April 13, 2012
By Scottie Thomaston
Every year the extraordinary Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law & Public Policy sponsors an annual update on issues concerning the LGBT community. It’s a virtual Lollapalooza for LGBT thinkers, legal and intellectual activists!
Fittingly, given the hectic election year politics, this year the topic of the April 13-14 conference at the UCLA School of Law is: Fair Play? LGBT People, Civic Participation & Political Process:
We participate in our democracy by voting, having issues we care about voted upon, running for office, serving on juries, and being counted in the Census. This year’s conference will explore whether, in 2012, LGBT people are equal participants in the political process or still relegated to second class citizenship by discrimination and bias.
The schedule looks like this:
For a day made for people who think thinking about LGBT issues is fun and important (see more info below) – the conference runs 9:00-6:30p (with lunch and breaks), at the UCLA School of Law in Westwood, Room 1357 RSVP, visit: Williams Institute.
– The Advocate discusses suppressing the votes of people who are transgender:
In states with strict photo ID requirements, individuals without such identification must provide an alternate form of ID and only then are allowed to vote in a provisional ballot. This is a frequent issue with transgender voters, as it is often difficult to obtain identification that matches one’s gender identity — many states require gender reassignment surgery to alter the sex on one’s driver’s license. And often the names of transgender individuals change when they transition, which adds further complications. According to the Williams Institute report, 41% of transgender citizens who’ve transitioned reported not having an updated driver’s license and 74% did not have an updated U.S. passport.
Being forced to jump through hoops in order to vote discourages many potential voters. The Williams Institute believes 25,000 transgender voters are affected by strict photo ID laws in Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin. These voters may not reach the polls in the November 2012 election, where not only the president will be chosen, but hundreds of state and local decisions must be made.
– Also from The Advocate, a profile of Frank Schubert, the anti-gay campaigner who helped pass Proposition 8 and is tied to the anti-gay campaign to pass Amendment 1 in North Carolina as well.
– The New York Times, The Washington Post, Think Progress and others are voicing their frustration over the president’s decision to not sign an executive order to ban anti-LGBT discrimination against federal contractors. The New York Times editorial is rather pointed:
“His hesitation to ban gay bias by government contractors, like his continued failure to actually endorse the freedom to marry, feels like a cynical hedge. It’s hard to see the political sense in it, and it is certainly unhelpful to the cause of full gay equality under the law.”