GOOD

New Data Reveals Best And Worst Places To Be Gay In America

Only one state has officially made gender-neutral bathrooms legal — guess which one it is.

Image via White House/Wikimedia Commons.

According to data released by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), there are some places in America where LGBT people are welcome — other states, not so much. And as the divide between the two widen under the current administration, it’s important to know where you’re (relatively) safe and where your rights are threatened. As the New York Times stated in its assessment of the HRC data, LGBT Americans would be wise to brush up on their state’s laws considering federal officials have made it very clear they will not be stepping in any time soon to defend the civil rights of LGBT people. Now, when local governments fail these communities, it’s up us to push back. Or, as the overwhelming data suggests, it might be worth considering a city that does appreciate the contributions of LGBT folks.


[quote position="left" is_quote="true"]We’re at the mercy of our ZIP codes.[/quote]

Currently, 20 U.S. states (primarily located in the South, mountain West, and northern Midwest) do not have hate crime laws specifically protecting LGBT people. In 29 states, it’s legal for local businesses to discriminate against LGBT customers. And in 28 states, employers are legally allowed to discriminate against their LGBT employees. Idaho, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama are some of the worst offenders, with as many as six anti-LGBT laws per state.

According to the data, California might be LGBT folks’ best ally when it comes to legal protections. California is the only state in the country with laws requiring single-occupancy restrooms to be gender-neutral. It’s also one of just a handful of states with laws protecting LGBT youths from harmful conversion therapy. In California, there are explicit laws protecting same-sex parents looking to adopt. All in all, California has 52 laws designed specifically to support the LGBT community.

Still, as progressive as some states can be, it ultimately comes down to local governments enforcing those overarching laws. As Frank Bruni writes for the New York Times, “We’re at the mercy of our ZIP codes: Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are often affected most by their municipality, not their state.” If we want to ensure equality for all, it can’t just happen in major metropolitan areas. Luckily, Lambda Legal provides all the resources to do just that. Before we can secure legal wins both big and small, it’s crucial to know our existing rights and lack thereof.

Articles
via Douglas Muth / Flickr

Sin City is doing something good for its less fortunate citizens as well as those who've broken the law this month. The city of Las Vegas, Nevada will drop any parking ticket fines for those who make a donation to a local food bank.

A parking ticket can cost up to $100 in Las Vegas but the whole thing can be forgiven by bringing in non-perishable food items of equal or greater value to the Parking Services Offices at 500 S. Main Street through December 16.

The program is designed to help the less fortunate during the holidays.

Keep Reading Show less
Communities

For more than 20 years. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has served the citizens of Maine in the U.S. Senate. For most of that time, she has enjoyed a hard-fought reputation as a moderate Republican who methodically builds bridges and consensus in an era of political polarization. To millions of political observers, she exemplified the best of post-partisan leadership, finding a "third way" through the static of ideological tribalism.

However, all of that has changed since the election of Donald Trump in 2016. Voters in Maine, particularly those who lean left, have run out of patience with Collins and her seeming refusal to stand up to Trump. That frustration peaked with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
via Truthout.org / Flickr and Dimitri Rodriguez / Flickr

Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign looks to be getting a huge big shot in the arm after it's faced some difficulties over the past few weeks.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a leading voice in the Democratic parties progressive, Democratic Socialist wing, is expected to endorse Sanders' campaign at the "Bernie's Back" rally in Queens, New York this Saturday.

Fellow member of "the Squad," Ilhan Omar, endorsed him on Wednesday.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
Photo by HAL9001 on Unsplash

The U.K. is trying to reach its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, but aviation may become the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.K. by that same year. A new study commissioned by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) and conducted at the Imperial College London says that in order for the U.K. to reach its target, aviation can only see a 25% increase, and they've got a very specific recommendation on how to fix it: Curb frequent flyer programs.

Currently, air travel accounts for 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, however that number is projected to increase for several reasons. There's a growing demand for air travel, yet it's harder to decarbonize aviation. Electric cars are becoming more common. Electric planes, not so much. If things keep on going the way they are, flights in the U.K. should increase by 50%.

Nearly every airline in the world has a frequent flyer program. The programs offer perks, including free flights, if customers get a certain amount of points. According to the study, 70% of all flights from the U.K. are taken by 15% of the population, with many people taking additional (and arguably unnecessary) flights to "maintain their privileged traveler status."

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet