Illustration: The General Design Co.
SUPPORT FOR A NEW GENERATION
IN THE RED STATES
CITIES ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE Cities of all sizes across the country are working to make their cities more equal. And that includes cities in red states where state law is sorely lacking on LGBT equality, according to the HRC Foundation’s latest report on municipal law. “Cities have incredible power to act to ensure that their LGBT citizens are treated equally and with respect, and more and more cities are doing so,” said Cathryn Oakley, HRC’s legislative counsel, state and municipal advocacy, and the author of the 2013 Municipal Equality Index. Here’s an example: 31 million people live in U.S. cities that have stronger nondiscrimination protections for transgender and gender non-conforming people at the city level than their states do. “That means 31 million people have trans-inclusive nondiscrimination laws at the city level that they don’t have any other way,” Oakley says. In this year’s report, 291 municipalities of various sizes from every U.S. state were evaluated. Twenty-five cities earned a perfect 100-percent score — with strong nondiscrimination laws, equal employee benefits and cutting-edge city services. (Last year, only 11 cities did.) Over the past year, some
cities have very publicly said they were motivated by their MEI 2012 score to do better. Although there has been enormous progress at the federal level and in those states with marriage equality, it is the cities that are leading a quiet transformation in those parts of the country where state-level progress seems a long way off, Oakley notes. There are many reasons why the cities are in the forefront. “The cities may be responding to the moral imperative to treat people equally, or they know that diverse cities attract sustainable economic growth,” she says. “Or it could be because city government is a more intimate, direct form of government — when an ordinance is put up for public comment, the voices the city council hears are their neighbors, friends and family.” This year, for the first time ever, a city from the deep South — Atlanta — garnered a perfect score on the MEI, as announced by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed at a news conference releasing the report this fall. The MEI is issued in partnership with the Equality Federation Institute. See www.hrc.org/mei for more.
A whole new generation of young gay and bisexual men is confronting HIV/AIDS: The disease is very much on the rise among them, particularly if they’re African American or Latino. But as they explore how to prevent HIV and reduce HIV stigma, they can turn for support to an invaluable resource: the survivors of the very first generation of gay and bi men to face HIV/AIDS. A groundbreaking new book, The AIDS Generation: Stories of Survival and Resilience, offers a wealth of insights into what that first generation experienced. Author Perry Halkitis, a longtime LGBT and HIV researcher, has collected the deeply moving life stories of 15 men who tell not only of surviving the grimmest years of the epidemic but also of aging with HIV, something many never dreamed possible.
SAVING HUNDREDS OF LIVES A YEAR Bipartisanship at its best! Democrats and Republicans in Congress joined together recently to lift a federal ban on the use of HIV-positive organs in transplants. President Obama promptly signed the measure, which allows researchers to study the safety of transplants between individuals who are HIVpositive. Permitting organs from HIV-positive donors to be used for transplant in HIVinfected patients with liver or kidney failure could save hundreds of people each year. Over the last year and a half, HRC’s legislative team worked behind the scenes to educate lawmakers and staff about the need to remove the ban and make it possible to keep pace with the current scientific advances.
LATE FALL 2013
Published on Jan 7, 2014
Equality magazine is the nation's largest-circulation LGBT magazine and is free with an HRC membership. Visit www.hrc.org/join and join the...