The Fight for Equality among the LGBTQ in Hawaii

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Lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender, and queers have equal rights despite being seen as deviating from the norm in sexual orientation. Equality among this group is not an easy issue to tackle especially in countries with strong religious and cultural backgrounds.

In Hawaii, Equality Hawaii Foundation took it upon them to educate the public to accept them in their communities. As if that is not enough, in their advocacy programs they sit in legislative committees to ensure that they are included as part of a special population in most if not all the services delivered to its citizens.

The programs

  • Community events
  • Capacity building on LGBTQ advocacy
  • Community sensitization
  • Empowerment of the vulnerable groups
  • Sporting activity to enhance unity
  • Outreaches

Why Hawaii?

From History, this is one of the first States in the US to legalize same-sex involvement back in 1973. The state acts as a benchmark on how same-sex activities should be carried out. The main achievement was in November 2013, when same-sex marriage was included in the Hawaii Marriage equality Act.

It was also the same year that the gender orientation came into law to a point that they were treated like any other citizens. Other states and countries have fought to reach this milestone; others have succeeded while others it’s still a slow journey of hope.

The successes…

The foundation can boast of several inroads towards this journey. It is now history to hear of people denied services just from the basis of their gender. International students coming to learn in colleges and universities in Hawaii are encouraged to come out an enroll as LGBTQ‘s- a clear indication that the government recognizes them as part of their student enrolment.

  • Featuring in Films and movies

The moment you see a warning in any film or movie PG- Parental Guidance- if it is not adult content then it is issued with sexual orientation. This is a cap that has since been left out in all the movies aired of Hawaii channels and the US States as a whole.

Is that not a step, in the fight against the gender balance? They can now be freely be aired on mainstream and even multimedia channels without any parental guidance warning.

  • Minimal public and workplace discrimination

The organization celebrates even the minor achievements in their quest to allow homosexuals incorporated in the workplace policy. It is not a new thing to see application forms that need personal details with an option for transgender. This is something that was not in existence many years ago. It is all the effort of the non- profit organization through the legislative committees that it has now become a law.

What made this easy was some of the legislatures were also silently looking forward to such a law to be in place. You will find them all over in Hawaii working and running their daily lives with minimal discrimination; be it in the formal sector or informal sector like woodworking.

It’s not that they are not able to work, just like the rest of the people they can run the router with variable speed motor with ease- thank the confidence level building them in line of duty.

  • Equal opportunity employment status

Before we had the law in place, most transgender people feared to come out and express their sexual orientation for fear of being denied the job. For example, in woodworking we have just talked about, who can tell whether the heavy-duty metal router tables are run by a lesbian or a normal sex oriented person?

Some of the companies with no religious or cultural affiliation encourage them to apply as a way of fully enforcing the law. Some go the extra mile and even allow them to form support groups within the place of work.

The struggle has been long overdue. At the corridors of justice, there were cases where people misused lesbians or gays orientation to work against them at the court of law. The fact that no act to cushion them against it; a lot of failed cases were the order of the day.

 It was not easy to go away with a crime even if it was not related to sexual orientation. Currently, there is no room for such kind of discrimination in the corridors of justice; instead, there is equal opportunity.

Moreover, they are the ones who win cases against employers who tend to fire or mistreat them at workplaces. Some have even been paid millions of dollars as compensation. No employer can risk going against the law.

It has been a struggle that has born fruit. These are people who can freely advertise their events and also go about their normal business without anyone pointing fingers at them.

Besides, schools and residential areas abide by the law just to avoid being on the wrong side of the law. It has encouraged them to register as official members of the LGBTQ to get all the required services and proper treatment. Equality Hawaii Foundation has also recorded an increase in their membership simply because of the successful outreach programs they have carried out. The number includes both the young and old people.

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