Bipartisan bill would protect global LGBT rights

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.”

—  James Russell

Dallas hospital tells trans woman it added LGBT policy, but did it really?

Green Oaks Hospital is establishing an LGBT policy after a transgender woman sent hospital administration a complaint about her time there.

Green Oaks, a mental health and addiction services facility in Dallas, recently received a complaint from Shawna Brooks after her experience in the hospital. The complaint led to a new trans policy, but the hospital has refused to provide any documentation of this policy or comment on its creation.

Brooks’ partner committed suicide in July. She then stayed with family to grieve. She returned to the apartment the couple shared in mid-August. Her family feared she, too, was suicidal because of the loss of her partner, so she was committed to Green Oaks, at 7808 Clodus Fields Drive.

During Brooks’ eight-day stay, she was denied a counselor to speak to about her loss and was offered only group therapy. She also requested a bed but was told they were for men only. Brooks was given a bed when she finally told a nurse other women were occupying beds, she told Instant Tea.

She also highlighted inadequate accommodations for transgender patients after a nurse rudely commented on medical needs specific to trans patients and denied her a private room, according to her complaint. Brooks had the nurse contact her doctor and was then granted privacy.

Brooks sent a letter about her experience to patient advocate Stephanie Haynes, who responded with a letter (see below) that stated “as a result of your feedback, our facility will implement a policy to better serve the transgender community.”

—  Anna Waugh

Resource Center sends letter to Dallas company about adding LGBT policies

Cece Cox

Resource Center Dallas’ CEO Cece Cox sent a letter Friday to Holly Frontier Corp. requesting a meeting with them about adding LGBT protections.

The oil and gas company, based in Downtown Dallas, is one of 17 Fortune 500 companies that the Equality Forum recently listed as not having any LGBT-inclusive policies.

Holly Frontier, along with ExxonMobil and Energy Transfer Supply, are based in the Dallas area.

In the letter sent to Holly Frontier’s Human Resources Director Joe Aken, Cox mentions that the company received a score of zero on the Human Rights Campaign 2012 Corporate Equality Index and that it is one of the 17 Fortune 500 companies without any LGBT-inclusive policies.

Therefore RCD leaders want to meet with the company to discuss adding sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression to its nondiscrimination policy and offering comprehensive transgender healthcare coverage. RCD also wants the company to participate in LGBT sensitivity training for employees, engage in recruiting LGBT employees and become involved in the LGBT community.

With 86 percent of Fortune 500 companies including sexual orientation in their nondiscrimination policies and 50 percent including gender identity, adding LGBT protections to the company’s nondiscrimination policy “simply makes good business sense,” Cox writes in the letter, adding that the revisions would “provide clarity and consistent protections for employees while minimizing risk to shareholders.”

RCD sent a letter to ExxonMobil back in May before a shareholders meeting to vote on adding LGBT protections to its nondiscrimination policy, which later failed. RCD Communications and Advocacy Manager Rafael McDonnell said he could not comment on whether ExxonMobil responded to the request for a meeting.

In the coming months, McDonnell said RCD plans to send a letter requesting a meeting with Energy Transfer Supply to work with them on LGBT protections and policies as well.

See RCD’s letter below.

—  Anna Waugh