Blog of Rights

Monica Jones at a press conference

Arrested for Walking While Trans: An Interview with Monica Jones

By Chase Strangio, Staff Attorney, ACLU at 11:19am
In Phoenix, Arizona, you can be arrested for repeatedly stopping and engaging a passerby in conversation. This may, under Phoenix law, be evidence that you are "manifesting" an intent to engage in prostitution. Of course, this could also be evidence that you are lost or canvassing for a political group or simply talking about the weather. The difference between "innocent" and "criminal" behavior often comes down to how a person looks. Transgender women of color are often profiled by police as engaging in sex work for simply being outside and going about their daily routines. Amnesty International documented this disproportionate targeting by police of transgender women as sex workers in a 2005 report. "[S]ubjective and prejudiced perceptions of transgender women as sex workers often play a significant role in officers' decisions to stop and arrest transgender women," the report concluded. One woman told Amnesty, "'No tenemos el derecho a vivir.' (We don't have the right to live.)."
What Rights?

What Rights?

By Melinda Chateauvert, Author of Sex Workers Unite! A History of the Movement from Stonewall to SlutWalk at 4:22pm

Melinda Chateauvert will read excerpts from Sex Workers Unite! and sign copies of the book on Wednesday, March 12. For more information and to RSVP, visit http://sexworkersunite.eventbrite.com.

Do sex workers have rights? Put another way, can…

Fighting Ignorance About HIV

Fighting Ignorance About HIV

By James Esseks, Director, ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project at 3:20pm

Decades into the HIV epidemic, some government policies continue to misunderstand the actual risk of HIV transmission and to ignore the urgent health care needs of people living with HIV. Here are a few highlights of the ACLU's work on fighting these…

HIV Ghettos in U.S. Prisons Are Finally in the Past

HIV Ghettos in U.S. Prisons Are Finally in the Past

By Margaret Winter, National Prison Project at 10:12am

We are thirty years into the HIV epidemic. Surely, by now, stigmatization, isolation and discrimination against people living with HIV should be a relic of the past. Yet up until today, categorical HIV segregation – one of the ugliest remnants of…

U.S. Conference of Mayors Takes on HIV Criminalization

U.S. Conference of Mayors Takes on HIV Criminalization

By Steven Waddy, Legislative Assistant, ACLU at 9:56am

The REPEAL Act gained more influential supporters on Tuesday when the U.S. Conference of Mayors endorsed the bill. The REPEAL Act, sponsored by Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), represents a bipartisan effort to provide incentives…

A Victory for Free Speech from the Supreme Court

A Victory for Free Speech from the Supreme Court

By Lenora M. Lapidus, Women's Rights Project & Tara Norris, Women's Rights Project, ACLU at 11:56am

Yesterday, in an important First Amendment decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the government may not require federal grant recipients to endorse the government's policy positions. The decision in Agency for International Development v. Alliance…

The Los Angeles Times Weighs In on HIV Criminalization

The Los Angeles Times Weighs In on HIV Criminalization

By Steven Waddy, Legislative Assistant, ACLU at 10:04am

Last week, the Los Angeles Times published an editorial urging passage of the REPEAL Act, a bill that would help modernize current criminal law approaches that target people living with HIV for behavior that is otherwise legal (such as consensual sex…

It Is Time to Modernize Discriminatory HIV/AIDS Laws

It Is Time to Modernize Discriminatory HIV/AIDS Laws

By Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Steven Waddy, Legislative Assistant, ACLU at 4:55pm

While science has vastly advanced since the early days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic more than 30 years ago, the ways in which many criminal laws treat people living with HIV look like throwbacks to the dark days of the past when fear and misinformation…

VICTORY! Henderson et al. v. Thomas et al.

VICTORY! Henderson et al. v. Thomas et al.

By Margaret Winter, National Prison Project at 3:01pm

Today a federal judge in Montgomery, Alabama entered a historic decision in the quarter-century-old fight for equality for prisoners living with HIV.   It’s the culmination of a month-long trial in a class-action lawsuit by the ACLU that…

There is so Much More to us Than Just Being HIV-Positive

There is so Much More to us Than Just Being HIV-Positive

By Dana Harley at 12:54pm

I entered a system that stated in its mission statement that I would be rehabilitated and prepared for society upon my return. That is so far from the truth. I have been subjected to a system that belittled me and literally made fun of me and my illness.…