to be gay or not, and then answer the question of when did they choose to be straight.  It's pretty interesting.

Do straight people choose to be straight?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


I just stumbled across the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network that seeks to create safe schools for all students and in which acceptance of all people, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity, is a paramount vision. If you have time you might find it interesting to browse their website: http://www.glsen.org/cgi-bin/iowa/all/about/record/1874.html

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Gay Rights in Cuba

Relevant to tomorrow's discussion -- interesting NPR story about Raul Castro's daughter's advocacy for gay rights in Cuba.

Listen here:

Monday, May 6, 2013

Public Accommodation of Transgendered Individuals in the Prison System

My blog posting topic was on housing and public accommodation.  After today's discussion on jailing of gay victims of domestic violence, I was curious about how transgendered individuals are treated within the prison system.  Generally speaking, individuals are held in cells based on their biological sex as determined by "stop and frisk" policies.  Harassment and often assault have arisen from this discrimination, particularly M-F transgendered individuals housed in male prisons.  However in 2012 the LAPD, after receiving recommendations from the Transgender Law Center, announced changes to its policies in regards to the treatment of transgendered inmates including providing inmates with hormone treatments as well as addressing them by their preferred gender pronoun and name, if different from their legal name.  While the police chief recognized potential resistance from officers, he believed in the long term implementation of these revised policies. More information on the LAPD statement can be found here. Another interesting piece I found, which I literally would not have believed had it not been published by the New York Times, described a 2012 case in Massachusetts where a federal Judge ordered an inmate to be given sex reassignment surgery. The judge ruled that denial of surgery to fix extreme gender identity disorder would be "cruel and unusual punishment" in violation of the 8th amendment. The original article can be found here and a 2013 update in the Boston Globe can be found here. I hope that the extremity of this latter case does not undermine the gravity of reforms needed but rather further highlights future fundamental changes to the current prison system to accommodate transgendered individuals.  I found the array of materials fascinating and am curious to see how such recent prison reforms play out and if they are successful and able to reduce harassment and abuse.