“Gen Silent” explores challenges facing the elderly LGBT community

Gen Silent PosterThere are almost 38 million LGBT Americans over the age of 65. This number is expected to double by 2030. Yet in a Fenway Institute study fifty percent of nursing home workers said that their co-workers are intolerant of LGBT people. That collision of a rapidly aging queer population and a nursing home system ill-prepared to serve them is explored in Gen Silent, a documentary showing at the GLBT Cultural Center (401 Branard) on Thursday, January 26, at 6:30 pm.

Gen Silent, from award-winning director and documentary filmmaker Stu Maddux, follows six LGBT seniors as they struggle to make decisions about their twilight years. These seniors put a face on what experts in the film call an epidemic: gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender seniors so afraid of discrimination in long-term health care that many go back into the closet.

Gen Silent startlingly discovers how oppression in the years before Stonewall now leaves many elders not just afraid but dangerously isolated and at risk on not receiving medical care. The film shows the wide range in quality of paid caregivers –from those who are specifically trained to make LGBT seniors feel safe, to the other end of the spectrum, where LGBT elders face discrimination, neglect or abuse, including shocking bed-side attempts by staff to persuade seniors to give up their “sinful” lifestyles.

This free screening will be followed by a call-to-action and panel discussion with some of Houston’s GLBT senior leaders.

View the trailer for Gen Silent after the break.

—  admin

Lesbian Health Initiative of Houston hosts Fall Health Fair

Lesbian Health Initiative HoustonDid you hear the joke about the lesbian health fair?
…everyone agreed that women’s health care was a serious issue and should not be made the subject of juvenile humor.
But seriously folks, the Lesbian Health Initiative of Houston will host its Fall Health Fair Saturday, November 5, at the new Legacy Community Health Services building, 1415 California, from 9 am to 3 pm. The fair provides an opportunity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT)-identified women, and female bodied men of trans history to receive medical screenings they might otherwise not be able to afford.
“What LHI has always done is work to eliminate barriers to health care for LGBT women,” says Liz James, CEO of the Lesbian Health Initiative of Houston. James feels that many LGBT woman worry that health care providers will not provide them with care in a way that is culturally sensitive. As a result “Far to often people don’t seek or get care until they are ill, by then many are in advanced stages of a disease process. The reality is that people aren’t getting adequate care because of the lack of culturally competent care.”
Scheduled guests include OB/GYN Mary Alice Cowan, M.D., Chiropractor Dr. Jennifer Nguyen, attorney Kristen Capps, fitness coach Shana Ross and Marie Boydstun with the American Cancer Society. Those attending the fair will also have an opportunity to learn more about health services provided by LHI and its partners.
Screenings available include mammograms, pap tests, well-woman exams, skin and body scans, bone density tests, flu shots and extensive blood screenings including those for cholesterol, thyroid, STDs, and blood sugar levels. If you are interested in scheduling screenings e-mail info@lhihouston.org or call 713-426-3356 and leave your name, phone number and email address. LHI warns that there are a limited number of appointment times available and that they do go quickly.
“It’s a big job, but we’re up for it,” says James. “together we can be very powerful.”

—  admin

Texas: A not-so-great state

As Perry eyes the presidency and Dewhurst makes a bid for the Senate, let’s look at the story the numbers really tell

Phyllis Guest | Taking NoteGuest.Phyllis.2

It seems that while David Dewhurst is running for the U.S. Senate, Rick Perry — otherwise known as Gov. Goodhair — is planning to run for president. I wonder what numbers they will use to show how well they have run Texas.

Could they cite $16 million? That’s the sum Perry distributed from our state’s Emerging Technology Fund to his campaign contributors.

Or maybe it is $4.1 billion. That’s the best estimate of the fees and taxes our state collects for dedicated purposes — but diverts to other uses.

Then again, it could be $28 billion. That’s the last published number for the state’s budget deficit, although Perry denied any deficit during his last campaign.

But let’s not get bogged down with dollar amounts. Let’s consider some of the state’s other numbers.

There’s the fact that Texas ranks worst in at least three key measures:

We are the most illiterate, with more than 10 percent of our state’s population unable to read a word. LIFT — Literacy Instruction for Texas — recently reported that half of Dallas residents cannot read a newspaper.

We also have the lowest percentage of persons covered by health insurance and the highest number of teenage repeat pregnancies.

Not to mention that 12,000 children have spent at least three years in the state welfare system, waiting for a foster parent. That’s the number reported in the Texas-loving Dallas Morning News.

Meanwhile, the Legislature has agreed to put several amendments to the Texas Constitution before the voters. HJR 63, HJR 109 plus SJR 4, SJR 16, and SJR 50 all appear to either authorize the shifting of discretionary funds or the issuance of bonds to cover expenses.

Duh. As if we did not know that bonds represent debt, and that we will be paying interest on those bonds long after Dewhurst and Perry leave office.

Further, this spring, the Lege decided that all voters — except, I believe, the elderly — must show proof of citizenship to obtain a state ID or to get or renew a driver’s license. As they did not provide any funds for the issuance of those ID cards or for updating computer systems to accommodate the new requirement, it seems those IDs will be far from free.

Also far from free is Perry’s travel. The Lege decided that the governor does not have to report what he and his entourage spend on travel, which is convenient for him because we taxpayers foot the bill for his security — even when he is making obviously political trips. Or taking along his wife and his golf clubs.

And surely neither Rick Perry nor David Dewhurst will mention the fact that a big portion of our state’s money comes from the federal government. One report I saw stated that our state received $17 billion in stimulus money, although the gov and his lieutenant berated the Democratic president for providing the stimulus.

And the gov turned down $6 billion in education funds, then accepted the funds but did not use them to educate Texans.

The whole thing — Dewhurst’s campaign and Perry’s possible campaign, the 2012-2013 budget, the recent biannual session of the Texas Legislature — seems like something Mark Twain might have written at his tongue-in-cheek best.

We have huge problems in public school education, higher education, health care, air pollution and water resources, to mention just a few of our more notable failures.

Yet our elected officials are defunding public education and thus punishing children, parents, and teachers. They are limiting women’s health care so drastically that our own Parkland Hospital will be unable to provide appropriate care to 30,000 women.

They are seeking a Medicaid “pilot program” that will pave the way for privatized medical services, which will erode health care for all but the wealthiest among us. They are fighting tooth and nail to keep the EPA from dealing with our polluted environment. They are doing absolutely nothing to ensure that Texas continues to have plenty of safe drinking water.

They are most certainly not creating good jobs.

So David Dewhurst and his wife Tricia prayed together and apparently learned that he should run for Kay Bailey Hutchison’s Senate seat. Now Rick Perry is planning a huge prayer rally Saturday, Aug. 6, at Houston’s Reliant Stadium.

God help us.

Phyllis Guest is a longtime activist on political and LGBT issues and a member of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 9, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Query • 11.12.10

What should be the top priority for the new Congress?

………………………….

Mike Weaver — “Health care.”

Keith Grogan — “Stop bankrupting the country.”

Scott Ewing — “I know it won’t happen but it should be green energy. In one issue, we could: re-establish our manufacturing base, create jobs, clean our air and water and secure our energy future.”

Juston Roemisch — “Compromise. Neither side is fully right on any issue and they need to stop acting like bratty children and work together.”

Beth Schatz — “Work on economic issues, even though the economy is improving in some sectors, there are still too many people hurting.”

………………………………

Have a suggestion for a question you’d like us to ask?
E-mail it to nash@dallasvoice.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 12, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Should health officials ask about orientation?

U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin

… And am I really agreeing with Texas Republican Congressman Joe Barton?

Openly gay Wisconsin Rep. Tammy Baldwin introduced a bill in the House Energy and Commerce committee that would require federal health officials to ask patients their sexual orientation and gender identity. And there’s more wrong with this post than the fact that I’m sort of agreeing with Joe Barton — I also picked up the article about Baldwin’s bill from Fox News.

Baldwin thinks the requirement would help illustrate the disparity in health care that gays and lesbians receive compared to the general population.

Barton thinks it’s an invasion of privacy and that young people might not even know what the question means.

I think it will scare the hell out of some gays and lesbians who are afraid of being outed to their families and employers.

Baldwin argues that refusal to answer would never be a barrier to health care.

While I wouldn’t want anyone to think I’m straight, others are more circumspect and I respect that.

What do you think?

—  David Taffet

Texas congressman calls protesters who hurled anti-gay epithets 'polite, respectful'

A day after they screamed racist and anti-gay slurs at members of Congress, U.S. Rep. John Culberson, a Republican from Houston, praised Tea Party protesters as being “polite and respectful.” According to Media Matters, Culberson’s comments can be heard as he narrates the above video, which he reportedly shot yesterday from the steps of the Capitol. But Culberson wasn’t alone in defending the Tea Party protesters and trying to downplay their hateful actions. From Roll Call

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), a leading voice in the tea party movement, said Sunday that protesters’ recent use of racial and homophobic slurs toward Members of Congress was no big deal.

“I just don’t think it’s anything,” King said, emphasizing that the incidents were isolated. “There are a lot of places in this country that I couldn’t walk through. I wouldn’t live to get to the other end of it.”

To focus on a few incidents is “embellishing something that is determined to undermine the people,” said the Iowa conservative.

King’s remarks come a day after tea party protesters spat on Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) and shouted a racial slur at Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.); both are African-American. A protester also shouted a sexual slur at Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who is openly gay.

Another Republican lawmaker also brushed off the racial epithets and suggested they were prompted by the parliamentary maneuvers being used by Democrats to pass a health care bill.

“When you use a totalitarian tactics, people, you know, begin to act crazy,” Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) said Sunday on C-SPAN. “I think that people have every right to say what they want. If they want to smear someone, they can do it.”

Nunes added that the slurs were “not appropriate” but that he would “stop short of characterizing the 20,000 people protesting, that all of them were doing that.”

Update: A member of the Texas delegation is also suspected of yelling “baby killer” at Rep. Bart Stupak during last night’s debate, but The Dallas Morning News has been unable to determine who was responsible. Culberson has reportedly denied responsibility.

UPDATE NO. 2: Rep. Randy Neugebauer, a Republican from Lubbock, has admitted to the “baby killer” remark and apologized, The DMN reports. Neugebauer has issued an apology:

“Last night was the climax of weeks and months of debate on a health care bill that my constituents fear and do not support. In the heat and emotion of the debate, I exclaimed the phrase ‘it’s a baby killer’ in reference to the agreement reached by the Democratic leadership. While I remain heartbroken over the passage of this bill and the tragic consequences it will have for the unborn, I deeply regret that my actions were mistakenly interpreted as a direct reference to Congressman Stupak himself. I have apologized to Mr. Stupak and also apologize to my colleagues for the manner in which I expressed my disappointment about the bill. The House Chamber is a place of decorum and respect. The timing and tone of my comment last night was inappropriate.”

—  John Wright

Get well, Tammy Baldwin

U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin
U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin

As Congress continues to debate health care reform, lesbian U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin from Wisconsin has sit out some of the fight — because she has swine flu.

WISN.com
, an ABC affiliate, reported last Friday, Dec. 11, that Baldwin had been holed up in her D.C. apartment all week, trying to recover from H1N1, and to avoid spreading the virus to anyone else.

Baldwin told the station that she was feeling better and hoped “to be back to full strength very soon.”

Well, best wishes Congresswoman. Hope you are feeling better and back on the Hill soon.

If you want to see about getting the H1N1 vaccine here in North Texas, call the Dallas County Department of Health and Human Services at 214-819-2000 or the Tarrant County Public Health Department at 817-321-4700.

—  admin

More on the AMA

As noted earlier here on Instant Tea, the American Medical Association today approved a resolution calling for an end to the U.S. military’s ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the armed forces. I just received n e-mail from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force saying that the AMA has also ” officially recognized that bans on civil marriage may lead to health care disparities for same-sex couples and their families.”

NGLTF Executive Director Rea Carey said: “While opponents of marriage equality and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights try to stigmatize our relationships and limit our access to health benefits and other economic safety nets, the AMA is making it clear that these discriminatory policies pose significant, real-life threats to the health and well-being of thousands and thousands of people across the country.”

—  admin

Good news for gay couples in health reform bill

On Top magazine, in an article by Carlos Santoscoy posted to its Web site, is reporting that the historic health care reform bill approved by the U.S. House on Saturday night includes some good news for same-sex couples:

“The Affordable Health Care for America Act extends Medicaid to subsidize moderate-income people who otherwise could not afford quality health insurance. Also tucked inside the bill is Representative Jim McDermott’s Tax Equity for Health Plan Beneficiaries Act of 2009 introduced in May.

“McDermott, a Democrat from Washington, introduced the bill along with Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee from Florida. The bill alters the tax status of health benefits granted to the spouses of gay employees. Under the bill, such benefits would no longer be considered taxable income for the employee.

“McDermott told the New York Times that the bill would ‘correct a longstanding injustice, end a blatant inequity in the tax code and help make health care coverage more affordable for more Americans.’

“A report released in 2007 by M. V. Lee Badgett, research director at the Williams Institute, found that gay employees with partners pay, on average, $1,069 per year more in taxes than would a married employee with the same coverage.

“‘Collectively, unmarried couples lose $178 million per year to additional taxes,’ the report says. ‘U.S. employers also pay a total of $57 million per year in additional payroll taxes because of this unequal tax treatment.’”

—  admin