First the Good News:
· Captain Franchino married Captain Hall on January 13, 2018 at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York. The two Apache helicopter pilots stationed at Fort Bliss, El Paso, Texas are the first active-duty, same-sex couple to exchange vows at West Point.
· Gallup poll reports that 64% of Americans say same-sex marriage should be recognized as legally valid. Last year, the figure was 61%. For first time, majority of Protestants support gay marriage.
· In my state, Florida, over half of approximately two dozen U.S. municipalities have banned conversion therapy. No other state has come close, except Ohio that has Senator Rob Portman (R) who has a gay son. Florida also has the most local human rights ordinances passed out of any U.S. state without state-level protections for LGBT persons in employment, housing, and public accommodations.
· PFLAG continues to work on bullying, sports access and protecting bathroom, locker rooms not just in schools but in restaurants and libraries as well. PFLAG National will be working to change language in state bills that include so-called religious liberty.
Now the Bad:
· Only 41 states in the U.S. ban conversion therapy. Even Massachusetts that was the first state to have legalized same-sex marriage, and New York State still have the practice that can result in depression, suicidal ideation, and family rejection. Nearly 700,000 adults have been subjected to this so-called “therapy.”
· National Coalition of Anti0Violence Programs (NCAVP) found that single-incident, anti-LGBT homicides nearly doubled in 2017 compared to 2016.
· GLAAD released findings from its fourth annual Accelerating Acceptance Report today and they show that less than ½ of non-LGBTQ adults (49%) reported being “very” or “somewhat” comfortable with LGBTQ people across 7 situations, down from 53% the previous year. This is the first time Accelerating Acceptance Report has shown a decrease in acceptance for LGBTQ people.
· Fifty-five percent of LGBTQ adults reported experiencing discrimination because of sexual orientation or gender identity, up 11% points from previous year.
Now the Ugly:
The decline of LGBT acceptance, according to GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis, “can be seen as a dangerous repercussion in the tenor of discourse and experience over the last year. 2017 brought heightened rhetoric toward marginalized communities to the forefront of American culture.”
The rollback can be attributed to the Trump Administration policies and headlines that were anti-LGBT including President’s proposed ban on transgender people to enter the U.S. military, confirmation of a Supreme Court Justice opposed to marriage and passage of a state law in Mississippi which allows business to legally deny service to LGBTQ families.
To sum up, the State of the Union isn’t great for the LGBT population!