Five Examples of LGBTQ Equality – It’s equal rights, not special rights!

Allowing same gender couples to marry does not infringe in any way on heterosexual marriage.

In my last blog, “Why So Much Hate,” I wrote about the hateful comments I receive on social media after blogging about topics such as Islamophobia, LGBTQ equality and Racism. In the LGBT area, I am shocked about some of the people commenting about LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) people clamoring for “special rights.”

Last month when I published a blog about an LGBTQ+ Workplace Equity Training toolkit that will be launching in North Carolina in February, one woman commented that “this crap should not be allowed in our schools or at work” and that she is fed up with “gays wanting special rights.” When I tried to engage her in a conversation about areas where LGBT people are not treated equally, he accused me of harassing her and reported me to Facebook!

I am hoping that those who continue to shout “special rights” read this with an open mind to sincerely understand the difference between equal rights and special rights.

Marriage: Equal Rights – people can marry the person they love, whether they are same gender, opposite gender or gender fluid. Special Rights – if we made marriage only available to same gender couples and no longer allowed heterosexuals to get married. I would love to have someone explain to me why allowing a same-gender couple to get married infringes on their rights.

Workplace Protections: Equal Rights – all people should be able to work if they are qualified and capable of doing their job, and not get fired simply because they are gay. Special Rights – if we passed a law that stated if a gay person and a straight person applied for a job, preference must be given to the gay person. If you are so afraid that a gay person is going to steal your job, work harder and update your skills.

Shouldn’t all kids … straight, gay and trans …. be able to get a quality education without being bullied?

Safety in our Schools: Equal Rights – All children, including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or gender fluid should be allowed to get a quality education without being bullied or having their issues not addressed by school administration. Special Rights – Establishing top-notch special schools exclusively for LGBTQ children only with the best teachers, facilities and equipment, and providing scholarships to top colleges only for LGBTQ students.

Safety on the Streets: Equal Rights – A gay couple should be able to walk down the street holding hands without being heckled or physically accosted. Special Rights – Passing a law that only same gender displays of public affection (PDA) are allowed and that heterosexuals are forbidden to hold hands or kiss in public.

Transgender people should have the right to use the restroom of their gender identity in peace.

Bathroom accessibility for transgender people. Equal Rights – all people should be permitted to use a public restroom that matches their gender identity and presentation. Special Rights – when a transgender person wants to use a restroom, everyone must immediately leave and wait until the trans person is finished.

I hope my readers get the drift here. LGBTQ people pay their taxes just like everyone else, and deserve equal treatment and respect under the law. We are just asking for equality without taking anything away from anybody else.

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Blog author Stan Kimer is a diversity consultant and trainer who handles all areas of workplace diversity and with a deep expertise in LGBT diversity strategy and training. Please explore the rest of my website and never hesitate to contact me to discuss diversity training for your organization, or pass my name onto your HR department.  [email protected]

Op Ed: President Obama’s Latest Executive Order Protecting LGBT Americans – The True “American” Thing To Do!

Check out the many useful links to additional resources provided in this blog!

MAJOR UPDATE: On December 4, the US Dept of Labor announced the specific implementation of President Obama’s July executive order adding LGBT protections for federal contractors. All companies with new or modified federal contracts including subcontracts after April 6, 2015 must have non-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation and gender identity!

President Obama signing the executive order protecting LGBT Americans working at the Federal Government level.  (photo by Jewel Samad, AFP / Getty Images)

President Obama signing the executive order protecting LGBT Americans working at the Federal Government level. (photo by Jewel Samad, AFP / Getty Images)

In my last week’s blog “The Great United States / North Carolina Diversity Divide,” (link) I contrasted two recent advances for LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) equality and fairness at the US Federal Level with a recent North Carolina Governor’s executive order on equal opportunity that excludes LGBT citizens. One of those Federal advances was President Obama’s promise to soon sign an executive order giving workplace protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity for federal employees and contractors. The big update: the promised executive order was indeed signed by President Obama on Monday, July 21st!

The executive order included two parts. First, it makes it illegal to fire or harass employees of federal contractors based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Second, it explicitly adds discrimination against transgender employees of the federal government (President Clinton had already included sexual orientation protections for federal employees earlier.) And very importantly, the executive order is all-inclusive and does NOT include a bunch of exemptions.

Here are three links to additional details:
• An excellent Huffington Post article about the executive order
• The official White House blog entry
• The actual text of the order.

What I find truly amazing is that some press outlets led with the headline, “President Obama’s LGBT Executive Order Endangers Religious Liberties.” For example, check out this Fox News story (link). Huh? How in the world does providing equal treatment for all Americans in the federal workplace endanger religious freedom? I would think that people of all faiths would want to make sure all people in our country were treated equally. In fact, many supportive religious leaders were in the ceremony when President Obama signed the order. (See photo) Also, check out this link to an excellent supportive commentary written by Rev. Elder Dr. Nancy Wilson, Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches.

Supportive religious leaders gathering in the White House Garden after witnessing the signing of this historic executive order.  (Photo courtesy of Rev Rob Keithan)

Supportive religious leaders gathering in the White House Garden after witnessing the signing of this historic executive order. (Photo courtesy of Rev Rob Keithan)

I would argue that there is absolutely no threat to religious freedom by this order. If a company felt so strongly that they should remove qualified LGBT Americans from their company or harass them, then they can make the choice to forgo doing business with the Federal Government. In fact, discriminating against LGBT people does a grave disservice to our country. As an American, I would want all subcontractors working for my government to have the very best, most qualified people working on these contracts regardless of gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation and gender identity.

Really – fairness, equal treatment, and having the best people empowered to do the best job they can is the true American way!