Trigger warning for brief mentions of rape.
We have two good pieces of American legislative news for you.
First, the FBI has officially changed their definition of rape (used primarily for statistical purposes) to include male survivors and those who were raped non-forcibly or non-vaginally. Although still problematic (it does not count rape by envelopment as rape), it is a tremendous victory for the Forces of Good(tm).
Second, Senator Al Franken and Representative Jared Polis have introduced legislation that would ban discrimination in public schools based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity; schools that discriminated against students who are queer or perceived to be queer, or condoned harassing behavior against them, could lose their federal funding.
FUCK YEAH this bill.
It’s important for a lot of reasons! Most notably, nine out of ten LGBT youth are harassed in school, a third skipped school last month because they felt unsafe, and they are more likely than their peers to commit suicide. All because they choose to love someone of their same gender, or because they identify as a gender different from the one they were assigned at birth.
However, even if you are an asshole and only care about straight people, this bill is super-important! A huge amount of bullying of straight boys– especially quiet, gentle, or otherwise gender-non-conforming boys– is based on the idea that they must be “fags.” (Women get it too: there are more than a few gender-non-conforming straight women who were called dykes.) And because this bill protects people perceived to be queer in addition to us dirty queers, a huge amount of gender-policing bullshit in America’s schools will suddenly be made illegal.
So I hope we can agree that passing this bill is damn important! Senator Franken asks that people contact their Senators or Representatives (preferably by phone) once a week and ask them to cosponsor and otherwise support the bill. As always, do what you can. However, if you want to help pressure Congress to pass this bill, there are a few options:
For further information, Al Franken has a video here about the bill.