Blog of Rights

Why Fred Phelps's Free Speech Rights Should Matter to Us All

By Chris Hampton, ACLU LGBT Project at 3:22pm
The first time I saw those signs, with their vivid neon colors and crude images of stick figures, was 16 years ago. "Fags Die, God Laughs." "No Tears for Queers." "God Hates Fags." Like most people seeing a Westboro Baptist Church picket for the first time, I was shocked, then outraged. It happened at the funeral of a friend who had died of AIDS. Seeing those signs left me in tears.
New DOJ Profiling Guidance: LGBTQ-Inclusive, But Inadequate

New DOJ Profiling Guidance: LGBTQ-Inclusive, But Inadequate

By Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:36am

This piece originally appeared at Slate's Outward blog.

"Hands up, don't shoot!" "We can't breathe!"

With the backdrop of a national, youth-led movement demanding reform of a system of policing that too often approaches communities…

This Is What Happens When the Secretary of Defense is in Charge of Your Medical Care

This Is What Happens When the Secretary of Defense is in Charge of Your Medical Care

By Chase Strangio, Staff Attorney, ACLU at 10:08am

When Chelsea Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison on August 21, 2013, she was immediately worried that she would be denied desperately needed medical care for gender dysphoria.

So far, her worst fears of suffering without treatment have…

Things that Are ALWAYS Illegal: Sexual Assault Behind Bars

Things that Are ALWAYS Illegal: Sexual Assault Behind Bars

By Chase Strangio, Staff Attorney, ACLU at 12:13pm

Imagine you are taken from your community and family and sent to an institutional environment where everything is separated by sex. Once you get there the officers in charge of your every moment tell you that you are not the sex you have always known…

VICTORY! Social Security Administration Drops Surgery Requirement for Gender Change

VICTORY! Social Security Administration Drops Surgery Requirement for Gender Change

By Chase Strangio, Staff Attorney, ACLU & Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:05am

Late last week, after nearly a decade of advocacy led by our coalition partners at the National Center for Transgender Equality, the Social Security Administration (SSA) updated its policy for changing gender designation in Social Security records.…

Why ENDA's Religious Exemption Must Be Narrowed

Why ENDA's Religious Exemption Must Be Narrowed

By Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Dena Sher, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:21am

Remarkably, there are only 16 states that currently have workplace non-discrimination laws that are fully inclusive of LGBT people. This leaves LGBT people vulnerable to workplace discrimination in well over half of the country–an unacceptable situation…

The Sweeping License to Discriminate Hidden in the NDAA

The Sweeping License to Discriminate Hidden in the NDAA

By Dena Sher, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:58pm

With Congress having recently approved this year’s NDAA, we think it is important to draw attention to a provision (Section 533(a)(1)), which, though hidden away, is unprecedented, sweeping, and could invite dangerous claims of a right to discriminate against not just lesbian, gay, and bisexual service members, but also women, religious minorities, and in the provision of health care.

Janet Mock, author and trans activist

A Conversation With Trans Rights Activist Janet Mock

By Chase Strangio, Staff Attorney, ACLU & Keely Mullen at 4:10pm

In a 2011 Marie Claire article, successful People.com editor Janet Mock, publicly told her story about growing up transgender. Though at the time she had only shared her transgender identity with a few people in New York, "stories about kids who have…

Oregon Legislature Repeals Surgery Requirement for Gender Change on Birth Certificate

Oregon Legislature Repeals Surgery Requirement for Gender Change on Birth Certificate

By Becky Straus, Legislative Director, ACLU of Oregon & Kevin Díaz, Legal Director, ACLU of Oregon & Amanda Goad, LGBT Project at 3:55pm

With Gov. Kitzhaber's approval of HB 2093 yesterday, transgender people in Oregon will no longer have to show proof of surgery in order to change their birth certificates to accurately reflect their gender. Previously, Oregon law required surgery in…

Pass a Drug Test Before You Can Pass a Class

Pass a Drug Test Before You Can Pass a Class

By Rachel Bloom, ACLU at 5:05pm

This week, a college in Missouri broke the law and violated the Fourth Amendment rights of its students. Linn State Technical College became the first public institution of higher learning to implement mandatory drug testing of all new students,…