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Thursday, September 28, 2017

LGBTQ News Compilation-September 29

Let the poor die– Senators Graham & Cassidy Let the poor die– Senators Graham & Cassidy

New GOP Obamacare repeal will hurt LGBT and HIV+ people

Boston, MA - The latest Congressional proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), sponsored by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA), would make significant cuts to Medicaid. It would permit states to opt out of ACA provisions that prevent health insurers from charging higher health insurance premiums to people who have been treated for cancer, diabetes, HIV, and other health conditions. States would be permitted to opt out of ACA provisions that require health insurers to provide coverage of Essential Health Benefits, such as maternity care, pediatric dental care, prescription medications, preventive screenings, and behavioral healthcare. The bill would also prohibit federal reimbursement for services performed at Planned Parenthood health clinics for at least one year.

“Graduate students in medicine, nursing, and other allied fields learn that their first responsibility is to do no harm. This bill threatens to do just that by taking away health insurance, and thus access to care, for millions of Americans,” said Stephen L. Boswell, MD, FACP, President & CEO of Fenway Health. “Under the ACA, millions of LGBT people, people living with HIV, and those who have historically had lower access to health insurance—such as Black Americans—have gained coverage. The Graham-Cassidy bill would undo that progress.”

The Graham-Cassidy bill would change the option states now have to offer Medicaid, a public health insurance program, to low-income adults who do not otherwise qualify based on disability or primary care responsibility for a child. This provision greatly benefitted low-income LGBT adults as well as people living with HIV who had never received an AIDS diagnosis. Under the Graham-Cassidy bill, eligibility for Medicaid would be limited in every state to low-income children, pregnant women, parents of dependent children, seniors, and people with disabilities. After key provisions of the ACA that expanded eligibility for Medicaid went into effect—rates of uninsurance among lesbian, gay and bisexual people were cut in half, from 22% to 11%. Rates of uninsurance among low-income transgender people dropped from 59% in 2013 to 35% in 2014. Between 2012 and 2014, rates of uninsurance among people living with HIV dropped from 22% to 15%. Over the same period, rates of uninsurance among Black Americans dropped from 19% to 11%. “We urge Congress to carefully weigh the impact of this proposed legislation, and not rush it through without weighing its implications on the health and well-being of all Americans,” Boswell said. (Bay Windows at baywindows.com)


Bullied 10 year old boy becomes special guest at Dallas Pride

Dallas, TX - Mommy, would you still love me if I had a boyfriend?” Matty asked. Lynette Howe told her son that of course she’d always love him and asked her son if he did have a boyfriend. He told her he didn’t. Matty was 9 years old at the time, and that’s when the bullying started. “His attitude was, if people didn’t like it, they’d just have to deal with it,” Howe said. “Sometimes he wears feminine clothes.” The bullying has most often been verbal, but at times has gotten physical. But when Lynette spoke to school officials, they didn’t take the physical abuse seriously, telling her that “boys will be boys.”

His mother posted something on Facebook; she asked people to send him notes of encouragement, which she’d print out and collect for him so that when he was feeling bad about himself, she could show him how many people cared for him. Among the people who saw the post was Rodd Gray, aka Patti Le Plae Safe. And Rodd got in touch with Lynette. “Her son was being bullied because of who he is,” Gray said explaining why he contacted the East Texas mother and how horrified he was at how Matty was treated. Anyone who knows Rodd, knows that just sending a note isn’t his style. He insisted that Matty and family needed to come to Dallas’ Pride celebration as his guest and that Dallas needed to embrace Matty. Rodd was hosting on the main stage at the Pride parade on Sunday, Sept. 17, and Matty needed to be sitting there with him, Rodd insisted. The family accepted his offer. Mom, Dad, an older sister and Matty all drove to Dallas from their home near Longview so Matty could go to Pride.

Before the parade started, Matty’s mom took him to the middle of the street and Rodd announced, “This 10-year-old is being bullied and you can help him.” Rodd knew the crowd would find ways to give Matty positive attention. And he was right. “He was overwhelmed,” Rodd said. People gave Matty hugs. And flowers. And beads … lots and lots of beads — bags full to take home. And people took pictures with him and with his family. Describing what happened, Rodd was in tears. “He’s an adorable child,” he said, wondering how classmates and teachers could be so hateful to him. Rodd said that while he loved the outpouring of love for Matty from the crowd along Cedar Springs Road, what he loved most was seeing how Matty’s family supports him. “I’m so happy they’re letting him be himself,” he said. (Dallas Voice – David Taffet at dallasvoice.com)


Tucson adds rainbow crosswalks to historic gayborhood

Tucson, AZ - In August, Tucson joined a growing number of cities that have added rainbow crosswalks to urban spaces. Historic Fourth Avenue, at the intersection of Sixth Street, is now home to the only four rainbow crosswalks in Arizona. The project, which was formally dedicated Aug. 8, is the result of a collaboration by The Fourth Avenue Merchants Association (FAMA), Southern Arizona Aids Foundation (SAAF), Speedy Striping Inc., and the City of Tucson.

The message Adam Ragan, associate director of LGBTQ Initiatives for SAAF. hopes the rainbow crosswalks convey is that solidarity and inclusivity are a major and vital part of the community. Ragan was first inspired by the idea of bringing rainbow crosswalks in Tucson four years ago. And, when an opportunity to make this a reality in his city presented itself, the community organizer jumped at it. However, when asked who the one person most responsible for this effort is, Ragan replied, the “Tucson community,” adding that he attributes the success of the project to all the organizations, people, allies and business within the community.

Lucas Boring, Speedy Striping Inc. president, got on board and donated the time, equipment and services for the project. In addition, he paid his employees overtime for working Sunday afternoon and evening and stated that they were “proud to be part of this effort.” While rainbow crosswalks in other cities use industrial paint, Speedy Striping estimated that Tucson’s would need a better product to withstand its traffic, monsoons, heat and ultra violet rays. With the help of its supplier, Speedy Striping developed a new process that – instead of paint – employs recycled stained glass that’s turned into a special mixture and colored to each specific hue. First, an epoxy is laid down and then it’s coated it with one of the colors. Although and this installation was a first of its kind, combining this product and process, this technique is designed to last at least three years. (Echo Magazine - Stephanie Anne Donoghue at echomag.com)


Orthodox Israeli lawmaker attends nephew’s gay wedding

Jerusalem – The New York Times reports that after ultra-Orthodox Shas party lawmaker Yigal Guetta, revealed in the radio interview that he had attended the wedding of a gay nephew, his chatty appeal to a broader audience of potential Shas voters backfired and Rabbis and party activists demanded that he resign. Under pressure from the critics, Mr. Guetta, 51, told Aryeh Deri, the party leader, this week that he was resigning, and Mr. Deri agreed. But many Israelis have since expressed outrage that the rabbis and the party would put strict adherence to Jewish law and prejudice above family unity. Gays are welcomed in the Israeli military and are open about their sexual orientation in politics and other spheres.

Mr. Guetta is now in negotiations with the Shas Party’s council of sages, who are said to be less upset about his attendance at the wedding than his disclosure of that information in the radio interview. A compromise appears to be emerging in which Mr. Guetta would apologize for giving the interview, though not for attending the wedding, and would retain his place in the party and his seat in the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament. Mr. Guetta did not answer his cellphone or respond to text messages on September 14, and the Shas Party was not commenting on the episode publicly.

The wedding took place two years ago, before Mr. Guetta had entered Parliament. Same-sex marriage is not officially recognized in Israel, nor is any mechanism of civil marriage, with the strictly Orthodox-controlled state rabbinate maintaining a monopoly on Jewish weddings. But some Israelis bypass the restrictions by holding ceremonies of their choice and formalizing their civil union with lawyers, or by marrying abroad. (The New York Times – at Isabel Kershner at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/14/world/middleeast/israel-gay-lawmaker-orthodox.html?hp&act)


Actor in gay coming of age movie responds to James Woods

Los Angeles, CA – As reported by HuffPost and Yahoo News The queer-themed coming-of-age drama “Call Me By Your Name” drew critical raves after its Sundance Film Festival premiere in January, garnering early Oscar buzz for stars Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet. One person who isn’t buying into the buzz, however, is James Woods. The 70-year-old actor, who is known for his conservative views, blasted the film for its portrayal of a romantic relationship between a 24-year-old academic (Hammer) and a 17-year-old American expat (Chalamet) living in Italy. Woods tweeted, “As they quietly chip away the last barriers of decency,” and hashtagged the tweet #NAMBLA, an acronym for the North American Man/Boy Love Association, an organization that has spoken out against age-of-consent laws and supported incarcerated individuals who identify as “boy lovers.”

But Hammer, 30, wasn’t having any of it, and shot back: “Didn't you date a 19 year old when you were 60.......?” As it turns out, the star of “The Lone Ranger” and “The Social Network,” who is married to Elizabeth Chambers, wasn’t far off. When Woods was 59, he was romantically linked to 19-year-old Ashley Madison. In 2013, at the age of 66, he dated Kristen Bauguess, who was then 20. “Joan of Arcadia” star Amber Tamblyn responded to Hammer’s tweet with an eyebrow-raising claim of her own about Woods. “James Woods tried to pick me and my friend up at a restaurant once. He wanted to take us to Vegas. "I'm 16" I said. "Even better" he said.”

Fortunately, it doesn’t seem as if Hammer will need Woods’ approval. “Call Me By Your Name,” which hits theaters nationwide Nov. 24, wowed audiences at the 2017 Toronto Film Festival and currently boasts a 98 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. As for Hammer, the film “challenged and pushed” him as an actor. “To be perfectly honest, I think the reason I took this movie, and the reason I had to take this movie, is that it scared me,” he told People. “I couldn’t be more thankful for the experience.” (HuffPost - Curtis M. Wong at https://www.yahoo.com/news/armie-hammer-perfect-response-james-211952650.html)


Former US Surgeons Generals say no to intersex surgery

Washington, D.C. - Intersex advocates are rejoicing at a paper released by three former US Surgeons General. The surgeon-generals called for an end to forced medical surgeries on young intersex people. Dr Joycelyn Elders, Dr David Satcher and Dr Richard Carmona were the 15th to 17th Surgeons General respectively. A US Surgeon General is the head of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (PHSCC) and leading spokesperson on matters of federal public health in the United States.

“While we do not doubt that doctors who support and perform these surgeries have the best interests of patients and their parents at heart, our review of the available evidence has persuaded us that cosmetic infant genitoplasty is not justified absent a need to ensure physical functioning, and we hope that professionals and parents who face this difficult decision will heed the growing consensus that the practice should stop,” the three Surgeons General wrote in their paper. The paper comes as a new study revealed people who did not have forced surgery grew up without predicted problems. The French study found ‘so far no major concerns have been reported from patients and their families’ and ‘with appropriate medical care and psychological support, it is possible to defer genital surgery’. The three Surgeons General called on doctors to wait until children were old enough to decide for themselves.

The three condemned genitoplasty and other procedures, which are often performed on infants with intersex traits. Intersex advocates, human rights groups and even the World Health Organization recognize ‘corrective surgery’ can cause more harm than good. The irreversible medical procedures are performed on infants or young children who cannot consent to the surgery. Oii USA (Organization Intersex International) said the paper was a “stunning victory.” “This is an important win not just nationally but globally, as these harmful practices were pioneered in the United States, and U.S. medical institutions have been slow to question them and instrumental in exporting them throughout the world,” Oii USA said in a statement. Germany, Switzerland, Australia, Chile, Argentina and Malta have declared medical procedures are not necessary to ensure healthy physical functioning. In May, Portugal banned surgery on intersex babies. (Gay Star News – Shannon Power at https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/us-surgeon-generals-call-end-intersex-surgery/#gs.2is8mp0)


 

Issues arise as drag enters the mainstream

Charlotte, NC - Drag entertainment has exploded in popularity in recent years, but the transition from niche market to international industry hasn’t been entirely smooth. Professionals across the board disagree on ethical issues in drag, and even its very purpose as an art form. There are definite advantages to the growing legitimacy of drag performance, as agency owner Michael-David Carpenter knows well after founding Asheville-based Michael-David Entertainment. “Drag has historically been a taboo underground art form, and is now being recognized with respect,” Carpenter told qnotes. It warms my heart that my clients’ hard work and talent isn’t limited to the small stage of a nightclub, but is now being enjoyed on the main stages of city festivals and on television.”

The growth of the industry presents new opportunities; some drag performers seek to make their art a full-time career. However, as qnotes columnist and resident queen Buff Faye reflects, the history behind drag performance has little to do with financial gain. “I don’t see drag as just a job or a hobby for that matter,” said Faye, whose off-stage name is Shane Windmeyer. “It is a way of activism: to send a message, stand up, to act, to inspire, to lead and to create change. That is what drag queens have done throughout history. I worry that is getting lost in the mainstreaming of drag.” Windmeyer himself performs frequently in various venues, but by day works as executive director of Charlotte, N.C.-based non-profit Campus Pride.

Windmeyer is particularly passionate about one ethical issue within the drag industry: contracts and explicit terms. “Contracts are mutual agreements between the entertainer and the venue, meant to ensure the common investment on both sides,” Carpenter explains. “All sides need proper communication and protection.” This communication and protection isn’t common practice, according to Windmeyer. In his experience, most local venues do not use formal contracts. The flexibility of verbal agreements allows for frequently changing terms — a feature that may cause confusion, miscommunication and ethical breaches. Another ethical issue for drag professionals is compensation. Conflicts arise when performers often spend more money preparing for a show than they receive to perform it. “I don’t know any drag queen in Charlotte who has successfully made drag a full-time career,” Windmeyer said. (Q Notes Online – Maria Dominguez at goqnotes.com)


HRC Dallas-Ft. Worth club meetings promote community

Dallas, TX - The HRC DFW Federal Club has a long history of educating and engaging the Dallas LGBTQ community in the spirit of ensuring basic rights for all LGBTQ people. That spirit is ever present at HRC Mondays—a free monthly speaker and cultural engagement series that seeks to shed light on political and social issues through an LGBTQ lens.

Since its founding in 1987, “HRC DFW Federal Club has rooted itself within community engagement,” said Cozette Kosary, DFW HRC Marketing Committee Co-chair and the HRC Mondays coordinator. “We have a steering committee dedicated to finding and creating events that help to bridge gaps.” Our community can often feel self-segregated based on race, orientation and socio-economic class. By shedding light on the unique experiences within our community at large, the HRC DFW Federal Club is working to further unify us all

Held on the last Monday of every month, HRC Mondays cultivates community by inviting the public to learn more about our diverse experiences. Originally held as a social mixer, the event has since evolved into a speaker series and happy hour. Their host, Chino Chinatown in Trinity Groves, donates their space and gives part of their Equality Vodka sales back to the HRC DFW Federal Club. HRC Mondays has covered topics ranging from the SCOTUS Marriage Equality Anniversary and Transgender Civil Rights Awareness. August’s HRC Mondays focused on LGBTQ Youth Homelessness Awareness, and exhibited speakers from around Dallas who are working to end youth homelessness. This month’s event, Tales of DREAMers and DACA, will raise awareness about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). (Dallas Voice – Adam Johnson at dallasvoice.com)


GLSEN Phoenix to support students, teachers and schools

Phoenix, AZ - Throughout the school year ahead, the GLSEN Phoenix will continue to further its mission of assisting students, teachers, administrators and Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) in building inclusive, bullying-free environments in Valley schools. As the local chapter affiliate of the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe and affirming schools for all students, regardless of one’s actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, GLSEN Phoenix began gearing up for the 2017-2018 school year early this summer.

The organization kicked off the school year by delivering resource kits containing such items as event calendars, gender pronoun stickers, buttons and lanyards to local schools. GLSEN Phoenix expects to work with approximately 100 local schools with GSAs in the school year ahead. While providing resources for students is of great importance, Ricardo Martinez, GLSEN Phoenix chair, asserts that teachers play a vital role in developing and continuing GSAs. “We have worked collaboratively with a lot of courageous teachers,” he said. “I think as long as teachers continue to show up for students, those clubs are going to sustain.”

One of the biggest areas of focus, according to Martinez, has been volunteer training. By training its 20 some volunteers ahead of the school year, the organization is better prepared to do more work once class is back in session, especially because of the volume of requests coming in for training. “Now we’ve increase our capacity to be able to deliver even more training to even more schools,” Martinez said. “So, we are really well positioned in the new year to really increase our partnership with school districts, with individual schools if they need us, and we have a pretty deep cohort of people who are ready to go out and conduct training.” GLSEN Phoenix trainings typically last three hours and include such topics such as safe school fundamentals, supporting transgender and gender nonconforming students, model anti-bullying/anti-harassment policies, family diversity and inclusive elementary schools. (Echo Magazine- Laura Latzko at echomag.com)

Beyond the Beltway

Beyond the Beltway

Compiled by Jim Becker

These news notes have been compiled, with permission, from the online version of various newspapers and other websites. We thank these publications for allowing us to bring you their news stories. Usually the reports have been significantly edited and you can read the full story by going to the website mentioned following the item. Comments are strictly the opinions of Jim Becker and not of Baltimore Outloud or Pride Media.

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