LGBTQ+ Rights and Policies

A Brief Queer History

Queer people an people a part of the LGBTQ+ community have consistently faced struggle throughout history. People’s connections and ideals molded by religion have caused a minority group to suffer a great deal over time. In western catholic and christian based societies, homosexuality has always been frowned upon and sought to be destroyed. The bringing down of queer people has always been a concern and even before the government began getting involved. As America grew as a county, LGBT people started to become a much higher concern for people especially as society changed and civil rights began to be much more important. 

The queer community have been forced through plenty of hardships to get even close to where they are now. Once the government got involved it made it that much harder for the community to live freely without getting assaulted by not only other civilians but also the government around them. One of the most common examples of this and the start of gay pride, was the stonewall riots (Georgetown). It started in the early hours of the morning on June 28th, 1969. People of all different underground walks of life strolled in and out of the Stonewall Inn in the heart of lower Manhattan. The Stonewall Inn was known by most as one of the most illustrious gay bars in both the city and the country. This morning however was the start of a revolution without most even knowing it. Police milled around the inn closing people in and stopping them from getting out. This the caused them to begin putting the attendants of the bar under arrest for homosexual activities; whether that be liking the same gender, being trans, and even crossdressing. This was the last straw for the community. The Stonewall Riots began as an uproar in advocating for LGBTQ+ rights and fighting violence against the community(Walsh). This is considered the first pride parade and began a new leaf for the queer community. 

Following not long after the Stonewall Riots, the first gay government official was elected in San Fransisco to the Board of Supervisors. Harvey Milk was to this day is one of the most important people in queer history even though his story is quite the tragedy (Milk Foundation). No later than a year after Milk had been voted into office, an angry former city supervisor murdered both Milk and the mayor at the time George Moscone. The killer was charged with manslaughter and then released only eight years later. After his release came what is known as the White noise Riots. These riots unfortunately did not end in any justice and the LGBTQ+ community did not get any justice for a long while. 

Wisconsin was the first state in America to decriminalize homosexuality in 1982. This was a baby step in the right direction. Wisconsin was the beginning of a back and forth between both the queer community and the government interfearence. Even now we face the same back and forth of winning and losing. More recently in 2015 getting the supreme court ruling for gay mairrage in all 50 state was a monumental occasion. Under the Obama administration the queer community gained a great deal of protection in regards to descrimination and rights. Unfortunately, under the Trump administration, there have been attempted rollbacks on these rights and protections. It will continue to be a back and forth in regards to our rights and safety as long as there are people continuing to not keep the church and state separate.


Casey, H. (n.d.). Guides: A Brief History of Civil Rights in the United States: The Stonewall Riots. Retrieved October 14, 2020, from website:

Milk Foundation. (2009). Milk   » The Official HARVEY MILK Biography. Retrieved from website:

Walsh, C. (2019, June 27). Harvard scholars reflect on the history and legacy of the Stonewall riots. Retrieved from Harvard Gazette website:

About Me

Hello! My name is Kierra Brown and I am a Psychology major and George Mason University. I am extremely passionate about the protection of the LGBTQ+ community and the continuation of their rights and safety. I hope to learn more about the governments influence in the lives of the queer community.

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Beginnings of Queer Policy

The 1990s was a monumental time for the gay rights movement as the younger generation began to stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community. Alternatively at this same time there was much greater violence and tensions against that same community. In 1993, former president Bill Clinton signed legislation stating that homosexual activity was not to be permitted in the military. This act was known as Don’t Ask, Don’t tell (DADT). Clinton’s original goal was to get rid of a homosexual ban in the military that was put in place during World War Two (Casey). This was met with disapproval from many civilians, active duty members, and even members of the senate. 

Up until 1973, homosexuality was considered a mental ilness acording to the American Psychological Association (APA). Because of this, during WWII psychologists would analyze military members and determine whether or not they were homosexual and then discharge them if so. Once homosexuality was removed from the psychology’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, this meant that the military had less control over their LGBTQ+ soldiers (Barber). By placing a ban on homosexuals taking part in the military this installed another element of fear into queer peoples lives. Not only could they hardly walk home alone at night, but now they were at risk of losing their jobs, retirement plans, and honor by being forced from service. It took almost another fifteen years before the APA even considered advocating for nondiscrimination in the workplace. Clinton enacting the DADT policy came after the APA’s support for the queer comunity and multiple reports of queer people being in the military having no affect on the overall moral of the troops. 

While former president Bill Clinton was campaigning for his presidency he advocated and promised for the removal of the gay military ban completly. It was one of the first things he attempted to put into action when he was finally in office (Britannica). This however was met with much backlash from the people of the United States and Congress. To compromise with both sides, he put in place the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. Instead of the military screening and searching out for members of the queer comunity, people were enforced not to speak about their personal lives if they happened to be gay. This meant that people could be both gay and a part of the military, but could not be openly themselves. By 2008, there had been over twelve thousand officers that had been discharged for refusing to hide their homosexuality (Britannica). At the surface level it may seem easy to hide one’s sexuality simply by not talking about it, but the government had refused to realize how often the topic of love and family life would come up in random conversations (Barber). Soon people would begin to notice that the more people hid their lives outside of the military the more suspicious they would seem in regards to being a homosexual serving with them. 

This also would have caused an even greater amount of stress on the people hiding themselves and serving at the same time. Having to distance oneself from the people that are supposed to be trusted to be there and keep eachother alive can be a great amount of strain on the mind. Even on hand clinicians if told anything alluding to the service member being a homosexual were urged to alert th captains and generals so they could be discharged. It was not until September of 2011 that queer people could be open about their sexuality in their branches of service. Former president Obama was the first to completely disregard the DADT and gay military ban entirely making it safe for LGBTQ+ military members to serve and be open about their lives. This was an even greater step in making it easier for the LGBTQ+ community to live openly without any repercussions. 


Barber, M. E. (2012). Mental Health Effects of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Journal of Gay & Lesbian Mental Health, 16(4), 346–352.

Bumiller, E. (2011, July 22). Obama Ends ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Policy. The New York Times. Retrieved from

Casey, H. (2013). Guides: A Brief History of Civil Rights in the United States: The 1990s, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and DOMA. Retrieved from website:

The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica. (2018). Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell | United States policy. In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from

Possible Options of Change

There have been many acts passed that have attempted to protect LGBTQ+ people both in and outside of the workplace. Yet there are still people that want to take those rights away or refuse to put in place laws that can help with discrimination. Currently there are only twenty states and DC that have specific laws against discrimation based on sexuality and gender identity (Lgbt workers association). 

This is filed under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII protects American people in the workplace based on race, color, religion, sex, and nationality (FTC). Now Title VII does not explicitly state anything about protecting people from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. There are some state courts that have ruled that this is included in the act, but this has not been made a federal law across the United States. Because there are another thirty states that do not have any laws in place to protect this minority group from discrimination. By adding sexual orientation and gender identity to Title VII of the Civil Rights act, it would lessen the likelihood of people of the LGBTQ+ community to be refused hire, or fired based on sexuality. It would also help if there was a situation in which someone was discriminated against on these terms that they could file for an American Civil Liberties Union member and stress their rights as a protected American Citizen. 

According to the National LGBTQ Workers Center, twenty five percent of LGBTQ+ members reported that they had faced some sort of discrimination based on their sexuality or gender. One could argue that Title VII already takes care of peoples gender but this would not be true. Employers and government officials need to take into consideration that there are people that do not conform to the gender binary. By enforcing gender stereotypes in the workplace this makes it much easier to discriminate against transgender people and nonbinary workers. 

There are also policy problems in regard to LGBTQ+ antidiscrimination in regards to healthcare and insurance. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed in 2010 under the Obama administration. This prohibited healthcare and insurance companies to take part in discrimination by any means, this includes sexuality, and gender(HSS). Unfortunately during this time and current presidential rule, the Trump administration is attempting to roll back on the ACA which would in turn take away protection from LGBTQ+ people while they are seeking medical attention. Though this cannot completely remove the protections for the community under this law, it will make it much easier for healthcare providers to ignore those protections and deny service(american progress). Many conservatives are upset with this part of the Affordable Care Act because they believe that this will force medical professionals to perform procedures that go against their religion. This belief ignores the fact that medical professionals should be more concerned about saving lives rather than their personal beliefs. 

In regards to protecting the rights of Americans that happen to be a part of the LGBTQ+ community, there are a few options that are observed and built upon. By changing Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to include antidiscrimination against people based on their sexual orientation and gender, this would give people that are being discriminated against the ability to file complaints and take legal action. By taking federal action in this way, it widens the protection out to more than twenty states. The federal government could also pass a new federal law to prevent discrimination againts LGBTQ+ americans in the work force. In regards to healthcare; if the Affordable Care Act is repealed there is not much that can be done to it besides put it back into place. Another option is to create another act that can focus on protecting members of the LGBTQ+ community when seeing medical attention. 


Federal Trade Commission. (2013, September 24). Protections Against Discrimination and Other Prohibited Practices. Retrieved from Federal Trade Commission website:

Mirza, S. A., & Rooney, C. (2018, January 18). Center for American Progress. Retrieved from Center for American Progress website:


Office for Civil Rights (OCR. (2010, July 22). Section 1557 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Retrieved from website:

Adding to the Civil Rights Act  

When it comes to Policies in regards to the LGBTQ+ community, there is no real organization when it comes to protecting not only their lives but also their rights as American citizens. Federally there are no protections in place for discrimination in the work place and in everyday life. The Affordable Care Act takes care of healthcare, but once again there are no real laws in place federally that protects all LGBT citizens in America. 

As stated previously, some states have adopted the idea of including LGBTQ+ people into the Title VII of the Civil Rights act of 1964. But this is only the case for twenty of the fifty states. If the federal government were to officially add sexuality and gender identity of Title VII this could help prevent a large amount of discrimination against queer people in the work place. Yes, there is still going to be discrimination against queer people, there is no way to get rid of prejudice in America overnight. But by putting a federal law in place to keep people protected from acts of discrimination, this can make it much easier to file complaints and potentially go to court to right the wrongs that they had been faced. It would give queer people legal back up in these instances. One has to also consider the fact that the LGBTQ+ community is also extremely racially diverse. Though race is in the Civil Rights Act, many people of color find themselves either fired or taken advantage of in the workplace. Queer people of color are even more likely to face discrimination than a white queer worker. By adding sexuality to the civil rights act, this would give queer POC (people of color) another law to file against the people committing the acts of discrmination. 

Another option would be to create a completely new policy that protects queer people from discrimination in multiple places and scenarios. By creating a new LGBTQ+ antidiscrimination act, it gives the officials the ability to write in certain scenarios of discrimintaion for protection. For example there could be added sections for discrimination in the work place, in the healthcare industry, and possibly even in housing options. There are multiple cases of gay and lesbian couples being turned away but homeowners due to their sexuality and their relationiship. There are no laws protecting them from these acts being committed against them. By adding in a completely new law, with multiple sections instead of adding LGBTQ+ people to the Civil Rights Act, it would also make it much harder for people to defend their discriminatory actions because it would be easier to define their actions as discrimination. With no policies in place determining that discrimination based on sexuality and/or gender, it makes discrimination against these two factors easier to get away with. Creating any sort of law or policy to protect the queer community would be a great start in the direction of progression. 


Federal Trade Commission. (2013, September 24). Protections Against Discrimination and Other Prohibited Practices. Retrieved from Federal Trade Commission website:


A Change and its Needs

When it comes to implementing these policies and ideals there is a lot of work that would have to be done to make it genuinely effective. A policy like this would end up being met with a good amount of opposition due to some people’s ideas and beliefs in regards to homosexuality. If not only this new policy that I am proposing, but also the Civil Rights Act were to be enforced more strongly and regulated this would make the laws much more effective. 

One great option which would be to offer sensitivity training to all businesses whether they are corporate or small businesses. Not only would sensitivity training help people be more open to LGBTQ+ people and people outside of the gender binary, but it would also help with sensitivity that some people have towards the POC community. Yes the focus is on the LGBTQ+ community, but it must be acknowledged that a large part of the queer community is made up of people of color. According to the National LGBTQ workers center, over a third of the queer community is made up of people of color. By enforcing both Civil Rights Acts and new more specific LGBTQ+ policy it would ensure much more stability in the lives of the queer community. 

One of the ways to handle the cost of this education process across the united states would be to defund a part of the police force’s pay. By defunding a certain part of the police or even cutting military spending, this money could go towards sensitivity training in regards to all types of people and situations. Not only should police and the military also get this training, but moving around some of their budgets could help pay for the education needed to teach people how to handle and recognize things like bias in their everyday lives. Recognizing these kinds of bias would be the first step towards removing the prejudice towards marginalized communities and groups of people. 

Another way to be sure that people are receiving an education on being nice to all kinds of people, is to begin explaining these situations to young school children. Children are the most impressionable group of people in the world and especially the United States. By adding education about marginalized communities like the black and LGBTQ+ community would help to prevent discrimination in the first place. By teaching about discrimination and relating it to childrens lives, this would help them connect the ideas that being mean to someone based on their gender or who they happen to love is damaging and not the right thing to do. As these children grow older they carry these ideas of antidiscrimination with them and actively fight against them. Having younger generations already carrying the idea that there should be no type of discrimination would make enforcing the addition of acts like the Civil Rights Act and the possible addition to a LGBTQ+ antidiscrimination policy in regards to the government. 



Legislative History

The government’s involvement with the LGBTQ+ community really got its start more towards the nineteenth century. Though the people were still avidly against people of this community being members of society due often to their religious beliefs, the government never felt a need to get involved. Queer people were also afraid for their lives and often showed no signs of being a part of the LGBTQ+ community because of this fact. 

One of the most first and important legislative acts towards the LGBTQ+ community was the Executive Order 10450. This order banned any person from working in the federal government if they were deemed a threat to national security. This included; alcoholics, neurotics, people with criminal records, and homosexuals. This was amidst the era of the Red Scare, which was a time at which a majority of government officials were put under trial in fear that they were working with a communist regime. Homosexuals were included in the threat because of their “ immoral” lifestyle that made them more susceptible to threats by the communitst regime. After this act was passed, there was a purge of LGBTQ+ people that had been working for the government which had been known as the Lavender Scare ( It was not until 1995, when former president Bill Clinton passed a bill stating that the federal government could no longer discriminate against people based on their sexuality. 

Around 1975, the first bill was suggested to the congress to address the discrimination that LGBTQ+ people faced. This bill would take into consideration peoples sexual preference and identity and prohibit discrimination of any kind because of someones orientation. It would have prohibited discrimination in places like; schools, public accomidations, employment opportunities, and even buying and renting housing ( This bill made it all the way to the Judiciary committee but not any farther. No bill of this proxy has been suggested or passed again to protect LGBTQ+ people from discrimnation in any of these situations. 

Once again under the presidency of former Bill Clinton was another discrimination law against the LGBTQ+ community signed and passed and in turn later repealed by the Obama administration. In 1996 Clinton had signed and passed the Defence Of Marriage Act (DOMA). This bill stated that no state was required to recognize same-sex marraige performed in another state. This bill also stated that the federal government only considered marriage if it was between a man and a woman, completely excluding any queer couples and relationships (Clinton Library). This same act was repealed by the Obama administration in 2013 (NPR). Obama later on went to legalize same-sex marraige across the whole of the United States federally. There were a handful of states that had already made it acceptable to marry the same gender but Obama made it a federal act to legalize it across the united states. 

These acts being passed have given the LGBTQ+ community quite the back and forth between having protection against discrimination and geting those same rights revoked. The queer community is still trying to protect themselves as current political leaders attmept to revoke the rights and protections that are already in place. 


Abzug, B. S. (1975, January 14). H.R.166 – 94th Congress (1975-1976): Civil Rights Amendments. Retrieved October 21, 2020, from website:

Blakemore, E. (2018, August 30). How LGBT Civil Servants Became Public Enemy No. 1 in the 1950s. Retrieved from HISTORY website:

National Archives. (n.d.). 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) · Clinton Digital Library. Retrieved October 21, 2020, from website:

Peralta, E. (2020). NPR Choice page. Retrieved from website:

Facts and Statistics Regarding LGBTQ+ Employment

People of Color in the LGBT Community

  • There are around eleven million people in America that consider themselves a part of the LGBTQ+ community. 
  • Around One third of that eleven million people are people of color including; black, latinx, and asian. 
  • Minorities are higher risk for mental health disorders like; depression, anxiety, and substance abuses and suicide. These are especially likely to happen to POC that are also a part of the LGBT communities. 
  • LGBTQ+ people are also more likely to experience discrimination and stigmas while seeking out mental health assistance for these problems. 

The LGBTQ+ community is one of the most diverse communities of people, yet even in this open and accepting community there is a great amount of racism and prejudice towards the POC  in this community. One would believe that because of their past of repression and prejudice that the queer community would be more open to these other minority groups but this is not necessarily the case. I first hand have seen this repression of POC from the  queer community. 

This is especially prevalent with the black community. Black people in the LGBTQ+ community continue to get looked down upon in the LGBTQ+ community even though it is a minority group. POC already have to face discrimination from the majority ruling cis genderd, straight, white class of people, and this continues on even into the community. Cisgendered queer white men, are the main group of people to look down on not only POC in the community, but lesbians, trans people, and even people off the gender binary.  This discourse within the community makes these inner marginalized groups also more likely to have mental health issues due to the community. 

Transgender black women are the most likely section of the LGBTQ+ community to go missing or be murdered because of who they are. This can take a great toll on not only the queer community as a whole, but more specifically the trans and black community. The Human Rights Campaign tracked at least twenty six extremely violent deaths of trans and gender nonconforming people in 2019. They also pointed out the fact that this same group of people are much more likely to face other acts of violence due to their likelihood to be homeless and be forced to part take in sex work. This can make the life of these people much more stressful even just attempting to live their lives as a human being. The work of the LGBTQ+ community is never finished. The racial bias and proclivity to reject the trans community must be fixed because they are still a part of the community and deserve to feel safe and accepted. 


Balsam, K. F., Molina, Y., Beadnell, B., Simoni, J., & Walters, K. (2011). Measuring multiple minority stress: The LGBT People of Color Microaggressions Scale. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 17(2), 163–174.

Human Rights Campaign. (2019, January 10). Violence Against the Transgender Community in 2019 | Human Rights Campaign. Retrieved from Human Rights Campaign website:


Policy Brief  

Statistics of the Queer Community 

  • Of the estimated 1.6 million homeless Americans around 20% are reported part of the LGBTQ+ community. 
  • Between 11 and 28 percent of LGBTQ+ workers reported not getting a promotion in the workplace because of their sexuality. 
  • 27 percent of trans workers report being fired, not hired, or even denied a promotion due to their gender. 
  • 25.2 percent of of surveyed LGBTQ+ stated that they had been discriminate against in their lifetime due to their sexuality and/or gender expression. 
  • 52.8 percent of surveyed LGBTQ+ people reported that discrimination impacted their lives in a negative way. 

Though the LBGTQ+ has gained a lot of freedoms and acceptance especially within the past decade or so. There are still many instances in which this group of people continues to be marginalized and discriminate against. There are a few ways that the queer community could gain more portections government wise, that would make it harder for people to actually discriminate against them as a community. 

The Civil Rights Act 

The Civil Rights act of 1964 gave people of color, and women more rights in regards to anti-descrimination. Queer people were not a part of this act meaning that they had little to no protections in regards to discrimination based on the sexuality. By putting in place a policy similar to the Civil Rights Act in place to protect the rights of the LGBTQ+ community. This act would protect the queer community in the work place and other buisnesses and financial concerns. There are many instances in which queer couples will get turned away from buying or renting homes based on their relationships. Though this is protected under the Fair and Equal Housing Act, bringing this into a combined act for the LGBTQ+ community would clear up confusions overall. 

Another viable option would be to federally place the LGBTQ+ community under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Doing this would also remove the need to draft a completely new act in regards to queer anti-discrimination. This could make congresses job of deciding on the act being put into place much easier. By placing the LGBTQ+ community under the Civil Rights Act, it would validate the queer community and concider their plights as worthy enough to get a federal law. Because there are currently no federal acts in place protecting the LGBTQ+ community from discrimination, this can invalidate the communities struggles as a marginalized community. By placing them under the act and/or creating a new act to protect them from discrimation based on sexuality and gender expression, this could calm a lot of distress that is already on the community. 


Bumiller, E. (2011, July 22). Obama Ends ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Policy. The New York Times. Retrieved from

Human Rights Campaign. (2017, May 31). Fair and Equal Housing Act | Human Rights Campaign. Retrieved from Human Rights Campaign website:

Leffler, W. K. (2014, October 10). Epilogue – The Civil Rights Act of 1964: A Long Struggle for Freedom | Exhibitions – Library of Congress. Retrieved November 12, 2020, from website:

The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica. (2018). Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell | United States policy. In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from

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