LGBTQ legal rights and questions after the election
There is a lot of uncertainty in some areas that impact our LGBTQ community’s rights. We will need to fight to keep them, and to push forward. There have never been, and never will be, steps forward without some push back. We have a long way to go but also have come a long way.
In many areas, individual LGBTQ members have the right and power to control aspects of our lives and our families.
You can protect your partner, whether that’s by making them a spouse, or by ensuring that they inherit – regardless of marriage – by making out your will.
You can protect your children – and need to, even if you’re married to their other parent – by confirming your parentage through a second-parent adoption.
If your name and gender are not the ones you were assigned at birth, exercise your right to legally change – and claim – your name, and in Pennsylvania, exercise your right to have the correct gender designations entered on your driver’s license and birth certificate.
You can protect yourself and your health by making a living will and/or health care power of attorney, so that if illness suddenly strikes, the person you trust – your partner, or your trusted friend – will be empowered to make hard decisions (instead a family member who is legally assigned that do that in the absence of your action).
And even in some of the areas where there is uncertainty, such as antidiscrimination laws protecting access to employment, health care, health insurance, and education, while there are predictions that the new administration will change current federal regulations and executive orders, they haven’t done that yet. Find out about and enforce your rights now, and prepare to fight so that others will continue to be able to do so.
Finally, let’s not forget that in cities and counties across Pennsylvania – Philadelphia among them – the law explicitly protects you against discrimination. And those local governing bodies have given no indication that they are backing away from our community.
Our friends at Jerner and Palmer, P.C., have written more extensively on some of these areas:
- and we will add information as the transition unfolds.
For now, it is important that we all control what we can – which means, in all of the areas mentioned above, taking action. And while we need to remember that there are things we cannot control, it’s important that we all continue our work to bring about change that advances equality, and particularly now, that we work even harder to prevent change that sets us back.
- Legal issues faced by transgender adults, adolescents, and children
- Legal Services
- Identity documents and legal name changes