US: State Department ends HIV discrimination
This article is form Lambda Legal, which seeks legal equality in the US for LGBTI people:
We were headed to trial in less than two weeks, set to challenge the U.S. State Department’s blanket ban on hiring people with HIV to be Foreign Service Officers.
But today the State Department has lifted the ban.
It has issued new guidelines for people living with HIV under which it will evaluate them on a case-by-case basis, as the law requires. This is a huge victory for people living with HIV.
“At long last,the State Department is taking down its sign that read ‘People with HIV need not apply,'” says Lambda Legal’s HIV Project Director, Bebe Anderson.
We’ve been fighting this case on behalf of our client Lorenzo Taylor for the past five and a half years. We also waged a massive public advocacy campaign, collecting 17,000 signatures from people around the country who spoke out against this policy. Today we can all take heart that the State Department heard our voices.
Partly due to the new guidelines, Lorenzo has decided to settle his lawsuit. “I wanted to serve my country as a Foreign Service Officer, but was told, ‘Sorry we don’t need your kind,'” Lorenzo says. “Now people like me who apply to the Foreign Service will not have to go through what I did. They and others with HIV will know that they do not have to surrender to stigma, ignorance, fear, or the efforts of anyone, even the federal government, to impose second-class citizenship on them. They can fight back.”
Lorenzo’s case is a stark reminder of the type of discrimination that people with HIV continue to face in the workplace.