Handbook of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Administration and Policy

By Wallace Swan | Go to book overview
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The Developed World

Paul Mazur

Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A.


I.

INTRODUCTION

In most modern democratic societies those who have been disenfranchised from their government by policies that adversely affect them have eventually banded together to get a place at the public policy table to advocate for their rights. Whether it has been racial minorities, women, disabled people, immigrants, sexual minorities, or other groups that have been badly served within a society, people have found ways to force the issue of equal treatment under the law onto the public policy agenda in their societies.

Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) people have made the greatest strides in obtaining recognized civil rights in those countries that have well-developed and well-practiced democracies, that have well-defined civil society, that have well-developed economies, and that have a well-developed culture and traditions of fairness and equity.

While gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people still have a long way to go in gaining full acceptance even in these cultures, they have nevertheless made enormous strides in the developed countries over the last 35 years using whatever political (interest group, political party, campaign financing), economic (the power of money), cultural (film, music, and television), and judicial (lawsuits, amicus curiae briefs, etc.) means they have at their disposal. These are the same tools used by every disenfranchised group to gain at least policy acceptance, if not social acceptance, in their societies.

-1-

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