Happy New Year – A Decade in Review & Looking Forward to 2020

Saying Goodbye to a Rollercoaster of a Decade

When we began this decade we known as the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Caucus today we are the LGBT Caucus and looking how we can be more inclusive. We as a community were fighting for Civil Unions at the state level and now Marriage Equality is the law of the land. While that last one was a huge win for our community it was in no way the only major win for our community. Here are is a list of some of the major wins & achievements we have seen in the past 10 years:

  • National Level
    • Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was repealed
    • Saw the first out LGBTQIA+ United States Senator, Tammy Baldwin, elected & re-elected
    • Marriage Equality became the law of the land in the landmark case Obergfell v. Hodges in 2015
  • Local Level
    • Civil Unions was the first Act that Governor Abercrombie signed in to law in 2011
    • Marriage Equality became law in the Aloha state after a historic (the longest session this state has or will ever see) and very draining Special Session in 2013 
    • Removed the barriers for members of the Transgender community to change their gender on their birth certificates
    • Added gender identity and gender expression to list of protected classes for the State of Hawai’i
    • Banned Conversion Therapy for minors (12th state to do so)
    • Expanded gender markers on State IDs and Driver’s License (5th state to do so)
    • Eliminate “gay-panic” & “trans-panic” as an affirmative defense
    • The Democratic Party of Hawaii became the first state Democratic Party to elect it’s State Central Committee members based on gender diversity instead of female and male
    • Hilo had their first Pride Parade in 2013 and it has become a yearly event
    • Kauai had their first Pride Parade in 2019, after decades of celebrating pride in more intimate settings
    • Maui has established yearly Pride events that continue to grow

The LGBT Caucus has grown over the past decade – expanded our membership with members on every major island as well as increased our financial resources. Which is good because we are the ONLY political, policy &/or legislative LGBTQIA+ focused organization in the state of Hawai’i.

With all these wins there is still a lot more work to be done at the local level as we have shown with our Legislative Priorities for the 2020 Session. (see below)

At the National level there is even more work to be done as we have seen the current occupant of the White House attack EVERY advancement we have made. Be it his ban from allowing transgender citizens from serving in the military to attacking our marriages by saying children born to US Citizens abroad are nor automatic US citizens as it is for our straight cisgender counterparts.

The latest attack was at the Supreme Court where the occupant had the White House argue that LGBTQIA+ community could be fired for being a member of the LGBTQIA+ community (see at bottom of email). Not allowing LGBTQIA+ members from applying for asylum if returning to their home country they could be killed for being a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. Never mind the sharp rise in hate crimes against the LGBTQIA+ community since the occupant enter the White House.

So as we look forward to 2020 and beyond the 2020 election will determine if our community will hold on to the advances we have made, never mind expanding, or will we see our rights be stripped from us. I for one will not go quietly and will fight so as we head into 2020 you will be given opportunities to help ensure that Democrats remain in control of the US House as well as take back the Senate AND the White House. The last one is an imperative given that not ONE of the judges that the occupant has appointed to a LIFETIME position on the Federal courts has been pro-LGBTQIA+ rights or pro-woman’s rights or pro-immigrant or (and the list goes on).

One of those opportunities is right here….

January LGBT Caucus Meeting

We are meeting on Sat. Jan 18th at 10 am we will have a representative from the local 2020 Census office coming to talk to us about the importance of making sure everyone in our community especially is counted so I hope you all make make every effort to be at this meeting.
Facebook Event

If you can’t make it in person we will have teleconference & video-conference available:
Call In: If you are using a landline, you may incur long distance charges. NOTICE THE NEW NUMBER
Dial-in Number: (605) 313-6153
Meeting ID: 809760#

Computer:
Online Meeting Link: https://join.freeconferencecall.com/dphvideo
Online Meeting ID: dph2018Upcoming DPH Trainings in 2020

January 7, 2020 – Impactful Advocacy Training at DPH HQ from 5:30 – 7:30 pm (DPH Members ONLY)
Facebook Event

  • Participation is available as follows:
    • Call In:  If you are using a landline, you may incur long distance charges.
    • Dial-in Number: (605) 313-6153
    • Meeting ID: 809760#
  • Computer:

On O’ahu – Monday, January 20, 2020 – DPH Membership Booth at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Rally at Kapiolani Park 
The rally goes from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm (usually ends early)
If you are available to help staff the booth please let us know.

OCC will have a unit with a Trolley the MLK Jr. parade and they are having a gathering after the parade as well.

Thursday, February 6, 2020 – What to expect at the March 4th District/Precinct Meeting at DPH HQ from 5:30 – 7:30 pm (Open to the public)
Facebook Event
To include the following:
Responsibilities and how the elections will work for: 
    Precinct Officers, 
    District Officers, & 
    Delegates to the State Convention & County Convention.
Brief summary of how to become a delegate to the National Democratic Convention in Minneapolis in July 2020.

  • Participation is available as follows:
    • Call In:  If you are using a landline, you may incur long distance charges.
    • Dial-in Number: (605) 313-6153
    • Meeting ID: 809760#
  • Computer:

2020 Elections & Party-run Presidential Primary

To make sure you are ready for the 2020 election (reminder Hawaii is going to all mail-in balloting) you need to update your voter registration, which you can do on-line at olvr.hawaii.gov, if you have moved since you last voted, had a name change due to a marriage or if you just want to make sure that your information is up to-date!

To make sure that you, your friends & family can vote in the 2020 Party-run Presidential Primary (PPP) you need to make sure that your membership information is up-to-date as well and you can do that on-line as well by clicking this link.

Party-run Presidential Primary (PPP); the PPP is where members of the Democratic Party of Hawaii get to vote on who they support for the Democratic Nominee for President and the Party has made some major changes for the 2020 election and here they are: 

  • District & Precinct Meetings to be held on Wednesday, March 4 at 7:00 pm (day after Super Tuesday)
  • 2020 PPP to be held on Saturday, April 4, 2020 from 7:00 am – 3:00 pm
  • Around 20 voting locations across the state for the PPP
  • Absentee voting for those that are an active member of the DPH by Monday, Feb 18, 2020
  • Rank choice voting (you can vote for up to 3 candidates)
  • Cost is @ $250,000

We will still have same day party & voter registration on Saturday, April 4, 2020 at the voting locations across the state. If you have any questions about the 2020 PPP please let us know and we will get you the answers. To pay for this the 2020 PPP Committee has is asking for donations so if you can donate  click here to make your donation  or you can mail a check made out to the ‘Democratic Party of Hawaii’ with ‘LGBT Caucus/PPP’ in the memo section to DPH 627 South St. #105, Honolulu, HI 96813. 

Be The Change

If you missed Be The Change: Becoming a Foster Parent you can watch thevideo by clicking here.

Mahalo nui loa!
Michael Golojuch, Jr. (He/Him)
Chair
LGBT Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawai’i

Click here to become a Member of the LGBT Caucus of the DPH

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LGBT Caucus 2020 Legislative Priorities

  • Getting the State to fund/secure Homeless Youth Shelters across the State (homeless unaccompanied minors)
  • Expanding gender markers on birth certificates
  • Health centers for the neighbor islands that include mental health services with access for LGBTQIA+ (youth & adult) 
  • Removal of statuette of limitations for survivors of sexual abuse as children 
  • Allowing minors to access health care for HIV & PrEP as well as mental health care without parental consent

The Future of LGBTQIA+ Rights

52% of LGBTQIA+ Americans live in a state with ZERO protections from workplace discrimination & if we lose 100% of LGBTQIA+ Americans will live in a country that where the highest court in the land says we don’t deserve the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, where we are not part of “we the people”, and that such protections are not required. The LGBT Caucus, as we have done since our founding, will fight back against this.

On October 8, the Supreme Court heard 3 cases to decide whether LGBTQIA+ employees are protected under federal sex discrimination laws. The three plaintiffs are Gerald Bostock, 55, a former child welfare services coordinator from Georgia; Donald Zarda, a former New York skydiving instructor who died at 44 in 2014 but is represented by his sister and former partner (whose cases were consolidated); and Aimee Stephens, 58, a former funeral home worker from Michigan who is transgender. (USA Today Article)

We want to say MAHALO NUI LOA to US Senator Brian Schatz, US Senator Mazie Hirono and Congressman Ed Case for all signing onto the Congressional Amicus Brief in support of LGBTQIA+ worker’s rights.(Nos. 17-1618, 17-1623, 18-107)

KEY POINTS (CNBC Article)

  • The justices of the Supreme Court clashed over the meaning of “sex” in heated oral arguments on Tuesday for a blockbuster set of cases concerning the rights of LGBT workers.
  • The court heard the cases of three LGBT employees, two gay men and a transgender woman, who claim they were fired because of their identities. 
  • At issue was the meaning of Title 7 of the Civil Rights Act, which forbids discrimination because of “sex” but does not specifically refer to gender identity or sexual orientation.

“Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the senior member of the court’s liberal wing, noted that interpretations of Title 7 had changed in the past. Since the law was enacted, the Supreme Court has held that it applied to discrimination based on sex stereotypes, as well as same-sex harassment, two zones that were not likely on the minds of the legislators who voted for it.”

Argument analysis: Justices divided on federal protections for LGBT employees
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 bars employment discrimination “because of … sex.” This morning, in a packed courtroom, the Supreme Court heard oral argument on whether Title VII protects gay, lesbian and transgender employees.

Here is some more background on these cases:
Lambda Legal’s Article
Sex and the Supreme Court: It’s Not Just About LGBTQ Workers
Housing. Healthcare. Credit. Education. 
They have been referencing the reasoning of employment litigation victories to build protections in MANY other areas. There is so much at stake on October 8th at the Supreme Court.

ACLU’s Podcast
THE HISTORIC TRANS RIGHTS CASE BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT

Tuesday Roundup – SCOTUSBlog