LGBTQ+ Rights


Background
The expression of gender and sexuality is as beautiful as it is complex. Human sexuality and gender identity do not fall into neat, binary categories that can be strictly defined. They are a precarious mix of biology and psychology, childhood development and family nurture, social experience and spiritual beliefs, love and desire, culture and politics, even race and class.

The long arc of the modern LGBTQ+ civil rights movement–born out of the underground formations of the Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis–evolved in the 1950s, galvanized in the 1960s, organized in the 1970s, mobilized in the 1980s, advanced in the 1990s, amplified in the 2000s, and finally achieved growing acceptance in the last 8 years of the current decade.

In recent years, the LGBTQ+ community has made stunning accomplishments: marriage equality, the ability to serve openly in the military, the promise of eradicating HIV and AIDS within the next 20 to 30 years, and an emerging generation that doesn’t hold hate toward the LGBTQ+ community..

The culture that stemmed from the civil rights movement for LGBTQ+ equality weaves a tapestry of diversity and creativity. It is a community to be admired for its struggles and accomplishments. However, despite giant leaps forward, we still live in a world where the LGBTQ+ community faces discrimination and alienation, often suffers violence and depression, and is disproportionately susceptible to suicide.

In our current political climate, fueled by the ignorance of government officials who lack compassion, a resurgence of homophobia and transphobia is emerging. It is still possible in many places to be married on Saturday and fired on Monday. It is still possible in many places to be denied access to housing. Bathroom laws have been brought forward. Progress is under attack.

It is often argued that when the LGBTQ+ community seeks laws and policies that protect basic human dignity,, they are asking for “special rights.” But it is not about asking for more rights or special privileges. It is about ensuring that LGBTQ+ Ohioans enjoy the dignity due all human beings as their birthright.

The Kucinich-Samples ticket for Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Ohio commits that there shall be no laws in this state which promote the oppression or demean the dignity of LGBTQ+ Ohioans. Where such exist, we shall strike them down, either by executive order or by bringing forth legislative action.

We also commit to seek out deficiencies in Ohio law that keep the LGBTQ+ community at a disadvantage. We shall lead with policy.

Equal Rights & Protections for All

Family is the bedrock of society. Families exist to create the bonds and social networks we rely on. Every human wants to be part of a family. The LGBTQ+ community has won many battles recently, making it much easier for same-sex families to adopt children and finally the right to marry in 2014. We commit to protect the hard-won rights of the LGBTQ+ community and to fight for the protections not yet in place; protections that create fairness and help support families.

We commit to protect and support Ohio’s LGBTQ+ community.

Equal protections:

● We support the statewide LGBTQ+ non-discrimination protections currently proposed in the Ohio General Assembly (SB-100, HB-160). The legislation adds “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the list of protected groups as referenced in multiple provisions of the Ohio revised code. This will create protections against discrimination in employment, housing and so on.

● We support adding “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the hate crime legislation defined as “Ethnic Intimidation” found in 2927.12 of the Ohio Revised Code. This provision is not currently included in SB-100 or HB-160

● We support lowering the burden of proof for hate crimes qualification to increase its effectiveness as a deterrent from bullying and targeting based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

● We oppose so-called “Religious Freedom” legislation, such as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act passed in Indiana in 2015. These types of legislative maneuvers that are becoming more prevalent across the United States. We will never legalize homophobia and transphobia.

 

LGBTQ+ Youth support and intervention

LGBTQ+ youth are a particularly vulnerable group. Unabated bullying and isolation at school, disapproval and ejection from home, alienation and ostracization from faith communities are still serious problems LGBTQ+ youth face. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among youth ages 10-24 and LGBTQ+ youth are 2 to 3 times more likely to commit suicide than their heterosexual peers.

We commit to protect and support our LGBTQ+ Ohio youth.

Conversion Therapy is torture by definition of Geneva Convention standards. It has become a major contributor to the LGBTQ+ youth suicide epidemic. For the youth who are forced into such programs against their will, this is, by definition, child abuse, which cannot and will not be tolerated.

● We support the statewide ban on conversion therapy in the mental health profession currently proposed in the Ohio Senate (SB-126).

● We support a total ban on conversion therapy in Ohio for both licensed and unlicensed providers. SB-126 is insufficient to abate the problem. This legislation only covers the mental health profession, which has disqualified conversion therapy as legitimate.

Bullying is a major problem for LGBTQ+ youth. It is often left intentionally unnoticed by school administrators, faculty and staff. It is a given that the stress and anxiety caused by school bullying contributes to suicide. This is unacceptable and it has to stop.

● We support statewide standards for how schools intervene in situations where a bully is targeting an LGBTQ+ youth.

● We support discipline of officials of school districts and their agents who do not comply with these standards.

● We support properly handling youth bullies, including commensurate academic penalties, counseling and diversity education..

● We support programs and services with a special focus on LGBTQ+ suicide prevention and care.

Additionally, LGBTQ+ youth are disproportionately more likely to be homeless than their peers. LGBTQ+ youth are roughly 7% of the total youth population and make up 40% of all homeless youth.

● We support programs for families having difficulty coping with the discovery of their child’s sexual orientation or gender identity, aimed at finding acceptance and holding families together to minimize the number of runaways who end up on the streets.

● We support programs that take care of displaced LGBTQ+ youth, offering healthcare, food, shelter and education, while focusing on placing kids who can’t or shouldn’t be reunited with their birth families in loving homes.

Transgender and Intersex protections

Gender minorities including transgender, intersex and gender nonconforming individuals are probably the most misunderstood group outside the larger LGBTQ+ community. Societal ignorance, familial alienation and social isolation are common. Such oppressed individuals often underemployed and have a difficult time finding access to healthcare that is sensitive to trans-specific needs. They are often turned away from housing making it difficult to find a place to live on all-too-often limited incomes. Because of society’s extreme unrest with gender difference, those in the trans community are at an increased risk of becoming victims of violence and death due to hate crimes.

We commit to protect and support our transgender, intersex and gender nonconforming Ohioans.

● We support efforts to bring better awareness to the struggles faced by gender minorities.

● We oppose the common rule that advises parents to select a gender for an intersex child by the time he or she is 18 months old.

● We oppose the cosmetic alteration of intersex children’s genitalia. Ambiguous genitalia is not dysfunctional genitalia and scar tissue deadens nerves which pose long-term negative effects on the sexual lives and intimate relationships of intersex people as they become adults.

● We support allowing intersex children to make their own decisions about their gender identity and to make decisions regarding their physical expression in society which they can legitimately give informed consent.

● We support the creation of programs that provide social workers to parents of intersex children to allow a gender ambiguous baby to grow into the gender that best fits the child.

● We support the creation of childhood transgender and intersex transition assistance programs that help educate families, assist parents with medical care and counseling, and seek to help transgender and intersex children transition.

● We will order the Ohio Department of Health to develop and implement a process that allows transgender Ohioans to change their birth certificate to reflect their gender identity.

● We support moving away from a “dysphoria” model of mental health that frames non-normative gender expression as part of a “disorder” and move toward transformative mental health models that emphasize self-care and self-determination.

● We oppose bathroom laws and any other legislation that targets transgender, gender non-conforming and intersex people to demean their character and deny them their civil rights.

● We oppose the federal administration’s service ban on transgender people. This unfairly targets loyal, dedicated Americans who willingly put their lives on the line to serve and protect this
country.

People Living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHA)

The treatment and prevention of HIV and AIDS has revolutionized since its first discovery as a deadly disease that disproportionately affected gay men in the early 1980s. From the first cases of AIDS, to the discovery the HIV virus, to the development of the first antiretrovirals, HIV and AIDS used to be a death sentence. But current treatment methods have made HIV more manageable than diabetes.

New antiretrovirals suppress the reproduction of the virus to the point where it is literally undetectable in the blood. Alongside this, a new prevention method has been developed based on HIV medications. Both, when properly maintained, make it virtually impossible to transmit the virus. We do not have a cure or a vaccine, but we have the next best thing. If we can make sure that all PLWHA become undetectable and help them stay that way, we could effectively eradicate the virus in a generation.

It should not be forgotten that PLWHA have long suffered stigma. Public ignorance, political opposition and homophobia has stereotyped PLWHA. The stigma around HIV and AIDS dissuades many of the most at risk groups from being tested. Today, the biggest factor in the transmission of HIV is not the people who know they have it, it is the people who don’t know they have it. While these miracle drugs to prevent and treat HIV promise the possibility of beating this 40-year epidemic, infection rates are still on the rise. And these infection rates disproportionately affect people
of color and the economically disadvantaged.

We commit to protect and support Ohioans living with HIV and AIDS.

● We support Treatment as Prevention (TasP) and all efforts to make sure that PLWHA have access to and are compliant with the vital healthcare they need to stay healthy. The CDC has recently declared that it is virtually impossible for a person with HIV who is sero-undetectable to infect someone who is uninfected. It’s rated 94% effective (the 6% donut hole is a compliance issue).

● We support Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) as a preventive method for stopping the transmission of HIV. It has been noted to be over 99% effective when used properly.

● We especially support PrEP and TasP programs that support communities of color and the economically disadvantaged, groups are at the highest risk of infection, are the least likely to have access to healthcare, and are more likely to have compliance issues.

● We support the repeal of intentional infection laws in Ohio.

● We support making sure that all PLWHA in Ohio are properly supported and that their financial, as well as their healthcare needs are met. In our current healthcare structure, treatment for HIV and AIDS can be prohibitively expensive. This is a public health risk and it behooves us to make sure that PLWHA are treated and remain healthy to lessen that risk.

● We support restoring the income cap for the Ohio Drug Assistance Program (ODAP), funded by federal Ryan White funds to 500% of the federal poverty line. When it was reduced to 300% (with pressure to go as low as 100%) in 2008 in response to the economic recession, 1000s of PLWHA in Ohio were thrown off the vital financial assistance program. A 300% cap for 2018 is $36,000. Without ODAP assistance, PLWHA in Ohio have to make over $50,000 to break even with the income cap. This sets an unfairly low glass ceiling for Ohioans living HIV and AIDS.

● We support instituting diminishing benefits above the 500% income cap for ODAP assistance, so that economic mobility does not become a liability, where a promotion does not equal an effective demotion.

Resources
http://www.newsweek.com/kansas-gops-vote-against-transgender-people-part-worrying-trend-8 21087

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_Ohio

https://www.daytondailynews.com/news/state–regional-govt–politics/lgbt-bill-picks-support-ohio/ eirr hLDKx2pW9Yc7XKbJiI/

http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2018/01/ohio_chamber_of_commerce_backs.html

LGBT Groups in Ohio
https://outlookohio.com/2015/08/ohio-lgbt-resource-guide/
http://pflagdayton.org
http://www.equalityohio.org/ehea/

City of Akron, non-discrimination legislation:

https://www.freedomforallamericans.org/akron-ohio-enacts-lgbt-non-discrimination-protections-as-comprehensive-legislation-is-introduced-statewide/

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