Not a banner, but a historic LGBT year
by Mark Segal
Dec 27, 2012 | 1398 views | 4 4 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Do you appreciate the watershed moment in LGBT history we are witnessing? If any of you doubt that we are living in historic times for LGBT equality, just note what you’re about to witness in the next few weeks and months. The first president of the United States of America who campaigned openly and often on the issue of LGBT equality and won is about to be inaugurated for a second term, and most likely somewhere in that second term will nominate the first out cabinet member, as well as host a landslide of equality initiatives. The first out elected U.S. senator, Tammy Baldwin, will be sworn into office, along with the largest-ever delegation of our Congressmembers. The Supreme Court will hear debates on marriage equality and will rule by the summer. More out state and city elected officials throughout the nation will take office than ever before. Do you feel it yet?

Not yet? Then take a look at the issues and actions that started to take flight in the last 12 months. One that I’m particularly proud of is the nation’s largest LGBT capital building project that is taking place in Philadelphia. It’s called the John C. Anderson Apartments, an LGBT-friendly senior community. The 56-unit building will house and give dignity to LGBT seniors. And that’s the point: LGBT seniors are one group that we, as a community, have not begun to adequately address the needs of. We know from the few studies on LGBT seniors that their number-one concern is housing. Philadelphia hopefully will start a new wave of building across the nation. At present, the next to break ground is in Chicago, and San Francisco is looking at 2015.

Still not there? How about the advances in immigration for LGBT couples or the threat of foreign aid being withheld if Uganda enacts its proposed “kill the gays” bill? Has anyone noticed the host of Republicans quickly trying to change their positions on marriage equality? Or the assistance the Department of Health and Human Services is giving to build and increase health services to LGBT communities around the nation? Or the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development increasing its efforts to combat LGBT discrimination in housing? It would be hard to find an area that has not improved toward equality in the last 12 months.

This column a year ago predicted that it would be a good year. The stock market may use the term that I had “inside information,” and while I had high expectations, nothing was a done deal when that column was written. And while there were issues that were on my mind as it was being written, never in my wildest thoughts would I have expected how great of a year 2012 was — for the community, for the body politic and, I’m happy to say, personally. And of course we promised to make some predictions for 2013, some of which might actually happen. If you haven’t noticed, those predictions are in the first paragraph.

Mark Segal, PGN publisher, is the nation’s most-award-winning commentator in LGBT media. He can be reached at mark@epgn.com.

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Kathy...
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December 28, 2012
I would note another sweeping national achievement:

"In a decision that could dramatically alter the legal landscape for transgender workers across the nation, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ruled April 20, 2012, that an employer who discriminates against an employee or applicant on the basis of the person’s gender identity is violating the prohibition on sex discrimination contained in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964"

Transgender people now have national employment protections. This doesn't cover housing or public accommodations (though the new HUD policy does us the same analysis to do so). And it may very well be challenged or overturned in the future - not having the same force as actually being included in legislation. But - really, really HUGE news.

And completely attributable to the President appointing the right people to the EEOC.
OrphiumCircuit
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January 07, 2013
Babette's phones are disconnected and Sims doesn't have a Phila. office open yet. What great representation for LGBTSs!

Sims' Harrisburg number doesn't return calls.

Progress.

Archer Ingersoll
AAagenes
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January 07, 2013
Archer,

Thank you for expressing your concerns and I'm so sorry you had such trouble reaching us. As I'm sure you can appreciate, we are in process of transitioning offices and hope to have our new District Office up and running by the end of the month. We were able to secure a great new office location which has meant delaying our opening until the end of the month due to renovations. I know the lack of a physical office space can be an inconvenience, but I am certain it will be well worth the wait!

In the meantime, you can reach us by phone at (484) 876-1820, or me directly by email at AAagenes@pahouse.net.

Sincerely,

Anna Aagenes

District Office Director

Office of Rep. Brian Sims

www.pahouse.com/sims/
Carbunclecanasta
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January 08, 2013
Anna, you completely miss the point that constituents had/have NO walk-in office in Phila. since Rep. Josephs office closed, which is critically important for Welfare applicants and the elderly. The largest percentage of walk-ins relied on the representative's services to receive food, shelter and other social services, as Republican Harrisburg and the Phila. DPA offices do not answer phones (Just try: 215-560-44000).

Did government cease to exist for a month?

It is inexcusable that a transitional "office" was not set-up for the interim, especially from within the same party. Shame on Sims and Josephs.