NEW REPORT: Where We Call Home: LGBT People in Rural America

Popular culture images of LGBT people suggest that most LGBT people live in cities or on the coasts. Yet 2.9 – 3.8 million LGBT people call rural America home.

Today, the Movement Advancement Project released a new report, Where We Call Home: LGBT People in Rural America, which examines the structural differences in rural life and their unique impact on LGBT people in rural areas, who are both more vulnerable to discrimination and less able to respond to its harmful effects. Among other challenges, rural LGBT people are less likely to have explicit nondiscrimination protections, are more likely to live in areas with religious exemption laws that may allow service providers to discriminate, and have fewer alternatives when facing discrimination, as detailed in a new report released today.

Click here to read the exclusive USA Today article about the report.

Although LGBT people in rural areas face many of the same challenges as their neighbors, they experience different consequences, and the many structural challenges of living in rural communities can often amplify LGBT people’s experiences of both acceptance and rejection. The report findings include that:

  • The interconnectedness of rural communities leads to ripple effectsacross many aspects of life. For example, if a person is excluded from their faith community for being gay, they may have a difficult time at work or finding a job, because their church members may also be their coworkers or potential employers. Conversely, if a rural church community or employer takes a supportive stand for local LGBT residents, that support can also ripple outward to other areas of life.
  • When LGBT people (and particularly LGBT people of color) in rural areas do face discrimination, they may have no or fewer alternatives to find a restaurant, doctor, job, home, faith community, and more. And, more service providers in rural areas are religiously-affiliated and are covered under religious exemption laws that may allow them to discriminate, even when providing public services.
  • LGBT people in rural areas are more vulnerable to discrimination. Rural areas are more likely to lack explicit nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people and more likely to have laws allowing religious service providers to turn LGBT people away.

Click here to view infographics pulled from Where We Call Home: LGBT People in Rural America

LGBT people live in rural areas for the same reasons as other people, such as love of family, the strength of tight-knit rural communities, and connection to the land. However, the social and political landscape of rural America means that rural LGBT people are more vulnerable to discrimination. This is why nondiscrimination laws are vital, so that rural LGBT people don’t have to choose between basic protections and the place they call home.

The report is released in partnership with the Equality Federation, the National Black Justice Coalition, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

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Advocate Opinion: “Tell the Supreme Court That Businesses Must Be ‘Open to All’”

Today, the Advocate published a new opinion piece, “Tell the Supreme Court That Businesses Must Be ‘Open To All,’” marking the start of Open to All Week. In the article, MAP executive director Ineke Mushovic outlined the incredibly high stakes of the Masterpiece Cakeshop case and described how the court has heard these arguments before.

March 12—18, Open to All Week, commemorates the 50th anniversary of the landmark case, Newman v. Piggie Park Enterprises. Piggie Park, a small barbeque chain, which is still open today, wanted the right to refuse service to African American customers. The owner, a segregationist, claimed that the Civil Rights Act violated his religious freedom.

The Supreme Court disagreed in a decision issued on March 18, 1968.

Piggie Park wasn’t just about barbeque. And Masterpiece isn’t just about cake.

Now the nation awaits a decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission, where the owner of a bakery is claiming that the state’s nondiscrimination law, which requires him to serve same-sex couples, unconstitutionally violates his religious beliefs.

In the opinion piece, Mushovic warns how a win for the bakery in Masterpiece threatens the historic legacy of the Piggie Park decision and could take us back to a shameful era in our nation’s history, an era where businesses could claim a right to discriminate as they see fit.

Click here to read the opinion piece in the Advocate.

Devastating: New Ad Shows Grieving Widow Turned Away by Funeral Home Because She’s a Lesbian

A grieving widow has just lost her spouse. She, her parents, and her in-laws enter a funeral home to arrange burial services. But they are turned away when the staff realize that the woman and her late spouse are lesbians.This story, inspired by a real legal case, is the center of a new ad, “Funeral Home,” produced by MAP as part of the Open to All public education campaign. Open to All is a nationwide public engagement campaign to build understanding and discussion about the importance of our nation’s nondiscrimination laws—and the bedrock principle that when businesses open their doors to the public, they should be Open to All.

People think discrimination like this couldn’t happen, but it does and it did.

“Funeral Home” is the latest in a series of ads that illustrate how a loss in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case would open the door to wide-ranging forms of discrimination. Masterpiece Cakeshop v. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission involves a Colorado bakery that discriminated against, and refused to serve a gay couple in violation of Colorado’s nondiscrimination law. A decision is expected by June. A ruling for the bakery in this case could sanction and encourage this type of discrimination not just against LGBT people, but also interfaith couples, people of color, women, people with disabilities, and others.

The ad launch received considerable media attention, helping MAP reach a wider audience. Check out some of the top media hits:

Salon Exclusive: ‘Beyond wedding cakes to funerals: The high stakes of Masterpiece Cakeshop SCOTUS case’

Today, Salon published an in-depth exclusive examining the high stakes of the Masterpiece Cakeshop case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court. Masterpiece Cakeshop v. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission involves a Colorado bakery that discriminated against, and refused to serve a gay couple in violation of Colorado’s nondiscrimination law. A decision is expected by June.

The article begins with asking a tough question: Can a pivotal Supreme Court ruling lead to “heterosexuals only” signs in front of businesses?

The story was spurred by the release of a new, hard-hitting ad produced by MAP called Funeral Home, which depicts a grieving widow who has just lost her spouse. She, her parents, and her in-laws enter a funeral home to arrange burial services. But they are turned away when the staff realize that the woman and her late spouse are lesbians.

The ad was produced as part of the Open to All public education campaign. This story, inspired by a real legal case, demonstrates how a loss in Masterpiece would open the door to much wider ranging forms of discrimination—including what the grieving widow in the ad faced.

Read more about the new ad in the Salon exclusive ‘Beyond wedding cakes to funerals: The high stakes of Masterpiece Cakeshop SCOTUS case’.

USA Today Exclusive: ‘Not just about a cake shop’: LGBT people battle bias in everyday routines

 

This week, USA Today published an exclusive feature about the impacts of the everyday experiences of discrimination faced by LGBT people. To tell this story, USA Today turned to MAP’s latest report, a policy spotlight on nondiscrimination protections in public accommodations around the country. The article also features a new ad entitled Movie Theater, showing how transgender people in particular face discrimination and harassment in public accommodations.

MAP’s mission is to help speed equality for LGBT people by reaching broad audiences with powerful messaging, policy research, and public education videos. The visibility of MAP’s work in a major news outlet like USA Today, which has a daily readership of nearly 3.3 million people, helps us spread the message that LGBT people continue to face discrimination today, and that nondiscrimination protections need to be enacted nationwide. Businesses that are open to the public should be open to all.

Click here to read the story from USA Today

2017 National Movement Report

2017 National Movement Report

In December, 2017 MAP released the 2017 National Movement Report, which provides a comprehensive and standardized look at LGBT movement’s finances across 39 major LGBT organizations.

Revenue is up slightly and donations are increasing, perhaps as donors seek opportunities to respond to the new political climate. The report also finds that, at the end of the 2016 fiscal year, the participating organizations overall remain stable, efficient, and supported by a diverse range of revenue sources.

Check out the great media coverage: