Paxton whines to SCOTUS over Texas’ unconstitutional Voter ID Law

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is at it again.


AG Ken Paxton

If filing 900-thousand lawsuits against President Obama to try and force the federal government to let him mistreat transgender people isn’t enough to keep Paxton busy, now he has filed “a petition for a writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court to reinstate Texas’ voter ID law.”

In other words, the AG is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to please let him and the other Republicans in Texas keep on preventing Texans who might not vote for them from voting at all. (You can see the petition here.)

A press release issued today (Friday, Sept. 23), quotes Paxton as saying, “Safeguarding the integrity of our elections is essential to preserving our democracy. Voter ID laws both prevent fraud and increase the public’s confidence in our elections. Texas enacted a common-sense voter ID law and I am confident that the U.S. Supreme Court will ultimately reinstate it.”

The press release also notes that the petition will have no effect on the Nov. 8 elections “for which an interim remedy has been ordered by the courts.”

The folks over at the Lone Star Project — an admittedly partisan organization that has little fondness for any Republican — don’t think too highly of Paxton’s petition. Lone Star Project Director Matt Angle criticized Paxton and Gov, Greg Abbot for having thrown “another bale of taxpayer money in the dumpster and set it on fire” with this latest effort.

Angle added, “It’s unlikely that the Supreme Court will even take up Paxton and Abbott’s appeal. Today’s announcement is nothing more than a political move designed to provide cover for Texas Republicans’ utter failure to defend their discriminatory voter ID law. The voter ID appeal is irresponsible, a waste of taxpayer money and yet another example of Paxton and Abbott putting politics ahead of common sense and fiscal responsibility.”

Rebecca L. Robertson, legal and policy director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas, issued a statement reiterating that the petition will have not effect on the Nov. 8 election. “But,” she added, “with Texas’ already abysmally low voter turnout, the real question is why Attorney General Paxton would waste upwards of 3.5 million taxpayer dollars (and counting) defending a law that disenfranchises more than 600,000 eligible voters. Instead of suppressing the vote, we ought to do everything in our power to ensure that every qualified voter participates.”

—  Tammye Nash

McCrory tries to sidestep HB 2 fallout



North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory says the state legislature may consider repealing H.B. 2, but only if the city of Charlotte repeals its LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance first.

Charlotte mayor warns McCrory not to blame her city for his mistake

Lisa Keen |   Keen News Service

North Carolina is a battleground on two fronts these days: Over the state’s recently enacted anti-LGBT law and over the political race for the White House.


Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts said her city is “a welcoming community that honors and respects all people.”

And at least one of those battles could come to a major turning point this week.

In a strange twist, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory on Friday, Sept. 16, said he’d call a special session of the state legislature this week to consider repealing HB2 — but only if the city of Charlotte first repealed its non-discrimination law. That law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as race, sex, and other categories.

According to local news reports, McCrory’s communication office issued this statement Friday:

“For the last nine months, the governor has consistently said state legislation is only needed if the Charlotte ordinance remains in place. If the Charlotte City Council totally repeals the ordinance and then we can confirm there is support to repeal among the majority of state lawmakers in the House and Senate, the governor will call a special session. It is the governor’s understanding that legislative leaders and the lieutenant governor agree with that assessment.”

Charlotte City Council rejected a proposal in May where the legislature said it would “amend” HB2 in return for Charlotte’s repeal of its non-discrimination law. Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts issued a statement today (Monday morning, Sept. 19, that left no impression the Council would consider repealing its ordinance.

“The city of Charlotte continues its commitment to be a welcoming community that honors and respects all people,” read the statement from Roberts. “We appreciate the state wanting to find a solution to the challenges we are facing and applaud the governor for recognizing the state should overturn HB2, which the state can do at any time without any action from the city of Charlotte.

“We are not prepared to add this item to our agenda this evening, however, we urge the state to take action as soon as possible and encourage continued dialogue with the broader community,” Roberts’ statement continued.

The statewide LGBT group Equality North Carolina and the national Human Rights Campaign issued both statements Friday urging Charlotte to reject the proposal.

“It would require Charlotte to drop the very protections for the LGBTQ community that businesses, the NCAA and other organizations have now made clear are needed and are a priority,” said JoDee Winterhof, an HRC senior vice president.

The ACLU and Lambda Legal also issued statements opposing the idea.

“The reason the NBA, NCAA and countless other groups and companies have refused to do business in North Carolina is because H.B. 2 is an unprecedented and targeted attack on the LGBT community that is inconsistent with American values — not because Charlotte commendably decided to protect LGBT people from discrimination,” said Simone Bell, the southern regional director for Lambda Legal.

Meanwhile, the state is still wincing as major corporations and events continue to pull out of the state, citing their opposition to HB2. Just this month, both the NCAA and the ACC college athletic organizations announced they would not hold championship tournaments in North Carolina.

Those announcements set off a political earthquake in the state, which was already reeling from a wave of cancellations — from classic concerts to pop concerts, to travel by employees from New York and other states, to more than 60 major corporations filing statements in opposition to HB2 and, in many cases, putting a halt on their plans for conferences or to build in the state.

Wired magazine estimates the state has already lost almost $400 million because of the law. The NCAA and ACC decisions alone cost North Carolina more than $90 million, says Wired.

Not surprisingly, then, Gov. McCrory — who, according to most recent polls, is trailing Democrat Roy Cooper in that state’s gubernatorial contest — is racing to find a way to stop further damage.

Earlier in the month, he asked a federal district court judge to delay the trial challenging HB2 from November until May, noting that the U.S. Supreme Court might take up a similar case from Virginia. Lambda Legal’s national legal director, Jon Davidson, said his group agreed to the delay after the federal court granted a stay of the law as it applies to transgender people at the University of North Carolina.

On Friday, McCrory dropped one of his two counter lawsuits and issued the statement, hoping to persuade Charlotte to repeal its law so the state could declare HB2 no longer necessary.

The law, enacted last March, bars any local jurisdiction (not just Charlotte) from passing non-discrimination laws that exceed state law — and state law does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. More notoriously, HB2 also bans transgender people from using any public restroom other than one assigned to a gender that matches their birth certificate.

Add to the economic and legal turmoil the fact that North Carolina is one of 12 states that pollsters say is uncertain in terms of the 2016 presidential election, and the implications of HB2 become even more dramatic.

Democrat Hillary Clinton has spoken out clearly against the law. Republican Donald Trump has sent mixed signals.

Speaking to a campaign audience in Greensboro, N.C., Thursday, Sept. 16, Clinton said, “I’m running for the LGBT teenager here in North Carolina who sees your governor sign a bill legalizing discrimination and suddenly feels like a second-class citizen.”

In her remarks, at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, she said she wanted to “make sure every person and, particularly, every child, no matter who they are, what they look like, or who they love, are part of the American dream now and way into the future. Let that be our message. Let that be our mission.” (

Trump initially said North Carolina would have “a lot of problems” for passing HB2 and suggested it was unnecessary.

“There has been so little trouble” regarding the use of bathrooms, he told the Today Show on April 21. But over time, he’s said the issue should be left to the individual states.

Asked about it in July, Trump told the News & Observer, “Well, I’m going with the state. The state knows what’s going on. They see what’s happening and, generally speaking, I’m with the state on things like this.

As of last Thursday, openly gay electoral data guru Nate Silver was predicting North Carolina to be leaning slightly toward Trump, 53 percent to 47 percent. Silver also dramatically downgraded Clinton’s chances of winning the White House — from 70 percent to 60 percent — following her previous weekend’s woes. On Sep. 9, Clinton described some of Trump’s supporters as a “basket of deplorables,” a phrase that the Trump campaign meant Clinton thinks all Americans are deplorable. Two days later, Clinton collapsed outside a 9/11 memorial services and then took three days off to recover from pneumonia.

Analyzing many polls, Silver sees the state has being the fourth most likely to provide the “tipping” point in the Nov. 8 election (behind Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio).

© 2016 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.




—  Tammye Nash

UPDATE: Trans actor and activist Alexis Arquette has died

UPDATE: People Magazine has reported that a source close to the family says Arquette died of AIDS-related complications.


Aalexislexis Arquette, one of the famed Arquette acting family whose siblings include Academy Award-winner Patricia and Scream star David, has died at age 47, her brother Richmond confirmed this morning. Alexis was surrounded by family after “battling an illness,” although no specific cause of death was given. The death, Richmond reported, was “fast and painless.”

Alexis, born Robert, came to prominence first as an actor, most notably in the Adam Sandler comedy The Wedding Singer. She was one of the most prominent and earliest entertainment celebrities to identify as trans. Alexis officially came out as transgender and documented her transition in the 2007 documentary Alexis Arquette: She’s My Brother. In addition, Alexis was a singer and activist on GLBT issues.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Now Paxton is suing to deny trans people proper health care


Ken Paxton

Less than two days after a federal judge in Fort Worth issued an injunction halting enforcement the Obama administration’s guidelines for school districts on transgender students and issues, in a lawsuit filed by 13 states led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, Paxton announced today (Tuesday, Aug. 23), that his has filed yet another lawsuit against the federal government, this time targeting proper health care for transgender people.

In July, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services implemented a new regulation intended to protect transgender people from discrimination in the provision of healthcare, The new regulation notes that the term “sex” in the Affordable Healthcare Act includes gender identity, when it comes to prohibiting discrimination.

According to the HHS website, the new regulations require that women have equal access to the health care they receive and the insurance they obtain, and make clear that sex discrimination includes discrimination based on gender identity. That means individuals cannot be denied health care or health coverage based on their sex, including their gender identity; that individuals must be treated consistent with their gender identity, including in access to facilities; that sex-specific health care cannot be denied or limited just because the person seeking such services identifies as belonging to another gender (For example, a provider may not deny an individual treatment for ovarian cancer, based on the individual’s identification as a transgender man, where the treatment is medically indicated), and that “explicit categorical exclusions in coverage for all health care services related to gender transition are facially discriminatory. Other exclusions for gender transition care will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.”

Ken Paxton, however, sees things a bit differently. In a press release announcing his newest lawsuit against the Obama administration, he claims to be battling “against yet another Obama Administration regulatory overreach that is invading the coffers of Texas, as well as violating the medical judgment and conscience rights of doctors and health care professionals across the country.”

Paxton claims that when enacting the Affordable Health Care Act, Congress intended the term “sex” to denote a biological category.  And now, “The Obama Administration [is trying] to redefine the law so that the term ‘sex’ means ones’ ‘internal sense of gender, which may be male, female, neither or a combination of male and female.’ But the President does not have the power to rewrite the law.”

Paxton’s press release says the new rules could have significant impact on Texas and health care workers because it requires taxpayers to fund “all treatments designed to transition to a different sex,” and it “forces health care workers, including physicians, to provide controversial services.”

The press release continues, “Under the new rule, a physician that believes that certain treatments are not in a patient’s best medical interests may be in violation of federal law. And a physician that, for religious or conscientious reasons cannot perform a particular procedure, chooses to instead refer a patient to another health care provider may be determined to be in violation of this new rule.”

Directly quoting Paxton, the press release says, “This is the thirteenth lawsuit I have been forced to bring against the Obama Administration’s continued threats on constitutional rights of Texans. The federal government has no right to force Texans to pay for medical procedures designed to change a person’s sex. I am disappointed in the Obama Administration’s lack of consideration for medical professionals who believe that engaging in such procedures or treatment violates their Hippocratic Oath, their conscience or their personal religious beliefs, which are protected by the Constitution and federal law.”

Paxton made no mention, however, of his and other Republicans’ efforts to interfere with the doctor/patient relationship when it comes to abortion and other medical treatments/issues affecting women. He also made no mention of the fact that while he continues to waste taxpayer money by filing politically-motivated lawsuits against the federal government, specifically targeting LGBT people in many cases, he has been soliciting donations from individuals and corporations to pay his own legal bills associated with the state and federal securities fraud charges against him. That includes, by the way, a $100,000 donation from the CEO of a company that was under investigation by the AG’s Office.

Rebecca L. Robertson, legal and policy director for the ACLU of Texas, issued a statement today about Paxton’s latest lawsuit, noting that, “Yesterday Texas’ leaders patted themselves on the back for convincing a federal court that transgender schoolchildren should be excluded from the protections of Title IX. Today, the state filed another suit in the same court, this time challenging federal protections intended to shield transgender people from discrimination in healthcare services. We don’t know what else the state has in store, but the people of Texas will not stand idly by and let the state make transgender Texans into second-class citizens with no legal recourse when they face stigma and bias.

“Texas is better than this. This is not who we are,” Robertson said.

—  Tammye Nash

Paxton, anti-trans forces win 1st round, but fight continues

UPDATE: On Tuesday Ken Paxton announced he has filed yet another lawsuit against the federal government, this time challenging Health and Human Services regulations protecting transgender people from discrimination in their medical care. See our InstanTEA blog post here.

FW judge’s ruling on trans students guidelines could send 4th Circuit case to SCOTUS


Lisa Keen | Keen News Service


Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton

Texas AG Ken Paxton

In a move that could increase attention on the U.S. Supreme Court, a federal judge on Sunday, Aug. 21, issued a temporary order blocking the Obama administration from taking any action against states that refuse to comply with its guidelines concerning treatment of transgender students in federally-funded schools.

The order, from Judge Reed O’Connor — a George W. Bush appointee — enables at least 23 states that have expressed opposition to the Obama administration guidelines issued in May to ignore those guidelines until the court can rule on the merits of lawsuits challenging them.

The guidelines, from the U.S. Department of Education and the Department of Justice, state that discrimination against transgender students violates federal law against sex discrimination and that schools failing to comply with the laws could lose their federal funding.

A White House spokesman reiterated Monday, Aug. 22, the administration’s contention that the guidelines were “certainly not a mandate” and characterized the lawsuit as an election year attempt to “play politics” with issues involving transgender students.

“[O]ur goal has been from the beginning to provide for the safety and security and dignity of students all across the country,” said John Earnest, press secretary for President Obama.

Lambda Legal and four other national legal groups working on LGBT issues expressed disappointment in Judge O’Connor’s injunction. They said it is likely to confuse school districts trying to help transgender students and goes against “years of clear legal precedent nationwide establishing that transgender students have the right to go to school without being singled out for discrimination.”

The groups said the injunction would have “no effect on the ability of other courts or lawyers representing transgender people to continue to rely on the federal government’s interpretations of Title IX or on prior decisions that have reached similar conclusions about the scope of federal sex discrimination laws.”

Officials with Resource Center, the LGBT community center in Dallas, on Monday issued a statement saying O’Conner’s ruling “is not the final word on the Obama administration’s efforts to provide civil rights protections for transgender Americans.

The statement continued, “The stay will likely be quickly appealed, first to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans and ultimately to the U.S. Supreme Court. It’s also important to remember this is just a stay, and not the final ruling of a trial. With other cases in the legal pipeline, the rights of transgender Americans may end up being asserted and confirmed in another, higher court.

“The legal guidance the administration provided — rooted in their interpretation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and Title IX of the Education Code, as well as decades of case law, are legally sound” Resource Center’s statement continued. “The judge did not address that in his stay. Rather, he issued his decision based on the arcane process of federal rule-making. The Center believes that justice will prevail and the guidelines will eventually be upheld, but that is cold comfort to transgender students nationwide at the beginning of their school year. Nor does it offer any optimism to transgender people in the workplace, even though the judge did not immediately address the state of Texas and other plaintiff’s efforts to put a halt to the Obama administration’s guidance in that area.”


Big enough conflict?

But the injunction could have an effect on whether the U.S. Supreme Court agrees to take up the issue sooner rather than later.

Judge O’Connor’s decision in this preliminary matter contradicts a ruling of another federal court. And conflicts among federal courts make issues more likely to attract Supreme Court intervention.

The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, which prohibits discrimination based on sex by federally-funded educational institutions, prohibits discrimination based on gender identity.

Judge O’Connor for the U.S. District Court of Northern Texas said “the plain meaning of the term sex” does not include gender identity. Noting that the Supreme Court had granted a stay against the Fourth Circuit decision, O’Connor said a decision from the Supreme Court “may obviate the issues in this lawsuit.”

Judge O’Connor’s decision makes clear he thinks states opposing the Obama administration guidelines have a strong case. He said, “the plain meaning of the term sex” in Title IX “meant the biological and anatomical differences between male and female students as determined at their birth.” The guidelines, therefore, are “contrary to law.”

In the preliminary ruling, O’Connor said the guidelines pose a sufficient level of threat to the statutes and constitutions of plaintiff states to demonstrate “a threat of irreparable harm” that warrants a temporary injunction.

Starting in 2010, Obama administration agencies began interpreting federal laws barring discrimination on the basis of “sex” to include “gender identity.” That meant laws prohibiting discrimination based on sex provided some protection for people whose gender identity is different from that stated on their birth certificate. In May, the departments of Education and Justice distributed a letter with “guidelines,” saying discrimination against such transgender students violates federal laws and that schools failing to comply with the laws could lose their federal funding.

The letter, said O’Connor, “provides not only must [states] permit individuals to use the [school restrooms and facilities] consistent with their gender identity,” but stipulates that alternative accommodations are unacceptable.

Thirteen states filed the lawsuit, Texas v. U.S., to argue that Congress intended “sex” to refer “only to one’s biological sex, as male or female.” Those states also include Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Ten other states — Arkansas, Kansas, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Wyoming — filed a similar lawsuit in a federal court in Nebraska.

In granting the injunction, Judge O’Connor said the Obama administration’s guidelines are “clearly designed to target” plaintiff states with “legal consequences” if the states fail to follow the guidelines.

The Obama administration’s guidelines and actions, said O’Connor, “indicate that [states] jeopardize their federal education funding by choosing not to comply” with the guidelines. Thus, he said, those guidelines are both “legislative and substantive” and that the public should have been given an opportunity to comment on those guidelines.

“The information before the Court,” said O’Connor, “demonstrates [the Obama administration agencies] have ‘drawn a line in the sand’ in that they have concluded [states] must abide by the guidelines, without exception, or they are in breach of their Title IX obligations.”

“Permitting the definition of sex to be defined [as the Obama administration has stated] would allow [the administration] to ‘create de facto new regulation’ by agency action without complying with the proper procedures.”

At issue are two federal laws that prohibit discrimination based on sex: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which covers employment, and Title IX of the Education Amendments Act, which covers educational institutions.

A brief filed by five pro-LGBT legal groups argued that federal appeals courts governing many of the states opposing the Obama guidelines have already ruled that sex discrimination includes discrimination against transgender people.

The groups include Lambda Legal, the ACLU, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (formerly known as GLAD), and the Transgender Law Center.

Jon Davidson, national legal director for Lambda Legal, said he does not believe O’Connor’s ruling will increase the probability that the Supreme Court will accept the Fourth Circuit case. He said “a large number of issues” in the Texas v. U.S. case “go beyond what is at issue in the [Fourth Circuit] appeal, such as whether the states, state and local agencies, and state officials that brought the suit were sufficiently harmed” by the guidelines.

“Granting review in [the Fourth Circuit case, Gloucester v. Grimm] wouldn’t resolve all those issues,” said Davidson, “so I don’t think the preliminary injunction in Texas v. U.S. puts pressure on the Supreme Court to hear the Gloucester case.”

Shannon Minter, NCLR’s national legal director, said he thinks O’Connor’s injunction will likely be stayed, noting that, in discussing the “plain meaning” of “sex” in federal law, O’Connor “completely disregards” Price Waterhouse. In that 1989 decision, a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Title VII’s prohibition of discrimination because of “sex” include discrimination against an employee based on expectations for an employee’s appearance and behavior based on their biological sex. (Notably, Justice Anthony Kennedy dissented.)

“This is a political case brought to make a political point,” said Minter. “The states don’t have any actual injury. They are just expressing their disagreement with the department’s view of the law, but that abstract disagreement is not a valid basis for a federal lawsuit. This is political posturing at the expense of a small group of vulnerable children.”

The Texas Tribune noted that Judge O’Connor issued a temporary injunction in March of last year to block enforcement of an Obama administration interpretation of the Family and Medical Leave Act that required states to provide to same-sex married couples the same benefits it provides to opposite-sex married couples. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton withdrew that lawsuit after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June of last year that state bans on marriage licenses for same-sex couples was unconstitutional.

© 2016 by Keen News Service



—  Tammye Nash

Federal Carswell prisoner allowed to transition

mariusIn a decision by administrators at Federal Medical Center, Carswell, a federal correctional institution in Fort Worth for female inmates of all security levels with special medical and mental health needs, Marius Mason has been approved to begin hormone treatment for medical gender transition.

Mason, who was assigned female at birth, is an environmental activist, sentenced in 2009 to 22 years in federal prison for the 1999 sabotage of a Monsanto laboratory on the Michigan State University campus. He was diagnosed with Gender Identity Dysphoria around 2013, and came out as trans to friends, family and supporters in 2014. Since then he has been seeking gender-affirming health care, including hormone treatment, or “T” that will cause him to develop male secondary sex characteristics.

It is believed Mason will be the first FTM person to obtain transition-related health care after coming into federal custody.

Although he uses masculine pronouns and the name Marius, the state of Texas forbids name changes for incarcerated people. Experts in the treatment of trans people, however, insist that respect for a patient’s identity, including a gender-appropriate name and pronouns, constitute medically necessary care. Prisons are required to provide medically necessary care.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons has had a policy on the care of individuals with GID since at least 2011, but despite Mason’s 2013 GID diagnosis, it was not until an independent expert review medical records that administrators and staff at FMC Carswell agreed to administer hormone treatment. The facility is now much closer to compliance with federal policy on gender-affirming care, and it is hoped that they will acknowledge the use of gender-affirming names and pronouns as a medical necessity.

The decision of FMC Carswell to come into compliance with the Bureau of Prisons directive on GID promises to have positive effects for many other incarcerated trans persons.

—  David Taffet

Tracy James Jones talks about love in Jill Salvino doc

Tracy James Jones. Between the Shades

Local author Tracy James Jones talks about love and life in the Jill Salvino documentary, ‘Between the Shades.’

Last Feburary, James Russell wrote this profile of local author Tracy James Jones, whose novels feature transgender characters struggling with love, and who had just returned from New York where she participated in the filming of Between The Shades, a feature-length documentary that, in the words of Emmy-winning filmmaker Jill Salvino, “seeks to explore the many shades of being gay by what connects us all: love.”

Salvino explains that the documentary, which will feature 50 LGBT people talking about themselves and their lives, looks at “love though 360 degrees of parents, children and generations. The participants will represent a large range of age groups, ethnicities and professions. They are male, female and those who are still yet to be defined.”

Tracy James Jones, who normally splits her time between Dallas and Waxahachie, describes herself as transgender or gender nonconforming. Watch a brief video of Tracy here.

Watch a longer video about the documentary here or below, and check out the IMDB site here. There’s a Between the Shades Facebook page here, and you can learn more about Jill Salvino on Facebook and on her website.

You can read more about Tracy and her books here on her “Let’s Talk About Books” website, and here on her Facebook page.

Between the Shades Trailer from creative director on Vimeo.

—  Tammye Nash

Tuesday is Give OUT Day


Give OUT DayMore than $100,000 in prizes go to LGBT organizations with the most unique donors in a 24-hour national day of giving for the LGBTQ community and takes place on Tuesday, Aug. 2 and runs from midnight to midnight. The online fundraising event includes organizations from all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and D.C.

Give OUT Day was launched in 2013 by Bolder Giving with support from the Kevin J. Mossier Foundation and is now a project of Horizons Foundation, a San Francisco-based LGBT communities foundation.

The nonprofits range from the arts to social services agencies, advocacy groups to sports leagues, community centers to health care nonprofits.

“It would be hard to find an LGBT person who hasn’t, at one time or another, turned to an LGBTQ nonprofit at some point in our lives,” said Roger Doughty, President of  Horizons Foundation. “Give OUT Day is an opportunity to engage new donors and support our LGBGTQ organizations for their tireless efforts, often working with limited resource.”

According to Horizons Foundation research, less than 5 percent of LGBT people give direct financial support to LGBTQ organizations.

Equality Texas foundation, Transgender Education Network of Texas, The Women’s Chorus of Dallas are among the local and Texas organizations participating. National organizations like Sage, Binet and Trevor Project are also participating.

Click here to make a donation.


—  David Taffet

Blue Cross to cover gender correction surgery?

BCBSBlue Cross Blue Shield of Texas wants to cover gender correction surgery for transgender people in plans sold on, according to a report published Thursday, July 28, by The Dallas Morning News. BCBS, the largest insurer in Texas, also called for an increase of almost 60 percent in premiums for individual plans for next year.

No on at BCBS is commenting on whether adding coverage for gender correction surgery is the reason they are asking for a rate increase, but the Morning News article by business columnist Michael Schnurman indicates that’s probably not the case, citing studies that show extending coverage to transgender people: “While surgery is expensive, up to $89,000, few people get it. And those ‘in transition’ often receive hormone treatments or other less expensive therapies.”

Of course, all the facts and studies and so forth probably won’t make a damn bit of difference to the right-wingers in the Texas Legislature who have drawn a target on the back of transgender Texans with a slew of anti-trans bills in the last legislative session and a slew more expected next year, Schnurman said. (OK, so I paraphrased a little. But that’s what he meant.)

Read Schnurman’s full analysis here.

—  Tammye Nash

Transgender activist to speak at Democratic National Convention


Sarah McBride scheduled to deliver historic speech on Thursday


MICHAEL K. LAVERS | Washington Blade
Courtesy National Gay Media Association


McBride.SarahPHILADELPHIA — Sarah McBride this week will become the first openly transgender person to speak at a major party convention.

McBride — who is the national press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign Foundation — is scheduled to speak at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday, July 28. She is slated to take the main stage inside the Wells Fargo Center alongside U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., who co-chairs the Congressional LGBT Caucus.

“I’m honored for this opportunity to share my story and to be the first transgender person to speak at a major party convention,” McBride said in an HRC press release. “People must understand that even as we face daily harassment, tragic violence and an onslaught of anti-LGBTQ political attacks across the country, we are real people merely seeking to be treated with the dignity and respect every person deserves.

“I’m so proud to stand with the LGBT Caucus and speak out in support of Hillary Clinton, because we know she stands with us,” she added.

McBride is a former staffer at the Center for American Progress. The American University graduate who is from Wilmington, Del., also played a leading role in securing passage of bills that added gender identity to Delaware’s anti-discrimination and hate crimes laws in 2013.

“Sarah’s personal story and unending commitment to LGBT rights makes her an invaluable voice to have in the conversation,” said U.S. Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif., co-chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, in a statement. “We look forward to working with her to make full legal and social equality a reality.”

McBride is scheduled to speak at the Democratic National Convention a week after Donald Trump formally accepted the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in Cleveland.

Delegates to the Republican National Convention last week approved a party platform that, among other things, opposes the use of federal funds to ensure trans people can use bathrooms consistent with their gender identity.

Caitlyn Jenner on July 20 criticized North Carolina’s controversial House Bill 2 — which bans people from using bathrooms in public buildings that are consistent with their gender identity and prohibits local municipalities from enacting LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances — during her appearance at an event the American Unity Fund held at Cleveland’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.


—  Tammye Nash