Posts Tagged 'Center for American Progress'

An Executive Order to Prevent Discrimination Against LGBT Workers

workplace_onpageRepost from Center for American Progress

By Lee Badgett, Crosby Burns, Nan D. Hunter, Jeff Krehely, Christy Mallory, and Brad Sears

Under federal law it is entirely legal to fire someone based on his or her sexual orientation or gender identity. While many states, municipalities, and corporations have instituted policies that shield LGBT workers from workplace bias, LGBT individuals currently lack adequate legal protections from employment discrimination.

In fact, a majority of workers currently live in states that have not passed laws giving LGBT workers legal protections from workplace discrimination. Only 45 percent of American workers live in a jurisdiction where they are covered by a nondiscrimination policy based on sexual orientation. Only 34 percent of workers live in a jurisdiction where they are covered by a nondiscrimination policy based on gender identity.

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act would bring uniform protections to all American workers under federal law. Short of such a law, however, President Obama has the authority to extend significant protections to the LGBT workforce. Executive action from the president would give real, meaningful, and immediate legal protections to LGBT workers—protections that could mean the difference between being employed and unemployed.

Read more and download the full issue brief here.

Center for American Progress Releases White Paper on Gender Identity and Official Documents

SOURCE: Flickr/bryansblog

SOURCE: Flickr/bryansblog

ID Accurately Reflecting One’s Gender Identity Is a Human Right

This past week our nation joined others around the globe in celebrating International Human Rights Day, which marked the 64th anniversary of the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights, signed on December 10, 1948. This document declares that “inherent dignity” and “equal and inalienable rights” are the foundation for a just, peaceful, and free world. Decades later these principles continue to guide human rights policies established around the world, acting as a foundation for the evolving global understanding of what it means to acknowledge the equality of all people.

Transgender people, however, continue struggling to attain this innate right to dignified treatment and equality. As the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights has stated, “It is clear that many transgender persons do not fully enjoy their fundamental rights both at the level of legal guarantees and that of everyday life.” One way in which transgender people have struggled is in accessing identity documents that provide legal recognition of their gender identities. The failure of governments to acknowledge the gender identities of all people represents a rejection of the fundamental rights of self-determination, dignity, and freedom.

Moving forward as a global community, it is essential that all people—transgender or not—be given access to official documents that accurately reflect each individual’s gender identity and that respect the rights belonging to each of us as humans. Continue Reading and download the paper here.

The Council for Global Equality releases a study on the impact of PEPFAR on LGBT communities

CFGE and CAP Pepfar ReportThe President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief has saved many lives and profoundly shaped the global response to HIV. But like the proverbial Trojan Horse, it has been let into the gates with a belly full of hidden contradictions—insufficient attention to marginalized communities, earmarks for unscientific programming, and forced “pledges” that both undermine sound reproductive rights programming and challenge basic rights to freedom of expression.

In this report, Washington insider Scott Evertz takes a serious look at the politics of one of our country’s signature foreign assistance programs. Scott is the former director of President George W. Bush’s Office of National AIDS Policy and an openly gay Republican, and his analysis reflects a degree of experience and honesty that is too often obscured by the rigid ideology and partisan policymaking that have—up until now—been the cornerstones of PEPFAR and the Bush administration’s bilateral funding strategy.

Read the complete report here.

How Ideology Trumped Science: Why PEPFAR has Failed to Meet its Potential

Next week, the Center for American Progress will publish a scathing critique of how PEPFAR – the Bush Administration’s signature initiative to combat the spread and impact of HIV and AIDS in Africa – ignored by design the HIV prevention needs of LGBT communities.

“How Ideology Trumped Science: Why PEPFAR has Failed to Meet its Potential” is written by Scott Evertz, a Bush Administration appointee. The Council for Global Equality sponsored Evertz’ refreshingly honest research, the thrust of which is to advocate a more inclusive, science-based program that ultimately will make more effective use of taxpayer dollars.

PEPFAR is rightly praised for having provided anti-retroviral medicines to some 2.1 million people who otherwise may have lacked recourse to them. It has made HIV testing and counseling available to millions more, while providing care to orphans and others with little means to provide for themselves. But PEPFAR’s assistance pipelines largely have bypassed LGBT communities, leaving gaping holes in the logic of efforts to stem the disease.

At a pre-holiday preview of his report, Evertz demurred on whether PEPFAR’s exclusion of LGBT needs was a deliberate reflection of anti-gay bias. But PEPFAR’s emphasis of abstinence until marriage amounts to a built-in exclusion of gays and lesbians, for whom marriage isn’t presently an option. Indeed, only negligible funding has been targeted at prevention outreach to men who have sex with men – a population that remains, at least partly of consequence, highly vulnerable to HIV infection.

Dogma-over-science has undermined PEPFAR’s effectiveness in other ways as well. PEPFAR grantees must explicitly oppose prostitution – thereby undercutting outreach to commercial sex workers, a major avenue of HIV infection. Averting needle exchange programs for injecting drug users has torn another hole in PEPFAR’s impact. And by giving overriding primacy to “abstinence” and “be faithful” messages, with little attention to correct condom usage, PEPFAR programs have reduced sex education to an asterisk.

The most detailed and disturbing portions of Evertz’ report relate to how PEPFAR may have contributed inadvertently to the unraveling of Uganda’s previously successful fight against HIV/AIDS. The Ugandan Government readily adopted PEPFAR’s de-emphasis of condoms and related sex education as effective means of HIV prevention. Evertz also reveals tell-tale signs that some faith-based PEPFAR sub-grantees may have helped nurture the anti-gay climate in Uganda that has spawned a horribly homophobic draft law that may be put to a vote in the coming days. Those of us of the Christian faith should be first to speak out against this subversion of religion to justify state-sponsored homophobic hate, imprisonment, and even death.

Larger questions fleetingly emerge, without answer, from Evertz’ work. For example, how could the UN Security Council not have recognized until the year 2000 – almost 20 years into this health crisis – the global security repercussions of the spread of HIV/AIDS? But the most disturbing question is this: how were those who ran PEPFAR allowed to break the wall of public policy separation our Founding Fathers rightly erected between church and state – thereby infusing a ground-breaking public health program, and indeed America’s national foreign policy interests, with sectarian dogma?

This is less a question for historians to dissect, or even for the previous Administration to defend, than one that public policy experts must ensure can never rightly be asked again.

View the panel discussion about this report held on December 15, 2009 at the Center for American Progress:


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