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Remembering our community this Labor Day

Celebrating Labor Day in the LGBT community.
Photo credit:
sandiegouniontribune.com

Labor Day is a celebration of people who work hard on both the business and societal front, and what a year this has been.

Just as the year 2015 was a big one for marriage equality, 2016 will be remembered as the year we celebrated the “T" in LGBT. 

Transgender awareness and activism is currently allaying social fears bringing about education, conversation and change.

More has been done to support that group in business than ever before.

One of the major companies making change and being vocal about the transgender community is Target who refused to limit their restroom access to biological males and females and instead welcomed shoppers to utilize the bathroom of which they most identify.

This caused a backlash with reactionaries who stormed the aisles of the retail chain spouting biblical verse in opposition to brand's long-held guidelines.

Still Target did not back down and furthered their support by investing millions into adding private bathrooms to their stores for people who choose to use them.

Transgender hot buttons were also pressed as activists and big businesses, including entertainers and sports leaders made it clear that laws aimed at removing civil rights from the transgender community would not be tolerated.

North Carolina seemed to be most notorious for this injustice, by passing into law a bill that says businesses can discriminate against people if their religious beliefs feel compromised.

The law also says that private businesses and non-profits can create their own protocols for restroom usage.

President Obama issued a guidance in May, saying that, "transgender students enjoy a supportive and nondiscriminatory school environment."

This did not go over well with North Carolina’s Gov. Pat McCrory (R) who quickly sued the Obama administration which then sued him back.

The battle rages on. Just last week, Indiana re-examined their Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), as Gov. Mike Pence is set to exit his post and Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb (R), is running to replace him.

RFRA is designed to allow business to discriminate against the LGBT community without the threat of being sued.

That law was slightly amended by Pence to say that businesses could not discriminate against people because of their sexual orientation or their gender identity, but the LGBT advocacy force  would like the entire law removed because it does nothing to expand LGBT rights in that state where discrimination is still legal.

This is still a bone of contention in the big business community who have headquarters in Indiana and inner policies which protect their employees.

As we head into this Labor Day, we must remember the activists and big business owners who are pushing forth and challenging states and lawmakers who wish to limit LGBT rights.

This year, we saw the first-ever Navy vessel to be named after an LGBT activist and politician.  Harvey Milk will get his name on a military ship due in part to a letter writing campaign headed by San Diego’s own Nicole-Murray Ramirez.  

The NBA also made it clear this week that they were not on-board with discrimination and pulled their All-Star game out of Charlotte N.C. because of discriminatory bathroom bills.

There is still much to do within LGBT community in the realm of civil and human rights even in the United States, but if people keep working as hard as they have so far in 2016, these changes are inevitable. 

San Diego Gay and Lesbian News and all of Hale Media is dedicated to bringing you the news of these changes and the people who are making them. 

On this Labor Day, all of us here at Hale Media we would like to thank each and every one of you who are dedicating their lives in the workforce, both on the frontlines and behind-the-scenes to further change history as those before you have done.

Whether you are serving the public and being vocal to bullies and politicians who feel it's okay to treat people with disrespect, or you are a business owner who chooses to make change from within and set the example, we thank you for your hard work and perseverance in this time of social and economic change.