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4 Fights Allies Can Still Help Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, and, Trans People Win (Because Marriage was Just a Start)

4 Fights Allies Can Still Help Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, and, Trans People Win

4 Fights Allies Can Still Help Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, and, Trans People Win

American Apparel has changed its 'Legalize Gay' tees to 'Legalized Gay,' but the fight for LGBT rights is far from over.

The other day, I was walking through Brooklyn and I passed an American Apparel. On the door, in white, had been a sticker with their famous slogan (as it were), “Legalize Gay.” Only now, in rainbow lettering, a "d" had been added to Legalize, and a date had been added underneath. “Legalized Gay 6.26.2015
By putting the idea of gay rights in the past tense, American Apparel is essentially saying, “we’re done! Nothing more to see here!” As if marriage is the only thing we needed. Perhaps in the months since the Obergefell decision, you’ve also heard some of your friends (some of them LGBT) or family members allude to the end of the struggle for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans rights. If you're like me, this has you rolling your eyes harder than Tina Fey.
Marriage, however, was just the beginning. We still have battles to fight, and we still need allies and activism to help us get there. Here are just a few of the many fights we still have left ahead.
1. Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)
Currently, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on race, religion, gender, national origin, and color. Since 1974, activists have been trying to get sexual orientation and gender identity/expression added to the list. The movement has had success on the state and municipal level, however 28 states still allow employers to fire people for their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. I could give you the list, but it’s really all the usual suspects. Texas, Mississippi, Florida, Montana, etc. See the above map for all the orange.
What we and our allies can do about it
Raise awareness by talking about this injustice with their friends, call their Senator or Congressperson, vote for candidates who support ENDA (in both Presidential election years and midterm elections).

2. Adoption & Starting a Family
Despite marriage equality being the law of the land, a weird patchwork of laws still governs how same-sex couples can adopt in America. While 16 states do permit joint adoptions (where both partners adopt a child together), second parent adoptions are still required in most states. That means that even though two people are legally married, when they have a child, only one parent is listed on the birth certificate. The other parent must go through an additional process to be legally recognized as the child's parent. Although it has more same-sex parents per capita than any other state, Mississippi is the only state that has still outright banned gay couples from adopting.
What we and our allies can do to help
Learn the laws in your state and call your state legislators. Especially if you live in Mississippi.

3. Youth Homelessness
60% of Americans believe same-sex couples should have the right to marry, but approximately one in four queer youth will be kicked out when they come out. An estimated 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ. Adults have been preying on homeless youth (both queer and straight alike) by offering them a place to stay in exchange for sex. This "survival sex" is ubiquitous among the young and homeless, and the few studies that have been done so far have revealed some pretty dismal results regarding the ubiquity of exchanging sex for shelter or money.
The research also indicates that it's possible the rise in national acceptance of LGBTQ people might correspond to a rise in LGBTQ homeless youth. Kids are coming out of the closet younger and younger, and the adults in their life aren't always caught up. Homeless kids have trouble completing a high school degree and difficulty finding a job. They're more likely to become homeless adults.
What we and our allies can do about it
This is one that doesn't have a straightforward political answer. Hearts and minds need to be won in order to combat youth homelessness. That, and donations to shelters that specifically cater to queer and trans* youth.

Trans* Issues
It isn't fair of me to lump all of the injustices trans* people face into one category, but I do it to highlight how the LGB is separating even further from the T. For a number of us queer cis-people, marriage really did feel like the final frontier. Our relationships are legally accepted; all the other civil rights will get here eventually. Trans* people, on the other hand, are still fighting for basic things like which bathroom they "can" use, and how they're identified on their driver's licenses. So far this calendar year, at least 20 transwomen have been murdered in the United States.
What we and our allies can do
Educate ourselves on what it means to be trans*, genderqueer, genderfluid, etc. Use people's preferred pronouns and names. Stand up against the transphobia we see on our newsfeeds. And here are even more tips, from GLAAD.
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Ellen Wall