Monday, June 16, 2014

A Little Closer

Earlier this month, we experienced a breakthrough in the federal government. Medicare's ban on covering transition related medical procedures had been lifted. And while that alone was welcomed by transgender Americans, was it also a sign of further good news to come?

Perhaps so. Just last week, federal employees learned that their employer lifted its ban on insurance coverage of transition related health care. This morning, the Army finally rectified its wrongful discharge of Lisa Weiszmiller 35 years after booting her because she's a lesbian. And now, President Obama is releasing an executive order requiring all federal contractors to refrain from discriminating against workers due to sexual orientation and/or gender identity/expression.

Last November, the US Senate passed ENDA. Both of Nevada's Senators, Harry Reid (D) & Dean Heller (R), voted for ENDA along with 62 other Senators. Yet despite this big bipartisan vote, ENDA has been stalled in the lower House of Congress.

But why so? Oh, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Courvoisier) called ENDA "unnecessary". Rep. Joe Heck (R-___) had nothing but "soft lighting" in response to a question about LGBTQ civil rights. And NV-04 candidate Cresent Hardy (R-Stupid) is still trying to explain his philosophy on "segregation laws".

This is why President Obama had to finally agree to the executive order. While G-O-TEA "leaders" in Congress continue to pander to the 21st Century Know Nothings, something needs to be done to address the fact that LGBTQ workers in 33 states continue to face some sort of "legal" wrongful discrimination. And while this is no substitute for a universal nationwide ENDA, at least a larger group of workers nationwide will be able to work without worrying about negative repercussions simply because of who they are.

As we've been noting throughout this LGBTQ PRIDE Month, we've experienced plenty of progress in recent years. And yes, the future looks quite bright. President Obama's big announcement today reminds us of this.

We just have further to go before we finally reach full equality. We have further to go before both houses of Congress finally recognize that we all deserve basic human rights. But at least today, we're a little closer to that final goal.

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