Our biweekly lists lay out notable issues in the news and tell you what you can do about them.
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Hello Teen Resisters!
It's that time of year! Pride Month.
Pride month is a time of pride (duh) for LGBTQI+ people, but also a time to remember that queer people are still oppressed around the world and in our own country. Pride was started as an act of resistance in the historical Stonewall riots (started by a Black trans woman, Marsha P. Johnson), and queer people's existence is still resistance in most places.
We've compiled this list so you can celebrate pride by resisting- and of course, with some glitter. We've selected just a few important issues.
Ready to jump in?
Disproportionate Murder Rates for Trans Women of Color:
What’s Going On:
There is a murder epidemic going on in the community of transgender women of color, particularly Black trans women. In 2017, 26 transgender individuals were known to be murdered, making it the deadliest year for trans individuals in over a decade. All but two were people of color [Glaad]. This statistic, although overwhelming alone, does not take into account all the victims misgendered by family, friends, news reports, and the police. According to the Human Rights Campaign, “Transgender women are estimated to face more than four times the risk of becoming homicide victims than the general population of all women.” Additionally, out of the 102 trans people that were recorded victims of fatal violence since 2013, at least 87 of them have been people of color and 75% were under the age of 35. Gun violence continues to be the leading cause of death.
What You Can Do
Legal Protections for LGBTQI+ Individuals
What's Going On:
Many of us are familiar with the 2015 Supreme Court ruling that legalized gay marriage. This landmark civil rights case of Obergefell v. Hodges ruled that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same sex couples by both the Due Process Clause (protection of life and liberty) and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution.
The Fourteenth Amendment was ratified after The Civil War and was originally designed to ensure legal equality for African Americans. Courts have interpreted the Equal Protection Clause to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender, religion, and disability. This 2015 ruling expanded the amendment to prevent discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and required all fifty states to perform and recognize the marriages of same-sex couples on the same terms and conditions, with the same rights and responsibilities, as the marriages of opposite-sex couples.
The federal government does not have laws specifically protecting transgender, non-binary, or genderqueer people from discrimination, or allowing gender/name changes on identity documents (driver’s license, passports, birth certificates), but rather, these laws vary by state jurisdiction. Many politicians, namely Barack Obama, argue that the Equal Protection Clause should be extended to transgender and gender-nonconforming people. Obama issued executive orders prohibiting such discrimination in the federal workforce, and allowing public schools to let transgender students use the bathrooms matching their chosen gender identity. Unfortunately, when Trump took office, he rescinded those guidelines, arguing that states and public schools should have the authority to make their own decisions without federal interference. The federal law in question, Title IX, bans sex discrimination in education. Members of the Justice and Education departments are working to settle Title IX to extend these protections to a person’s gender identity. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, as of this month, 18 states and Washington, D.C, and more than 200 cities and counties have adopted laws prohibiting gender identity discrimination.
For specifics on where your state stands with discrimination, bathroom, and identity documentation, check out: https://www.aclu.org/know-your-rights/transgender-people-and-law
What You Can Do:
Under the First Amendment, we can urge elected officials to end discrimination and recognize gender and sexual identities, and to lobby to pass certain bills.
If you feel that your First Amendment rights have been infringed upon, or you are treated with unlawful discrimination, document it thoroughly and report it to the ACLU LGBT Project at 212-549-2627 or firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition to discrimination, you can also contact the project with any questions or concerns, specifically regarding LGBTQI+ parenting, marriage and relationships, youth and schools, gender identity, and HIV/AIDS.
LGBTQI+ Homeless Youth
What's Going On:
With LGBTQI+ identifying youth making up nearly 40% of all homeless youth while only accounting for an estimated 7% of all youth, homelessness is an issue which ravages LGBTQ+ youth at disproportionate levels. According to a 2012 study conducted by the Williams Institute, 46% of homeless LGBTQ+ youth ran away because of their family’s rejection of their sexuality or gender identity; 43% were forced out by their families, and 32% faced physical, emotional, or sexual abuse at home. Facing the risk of harassment, stigmatization, and abuse in shelters, LGBTQ+ youth are also more likely to live on the streets than their heterosexual and cisgender counterparts.
While acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community has generally increased, it is important to remember and support the multitudes of young people who face homelessness and instability in their lives daily.
What You Can Do:
Bias, Heteronormativity & Cisnormativity
Bias, Heteronormativity, and Cisnormativity in Society
Our society is intensely “normative” of the straight and cisgender individual, a perception which is created by the largely straight and cisgender figures and role models in every type of media. This bias is created in us essentially from the moment that we are born, starting with Disney movies and picture books and continuing in almost every aspect of our lives through adulthood.
Most surveys, for example, only give the option to check “male” or “female.” Gendered toys are still prevalent; bathrooms are clearly and unavoidably labeled. Bisexual individuals are written off as “confused,” and dating sites often only give the option to connect with members of the opposite gender. There are countless other examples of heteronormativity and cisnormativity present in our day-to-day lives that silence and push down members of the LGBTQI+ community. Sexual education in high school health classrooms is incredibly problematic in numerous ways, and it often enforces the idea that heterosexuality is “right” or “normal” and that all other sexualities are unnatural. A lack of information about how to have safe sex (whatever kind it may be) also leads to more STDs, a lack of awareness about diseases such as AIDS, and generally more risk-prone and less informed teens.
So: what can you do?
Global Persecution in Chechnya
What's Going On:
On April 28th, 2017, news broke of queer purges going on in Chechnya, Russia. The news detailed intense, state-initiated violence towards queer people, which involved coercion and torture. Many have been rounded up and not seen since, others were tortured and let go, and still more were handed over to their families to be killed in “honor killings.” The testimonies are harrowing- tales of forced suicide, genocidal killing tactics, and chilling capture, and are painful to listen to. Elena Milashina, the Russian journalist who broke the story, has said that for Chechen queer people, “it is not about the right to love, it is about the right to live.” In the past year, groups of American allies like Voices4 have mobilized to end the persecution of innocent queer people in Russia. Voices4 has a set of demands that includes a US investigation into the persecution in Chechnya, the acceptance of more asylum-seekers from the region, and more mainstream media coverage.
What You Can Do:
Happy Pride Everyone!! Take care of yourself and others.
All our love!
Hello Teen Resisters! We have a bit to cover in this intro. We hope you enjoy.
What Went Down
Resisters- it's been a heavy list.
Treat yourself with a nice hot tea and our puppy vid of the week. You deserve it.
Hello Teens Resisters!
We hope that the end of school and the promise of summer has lifted all of your moods as much as it has lifted ours. A lot of stuff has happened these past few weeks (as always), and hopefully these few key points will make you feel a little less overwhelmed and enable you to take some sort of manageable but still powerful action :))
URGENT: Last week, we released a list regarding the atrocious new practice of separating immigrant children from their families at the US border, even when the family enters at a legal checkpoint. If you haven’t yet done so, please read the list and do the actions at the bottom. It is very important. Click here.
what weNt down
NFL National Anthem Policy
Recently, the National Football League (NFL) decided to try to stop players from kneeling and locking arms during the traditional pre-game national anthem in a show of protest against the ceaseless profiling and brutality that African-Americans face at the hands of the police. This movement, which originated with Colin Kaepernick in 2016, caused widespread controversy and debate last year––some saw the players’ actions as their right to free speech, while others called it out as disrespect. The organization has said that every single player must stand during the anthem (although players are given the option of remaining in the locker room) and that any player who defies the mandate will subject their team to a fine.
Many athletes have said that they will protest during the anthem regardless, and team owners have said they are ready to pay any fines necessary. Coaches and fans have also already expressed support and respect for these player’s decisions.
The NFL’s attempt to stifle this debate may end up backfiring. Four Democratic congresspeople recently sent a letter to the football team the Bears, who supported and played a role in legitimizing the new policy, criticizing the NFL’s decision sharply and defending the players’ freedom of speech. President Trump, on the other hand, just disinvited the Eagles from visiting the White House after some players declined to come because of his continuous criticism of players who choose to kneel (in his classic egotistical, undemocratic fashion).
So, what can you do to make sure that these players get the free speech rights they deserve and are able to keep protesting injustice in America without unfair consequences?
Good News!! (And how to make sure it keeps on coming!)
Good News #1: On Tuesday, May 29th, ABC cancelled 1990s show Roseanne (which had just been renewed for its eleventh season) in response to a racist comment that the star of the show, Roseanne Barr, made on Twitter. In the tweet, the actress compared Valerie Jarrett, Barack Obama’s senior advisor, to an ape and to the Muslim Brotherhood: “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj.” ABC’s president described this comment as, “abhorrent, repugnant, and inconsistent with our values.” The network’s decision to cancel this show is very significant in that it shows that this type of mindset is unacceptable and that the modern world will not tolerate racism like this.
Good News #2: On Friday, May 25th, Ireland voted to repeal their 8th amendment, which determined that the termination of a pregnancy was unlawful and thus punishable by law. Abortion in Ireland was punishable by up to fourteen years in prison. This new repeal to the 8th amendment is a huge step forward for women’s rights in Ireland. It will decriminalize abortion in the country and will allow any woman who is less than twelve weeks pregnant to have an abortion. Although Ireland has a long way to go in terms of giving women the rights they deserve, at least they are moving in the right direction.
In the U.S., on the other hand, abortion and women’s rights are still being controlled by politicians. President Trump recently revived the global gag rule, which takes away federal funding from clinics across the world who provide abortions. Additionally, last month, the Trump administration offered a new rule that would prevent doctors from receiving Title X federal funding if they referred any patients to abortion providers.
So, what can you do?
Estimated Death Rate in Puerto Rico
As has been discussed by Teens Resist numerous times in past lists, the inhabitants of Puerto Rico are still recovering from the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria. The storm ravaged the island, leveling 70,000 homes, leaving 3.3 million people without power or water, destroying the healthcare system, and doing infinitely more damage. A recently publicized new report, however, estimates the death toll in Puerto Rico as 70 times larger than the official one, a statistic that sheds light on just how much the United States government has neglected this American disaster. A recently published opinions piece by the New York Times Editorial Board characterized the response as “slow and inadequate,” and the failure of the government to at the very least collect accurate data on how extensive the storm’s effects actually were demonstrates condescension and perpetuates the idea that Puerto Ricans are not “real” Americans.
So, what can you do to make sure that Puerto Rico gets the help it needs and deserves?
And, finally, the quintessential puppy vid:
These lists include featured organizations, scripts, numbers, news updates and inspirational activists.