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 Trump’s minions had already withdrawn another planned survey intended to evaluate the effectiveness of a homelessness project for LGBT youth.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

BTD opens 2017 application with first-year beneficiary initiative

Black Tie Dinner begins its 36th by opening its application process for new and returning beneficiaries. For the first time, new applicants will be allowed to participate with fewer seat, raffle ticket, auction and volunteer hour requirements.

Even long-time recipients of Black Tie funds must re-apply each year and discuss new goals, past goals met or missed, and submit financials. Each year, the Black Tie Dinner Board of Directors selects up to 20 LGBT-supportive organizations from the North Texas area.

Beneficiary applications are now available on the Black Tie Dinner website. To be eligible, candidates must have a tax-exempt status as determined by the IRS, be able to demonstrate significant service to the North Texas LGBT community and must use a majority of these funds for direct programs and services.

The First-Year Beneficiary program will allow new organizations to participate with fewer requirements in their first year. Along with decreased requirements, the organization’s share of the financial distribution will be proportionally less, but will give newer participants to ease into the process and learn what’s needed to be a full participant.

After the first year, they will have to apply as a full beneficiary. First year and returning beneficiaries will not be in competition with each other for slots.

“We are excited about the launch of our new First-Year Beneficiary Program, as we feel it will further out outreach into the North Texas Community,” said Black Tie Dinner Co-Chair Nathan Robbins.

“At the end of the day, we want our Dinner to make a major impact on the community, and we hope this brings our reach to newer, up-and-coming organizations that our vital to our success,” added Black Tie Dinner Co-Chair David Robinson.

In its 35-year history, the dinner has distributed more than $21 million. Beneficiaries will be selected in April.

—  David Taffet

PHOTOS: 2016 Black Tie Dinner (Part 4)

The 2016 Black Tie Dinner featured Kuchling Award Winner Dr. Steven Pounders, Olympian Greg Louganis, actresses Connie Britten and Debra Messing, comedienne Dana Goldberg, singers Todrick Hall and Deborah Cox and more. If you were there, here’s your chance to relive the evening in photos. If you weren’t there, you can see what you missed.

Watch for more slideshows to come!

All photos by Cassie Quinn of Hummingbird Blue Gallery.

—  Tammye Nash

PHOTOS: 2016 Black Tie Dinner (Part 3)

The 2016 Black Tie Dinner featured Kuchling Award Winner Dr. Steven Pounders, Olympian Greg Louganis, actresses Connie Britten and Debra Messing, comedienne Dana Goldberg, singers Todrick Hall and Deborah Cox and more. If you were there, here’s your chance to relive the evening in photos. If you weren’t there, you can see what you missed.

Watch for more slideshows to come!

All photos by Cassie Quinn of Hummingbird Blue Gallery.

—  Tammye Nash

Defining moments

Leo-CusimanoIt was 1992 and I had just moved to Dallas from a small college town in Florida. HIV/AIDS was a growing issue in my experience, but it had already taken many people in Dallas, including leaders in our LGBT community. I was too young to understand the power of the Stonewall Riots in 1969, so my personal experience with HIV/AIDS was my first defining moment to get involved in the community.

The mind-set in our community was different then. We had lost so many, and ACT-UP was in the streets and angry. Our community was under attack.

I remember making signs for protests and joining the board of DGLA. Lesbians fought to help save the lives of their gay brothers and in the process galvanized our community. Drag queens and transgender people were at the heart of many community actions. The sense of LGBT community was very strong.

Today, HIV/AIDS is still a devastating diagnosis for anyone, but is viewed by some in our younger community to be a manageable illness. These millennials have not experienced the struggles and death at the same scale. Our sense of community has waned over the years.

But then ….

It’s 2 in the morning in Los Angeles, where I have traveled for work, and the phone rings. Fifty people lay dead in a Florida gay bar, and more than 50 others are injured.

This is the start of another heart-wrenching, defining moment that unfortunately will make history and play out as Pride celebrations prepare to march.

The morning stretches on and I find myself sitting in a hotel room in West Hollywood preparing for LA Pride. I feel sick as the stress rises in my body, watching the reports from Florida, then the vibration of my cell phone makes me jump. A text message about an arrest near L.A. that has foiled another attempted attack on our community illuminates the room. My heart drops.

What is next?

We have come so far as a community, and each positive or negative defining moment presents an opportunity for us to come together in a way that makes our community stronger.

My husband Tony and I had been living in Dallas for several years when the Supreme Court invalidated sodomy laws with the Lawrence vs. Texas ruling in 2003. This was a positive defining moment for us that provided hope for our community and empowered our movement.

We experienced a setback in 2008 when California passed Prop 8, but our commitment to stand up and fight just made us stronger. Last year, the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling legalized our marriages, and as a community we have seen growing acceptance as Love Wins.

But now, once again our community is under attack. We are devastated by this senseless act of violence. As we mourn the victims in Florida, we also march on in solidarity and in honor of those we lost.

This is another defining moment for me. I feel like our community has a renewed fight. Once again, arm-in-arm we march. We stick together and support each other. My hope is that we find renewed strength in this tragedy and we once again become galvanized and strengthened as the LGBT community.

Our life experiences and defining moments influence our choices and how we choose to show up in the world. What is your defining moment? How will you make a difference?

Leo Cusimano is co-owner and publisher of Dallas Voice and Voice Publishing Co

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 17, 2016.

—  Dallasvoice

Abounding Prosperity’s PJ Moton named one of 10 HIV 360 Fellows

PJ Moton_042116_webPJ Moton, the interim clinical programs manager for Dallas’ Abounding Prosperity, has been named an HIV 360 Fellow, one of 10 young nonprofit leaders recognized by the Human Rights Campaign and supported by the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

The nine-month program will help these advocates “elevate their work ending HIV in hard-hit U.S. communities,” according to a release. But as PJ told me, “It’s a much bigger deal than I anticipated. We have met all types of big-wigs.” How big are the wigs? I asked. “Traci Turnblad big,” PJ said.

Wow, that’s big.

Contrats to PJ and all the others! You can learn more about the program here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

McCrory and his lies about North Carolina’s ‘bathroom bill’

McCrory.Pat

N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory in March signed into law a bill that not only rolls back an equal rights ordinance recently passed in Charlotte to protect LGBT from discrimination and prohibits such local ordinances from being passed in the future, but also prohibits transgender men and women from using the appropriate public restrooms. Since then, individuals, businesses and others — like Broadway composer Stephen Schwartz — have been standing up in droves to denounce McCrory and the legislation, and announce their intentions to boycott the state.

Last week, McCrory told the press that the bill doesn’t take anyone’s rights away and that all the hoopla was created by the media and political correctness run amok. I already called him out for being a Mr. Lying Liarpants on that. Now here’s a video offering some proof that he’s lying.

—  Tammye Nash

Parkland, V.A. receive HRC’s highest score, Methodist the lowest on HEI

Parkland

Parkland Hospital

The Human Rights Campaign has released its annual Healthcare Equality Index, and Dallas hospitals fared far better than they have in the past.

Parkland Health & Hospital System received HRC’s top rating for the fourth year in a row. Rated separately, all of its facilities throughout the county — like Amelia Court and other clinics — fared well.

The four categories rated are patient non-discrimination, visitation, employment non-discrimination and training. The rating for each were “yes,” “no” or “not applicable.”

The Dallas V.A. hospital also received HRC’s top rating.

UT Southwestern, Medical City, Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake and Green Oaks Hospital received positive ratings in every category except training.

Who ranked worst across the board? Methodist Hospital received the lowest rating, with a “no” in every category.

Baylor has non-discrimination in patient visitation, but may still fire you if you’re LGBT or not give you equal patient care. One of the few cases filed and won under the Dallas non-discrimination was against Baylor.

Presbyterian doesn’t have a patient non-discrimination policy, but does have visitation and employment policies in place.

“We are extremely proud to be recognized by the HRC Foundation. Parkland is committed to providing a safe, respectful and caring environment for everyone,” said Ildemaro Gonzalez, Parkland’s vice president and chief inclusion and diversity officer.

In Fort Worth, no hospital received top rating.

Cook Children’s Medical Center and Plaza Medical Center of Fort Worth have policies in place without training.

Baylor All Saints Medical Center at Fort Worth has a policy allowing visitation.

John Peter Smith, Tarrant County’s counterpart to Parkland, allows visitation, but doesn’t have non-discrimination policies for patients or employees.

Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth allows patient discrimination but has a nondiscrimination policy for its employees and visitors.

In Arlington, Medical Center of Arlington has all categories covered except training.

Baylor Medical Center at Irving lacks the same protections as the other hospitals in the Baylor system.

Las Colinas Medical Center in Irving and Medical Center of Plano only lack training.

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano has no patient protections in place.

Across Texas, 13 hospitals or hospital systems received the highest rating. None in Oklahoma received that score.

—  David Taffet

Black Tie Dinner: The Evening in Photos, Part 1

This is the first of two posts of photos from the 2015 Black Tie Dinner, held Saturday night, Nov. 14, at Sheraton Dallas Hotel. The fundraiser featured speeches by Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, Houston Mayor Annise Parker, Kuchling Award winner Melissa Grove, marriage plaintiff Jim Obergefell, E! Entertainment Vice President Jim Olde, a representative of The Trevor Project, HRC President Chad Griffin and more.

Dana Goldberg emceed the evening, with entertainment by Well Strung, Ty Herndon and Betty Who.

First of two photo slideshow posts. Photos by Tammye Nash

—  Tammye Nash

Black Tie Dinner: The Evening in Photos, Part 2

This is the second of two posts of photos from the 2015 Black Tie Dinner, held Saturday night, Nov. 14, at Sheraton Dallas Hotel. The fundraiser featured speeches by Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, Houston Mayor Annise Parker, Kuchling Award winner Melissa Grove, marriage plaintiff Jim Obergefell, E! Entertainment Vice President Jim Olde, a representative of The Trevor Project, HRC President Chad Griffin and more.

Dana Goldberg emceed the evening, with entertainment by Well Strung, Ty Herndon and Betty Who.

This is the second of two photo slideshow posts. See the first one here. Photos by Tammye Nash

—  Tammye Nash