Updates from Access Living


June 16, 2020 | by Amber Smock

Attacks on Trans Protections, LGBTQ Rights, Disability Rights

Monday, June 15, 2020

Dear Access Living friends and allies:

Well, it’s Monday and we are off to a fast start this week with several important updates for you. Read on to get the latest.

Rollback of Affordable Care Act Rule Puts Trans People at Risk: The Affordable Care Act contains a provision that says that healthcare providers may not discriminate against transgender people. However, this past Friday, the Trump administration announced the finalization of a new rule that would roll back this protection for transgender people. The rule would go into effect in sixty days. Trans advocacy and legal groups have already committed to fighting this devastating rollback and defending the human right of transgender people to access healthcare. To better understand what this development means from a disability standpoint, take a look at this well-crafted response from the Autistic Self Advocacy Network.

Supreme Court Affirms Employment Protections for LGBTQ Persons: On a more positive note, the U.S. Supreme Court this morning upheld workplace civil rights protections for LGBTQ people. See this link from NPR for the update. The decision was written by Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and the court’s four liberal justices. Associate Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh dissented. For those interested in the overlap of LGBTQ issues and disability, check out this 2019 report.

Equip for Equality Priorities Input: This Wednesday from 2 to 4 pm, Equip for Equality will hold a public online Zoom meeting to hear from people with disabilities in Illinois about how best to meet your legal advocacy needs. Equip is the federally designated Protection and Advocacy Agency for Illinois. If you plan to participate in the meeting, you need to register online. You can also participate through their online survey, which is due July 3. See more information at this link. Learn more about Protection and Advocacy Agencies here.

Get Ready for Juneteenth on Friday: This Friday, June 19, is Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, Emancipation Day, Jubilee Day, and Cel-Liberation Day. Juneteenth is the celebration of June 19, 1865, which is when word of the Emancipation Proclamation finally reached enclosed Black persons in Galveston, Texas, then the most remote larger town in the most remote slave state. This Juneteenth, due to the pandemic, many celebrations are being held online. Here is a quick link to preview some opportunities. We will be sharing more opportunities midweek!

Returning to Work with a Disability: For many people with disabilities, as states re-open, there is grave concern over the safety of returning to work. Many people are also afraid of potential disability discrimination if an employer demands that they be at work even if they are high risk. Disability advocates Vilissa Thompson and Rebecca Cokley teamed up to write this important piece for those who are concerned about returning to work during Covid-19.

Thank you for your advocacy!