Advocacy

Man with megaphone

B Stigma-Free is committed to creating a more courageous society where all people are respected and treated fairly, and where differences are valued. To achieve this goal we collaborate with our partners and advocate on behalf of people who are stigmatized, meeting bias where it exists, whether it is with the general public, in corporate marketing activities, in the media, or through government regulations. We engage policy and decision-makers on the local, state and national level to impact change and assure that all people are treated fairly and free from discrimination .

Donate here to help us reduce bias and discrimination. 


B Stigma-Free is developing an awareness campaign to help people better understand variations in gender identity. Since most people may not recognize that someone is transgender, or they don’t know any openly transgender people, they have more difficulties relating. The unknown is creating fear, which is influencing opinion.

Help us connect with transgender volunteers to help us tell their story. We are actively collecting stories. Read more here, and share with your friends.


B Stigma-Free condemns the Trump administration’s discriminatory immigration policy, enacted by executive order on 1/27/17, as it treats people differently based on their religion or country of origin. Read more here.


B Stigma-Free signed on as a partner of the Women’s March on Washington taking place on January 21, 2017.  We march as a show of unity, and for inclusion and respect. We march for equality, and because we value diversity. We march for the marginalized – we march for us all. Read more here.


Thank you Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA), for doggedly pursuing the Mental Health Reform Act until it was passed as part of the 21st Century CURES legislation in December, 2016. Read a fact sheet about the legislation here. Senator Murphy shared with his constituents his fascinating behind-the-scenes story of how he did it. We’ve copied it for you to read here.


North Carolina “Bathroom Law”  legalizes discrimination. In response to Charlotte, NC’s anti-discrimination efforts to protect the LGBT population from discrimination, the state’s legislature swiftly overturned those protections and passed House Bill 2 (HB2); the law bans anti-discrimination policies and requires people who are transgender to use restrooms in schools and public facilities that correspond to their gender of birth – not the gender that they identify with. North Carolina Governor McCrory immediately signed the bill into law on March 23, 2016.

Update: In November 2016 Governor McCrory was defeated by his Democratic challenger as a referendum on HB2.

Update: States and major corporations are boycotting NC; protests and calls to repeal the law are heard nationwide. NC’s Attorney General says he is “embarrassed” and ACLU and other plaintiffs sue the state over claims of discrimination.

Update: Attorney General Loretta Lynch said on May 10, 2016, “None of us can stand by when a state enters the business of legislating identity…” and cited North Carolina’s violations of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The Justice Department sued the state, which in turn countersued. 

Update: On May 13, 2016 the Obama administration issued a letter advising that all public schools shall allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice. While not a law, federal funding may be withheld if there are violations. 

Update: On August  26, 2016 U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder issued an  injunction stating that sections of House Bill 2 may not be enforced as it likely violates Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.


VETO South Dakota’s Act to restrict access to certain restrooms and locker rooms in public schools (HB 1008). B Stigma-Free called upon South Dakota’s Governor Dennis Daugaard to veto this legislation as it is based on unfounded fear and stigma, and it discriminates against students who are transgender. The Governor must either veto or sign the legislation by March 1, 2016 or else it automatically becomes law. Read more, including B Stigma-Free’s letter to Governor Daugaard here.

Update: On March 1, 2016 Governor Daugaard vetoed the legislation.


Affirmation of Support and Inclusion of Muslims
B Stigma-Free repudiates the rampant xenophobic and Islamaphobic rhetoric and attitudes plaguing our country. Too many politicians and public figures are fear mongering, encouraging Americans to abandon the values that this country was founded on. They are fueling prejudiced sentiment in order to secure political gain.

Action Step – Tell the Obama administration to rescind National Security Exit-Entry Registration System (NSEERS) as it is a discriminatory practice that goes against American values of fairness and equality, targeting foreign nationals based on religion and national origin. Follow this link to our partner, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee’s website for the how-to.

Update: On December 22, 2016 Secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, rescinded NSEERS, ending the system that allowed for questioning and fingerprinting people based on their religion and country of origin. We must still remain vigilant, as President Elect Trump has vowed to resume such policies.  


Vote NO on American SAFE Act of 2015 (HR 4038)
The American Security Against Foreign Enemies (SAFE) Act (HR 4038) calls out refugees from Iraq and Syria, all but making it impossible for them to find safe refuge in the US. Existing regulations already require an extensive 18-24 month screening process. This legislation passed the House on November 19, 2015, 289-137, with almost all Republicans and 47 Democrats voting in favor. The bill is now before the US Senate.  We question the need for this bill, and assert that it is merely an attempt to legalize discriminatory and xenophobic sentiment.

Update: On January 20, 2016 the bill provisionally died due to a failed vote for cloture.


Healthcare Bill of Rights
In November, 2014, B Stigma-Free proudly partnered with LGBT HealthLink, PROMO Fund, CenterLink and volunteer attorney Corey Prachniak to advocate for a Healthcare Bill of Rights so all people will be treated equally and respectfully when seeking and receiving healthcare, and so they feel safe sharing their sexual and gender identifying information.


Fat-shaming Apps
On Tuesday, August 26, 2014, B Stigma-Free  joined Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) and signed onto OAC’s letter to Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Google declaring that fat-shaming apps are harmful to children and need to be removed from on-line stores. In addition to the letters to the software companies, the campaign engaged the public with a petition and letter-writing campaign. 

Board of Directors:

Dana Beyer, MD

Thomas Kaylor

Marvin Pannell, MBA

Nermis Rosario, CFA

Vernon S. Thompson, DMin, MEd, MDiv

 

Advisory Council:

Neelum T. Aggarwal, MD

Patrick Corrigan, PsyD

Irwin Krieger, LCSW

William B. Lawson, MD, PhD, DLFAPA

Andrea Leonardi, MA

Deborah Lipschitz, MD

Michael Morris, PhD

Sonia M. Ospina, PhD

Rebecca M. Puhl, PhD

Marilyn Price Spivack

Janie Victoria Ward, EdD, MEd