It’s hard to put into words the tremendous progress the LGBTQ Community has made since CAMP Rehoboth was founded 30 years ago. I’m happy to live in a time where LGBTQ people in Delaware have protections from discrimination and a time when LGBTQ people are out and visible in the media, elected offices, and in all professions. And of course, I’m happy to share a home with my legal husband. My life today is very different from what I thought was possible as I was growing up.
However, much work remains. Lately, we’ve seen troubling signs that our progress is being slowly chipped away:
- The US Department of Education has issued new rules to weaken Title IX of the Education Amendments Act 1972 for protections against sexual harassment in schools. LGBTQ students face unacceptably high rates of discrimination, harassment, and violence. The Title IX protections are a lifeline for struggling students, yet these weaker protections are scheduled to take effect in August.
- On May 8, the US Department of Health and Human Services introduced changes to data collection for the foster care system, eliminating all data collection about the sexual orientation of youth and their parents. LGBTQ people disproportionately experience homelessness and are overrepresented in the foster care system. Without this data, the experiences of LGBTQ youth in foster care, which often include harassment and discrimination, are rendered invisible
- As I write this, we anxiously await a US Supreme Court ruling on three cases involving employment discrimination against LGBTQ Americans. Clearly no one should be denied a job or fired simply because of who they are or who they love. Yet once again, our rights are up for debate. This ruling will address whether or not LGBTQ people have comprehensive, federal protection from workplace discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
These issues are a painful reminder that the rights we have secured are not guaranteed. As Thomas Jefferson once said, “The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.”
To that end, we are working with CenterLink, a non-profit organization serving over 250 LGBTQ community centers and organizations around the country. I am happy to share with you that CAMP Rehoboth is joining forces with CenterLInk and the community centers they represent for a project called ActionLink.
The goal is to provide centers and their members the support they need to become effective champions of LGBTQ rights by staying advised of important policy issues affecting our community. Together we can take meaningful steps to resist efforts to stop or roll back our progress.
There is so much we can all do to be advocates for change—even as “armchair activists.” Be sure to complete the census online at 2020census.gov. Register to vote or request an absentee ballot at elections.delaware.gov. Most importantly, become an active part of ActionLink. If you are already subscribed to the CAMP Rehoboth email list, you will receive ActionLink updates. If not, please subscribe at camprehoboth.com.
Your help is needed now more than ever. Working together, our collective voices can be a powerful voice for change.