Things That Matter

Zuri Moreno Made Sure The Trans Community In Montana Remained Safe

There’s no question that in metropolitan cities such as New York City, Los Angeles, and Miami, that gay rights must be respected. With such huge LGBTQ+ communities in those cities, Pride is like 4th of July, but in smaller cities and states that is not the case. There are still places, like Montana, trying to attack LGBTQ+ rights and one nonbinary Latinx activist stood up and defeated an anti-trans bill.

In Montana, lawmakers introduced a measure that would strip rights away from the trans community and one person would not have it.

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The bill — I-183 — would be a change a Montana law that would allow the permission to discriminate against transgender people.

I-183 would force people to use public accommodations like restrooms and locker rooms that align with the gender on their original birth certificate instead of the gender by which they live and identify.”

That means that a trans woman could not use a female bathroom and a trans man could not use a male bathroom. Furthermore, “I-183 would 1) make work, school, and recreation unsafe for transgender Montanans; 2) put local government and state agencies at risk of expensive, unnecessary lawsuits; and 3) fail to further protect anyone from assault or rape, as these things are already illegal in Montana. I-183 would also jeopardize your privacy by forcing you to prove your gender to anyone who requests to see your paperwork before you enter a public facility.”

Essentially, the Montana government was ready to tell trans people that they have to adhere to the sex they were assigned at birth. This would strip away the most basic right for trans people, and one most Americans enjoy, of self-determination.

Thanks to Zuri Moreno that bill never saw the light of day.

Moreno, who describes themselves as queer, nonbinary, multiracial, and Latinx, made sure their community remained safe in Montana and fought hard to make sure that the bill was blocked.

“My life and my passion focus on racial equity and access in the community,” Moreno said to The Advocate.

The LGBTQ+ community is no stranger to state and the federal governments from attacking their basic rights. North Carolina tried and failed to limit trans people from using the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity. Indiana tried passing a “religious freedom” bill that would have allowed anyone to legally discriminate against anyone in the LGBTQ+ community.

It is because of their fight for trans rights in Montana that The Advocate named them among the 2019 Champions of Pride.

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“Montana still does not have an explicit sexual orientation and gender identity nondiscrimination law,” the 32-year-old said to the magazine. “Although a handful of municipalities have passed local nondiscrimination ordinances, at the state level progress is hindered by transphobia, disinterest from non-LGBTQ people, and a lack of political will. There is still a lot of work to do around bringing awareness and dispelling misinformation about trans, nonbinary, and two-spirit identities.”

The federal government is also fighting over a similar measure. H.R. 5 and S. 788, also known as the Equality Act, is a simple piece of legislation that has been embroiled in legal battles for years. The Equality Act seeks to protect LGBTQ+ American from discrimination based on “sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity.” That’s right. The Equality Act would finally close loopholes in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and legally address discrimination against women based on sex. So, the LGBTQ+ community and women would benefit if the Equality Act were passed.

READ: Show Your Pride And Allyship With These Colorful And Fun Rainbow Outfits

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More Anti-Trans Bills Have Been Introduced in 2021 Than Any Year in History

Things That Matter

More Anti-Trans Bills Have Been Introduced in 2021 Than Any Year in History

Trans rights are under siege in over half of the United States this year, as 28 states have proposed one or more anti-trans bills. The bills range from banning trans children from playing on sports teams to prohibiting doctors from giving trans youth life-saving care. 

Despite winning the White House and both houses of Congress, we cannot grow complacent. Now is the time for others from the LGBTQ community and allies to stand up and protect our trans brothers and sisters.

At least 28 states have proposed anti-trans legislation that could severely harm the community.

Less than three months into the new year, Republican lawmakers have already introduced a record number of anti-trans bills across the country.

According to a report published Monday by Axios, at least 73 pieces of legislation have already been put forward in state legislatures targeting members of the transgender community. Of those proposals, 65 specifically single out trans youth, such as bills prohibiting the kinds of medical care doctors can offer trans minors and others seeking to limit the participation of trans student athletes in school sports. 

Notable examples include legislative efforts by South Dakota and Mississippi, both of which passed bills in the past week blocking trans girls from competing in school athletics in accordance with their gender identity. After being approved by their respective Houses and Senates, their governors have vowed to sign them.

These would be the first bills of their kind to become law in the U.S. after numerous attempts to pass anti-trans sports bills in previous years. In 2019, a bill targeting trans student athletes failed in the South Dakota House by just one vote.

LGBTQ+ advocates are warning that the influx of this type of legislation will harm trans and nonbinary youth.

Trans advocates and experts argue that bills like this do not protect young trans people, and recent studies support this. In February, the Center for American Progress (CAP) released a report which argued that banning the trans community from certain sports programs would deprive an entire group of people of the benefits of athletics, including lower risks of depression, anxiety, and drug use. Despite so many states introducing legislation targeting trans youth in sports, the report also found that the argument of an “unfair advantage” does not actually hold up to data-driven scrutiny.

“This has been a significant part of my work at the ACLU for the past six years and I’ve never seen anything like this,” Chase Strangio, deputy director for transgender justice at the ACLU, told CNN. “There have never been this many bills targeting trans youth voted out of committee and then making it to the floor.”

There is widespread opposition to anti-trans bills, and not just from LGBTQ+ civil rights groups. More than 55 major corporations have endorsed a statement against these bills and anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in general; they include Facebook, Pfizer, Microsoft, AT&T, Apple, Dell, American Airlines, and many more. Nearly 550 college athletes have signed a letter to the National Collegiate Athletic Association demanding that championship games be pulled from states that have anti-trans sports laws or are close to enacting them. More than 1,000 child welfare groups have taken a stand against legislation that would keep trans youth out of school sports or deny them health care.

States that enact anti-LGBTQ+ legislation often experience boycotts, as was the case with North Carolina and its anti-trans “bathroom bill” in 2016 and Indiana with its discriminatory religious freedom law in 2015. The former has now been repealed, the latter amended.

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Selena Gomez Tells Senate to Pass Equality Act, Credits Gay Community with Launching Her Music Career

Entertainment

Selena Gomez Tells Senate to Pass Equality Act, Credits Gay Community with Launching Her Music Career

After the Equality Act was recently passed in the House, Selena Gomez is now telling the Senate to pass the bill that would give added federal protections to the LGBTQ+ community. The Mexican-American pop star also talked about her history with the gay community and how they helped support her music career.

The Equality Act would extend protections from the Civil Rights Act to the LGBTQ+ community.

The Equality Act was first introduced in 2015. The bill would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to extend protections against discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity when it came to employment, housing, education, and other public and federal accommodations. In 2019, the Senate under President Donald Trump refused to vote on the bill.

The Equality Act recently passed through the House and now Gomez wants the Senate to pass it as well.

In February, the Equality Act was reintroduced to the House of Representatives. The bill passed through the House for a second time on Feb. 25. In a recent interview with the Recording Academy, the institution that hosts the Grammy Awards, Gomez is telling the Senate to vote on the bill this time and pass it through.

“We’ve come a long way in the last 10 years, but we have so much further to go,” Gomez said about the progress of LGBTQ+ rights in the country. “The Senate must pass the Equality Act. It’s absurd that this is even being debated in 2021.”

Gomez says the gay community helped support her 2009 breakthrough hit “Naturally.”

While Gomez was promoting her Latin music EP Revelación, she also revisited a few of her past hits. In 2009, she launched her music career with her band The Scene. Later that year, Gomez got her first top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with her breakthrough smash “Naturally.” While talking about her relationship with the gay community, she says they were the first ones to show that song love.

“Earlier you mentioned my song ‘Naturally’ and I remember when it was released, it truly started getting played in the gay bars before anywhere else,” she said. “I would hear from older friends that they heard when they went out. I was so jealous that I was too young to be out and dancing to it with everyone. The LGBTQ+ community has been there for me and I don’t take them for granted.”

The Equality Act is waiting to be debated by the Senate. This is Gomez’s first time speaking in support of the bill. Last year, she launched the Black Equality Fund to support groups like the Movement for Black Lives.  In March, she also asked for the Senate to pass the People Act.

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Read: Selena Gomez and Myke Towers’ “Dámelo To’” is Everything: Listen to the ‘Revelación’ Standout

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