So, readers, in the last week we've had some interesting things crop up in the news, especially as they pertain to LGBTQI folk and their civil rights. I thought I'd link a couple of them here.
First, after his talk to an LGBQ pride group- during which he was criticized for not making good on his campaign promises for our civil rights- Congress passed and Obama signed the revised Hate Crimes Bill, which now identifies sexual orientation and gender identity as categories under which someone can be targeted for a hate crime. This has been a long time coming, folks.
Second, the Ryan White Care Act, which provides a lot of funding for HIV- and AIDS-based programs throughout the country, including treatment for about 500,000 folks who can't afford treatment on their own, was reauthorized in the House last week and should be headed to Obama's desk soon. Is the bill perfect? No. It doesn't provide a lot of the medical subsidies until a person's immune system qualifies them for AIDS, at which point treatment becomes a lot more expensive and complicated. By way of contrast, Canada's medical support system starts treating those with HIV much earlier in the diagnosis, which significantly slows the virus's progress through the body and reduces costs in the long term. At least the law in the US will increase funding somewhat, rather than cutting it back as has been happening for the past several years.
Finally, the sad news I woke up to this morning: Maine voters turned out against gay marriage yesterday, overturning the bill that had been passed earlier in the year. I can't even begin to tell you all how sad this makes me. In the LGBTQI camp, there's a lot of discussion about whether marriage is something "we" even want- it perpetuates discrimination against polyamoury, it's a system set up by a heterocentric society, it expects us to buy into the "one perfect person for everyone" line- but beyond these arguments, I think, is the most important fact that underlies the whole debate: whether or not we "need" our relationships validated by the state, having so many people turn out against us is disheartening because that's representative of how many people think our relationships are wrong, are worthless, aren't good enough. That's the number of people who believe it's okay- or, in some cases, morally right- to deny us access to legal rights and parental rights that should be ours as people and as citizens. I'm confident that the Supreme Court will eventually overturn the laws that bar us from getting married, but I'm getting tired of waiting for that day.
That's all I have to say for now.