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

By Wallace Swan | Go to book overview

5

New GLBT Political and Policy Developments

Five Years of Progress

Hastings Wyman

Southern Political Report, Washington, D.C., U.S.A.


I.

INTRODUCTION

As more and more gay people live their lives openly, their presence is becoming apparent throughout the nation. A 2002 study by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute found the major concentration of gay people, based on 2000 census data, was in urban areas ( 1). However, the U.S. Census reported that people who identified themselves as part of samesex couples were present in a wide variety of areas, for example, in every one of Mississippi's 82 counties ( 2).

The status of gay people, including gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals, is changing rapidly in today's society. Some of the changes are highly visible, like the growth of television programs such as “Queer as Folk, ” “Will and Grace, ” and “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” that feature gay characters; the appearance of Washington's Gay Men's Chorus at a Kennedy Center program attended by President George W. Bush and the First Lady; or the decision of the New York Times to publish announcements of same-sex partnerships. Others receive less national attention, but are important nonetheless: The widespread enactment of gay-inclusive laws by state and local governments, the growing adoption of nondiscrimination employment pol-

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