Skip to main content
A bathroom bill is the common name for a piece of legislation that denies or restricts access to public facilities (usually specifically restrooms) to transgender people. These bills mandate that, rather than using those services and facilities that match their gender identity, individuals use the services and facilities that correspond to their sex as assigned at birth.
Restrictions on access to facilities based on sex assigned at birth experienced a resurgence after some protections for trans students that allowed them to use facilities based on their gender identity were rolled back. This has resulted in headlines like "transgender student separated during safety drill" and has impacted the quality of life of trans students nationwide.
Blood Bans refer to prohibitions on donations of blood or tissue for transplants from men who have sex with men (MSM) and their partners of other genders. Many view donation restrictions as homophobic and based on stereotypes rather than valid medical concerns since donations are rigorously tested for viruses such as HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C. The FDA takes gender as self-identified and self-reported, but these bans are further complicated by gender identity which in America must be reported as either male or female.
Banning Queer Blood by In Banning Queer Blood, Jeffrey Bennett frames blood donation as a performance of civic identity closely linked to the meaning of citizenship. However, with the advent of AIDS came the notion of blood donation as a potentially dangerous process. Bennett argues that the Food and Drug Administration, by employing images that specifically depict gay men as contagious, has categorized gay men as a menace to the nation. The FDA's ban on blood donation by gay men remains in effect and serves to propagate the social misconceptions about gay men that circulate within both the straight and gay communities today. Bennett explores the role of scientific research cited by these banned-blood policies and its disquieting relationship to government agencies, including the FDA. Bennett draws parallels between the FDA's position on homosexuality and the historical precedents of discrimination by government agencies against racial minorities. The author concludes by describing the resistance posed by queer donors, who either lie in order to donate blood or protest discrimination at donation sites, and by calling for these prejudiced policies to be abolished.
Publication Date: 2009
This timeline from the Department of Health and Human Services shows the history of the US Government Response to HIV/AIDS. Whether you start counting in 1981 with the first evidence of HIV/AIDS or from 1982 when the CDC first used the term "AIDS," the first public, presidential remarks on the epidemic were made in May of 1987. The following year, the Surgeon General Released "Understanding AIDS." AIDS has made a lasting impact on society, and while the UN pledged in 2016 to end the disease globally by 2030 it remains an ongoing crisis.
DODD 1332.14 "Enlisted Administrative Separations" (Jan 28, 1982) describes when a member of the armed forces can be discharged on the grounds of homosexuality, specifically section H. It was updated on Dec. 21, 1993. Public Law 103-160, commonly known as the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1994 contains section 571 titled "Policy Concerning Homosexuality in the Armed Forces" which was signed into law on Nov. 30, 1993. DODD 1304.26 updates Qualification Standards for Enlistment, Appointment, and Induction to include the "Provisions Related to Homosexual Conduct," which became known as Don't Ask, Don't Tell. This directive, which is a policy and not a law, went into effect on Feb. 28, 1994. Public Law 111-321 was signed Dec. 22, 2010 and struck the law banning homosexuality in the armed forces, which negated the need for Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Pursue, Stanford University
A digital law project at Stanford University concerning primary materials on the U.S. military's policy on sexual orientation, from World War I to the present.
"A non-partisan, non-profit, legal services, watchdog and policy organization dedicated to bringing about full LGBT equality to America's military and ending all forms of discrimination and harassment of military personnel on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity."
DADT Discharge Data
A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by the Palm Center resulted in the availability of data on the discharge of military members by base and job category.
The End of Don't Ask, Don't Tell by Featuring 4 reports and 25 personal essays from diverse voices--both straight and gay--representing U.S. Marine Corps, Army, Navy, and Air Force veterans and service members, this anthology examines the impact of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and its repeal on 20 September 2011 in order to benefit policy makers, historians, researchers, and general readers. Topics include lessons from foreign militaries, serving while openly gay, women at war, returning to duty, marching forward after repeal, and support for the committed same-sex partners and families of gay service members.
Publication Date: 2012
The Military Ban in the Courts
On Jan. 22, 2019, the Supreme court denied requests for review of three lower court decision on the ban on transgender people serving in the military. Trump v. Jane Doe 2 came up from the District Court of the District of Columbia, Trump v. Karnoski came up from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and Trump v. Stockman came up from the District Court for the Central District of California. This clears the way for the policy to go into effect while litigation continues.
Headlines from the Department of Health and Human Services and the White House have brought legal protections for the civil rights of transgender people to the forefront of many people's minds. In particular, these headlines have brought up the difference between "sex" and "gender." The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation has an excellent glossary of terms that explains the distinction. Another good resource is West & Zimmerman's "Doing Gender" (1987). This article was seminal in the modern understanding of gender expression.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Title VII prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin. The Civil Rights Act of 1991 (Pub. L. 102-166) (CRA) and the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 (Pub. L. 111-2) amend several sections of Title VII. In addition, section 102 of the CRA amends the Revised Statutes by adding a new section following section 1977 (42 U.S.C. 1981), to provide for the recovery of compensatory and punitive damages in cases of intentional violations of Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
‘Transgender’ Could Be Defined Out of Existence Under Trump Administration
This article from Oct. 21, 2018 broke the news that the Trump administration was considering "narrowly defining gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth."
BloombergLaw: DOJ Says Businesses Can Discriminate Against Transgender Workers
According to DOJ lawyers, discrimination against transgender people is not protected by Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
Intersex Fact Sheet
When these conversations are reduced to genitalia and sex characteristics, intersex people are erased from the conversation. This document from the United Nations Office of the High Commission of Human Rights is a very useful resource.
During the Lavender Scare of the 1950s, thousands of federal employees lost their jobs because of their sexuality. Bound up in the better known Red Scare, this wave of repression was fueled by anti-Communism and the new power placed in congressional investigation committees.
The Lavender Scare by The McCarthy era is generally considered the worst period of political repression in recent American history. But while the famous question, "Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?" resonated in the halls of Congress, security officials were posing another question at least as frequently, if more discreetly: "Information has come to the attention of the Civil Service Commission that you are a homosexual. What comment do you care to make?" Historian David K. Johnson here relates the frightening, untold story of how, during the Cold War, homosexuals were considered as dangerous a threat to national security as Communists. Charges that the Roosevelt and Truman administrations were havens for homosexuals proved a potent political weapon, sparking a "Lavender Scare" more vehement and long-lasting than McCarthy's Red Scare. Relying on newly declassified documents, years of research in the records of the National Archives and the FBI, and interviews with former civil servants, Johnson recreates the vibrant gay subculture that flourished in New Deal-era Washington and takes us inside the security interrogation rooms where thousands of Americans were questioned about their sex lives. The homosexual purges ended promising careers, ruined lives, and pushed many to suicide. But, as Johnson also shows, the purges brought victims together to protest their treatment, helping launch a new civil rights struggle. The Lavender Scare shatters the myth that homosexuality has only recently become a national political issue, changing the way we think about both the McCarthy era and the origins of the gay rights movement. And perhaps just as importantly, this book is a cautionary tale, reminding us of how acts taken by the government in the name of "national security" during the Cold War resulted in the infringement of the civil liberties of thousands of Americans.
Publication Date: 2004-01-01
When will my turn come? : the Civil Service purges and the construction of a gay security risk in the Cold War United States, 1945-1955 by In the 1940s and 1950s, the United States was gripped by an intense anxiety about its national security. While primarily triggered by the external threat of the Soviet Union, this anxiety was especially centred on internal threats, real and imagined. Most previous studies have focused on the so-called "Red Scare," the hunt for Communists and other political undesirables. This was accompanied by a parallel "Lavender Scare," an assault on homosexuality in American culture, especially public service. Homosexuality had been grounds for dismissal from the Civil Service since the 19th century, but Cold War anxiety about gays in government became so great that some in the press began referring to it as a "Panic on the Potomac." Fear of sexual subversion became so integrated into the larger national security obsession that, by 1955, fully 1 in every 5 American workers was subject to a combination of loyalty and security restrictions, related to both political and "moral" categories of unsuitability. Yet this episode has remained a largely forgotten footnote in American Cold War experience.
The homophobia that characterized the early Cold War was new, more intense, and unique to that moment in history. Full-scale investigations and purges of suspected gays from the Civil Service began in 1950, but possessed deeper roots in the politics and culture of the era. They were stimulated by a combination of Cold War anxiety, post-war conservatism, and a changing conception of the nature of homosexuality. The effects of the purges would include not only widespread dismissals and intensified repression of gays and lesbians, but also the emergence of gay activism and the concept of a distinct gay minority. The evolving nature of gay identity, especially self-identity, is ultimately central to the thesis topic. This thesis is one of a small, but growing number of works that attempt to comprehensively examine the origins, characteristics, and impacts of the Lavender Scare. It draws on a wide range of sources, including the most recent specialized studies and the best available primary sources, including archival materials, first-hand recollections of events, and newly declassified government documents.
Publication Date: 2005
The Lavender Scare: Gays and lesbians in the federal civil service, 1945–1975 by This dissertation examines the Lavender Scare, the widespread McCarthy-era fear that large numbers of homosexuals had infiltrated the federal government and posed a threat to national security. Though lacking a single substantiated case of espionage to support it, the Lavender Scare resulted in the firing of thousands of gay and lesbian civil servants. Erupting as a public controversy during McCarthy's attack on the State Department in February 1950, the purges of gays and lesbians spread to the entire executive branch and became institutionalized within the apparatus of the national security state. The loyalty/security system established under the Truman administration and significantly expanded in the Eisenhower administration shifted its focus from political loyalty to issues of character, morality and suitability, with homosexuality as one of its principal targets. Exploring how notions of sexual deviance became associated with communism and bureaucracy in Cold War political culture, I argue that the demonization of politically and sexually deviant civil servants was part of a broader attack on New Deal government programs and the bureaucrats who administered them. Initiated as part of a partisan political attempt to demonize the Roosevelt-Truman administrations, the Lavender Scare resonated with a wider public anxious about the rising power of Washington bureaucrats and an increasingly visible gay subculture. The dissertation shows how the national security state served to stigmatize sexual as well as political deviancy and thereby bolster traditional gender norms and family structure as a bulwark against Communist aggression. It suggests how the Cold War was perceived as a moral crusade as much as a political one—a struggle against atheistic Communism, immorality, and sexual perversion at home and abroad. Examining how the purges affected and were affected by gay men and lesbians in the nation's capital, it shows how the purges encouraged the formation of an organized political opposition, which by the 1970s succeeded in ending the twenty-five year federal civil service exclusion of gay men and lesbians.
Publication Date: 2000
Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus
Find their Facebook Page here
and their Twitter feed here
Greater Seattle Business Association
GSBA is the world's largest LGBT and allied chamber of commerce.
LGBT Politicians in the United States
Wikipedia keeps an up-to-date category of LGBT politicians in the US. Per Wikipedia's Note: "This category may inappropriately label persons. See Wikipedia:Categorization of people
for advice on how to apply categorization to articles relating to people."
Seatte LGBT Commission
The Seattle Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Commission advises the Mayor, Council and departments about issues of concern affecting the LGBTQ community, recommend policies and legislation, bring the LGBTQ communities and the larger Seattle community together through long-ranged projects, and ensure that City departments fairly and equitably address issues affecting and involving Seattle's LGBTQ communities as individuals and as a protected class afforded accessibility and inclusion to the services of the City of Seattle.
Equal Rights Washington
Our mission is to ensure and promote dignity, safety, and equality for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Washingtonians.
Looking for quantitative resources? Try these: