What are your thoughts on the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling? SFGN’s “Speak OUT” is a weekly feature giving a regular voice to South Florida LGBT leaders.
I've seen several articles on social media recently about how the LGBTQ community should now get behind #BlackLivesMatter, since we've won the marriage battle. I agree 100 percent. We should get ACTIVELY get behind #BlackLivesMatter, and #BlackWomensLivesMatter, and #SayHerName. The marriage battle needed to be fought, but it was not the biggest issue for many LGBTQ people. We still don't have employment protections in many states, we still have issues with hate crimes, and we still haven't begun to touch on the intersectionality between race/class/gender/sexual orientation. And women still make 78 cents for every dollar that men make.
— Judy Ireland, Assistant organizer for BLAST Women of WPB
Last week we may have gotten a glimpse of next LGBTQ battle at the Supreme Court. The EEOC, in a vote of 3-2 vote, concluded that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act forbids sexual orientation discrimination on the job because it’s a form “sex” discrimination. If some circuit courts accept LGBT protections in Title VII and some do not, we will be back at the Supreme Court."
— Lee Rubin, Blogger and Community Organizer
I continue to be baffled by my own thoughts on Caitlyn Jenner. I was insulted by her comments to Diane Sawyer when she said, “I am not gay!” – as though the thought of it was distasteful and insulting. Yet she was incredibly gracious and inspiring at the ESPY awards as she received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. The transgender movement needs a face to help middle America begin to understand, accept and embrace transgender individuals, but the fact that Caitlyn proudly affiliates herself as a Republican while, at the same time, is caught by TMZ partying at popular West Hollywood gay night club, The Abbey, bothers me. The hypocrisy of her political affiliation and establishing herself as a voice for sexual minorities is an issue for me, given the GOP’s hostile stance on every single issue related to LGBT equality. I hope that she manages to align her political values with the priorities of the LGBT community. If she does not, she will not be a suitable role model in my eyes and I will discount her celebrity as I do the rest of the Kardashian clan.
— David Jobin, executive director of The Stonewall National Museum & Archives
The biggest and longest-lasting lesbian gatherings - National Women's Music Festival and Michigan Womyn's Music Festival - are each celebrating "40" this summer. Hundreds of thousands of lesbians from all over the world have attended these festivals. The political, personal, and historical impact is incalculable.
— Toni Armstrong, Founder/Director of BLAST Women of WPB.
Caitlyn Jenner has a place in American history that Bruce Jenner might not have maintained. I loved her speech but had to get my arms around the reality that the hairy-chested, handsome athlete I had a big crush on was now complaining to millions of viewers about the challenge of finding the right dress to wear.
— Brian McNaught, noted columnist, author and LGBT activist
It is my hope that as we continue to work on the issues that pertain to the LGBT community, we also remember that the Women’s community has been our strongest allies. Women and the LGBT Community are so closely linked because we have the same oppressors trying to control us and the same laws that protect our safety, freedom and privacy. I hope that people join NOW and help us support our communities!
— Meredith L Ockman, community activist and a director of NOW
In 1974, Congresswoman Bella Abzug introduced a bill to amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to protect gay and lesbian Americans from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation. As an idealistic student living in Washington, DC, back then, I was confident that law would be enacted by the end of the 1970s.
Now, more than four decades later, there still is no federal law -- or for that matter, a statewide law in Florida -- prohibiting discrimination against LGBT people.
It was heartwarming this afternoon to watch a bi-partisan group of Congressional leaders announce the introduction of the Equality Act. When the Equality Act is enacted, discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, education, credit, public accommodations, jury service, and federally funded programs will be illegal across our nation.
— Rand Hoch, President and Founder, Palm Beach County Human Rights Council
Why do we need comprehensive legislation that ensures Full Federal Equality for LGBT Americans? The Equality Act, as it is called, would guarantee explicit, permanent protections for LGBT people in many of the most important aspects of our lives banning discrimination based on an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity in matters of employment, housing, access to public places, federal funding, credit, education and jury service. With more than 140 cosponsors in the House and at least 39 in the Senate, and the support of major corporations including Apple Inc., The Dow Chemical Company, and Levi Strauss & Co., this is the moment to pass landmark legislation that would finally ensure all LGBT Americans have the protections from discrimination we deserve.
— Michael C. Gongora, former Vice Mayor of Miami Beach