TW: Mentions of discrimination and loss in Janice Langbehn’s post. Anti-gay violence and death toward the end in the “The UpStairs Lounge Fire Anniversary” section.
This summer has been quite the ride in terms of LGBT rights and progress! So many victories and so many reasons to celebrate. Unfortunately, I wound up very ill on the program site in France and had to return earlier than expected, but on the plus side, it enabled me to be present to witness this first hand. To recap, I have created a list of reasons our community has to celebrate this summer – as well as a list of reasons the fight is far from over.
Victories at the Supreme Court
Probably the biggest piece of news is the two historic victories at the Supreme Court – the Defense of Marriage Act was struck down as unconstitutional and a lower court ruling which struck down Proposition 8 in California was allowed to stand. Edie Windsor, the 84-year-old widow at the center of the historic DOMA case, says she cried upon learning of her win and believes Thea, her partner of 44 years, would say, “You did it, honey.”
Links: http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/06/26/19155699-i-cried-i-cried-doma-widow-says-on-hearing-of-supreme-court-win?lite, http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/supreme-court-rules-gay-marriage-cases/story?id=19492896#.Ud34okGTgo4
The Colorado Civil Rights Division ruled in favor of six-year-old transgender girl Coy Mathis, who was barred from using the girls’ bathroom at her school, stating that the school had created “a hostile, discriminatory, and unsafe” environment for Coy. The article in the attached link includes a highly adorable photo of Coy hugging her attorney after their win.
We Have Our Plates Back!
The Indiana Youth Group, after a lengthy three-year battle with the Indiana BMV, has had their license plates permanently reinstated. The legal battle began after it became apparent to the group that the new legislation surrounding specialty plates targeted IYG specifically for being an LGBT group. This is personally exciting to me as I have been going to IYG since I was 14. Consider getting one if you live in Indiana!
Janice Langbehn, the woman who was kept from her dying partner’s bedside in 2007 and has since become the driving force behind pushing for hospital visitation rights for LGBT families, has decided it is time for her to focus on her and step back from the world of LGBT activism, and time for her to pass the torch in the fight for equality.
The UpStairs Lounge Fire Anniversary
June 24, 2013 marked the 40th anniversary of the UpStairs Lounge Fire, one of the largest massacres of LGBT people in US history. 32 were killed and many more injured in an arson attack on the UpStairs Lounge, a crime which was never solved. How is this story not infamous? How is it I had never heard of the UpStairs Lounge until 40 years had passed?
Links: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/06/24/remembering-the-upstairs-lounge-the-u-s-a-s-largest-lgbt-massacre-happened-40-years-ago-today/ (TW: graphic photo), http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=vcsr&GSvcid=392792