This Week in LGBT Activism

On Wednesday President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard & David Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law. It was buried in a defense spending bill that had wide Republican support, and in this way found its way to the president’s desk after ten years of advocacy. Yesterday Obama lifted the HIV travel and immigration ban that barred positive individuals from visiting or immigrating to the U.S. And he reauthorized the Ryan White Care Act–having worked for an HIV/AIDS organization in the past, I know how critical these funds are to people living with HIV/AIDS.

Matthew Shepard, 1976-1998
Matthew Shepard, 1976-1998

On Wednesday President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard & David Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law.

The Act was buried in a defense spending bill that had wide Republican support, and in this way found its way to the president’s desk after ten years of advocacy. Yesterday Obama lifted the HIV travel and immigration ban that barred positive individuals from visiting or immigrating to the U.S. And he reauthorized the Ryan White Care Act–having worked for an HIV/AIDS organization in the past, I know how critical these funds are to people living with HIV/AIDS.

It’s been a pretty good week for LGBT activism. Let’s hope next week is even better. It could be the first time pro-LGBT legislation has been approved at the polls (Washington State) and the first time anti-marriage-equality legislation was defeated (Maine). If you live in Washington, get that ballot in the mail and contact Approve Referendum 71 to see how else you can help. We plan to be on the phones this weekend. If you live in Maine, volunteer for election day activities by calling the No on 1 Campaign. If you live elsewhere, give them a call anyway. There are still ways you can help.

I don’t know where we’ll be on the night of November 3. Maybe Atlanta. I do know what we’ll be doing: watching election returns. Let’s make this year the one that finally turns things around in our favor. I know we can do it.

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