Sunday, January 24, 2021

Join the Impact

Activism Rooted in the Internet

Health care reform and LGBT Americans

Posted by admin On September - 10 - 2009

The following Op-Ed was written by Joe Mirabella. Joe Mirabella is a volunteer for Join the Impact as the Washington State Community Organizer.  Mirabella is a full time writer and content developer. He is engaged to marry his partner of 5 1/2 years in their home state of Iowa.

Last night President Obama addressed the nation about an issue that is important to all Americans. Regardless of any other defining trait or political agenda, our mutual humanity unites us under one common umbrella; we will all at one point in our lives require medical attention. Anyone who has experienced a serious or debilitating medical condition understands that our current system is overwhelmingly flawed.  Even those of us who have had only minor medical problems understand all to well how quickly medical bills can overwhelm us even if we have insurance. Our country is blessed with some of the best medical minds in the world, and yet access is rationed based on economic and social status. Modern societies should care for the weakest among them. The United State’s is fully capable of fulfilling its fundamental promise in the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Elemental in the pursuit of happiness in our modern society must be access to health care services. Like so many progressive citizens I am dismayed that the debate about one of the most important institutions in our nation was hijacked by a few unstable individuals. It is vitally important that the President knows he has the support of the progressive community as he continues this important debate.   There are currently 5 bills making their way through congress (3 in the house, 2 in the Senate) and we must monitor all of them to make sure the town criers do not intimidate our elected officials from producing a quality and fair bill.

Join the Impact’s mission is to continue the conversation about LGBT citizens and our desire to be treated equally under the law in all 50 states in all matters of civil law. Health care reform fits within that mission. It is vital that the progressive LGBT community insists our families are included in the final legislation. We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who do not have basic hospital visitation rights when the person they spend a lifetime with becomes ill. We understand that people die alone in hospitals while separated from their families because of their sexual orientation. We hope that as we stand with the President today on his goal for a health care bill (and his original goal for a public option), that he understands that health care reform is not just about insurance or about money, but about families who in times of crisis should not be separated from each other under any circumstance. When “family” is defined in the health care legislation the LGBT community must be included. Furthermore, Domestic partners and same sex married couples must be able to share health benefits without the current federal income tax burden on their families. Heterosexual families are not taxed on their shared benefits.

We can not forget our transgender friends and family whose needs are almost always left on the cutting room floor. It is all too common for transgender citizens to be denied health care simply because of who they are. Hospitals refuse their admittance, doctors refuse their care, and health insurance policies explicitly deny so-called “transgender care”. We request a strong public option that does not discriminate based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.  A public option is particularly important for our transgender community members because they are fired without recourse and regularly denied work altogether.  Most health insurance policies are provided by employers so if citizens can not find work they need a public option.

We understand the political significance of the health care reform bill.  Conservatives will stop at nothing to smear progressive attempts to reform.  We would like to request that as you construct your spin job you leave our families out of it. It will be easy for you to scare people by presenting our families and our issues. You are well practiced. There have already been attempts to scare people away from health care reform because of our inclusion in some drafts. Instead of creating even more fear about our community it would serve us all if you instead debated the structural content of the bills on a broader honest landscape. And if the conservatives remain steadfast in bullying the LGBT community, I hope the progressive community embraces our humanity and refuses not buckle under the pressure.  No human should be left behind in what could be the most monumental health care reform bill of this century.  The time for outlandish lies from the right is over — the time for swift action from progressives is now.

Richmond’s Jane Doe – Update

Posted by amy On January - 2 - 2009

4 people were taken in as the alleged rapists of December 13th’s brutal gang rape and attack on a Richmond, CA woman.

This is the beginning of a new year. Over the next 12 months, we will continue to win in the face of ignorance. We WILL continue to remain visible and strong. We WILL continue to unite for full equality. We WILL take leaps forward in our struggle in ways that this country has not yet seen! And during all this, we must remember what has happened to those who are fighting with us. We must remember that not everyone we deal with will change. We must remember that there is a loud minority who wants to make us victims, and a quiet majority that wants us to be victors. We need to give that quiet majority a voice. We need to drown out the hatred of those who want to hurt us. We MUST remember what has occurred since the beginning of this movement and realize that we have many mountains to climb, but our goal IS reachable and WILL be won!

We must remember what happened in Richmond, CA on December 13th, 2008.

They attacked her because she was gay. Our government provides our community and our love with less rights than our heterosexual allies. This causes a sense of entitlement for those who are ignorant and violent.

They raped her because she was gay. Proposition 8 passed in California stating that same-sex couples do not deserve the same recognition as heterosexual couples. Her partner, in the eyes of the law, does not deserve the same recognition.

They beat her because she was gay. We just spent the past 8 years under a president of who openly stated numerous times that it is a sin to be LGBTQ. When the leader of the free world openly discriminates, what is to stop anyone else?

They left her helpless because she was gay. In 30 states it is still legal to fire someone because they are a member of the LGBTQ community. If your employer can discriminate against you, your government can, and your state voters can, then what is to stop someone from feeling justified by violence?

We are ALL connected. What we say, what we do, and what we vote on DOES affect everyone. When we turn our eyes away from hatred, we allow it to occur. When we remain silent while somebody calls us Faggot, we allow the stereotypes to continue. When we hear a teen year old say “That’s so gay” and don’t speak up, we allow him or her to grow up thinking that it is OK to speak like that about a minority.

Of those arrested, two were teenagers: 15 and 16.

I look forward to a world when I don’t have to say that anyone, did anything, because someone is gay, lesbian, bi, transgendered, or queer.

Please DONATE to Richmond’s Jane Doe and help her and her partner get back on their feet. Her partner needs time off to care for her. We can help. Please learn how you can donate here:http://www.facebook.com/n/?event.php&eid=40712604850

Unfortunate News – We Must Respond

Posted by amy On December - 23 - 2008

Join The Impact is about visibility. It’s about showing this country that if you mess with one of us, you have to face ALL of us. It’s about uniting as one strong and fierce community to gain the basic human rights that EVERY HUMAN BEING DESERVES. It’s about coming together to celebrate, and coming together to mourn.

On December 13th, a woman in the San Francisco Bay area was brutally beaten and gang raped for being a lesbian. The news just broke a little under 9 hours ago. We need to let this woman know that she is not alone. We need to let her know that our ENTIRE community is there for her. For her safety, her name has not been released. I have spoken with the Richmond, CA police department and learned that there are some initiatives already underway to support her. Soon, a trust will be setup where people can donate directly to her, which will help her get on her feet and feel more secure. I will keep everyone posted when that is set. Also, the Richmond PD is checking to see if we can send letters and holiday cards to any specific destination that can then deliver those letters to her.

First we must show her that she is not alone. Next, we must show the nation that we will not stand for this! On January 10th we are having national rallies to protest DOMA and remind President-Elect Barack Obama of the promises he made in his Open Letter to the Gay Community. We must also focus on stronger hate crimes legislation and use this time as an opportunity to bring attention to this horrible crime, and the 1400 hate crimes that occur each year against the LGBTQ community. We will work with you on ideas to ensure this happens.

From my conversation with the Richmond PD, it is clear that they are taking this issue to heart and working hard on behalf of this woman. Not all cities and towns are like this. We need to work together as a community to ensure that atrocities like this do not go unnoticed, or unpunished. We need to make it harder for someone to hurt another just because they are LGBTQ. We need to show the nation that hatred toward our community is NOT ACCEPTABLE.

While you celebrate your holidays, I encourage you to start the conversation of equality by making everyone aware of this horrible atrocity. Share her story with friends and family. Tell allies, and tell those who do not yet understand. In a world where the government does not see us as equal, an expectation is set for everyone, and it is a low one. If our government does not see us as worthy, why should others? The final quote in the article sums it up perfectly: “Anytime there is an anti-LGBT initiative, we tend to see spikes both in the numbers and the severity of attacks… People feel this extra entitlement to act out their prejudice.”

People NEED to learn about this event. Too many people think that Matthew Sheppard was the last to be attacked (as crazy as that sounds, it’s true). We need to be visible in EVERY WAY and, too often, events like this go unnoticed. Too few people understand how the treatment of our community under the law, drives “extra entitlement” for those that hate us. We are better than this! Our country is and should be better than this! NO MORE SILENCE!

UPDATE – the JoinTheImpact Alliance Coordinator created an event on Facebook to raise money:
Event: Help A Sister Out
“Benefit for Hate Rape Victim”
What: Fundraiser
Host: Matt Flanders
Start Time: Tuesday, December 22 at 5:00pm
End Time: Thursday, December 31 at 5:00pm
Where: From Your Heart

To see more details and RSVP, follow the link below:
http://www.facebook.com/n/?event.php&eid=40712604850

Share Your Stories

Posted by amy On November - 17 - 2008

What we accomplished on Saturday was the first step of one amazing journey. Many people have asked me why Proposition 8 has caused such an uproar in our community. Honestly, this movement has been forging for many years, but Proposition 8 was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Many have called this Stonewall 2.0, and I won’t disagree. Stonewall awoke a wildfire in the gay rights movement and Saturday’s world-wide protests showed this work just how strong a wildfire can be!

As everyone knows, Saturday’s protests didn’t solve the problem overnight, but what they did was raise awareness across this world about the problem. Thanks to all of you, this conversation is no longer between “us and them.” This conversation is occuring all over the world in living rooms, coffee shops, airplanes, offices, college campuses, and even retirement communities. The worst thing we could do right now is let this conversation fizzel out! Help us keep this conversation going. Share your stories, your videos, and photos with us. Help us record Saturday’s history making initiative, help us spread the word, and work with us for full equality! We can never let people forget about what Proposition 8 did to 18,000 marriages. The word DOMA needs to be in everyone’s vocabulary. In a world where so many children need homes, people must know how a vote in Arkansas took the right of adoption away from unmarried and gay couples.
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Continuing the Conversation

Posted by amy On November - 12 - 2008

This is what we are fighting for. We have created a mission statement to help stear our cause and keep the conversation going.

Please view our other posts as well:

Critical Updates

Prop 8 Protest: A Call to the LGBTQ Community, Friends, & Family