What we were talking about in 2011
DADT repealed. Marriage equality in the headlines. Bullying. Transgender awareness. And all of the LGBT issues on the front lines. Not even the presidential debates were spared from tackling some of the most talked-about issues today impacting the gay community. The Williams Institute at UCLA studied some of the most important developments in the last 12 months – highlighting not only the achievements in gay rights this year, but also what we may be able to look forward to in the new year.
“This year, the federal government demonstrated its commitment to collecting and utilizing research to inform policy that impacts the lives of LGBT families, workers, service members and youth,” explains Brad Sears, executive director of the Williams Institute, and assistant dean of the UCLA School of Law. “On every major LGBT policy issue, we’re seeing the power of research in action.”
In 2011, there were a few changes in federal policy – like the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the hopeful repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which eliminates rights for married same-sex couples – even in states where gay marriage is legal.
This year, the Census Bureau and the Department of Health and Human Services also began gathering new data about the lives and experiences of LGBT people around the country. Not only does the research help debunk myths, but it highlights new needs and clarifies how best to draft future policy that is responsive and inclusive of the LGBT community.
“Research has long suggested that the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ would have no negative impact on military readiness,” says Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Center. ”Now, our job is to use research to highlight and address remaining issues such as the service of transgender troops.”