BREAKING: 10th Circuit says OK marriage ban is unconstitutional

Posted on 18 Jul 2014 at 10:52am

Bs1h9tfCAAAgOOnA U.S. appeals court ruled today that Oklahoma’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. The 2-1 vote by the U.S. Tenth Circuit of Appeals affirmed U.S. Judge Terence Kern’s earlier decision in Bishop v. Smith.

The same three-judge panel also ruled earlier Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

The court stayed its ruling however, pending an appeal by the state of Oklahoma.

The case is the oldest challenge to a same-sex marriage ban in the country.

Since the Supreme Court’s major gay rights decisions last year, 17 federal courts have ruled that state same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional. More than 70 cases are pending in federal court including one in Texas, DeLeon v. Perry according to a press release from the Human Rights Campaign.



Malaysia Airlines crash claims 100-plus AIDS researchers, activists

Posted on 17 Jul 2014 at 11:21pm
Joep Lange

Joep Lange

The Sydney Morning Herald is among the news agencies reporting that more than 100 AIDS researchers, activists and medical workers on their way to the International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia were among the 298 people killed in the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in Ukraine early Thursday morning.

Officials have said the plane, a Boeing 777, was shot down by Russian-led separatists using an anti-aircraft missile.

Former International AIDS Society president Joep Lange is said to be among those killed in the crash. New York Daily News is reporting that friends have confirmed that World Health Organization spokesman Glenn Raymond Thomas is also among the victims.

NY Daily News reports that the Boeing 777 departed from Amsterdam and was en route to Kuala Luampur when it was shot down in Ukraine about 25 miles from the Russian border. Among the 298 people killed were 154 from the Netherlands; 43 people, including 15 crew and two infants, from Malaysia; 27 from Australia; 12 people, including one infant, from Indonesia; 9 from the United Kingdom; 4 from Germany; 4 from Belgium; 3 from the Philippines; 1 from Canada; and 41 people “unverified.” Some Americans are believed to have been aboard.



Transgender news briefs

Posted on 17 Jul 2014 at 5:27pm

Trans woman murdered in Baltimore

Screen shot 2014-07-17 at 4.41.59 PM

Mia Henderson

Baltimore City Police announced July 16 that they are investigating the murder of trans woman Mia Henderson, sister of NBA player Reggie Bullock. Henderson, 26, is at least the second trans woman killed in Baltimore in as many months. According to a press release from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, her murder is “the latest in a string of Baltimore area homicides in the last two months in which transgender women have been killed.”

Baltimore police Investigators said officers serving a warrant just before 6 a.m. in the 3400 block of Piedmont Avenue found Henderson’s body in an alley. They said the victim had “suffered severe trauma.”

Police said it was too early to tell if the case is related to a similar one a month ago in which another transgender woman was killed. The body of 40-year-old Ricky Hall, known as Kandy, was found stabbed on June 4 in a field near Coldstream Park Elementary-Middle School in northeast Baltimore, according to reports by WBALTV News 11.


USDA adopts trans protections

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has added gender identity protections to its federal nondiscrimination regulations regarding programs or activities conducted by the department. This makes USDA is the first federal agency to issue regulations banning gender identity discrimination in all activities conducted by any employee of the department, according to an NGLTF press release issued today.

“Fifteen years ago, the USDA paved the way on federal rights for LGBT people by becoming the first agency to add sexual orientation nondiscrimination protections. Yesterday, the USDA once again demonstrated their leadership and commitment to equality by extending nondiscrimination protections to transgender people in every program the department operates,” NGLTF Executive Director Rea Carey said.


Report: Nearly two-thirds of Massachusetts trans people suffer discrimination

The Fenway Institute and Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition have released their Project VOICE report on transgender discrimination in public accommodations, which found that nearly two-thirds of trans residents of Massachusetts have experienced discrimination in a public accommodation setting in the last 12 years. Those experiencing discrimination were nearly twice as likely to report adverse physical and mental health outcomes, the report indicated.

The state’s Gender Identity Nondiscrimination Act, passed in 2011 and implemented in 2012, does not cover public accommodations.

Other findings reported in the study include:

• Overall, 65 percent of respondents reported discrimination in one or more public accommodation settings in the past 12 months.

• The five most prevalent settings in which discrimination was experienced were transportation (36 percent), retail (28 percent), restaurants (26 percent), public gatherings (25 percent) and health care facilities/services (24 percent).

• Those reported incidences of discrimination had an 84 percent increased risk of adverse physical symptoms, such as headaches, upset stomach or pounding heart, in the last 30 days and 99 percent increased risk of emotional symptoms in the past 30 days.

• 28 percent of respondents reported they had not seen a doctor in the last year.

• 29 percent reported having to teach their health care provider about transgender health issues in the last year.

The Massachusetts Legislature is currently considering passage of the Equal Access Bill, which would improve access to public accommodations for trans people there.

Download a copy of the complete report here.


European Court of Human Rights rules against trans woman in marriage case

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the country of Finland did not violate the human rights of a trans woman by requiring that her marriage be downgraded to a registered partnership in order for her to be legally recognized as a woman.

Before gender reassignment surgery, Ms. Hamalainen had married a woman, and Finnish authorities argued that legally recognizing her gender as female without ending her marriage would result in a same-sex marriage, which is not allowed under Finnish law.

Evelyne Paradis, executive director of ILGA-Europe, said: “The Finnish authorities argued and the European Court agreed that Ms Hamalainen’s family did not suffer disproportionately by their marriage being downgraded to a registered partnership as a registered partnership is almost identical to marriage in terms of rights and protections. Nevertheless, the court missed an important opportunity to condemn humiliating and discriminatory practices across Europe requiring trans people to end their existing marriage to obtain legal gender recognition.”

Trans people must end existing marriages to partners of the same-gender as they are post-transition to obtain legal gender recognition in 32 of 49 European countries.


Florida’s marriage ban overturned

Posted on 17 Jul 2014 at 1:18pm

FloridaA Monroe County circuit judge overturned Florida’s marriage ban and gave the county clerk’s office until Tuesday to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Monroe County covers the Florida Keys. The lawsuit was brought by two Key West bartenders and other couples seeking to marry, according to the Miami Herald.

Steve Rothaus, who covers the LGBT beat for the Miami Herald, reported it’s unclear whether the state will appeal or seek in injunction.

Marriage is currently legal in 19 states, several counties in Colorado and in the District of Columbia. In addition, a number of people have married in several states such as Wisconsin, Indiana and Utah during a short window between a court ruling and a stay on the ruling.



Bipartisan bill would protect global LGBT rights

Posted on 17 Jul 2014 at 12:49pm
Rep. John Tierney introduced a bipartisan bill to protect LGBT people worldwide.

Rep. John Tierney introduced a bipartisan bill to protect LGBT people worldwide.

A bill recently introduced by a bipartisan group of representatives in Congress would protect and advance the global rights of LGBT people if passed.

Reps. John F. Tierney, D-M.A., Chris Gibson, R-N.Y., and Richard, R-N.Y., introduced the International Human Rights Defense Act Wednesday, July 16. Sen. Edward Markey, D-M.A., introduced the bill in the Senate on June 3.

If passed, the bill would direct the Department of State to prioritize protecting LGBT people worldwide. The bill would require the department to develop a strategy to promote and protect LGBT rights worldwide and also appoint a “Special Envoy on the Human Rights of LGBT People” to oversee the strategy.

According to American Jewish World Service, a chief proponent of the bill, 77 countries jail people for having same-sex relations. Five of those countries allow LGBT people to be put to death.

“Defending the rights of LGBT people worldwide is crucial, as many governments are passing punitive laws and sanctioning acts of hate against LGBT people,” said Ruth Messinger, president of AJWS. “As American Jews, we are members of a minority whose rights have been trampled in the past, and we understand fully that neither nor our government can stand by as the rights of vulnerable minorities are trampled in other parts of the world.”


Malaysian passenger jet shot down in Ukraine

Posted on 17 Jul 2014 at 12:44pm

Multiple news agencies, including the New York Times, are reporting that a Malaysian Airlines passenger jet carrying 295 people has crashed in Ukraine near the Russian border, allegedly having been shot down by Russian-led separatist militants with an anti-aircraft missile.

This isn’t “an LGBT story.” But it is a human story, and something we should all care about. Besides the fact that this could spark world war, we should remember that the families and friends of 295 people are now mourning the loss of their loved ones.


In CDC study, less than 3 percent identify as LGB

Posted on 17 Jul 2014 at 11:18am

cdcStraight men are more likely to be overweight than gay men.

That was one of the not-so-surprising results of a study done by the Centers for Disease Control.

What was surprising was less than 3 percent of the U.S. population identifies as gay, lesbian or bisexual. An additional 1.1 percent refused to answer. The CDC did not necessarily take into account the higher percentage of gays and lesbians who move to larger cities and weight the responses from those areas.

The survey was a broad survey of more than 33,500 adults. However, the study doesn’t take into account how many people are uncomfortable revealing their sexual orientation and rather than refusing to answer, will tell a stranger they are straight. So the results reflect the difference between the straight population and those in the LGB community who are out and comfortable talking about their health to a surveyor.

The study found some health differences between gays and straights. Gays are more likely to smoke and drink more. Straight women are more likely than lesbians to consider themselves in good health. Gay men are more likely to consider themselves in good health than straight men.

Bisexuals are more likely to report psychological distress in the past month than straights.

Gays are more likely to get a flu vaccine and 30 percent more likely to have been tested for HIV.

Gay men are more likely than straight men to have a regular place to go for medical care. Lesbians are less likely than straight women to have a regular place to get health care.

Despite Ryan White, ADAP and other plans that cover HIV, gay men and lesbians are less likely to be on a public health assistance program than straight men or women and are more likely to have private health insurance.

The CDC’s estimates of population translate to just 3.7 million gays and lesbians in the U.S.


POZ Magazine founder to speak in Arlington

Posted on 16 Jul 2014 at 3:43pm

Sean Strub

Sean Strub — founder and advisory editor of POZ Magazine, executive director of the Sero Project and author of Body Counts: A Memoir of Politics, Sex, AIDS and Survival — will speak Aug. 21 in the Rooftop Gallery at Arlington Museum of Art, 201 W. Main St. in Arlington, at an event benefiting AIDS Outreach Center.

The event is presented by Friends of AOC. A $75 donation to AOC is requested of those attending, and tickets are available here.

Strub, a long-time activist and writer, has been HIV-positive for more than 33 years. He was publisher and executive editor of POZ from 1994-2004. Sero Project, for which he is executive director, is a network of people with HIV fighting for freedom from stigma and injustice. He is also treasurer of the U.S. Caucus of PWHA Organizations, and he served on the board of directors of the Global Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS from 2009-2012, and as co-chair of its North American affiliate from 2011-2012.


Rodeo coming back to Cowtown

Posted on 16 Jul 2014 at 3:11pm


Polish up your cowboy boots and get those Wranglers starched: The International Gay Rodeo Association is once again bringing its Finals Rodeo to Fort Worth, Oct. 16-19 in the John Justin Arena, 3401 W. Lancaster Ave. in Fort Worth’s Cultural District. Bud Light is once again the signature sponsor for the rodeo.

The rodeo will include competition in calf roping, team roping, bull riding and other traditional rodeo events, along with other events unique to gay rodeo, like goat dressing and the wild drag race. Both men and women compete in each category, and cowboys and cowgirls have  been competing in rodeos around the U.S. and Canada all year to pile up enough points to earn a spot in the finals. Only the top 20 point-winners in each of the 13 events win a spot at the Finals Rodeo to compete for the titles of WGRF Champion and All-Around Champion.

The four-day Finals Rodeo also includes the culmination of the Mr., Ms. MsTer and Miss IGRA 2015 competition, beginning Thursday, Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. in the Rose Room at S4, 3911 Cedar Springs Road in Dallas, and continuing Friday and Saturday, Oct. 17-18, at the Hilton Arlington, 2401 E. Lamar Blvd. in Arlington. The new titleholders will be crowned Saturday night, with the ceremony folled by a “Hoe Down Party” with live music and dancing. Royalty contests and the hoe-down are free and open to the public.

The four-day event will also include food and merchandise booths and entertainment. Competition in the 13 events will take place Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 18-19. Doors open each day at 9 a.m. Admission is $15 a day or $20 for a weekend pass. Proceeds will benefit IGRA’s two charities for 2014: the National LGBT Cancer Network and the Gay and Lesbian Rodeo Heritage Foundation



Be An Angel celebrates Legacy’s 25th anniversary

Posted on 16 Jul 2014 at 11:35am
Melissa Grove

Melissa Grove

On Sunday, Legacy Counseling Center celebrates its 25th anniversary with Be An Angel.

That’s such appropriate timing because Executive Director Melissa Grove and her staff at Founders Cottage are my angels. I call them that because they saved my friend’s life recently. Oh, I don’t mean, “Gee, Melissa. Thanks for the ride home. You saved my life.”

I mean a friend of mine was at Parkland last month and was suddenly diagnosed with organ failure. After just a few days, they were looking for hospice care for him — somewhere he could go to die. My partner called Melissa. After all, she has a hospice. Maybe she could help.

While Legacy didn’t have room, Melissa had this crazy idea for my friend. Maybe someone with HIV should be on HIV medication. And maybe, if that medication works, he won’t die.

I’m not sure why a doctor at Parkland didn’t think of putting someone with HIV on HIV meds. When someone goes to Parkland with a heart attack, do they say, “Hey, he had a heart attack. Find a hospice where he can die.” No, they treat the heart condition.

When someone with cancer goes to Parkland, do they say, “Hey, go home and die.” No, they send the patient to an oncologist.

So why, when someone with HIV came to Parkland, did they not treat the HIV? And why didn’t I think to suggest it myself? Well, I thought he was on his HIV meds, but I wasn’t looking at his medical chart or monitoring his medications, because I’m not a doctor. Thankfully, those angels at Legacy thought of it. Now Legacy is monitoring his care at a recovery facility and, guess what. He’s getting better.

“Yes, that happens a lot,” Grove said. “We get a lot of referrals to ‘hospice’ for people who have never even been tried on HIV meds.”

You can help Legacy continue to save lives. Legacy operates its counseling center in Uptown and Founder’s Cottage in Oak Cliff. In addition, it runs the country’s largest HIV-positive women’s conference through its Grace Project and its newest program, Homebase for Housing, that helps people with HIV find housing.

Be An Angel celebrates Legacy’s 25th anniversary with dinner, a live and silent auction and music by Vince Martinez at 7 for Parties, 150 Turtle Creek Blvd. Suite 107 on Sunday, July 20 from 6–9 p.m. Wendy Krispin is catering the three-course dinner. Tickets are $75 and available online.