Saturday, January 21, 2012

LGBT Rights - GLAD: Equal Justice Under Law

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) rights in the United States and across the globe have been a hot topic for hundreds of years. It was considered that individuals who were gay or lesbian were mentally ill and imprisoned for such acts. Activists using public forums such as politics and the media have made it possible for members of the LGBT community to gain a voice and to have being gay as a facet of their identity. Advocates such as Harvey Milk made it possible for gay people to have rights and to be taken seriously in society. These efforts still continue today, by certain organisations and movements, to gain equal rights for members of the LGBT community.

Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) is a gay rights group that was formed in 1978 in response to the treatment of members of the LGBT community. They are based in Boston, Massachusetts and serve the entire New England area, trying to raise awareness through education and litigation. On GLAD's site, they have a section entitled 'Legalisative Advocacy'. In this section, they talk about how they work and strive to protect same-sex couples and families, among other injustices that might occur whether it be in the work place or what can be considered an invasion of privacy.

It is apparant to me, that this site (and others in the same category) do not fight for people be able to have gay/lesbian/transgender as an attachment to their identity but otherwise fight for people in this community to have the freedom from the suppression of this part of their identity. This is an all-too-common occurance in work places across America (if you think back to the American Dream: A Dream Denied? documentary), where people in the LGBT would lie to employers about their sexual preferences due to the fear of being outcasted and fired from their jobs.

The importance of having an identity is very much asserted on this site. GLAD are very forward and open about their convictions. Their 'mission statement' or modus operandi is summed up by: "New England’s leading legal rights organization dedicated to ending discrimination based onsexual orientation, HIV status and gender identity and expression." The use of words such as 'Legal rights' and 'dedicated' makes it appear that this is a fight for rights and that this is an extremely important issue. Any issue or problem where legal action needs to be taken really does lend some idea to is prevalence.

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