by TERRA SLAVIN, The Huffington Post
The L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center works every day with some of the most vulnerable lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) survivors of domestic and sexual violence, including many immigrants -- survivors who will be put at risk by the changes made by the House of Representatives to the Senate bill reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). These changes not only omit landmark Senate provisions barring discrimination against and increasing protections for LGBT survivors, but they make it less likely that our clients will report domestic violence.
Recognizing the diverse needs of communities is not singling out a community for special protection; it is merely acknowledging that access to services is not equal and that specific pathways are often necessary.
We call upon advocates from across the country to decry the House's actions and to encourage their legislators to do the right thing as the House and Senate meet in conference to reconcile the two bills. This country can no longer afford to play politics with lives.