The photos said it all. A smiling Barack Obama, center stage, surrounded by not one, not two, but seven beaming women, all celebrating the passage of the aptly titled Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act. The legislation corrects the 2007 Supreme Court decision that told plaintiff Lilly Ledbetter that she ought to have filed a pay-discrimination complaint 20 years ago, or 180 days after receiving her first discriminatory paycheck. How Lilly Ledbetter would have known she was being paid less than her male counterparts a mere six months after she was hired, particularly when employees at the Gadsden, Alabama, Goodyear plant where she worked knew that sharing salary information was grounds for being fired, the Supreme Court didn't say.
The long-running comic strip "Dykes to Watch Out For," now collected in the hardcover volume The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For, (Houghton Mifflin, $25), inhabits a political world beguilingly, and disturbingly, like our own. Cartoonist Alison Bechdel's characters may be fictional, but two decades of recognizable American history are threaded through the panels, providing a sardonic backdrop to, and engine for, a fully-realized constellation of friendships, courtships, and never-ending breakups among a collection of lesbians and their friends.
In April 2007, Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts, Rep. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, and others introduced the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that was transgender inclusive, in that it would provide protections for not just gays and lesbians but for people whose gender identity and expression didn't match their sex assigned at birth.