Monthly Archives: August 2013

Workplace Discrimination Series: Faith Cheltenham

“The prevailing logic has remained that if I am out as a bisexual woman, I must be asking for something: discrimination, harassment, or even sexual assault.” — Faith Cheltenham

No one should ever feel that they are “asking” for discrimination, harassment, or sexual assault, either in or out of the workplace. Unfortunately, however, many lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, or LGBT, individuals are made to believe they deserve discrimination simply due to their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Read the full article at the Center for American Progress.

Lessons from Bayard Rustin: Why Economic Justice Is an LGBT Issue

Most Americans who have heard of Bayard Rustin know him by the historical taboo of his identity—that he was both black and gay—and as the man who orchestrated the landmark 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, more popularly known as the March on Washington. But the individual behind these labels was so much more complex, and his impact within and beyond the civil rights movement was much more profound than this description suggests.

The radical nature of Rustin cannot be underscored enough. To be a not-so-closeted gay man and thrive in the conservative upper echelons of black society during the 1930s, ‘40s, ‘50s, and ‘60s was indeed remarkable. His lifetime of navigating race and sexuality—his “time on two crosses,” as coined by George Chauncey Jr. in his interview with Rustin just before his death in 1987—is iconic for LGBT people of color today, who find inspiration in his story as they wrestle with many of the same cultural and political dichotomies that he faced.

Download the full report at the Center for American Progress.

Workplace Discrimination Series: Officer Michael Carney

“Discrimination impacts the lives of everyone. It not only deprives people of jobs and safe working conditions, it also robs our most vulnerable citizens of the vital services that they would have received from talented and dedicated [LGBT] workers.” – Officer Michael Carney

In Officer Carney’s testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives on September 5, 2007, he describes how he was terminated because of his sexual orientation. After nearly three years of internal battles, Officer Carney won his job back using anti-discrimination laws in Massachusetts—only 1 of 21 states that protect workers on the basis of sexual orientation.

Read the full article at the Center for American Progress.

Fearing Life With HIV: Using ‘HIV-Negative’ as a Substitution for ‘Haven’t Been Tested’

Hello. My name is Preston, and I am HIV-negative.

Typically you would hear this statement from someone elated to discover that they are not HIV-positive. But since I think there is an inherent danger with congratulating and privileging an HIV-negative status, I do not ask for a warm welcome. Instead, I ask for your indulgence of something rather difficult to write: I am a liar. Admitting this is extremely frustrating, not only because I value honesty but because I value myself. So in the most forthright way I know how, I want to explain my story, and hopefully people in similar situations will know that they are not alone in this journey of life and decision making.

My first time meeting Sharon Lettman-Hicks, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the National Black Justice Coalition, was during the Out on the Hill Black LGBT Leadership Summit last fall. During our first encounter, she said three simple yet powerful words that continue to reverberate in my mind: “Own your power.” This is exactly what I intend to do while writing this post. And though divulging my truth may cause some disarray, it is my hope that this story will resonate with at least one person who understands that they should be neither embarrassed nor fearful of the known. In fact, the true fear, especially with HIV, is deeply entrenched in the unknown — an unknown that can be changed in a matter of minutes.

Read the full article at The Huffington Post.

Workplace Discrimination Series: Brooke Waits

“Work was more than work to me. It was part of what I know about myself, what I feel about myself. I never went to work simply to get through another day, I went to work to be a rock star.” – Brooke Waits

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, or LGBT, workers experience multiple barriers in the workplace, including bias and discrimination in recruitment and hiring, inequality and unfairness at work, wage gaps and penalties, and lack of legal protections. Without legislation such as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA, employers are allowed to legally discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity/expression unless states have laws that prohibit such discrimination.

Read the full article at the Center for American Progress.