Rights of Women & the LGBTQ Community: Present Legislation as an Indicator of Future Results
Updated: Sep 5, 2022
Unlike financial performance, when it comes to leadership, past performance is a pretty good indicator of future results. Leadership matters as leaders set the tone. Leaders provide constituents with greater or diminished opportunities. Leaders deliver a future with either more or fewer rights.
When considering potential future opportunities in the form of individual rights across business or society, one need only to review the present actions of an entity’s leadership to forecast the future.
Legislative leadership, via publicized efforts to extend or restrict the rights of fellow citizens, offers insight into the relationship between present and future actions. For example, if we look to the present actions of America’s legislative leaders, one might anticipate a future of diminished rights; in particular in regards to the diminished rights of women to control their bodies and the diminished rights of members of the LGBTQ community to love whom they wish to love as societal equals.
As we witness American legislators actively seeking to restrict the rights of women and members of the LGBTQ community, it is instructive to ask how these legislators might conduct themselves if afforded the opportunity to lead on a national scale.
Will they protect or restrict rights?
When it comes to leadership, past performance is an indicator of future results.
Consider women’s right to choose. Today, we witness a fusillade of restrictions launched across the Land of the Free seeking to restrict the rights of women. During the first 15 weeks of 2022, a total of 536 restrictions on abortion rights or access to abortion services (as of 4/15/22) were proposed in 42 states with 30+ abortion restrictions enacted in nine states; Arizona (2), Florida (1), Idaho (1), Indiana (2), Kentucky (19), Oklahoma (1), South Dakota (5), West Virginia (1) and Wyoming (1).
And if your response is, “Sorry, but this is about protecting the life of the unborn child.”, might we be well served by considering the present and future life of pregnant women as well?
Legal abortion saves American lives. It’s that simple.
Exploring peer-reviewed research, one might find Myers’ 2017 work demonstrating the number of women becoming teenage mothers drops 34% and the number of girls becoming teenage brides drops by 20% due to legal abortion, with even greater drops evinced for Black teenagers. And a 2021 study by Farin, Hoehn-Velasco, and Pesko demonstrated abortion legalization reduces maternal mortality among Black women by over 30%. Might we protect the rights and futures of these fellow Americans as well?
If past performance is an indicator of future results I wonder; what might these same state legislative leaders do on a national scale?
Will they protect or restrict our rights?
Let us further consider the rights of members of the LGBTQ community.
Today, despite decades of historical progress and despite Congress’s demonstration of national leadership via the enactment of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, we witness a similar bombardment upon the rights of free – and fellow – Americans.
Year to date 2022, America state legislators served up a record breaking 238 bills seeking to restrict the rights of LGBTQ Americans. And, if for some incomprehensible reason, your response is, “So what?” please consider this: youth and teen members of the LGBTQ community experience more bullying at school (33% among LGB students and 17% among heterosexual students) and more suicide attempts (LGB, 23%; heterosexual, 5%) than their heterosexual counterparts.” These are our children. Let us protect them.
If past performance is an indicator of future results I ask again; what might these leaders do on a national scale?
Will they protect or restrict our rights?
An example provides an inkling to the answer as I recall a letter written to a legislative leader in 2013. In time, this leader’s scope of power grew. In time, he sought to spread his restrictions across borders.
Today it is clear; this legislative leader’s past performance was an indicator of future results.
In a 2013 letter, I explained to the recipient, Vladimir Putin, why I would not attend my fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia, due to the restrictions Mr. Putin and his legislative body, the Duma, placed on members of the great country of Russia’s LGBTQ community.
Much like Florida’s so-called “don’t say gay” legislation recently signed into law by Mr. DeSantis, Mr. Putin’s “Propaganda of Non-Traditional Sexual Relations…” law passed under the banner of protecting children.
Under that banner, rights were restricted.
Putin’s 2013 law banned the distribution of "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations". Under this law it basically became illegal to speak of or promote the equal rights of members of the gay community. Under this law it became all but illegal to promote the idea that a relationship between members of the gay community is equal to a relationship between members of the heterosexual community.
Over time, his restrictions grew worse. Over time, his leadership grew deadly.
By way of example, I share the original letter below, the response to which was an assault on my blog.
November 4, 2013
Via hardcopy (address deleted) and facsimile (fax number deleted)
Dear President Putin,
Though I imagine you remain busy preparing for the Sochi Olympics I regret to inform you my family and I have decided not to attend your Winter Games. And as we have enjoyed the enveloping warmth of three Olympics past we make this decision with the deepest regrets.
I mean, we wanted to go. We were on the hunt for flights and hotels (not so easy in a pop-up city, no?), we have event tickets in hand, and we were ready for visas.
In preparation I checked items off my list. But, you know what? A funny thing happened as the Games approached.
Rather than become excited or nervous or enthusiastic at the prospect of experiencing a new culture, interest waned.
"Russia? Oh, I guess we should still go. I'm sure we'll have fun, but what about that law they passed?"
"You mean the one passed in June? By the Duma?"
"Yeah, I guess so. That one."
Oh yeah, that one.
Pursed lips and a nod.
And now our tickets shall remain unused.
Our spectator seats? They shall remain empty.
Still though, I am an admirer of the great Russian people and I'm happy to deliver enclosed tickets for 4 events (including the women’s hockey gold medal game! 'USA! USA! USA!' Ha! Just kidding, you cold warrior, you!) so perhaps you can share with a Russian citizen. Maybe you can pick someone at random.
Pick anyone, because, they're all equal in Russia, right?
If you do not want my tickets I can always sell them (not an easy sale I'm guessing), right? The weather is fair and the temperature rather mild along the Black Sea, no?
But then again, if you think about it, who really wants to visit such a cold, cold place?
Truth be told, I’m betting I’ll end up using these tickets as expensive bookmarks.
We wanted to go. Oh, we did! We bought our tickets quite some time ago thinking these games were to be Russia’s coming out party so to speak. Kind of like how China secured her footing at the center of the world stage with the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
But no, I don’t think so.
There is to be no coming out in Russia this year, is there Mr. President?
I think not.
For, as you well know, your Duma (and I do mean your Duma) adopted, and you, President Putin, signed a nationwide law banning the distribution of "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations" in June 2013. And, while your law does not specifically focus on homosexuality the intent of your law is clear. This law acts to diminish the rights and liberties of individuals I count as my friends for under this law it is basically (though not specifically stated I grant you) illegal to speak of or promote the equal rights of members of the gay community. Under this law it is all but illegal to promote (let alone live) the idea that a relationship between members of the gay community is equal to a relationship between members of the heterosexual community.
Under this law intolerance rears its ugly head.
Under this law the banner of violence blooms.
Now, I know you’re thinking I’m just a big old scaredy cat. I can just hear it now, ‘You big sissy, Glenn, you’re just scared to visit Sochi because of the scurrilous and misleading propaganda pushed forth by our enemies regarding potential terrorism and violence at the Olympics. Lies! All lies!’
But, you see, I’m not so worried about terror. Apologies to my Course 15 stats professors, but I just can’t imagine terror might befall a family for a second time. So, come on. I’m thinking I’ve got a pass on this one. And heck, we were in Atlanta, attending events the day after the bombing.
And violence? I mean, think about it. I live in America! Sadly in my country going to the mall, or to the movies, or to work or, gosh, even going to school offers the risk of violence, automatic weapons fire and indiscriminate murder.
I’m from the Land of the Rising Gun.
So no, that’s not it either.
What I’m scared of, Mr. President, is treating you like an equal. I’m scared that if I go to your Olympic party I will be complicit in validating your ideals. And I can’t do that.
I just can’t.
For your laws and your ideals diminish the good and proud people of Russia, straight and gay alike. And so long as you treat others with less than complete dignity and so long as you treat others with less that complete respect I will not be joining you in Sochi.
So with regrets, I decline.
Our spectator seats? They shall remain empty.
Now go. Have fun and enjoy your games!
And me? What will I do if I'm not attending the Games? Well, I’ll probably just read a book. And tonight, when I finish reading, I will mark my place with my newest bookmark; the one that says, 'No,' I do not agree with you and I will not sit with the likes of you.
With this example in mind, let us again ask; how might American leaders seeking to pass legislation restricting the rights of fellow citizens conduct themselves if afforded more power in the future?
For an answer, we need look no further than the example of Mr. Putin.
If this is the case, today’s leaders must not be tomorrow’s leaders.
If this is the case, we ourselves must take up the banner of leadership.
We must lead with action.
Regardless of your party, please vote. Raise money for candidates and organizations protecting the rights of fellow Americans. Lead, with knowledge as your weapon.
If present performance is an indicator of future results, choose your future wisely.
Footnotes:  “2022 State Legislative Sessions: Abortion Bans and Restrictions…”, Guttmacher Institute, Nash, Cross, Dreweke, 4/15/22, https://www.guttmacher.org/article/2022/03/2022-state-legislative-sessions-abortion-bans-and-restrictions-medication-abortion  “What Can Economics Research Tell Us About … Abortion Access”, Brookings Institute, Caitlin Knowles Myers and Morgan Watch, 11/30/21, https://www.brookings.edu/research/what-can-economic-research-tell-us-about-the-effect-of-abortion-access-on-womens-lives/?amp  “Nearly 240 anti-LGBTQ bills filed… NBC News, 3/20/22, Matt Lavietes, Elliot Ramos https://www.nbcnews.com/nbc-out/out-politics-and-policy/nearly-240-anti-lgbtq-bills-filed-2022-far-targeting-trans-people-rcna20418  “Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System” 2019, “Trends in Violence Victimization and Suicide Risk by Sexual Identity” CDC, Johns, Lowry, Haderxhanaj, Rasberry, Robin, Scales, Stone, Suarez, 8/21/20, https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/su/su6901a3.htm?s_cid=su6901a3_w  Article 19, “Russia: Federal Laws Introducing Ban on Propaganda of Non-Traditional Sexual Relationships” Legal Analysis, June 2013, https://www.article19.org/data/files/medialibrary/37129/13-06-27-russia-LA.pdf