Happy Halloween! Let's talk about something truly terrifying: LGBT discrimination in hiring.
Maybe not as viscerally scream-inducing as ghouls or witches, I know. But after progress on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act got halted by a government shutdown and fights over the debt ceiling, BuzzFeed reported Thursday that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is likely to start setting up a Monday vote on beginning debate on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, also known as ENDA. (Earlier this week, Reid promised to bring ENDA to the Senate floor by Thanksgiving.)
The current version of ENDA, which includes protections against discrimination based on gender identity -- has been kicking around Capitol Hill since April, although some form of the bill has been introduced almost every session of Congress since 1994.
At the moment, 21 states have laws forbidding employment discrimination due to sexual orientation; of that set, four states -- including Maryland -- have not extended similar protections against discrimination based on gender identity. Which means a staggering number of LGBT individuals in America have to worry about whether being their open, honest selves during job interviews will affect their employment prospects. (As if applying for a job weren't stressful enough.)
Feeling those Halloween goose bumps yet? Let's move on to less frightening news:
- All Hallow's Eve has long been an important evening to members of the LGBT community, since the accepted rules about costumes allowed many to bend the heteronormative standards of gender and be more open about their sexuality. In an era where gay Halloween parties have achieved wide renown (thanks, "30 Rock"), Baltimore-based writer Brandon Ambrosino takes a look at whether Halloween is intrinsically queer at heart. (Spoiler: It totally is.)
- In classic "because why not" news, "Glee" is thinking about moving gay crooner Kurt to Russia. Where, it seems safe to assume, he'll experience anti-LGBT discrimination in a made-for-primetime way that totally obscures the darker, more violent effects of Russia's "gay propaganda" law.
- Starting Friday, Germany will become Europe's first nation to allow a gender-neutral option on birth certificates.
- As Virginia's gubernatorial election approaches, Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe is making a point to portray his opponent Ken Cuccinelli as anti-gay, The Washington Blade reports.
- Openly gay figure skater Johnny Weir made it clear he won't be saying anything about Russia's anti-gay law while working as an NBC analyst this February. Which is puzzling, since he's also said he plans to be in Sochi "in full support of our brothers and sisters there." So, don't worry, Russian gays: Johnny Weir stands behind you. As long as he doesn't have to call attention to your situation with the megaphone he's being handed by the media.
That's the news we've been buzzing about this week. What have you got?