Trump administration has removed questions on sexuality from surveys on aging

The administration of Donald Trump, the man touted by gay Republicans as the “most pro-gay” Republican president ever, has now removed questions regarding sexuality from federal surveys on aging and services for the disabled. Trump’s minions had already withdrawn another planned survey intended to evaluate the effectiveness of a homelessness project for LGBT youth.

According to ABC News, the National Survey of Older Americans Act Participants, a Health and Human Services department survey conducted each year, gathers information from those receiving transportation, homemaker and meal services, visiting senior centers, or taking part in other programs funded by the Older Americans Act. In a draft of this year’s survey, a single question asking about respondents’ sexual orientation has been removed. In the Annual Program Performance Report for Centers for Independent Living, a second report sponsored by HHS, has been edited to delete the only question regarding sexual orientation. This survey is intended to gather feedback on counseling, skills training and other services provided to the disabled.

Kelly Mack, a spokeswoman for the Administration for Community Living, the HHS division which oversees the two surveys, claimed the question on sexual orientation had only been included in the first place as part of a “pilot test,” and that it was removed because “the sample size was insufficient to be reliable,” according to ABC News. But LGBT advocates called bullshit, saying the survey results had already provided insight into the lives of LGBT elders.

Mack was also questioned by Associated Press journalists who noted that she claimed the question on sexual orientation was one of several removed from the surveys, but that in fact, it was the ONLY question removed. In response, Mack pointed to a question on respondents’ date of birth, then posted a revised version of the surveys in which that question was also removed. (Hey Kelly Mack, “two” does not equal “several.”)

Laura Durso, vice president of the LGBT Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress, accused the Trump administration of “choosing to not only ignore us but erase us from the discussion.”

Human Rights Campaign Government Affairs Director David Stacy said, “Today, there are an estimated 1.5 million LGBTQ seniors in America. This is an extremely vulnerable population, many of whom will have to face the challenges of advanced age or illness without the traditional support systems and legal protections that other seniors can take for granted. If we do not collect data on LGBTQ seniors, policymakers and advocates can not know the extent of the problems they face.”

HRC “implore[d] the Trump Administration to add this crucial question back to the NSOAAP and expand their questions to include data collection on gender identity.”

Officials with Services and Advocacy for LGBT Elders (SAGE) has launched a nationwide effort to “oppose the Trump administration’s proposed erasure of LGBT elders from the National Survey of Older Americans Act Participants.”

SAGE CEO Michael Adams said, “Caring about our LGBT elders means making sure they have access to publicly-funded senior services, which can be literally life-saving. Now it appears that the Trump Administration wants to make believe LGBT older people don’t exist, by erasing them from this critically important survey. We insist that this decision be reversed and that the federal government commit to serving all elders in need, including those who are LGBT.”

 

 

—  Tammye Nash

Broken Mould

Queer punk pioneer Bob Mould turned an abusive childhood into a musical movement, but memoir targets hardcore fans

2.5 out of 5 stars
SEE A LITTLE LIGHT: THE TRAIL OF RAGE AND MELODY
By Bob Mould (with Michael
Azerrad). 2001 (Little, Brown)
$25; 404 pp.

………………………….
It all starts with “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” It continues with the itsy-bitsy spider, the ABCs and being a little teapot. From there, you embrace whatever your older siblings are listening to until you develop your own musical tastes. Maybe you started with records, moved on to the cassette tapes, CD and now, your iPod is full.

The point is, you’ve never been without your tunes.

But what about the people who make the music you love?

When Mould was born in 1960 in the northernmost end of New York, he entered a family wracked with grief: Just before he was born, Mould’s elder brother died of kidney cancer. He surmises that the timing of his birth resulted in his being a “golden child,” the family peacekeeper who sidestepped his father’s physical and psychological abuse.

“As a child,” he writes, “music was my escape.”

Mould’s father, surprisingly indulgent, bought his son guitars and young Bob taught himself to play chords and create songs. By the time he entered high school, Mould knew that he had to get out of New York and away from his family. He also knew he was gay, which would be a problem in his small hometown.

He applied for and entered college in Minnesota, where he started taking serious guitar lessons and drinking heavily. His frustrations led him to launch a punk rock band that made a notable impact on American indie music.

Named after a children’s game, Hüsker Dü performed nationally and internationally, but Mould muses that perhaps youth was against them. He seemed to have a love-hate relationship with his bandmates, and though he had become the band’s leader, there were resentments and accusations until the band finally split.

HUSKER DON’T | Bob Mould turned his youthful rage and homosexuality into a music career. (Photo by Noah Kalina)

But there were other bands and there were other loves than music, as Mould grew and learned to channel the rage inside him and the anger that volcanoed from it.

“I spent two years rebuilding and reinventing myself,” writes Mould. “Now that I’ve integrated who I am and what I do, I finally feel whole.”

If you remember with fondness the ‘80s, with its angry lyrics and mosh pits, then you’ll love this book. For most readers, though, See a Little Light is going to be a struggle. Mould spends a lot of time on a litany of clubs, recording studios, and locales he played some 30 years ago — which is fine if you were a fellow musician or a rabid, hardcore fan. This part of the book goes on… and on… and on, relentlessness and relatively esoteric in nature.

Admittedly, Mould shines when writing about his personal life but even so, he’s strangely dismissive and abrupt with former loves, bandmates, and even family. I enjoyed the occasional private tale; unfortunately there were not enough.

Overall, See a Little Light is great for Mould fanboys and those were heavy into the punk scene. For most readers, though, this book is way out of tune.

— Terri Schlichenmeyer

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 26, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Jesus’ General delivers more pearls of wisdom from LDS Elder Boyd K. Packer

Here’s just one of many reasons to hit the tip jar of Jesus’ General. He unearthed some precious gems uttered by LDS Apostle Boyd K. Packer.

Apparently, God went on a rant about homosexualism the last time they got together, because that was the subject of Elder Packer’s conference talk last weekend. You can watch or read it at Pam’s place, but essentially he said: homosexualism is a choice; it can be cured; and it’s a wickedness that shouldn’t be legal.

Inasmuch as the blogs are all abuzz with Elder Packer’s talk, I thought it might be interesting to go back and provide a few quotes of things he said in other talks. It’ll help you get a full measure of one of the Church’s most powerful Apostles–he’s next in line to become the Prophet if he outlives the current one.

You’ll have to surf over for the rest, but I had to share these apparent messages from God that Packer has emitted:

We’ve always counseled in the Church for our Mexican members to marry Mexicans, our Japanese members to marry Japanese, our Caucasians to marry Caucasians, our Polynesian members to marry Polynesians. The counsel has been wise.

At BYU

I am for protecting the rights of a woman to be a woman, a feminine, female woman; a wife and a mother.

Thoughts on the ERA Amendment

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright