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5 Things LGBT People Should Know About Guam

5 Things LGBT People Should Know About Guam

With North Korea threatening the island, all eyes are on the tiny territory, which is surprisingly LGBT-friendly.

Guam, the United States territory and military base in the Pacific Ocean, is rarely on the tips of our tongues. But with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un threatening to obliterate its 210 square miles and the 175,000 people living on them, many are turning their heads to the west.

If you're still sounding out the name of the island (it's [gwahm], by the way) you might not know that not only is Guam an essential military base, but one of the most pro-LGBT hubs on American soil. Here are five LGBT-related facts about Guam:

1. Guam was the first U.S. territory to recognize same-sex marriage. TheU.S. District Court of Guam legalized it in 2015, before 14 states.

2. Guam lists both same-sex parents' names on birth certificates. In a climate where parental rights of LGBT people are constantly questioned and denied, particularly when it comes to adoption, as of this May, Guam's Department of Public Health and Social Services has decided that a parent's a parent, regardless of their sexual orientation.

3. It's illegal to fire someone for being LGBT in Guam. Now, this doesn't seem novel, but as of August 2015, when Bill 102-33unanimously passed, Guam's legislature became one of the most supportive of LGBT people. You can still be fired for being gay in 28 states (30 if you're trans), and the Justice Department supports employers "right" to do so.

4. Guam just had its first major Pride march in June.Although only 150 people attended, it was a major event for the community.

5. "Conversion" therapy is illegal in the territory. Sorry, Mike Pence. The vice president-approved practice, viewed by many as a form of torture, isn't happening in Guam.

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Ariel Sobel