569 posts categorized "Health"

April 20, 2015

House Republicans take issue with another D.C. law

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(Rep. Jason Chaffetz. Photo by J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

WaPo reports that House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) called a committee vote for Tuesday (4/21) to mark up a resolution of disapproval against the D.C. Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act. GLAA's Craig Howell posted the following comment as a correction:

Contrary to this report, nothing in the Human Rights Amendment Act requires religious colleges and universities to officially recognize or fund LGBT student organizations. They would have to provide equal facilities to such groups. A court decision laid down this common-sense principle in the 1980s, only to have it capriciously overturned when Congress adopted the notorious Armstrong Amendment. Georgetown University has led the way to show how Catholic educational institutions can support their LGBT students without compromising either secular anti-discrimination laws or their own religious principle. Unfortunately, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Catholic University and their nuttyfundamentalist allies on the Hill are more interested in playing the victim card and scapegoating the LGBT community than in promoting workable accommodations.

Roll Call reports.

April 15, 2015

Norton criticizes Reps. Black and Hartzler for violating local control principles

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Norton Wonders Why Representatives Black and Hartlzer Would Introduce Disapproval Resolutions Permitting Discrimination Against Women and LGBT Students in Violation of Their Own Local Control Principles

Apr 15, 2015 - Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Not long after a disapproval resolution was introduced on Monday that would license discrimination against District of Columbia women in the workplace, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) pledged to fight yet another disapproval resolution introduced yesterday that would permit discrimination against LGBT students by their own universities. She said she plans to mount a vigorous defense of home rule and workplace equality at the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s (OGR) markup of the workplace discrimination bill scheduled for Tuesday, April 21. In total this week, Representatives Diane Black (R-TN) and Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) have introduced anti-local-control resolutions to block two D.C.-passed anti-discrimination bills, the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act (RHNDA) and the Human Rights Amendment Act (HRAA), from taking effect, though only Black’s RHNDA disapproval resolution is scheduled to be marked up by OGR on Tuesday. RHNDA would prohibit employers from discriminating against an employee, spouse or dependent based on personal reproductive health decisions. Under RHNDA, a woman could not be fired for having an abortion after being raped, a man for using condoms, or parents for buying birth control for their daughters. HRAA would repeal a congressionally imposed rider that permits schools in D.C. to deny LGBT students equal access to school facilities and services.

“Representatives Black and Hartzler both assure their constituents in Tennessee and Missouri of their adherence to limited government on their websites,” Norton said. “Yet, in violation of their professed principles, they have introduced bills that would misuse the power of the federal government to block the local laws of a local jurisdiction from taking effect. I suspect the constituents of Representative Black in Tennessee and Representative Hartzler in Missouri would be surprised to learn that their Members, have taken time away from the vital issues of their own districts and national matters to focus time and energy on entirely local D.C. matters. Mind you, neither Representative Black nor Representative Hartzler represents the American citizens residing the nation’s capital, and my constituents cannot respond to their action. OGR will markup RHNDA, a local matter on which members have almost no background, without so much as a hearing on the bill, where D.C. officials would have had the opportunity to explain the importance of RHNDA to women and workplace equality.”

Congress passed the Home Rule Act in 1973 to give D.C. authority over its local laws, but all D.C. bills must be transmitted to Congress for a review period before they can take effect. Members almost always respect the D.C. Home Rule Act. RHNDA and HRAA were transmitted for a 30-legislative-day review period on March 6, 2015. A bill takes effect at the expiration of the review period unless a resolution of disapproval is enacted into law during that period. Norton has prevented a disapproval resolution from being enacted into law since 1991.

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RSC calls on Congress to block D.C. anti-discrimination bills

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(Rep. Diane Black. Photo by Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) has introduced a disapproval resolution (H.J. Res. 44) in the House to block D.C.'s Human Rights Amendment Act, which among other things repeals the anti-gay, congressionally imposed Armstrong Amendment that dates from the late 1980s. This is on the heels of Monday's introduction by Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) of a disapproval resolution (H.J. Res. 43) against D.C.'s Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act.

The House Oversight and Government Reform will hold a markup this Thursday, April 16, at 11:30 am. In the event Hartzler's resolution is moved at the markup, it would be subject to a point of order for violating the three-day rule for markups; such a point of order could only be waved through unanimous consent.

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton yesterday denounced the first disapproval resolution (on reproductive health) in no uncertain terms:

If Congress wants to try and strike down our local law, the very least the District of Columbia is entitled to is an open hearing. Instead, with little notice and no hearing, the disapproval resolution seeks not only to undermine the democratic will of D.C. voters, but also the constitutional rights of men and women to privacy concerning their most personal matters. An individual's decisions concerning reproductive choices are personal health care decisions, and are perhaps the most private of decisions protected by the Constitution. Personal reproductive matters certainly are not work related, and are no business of an employer.

The largest House Caucus, the Republican Study Committee, has called on Congress to pass the disapproval resolutions or attach riders to the D.C. Appropriations Bill to block implementation of the D.C. anti-discrimination bills. GLAA is working with a wide array of local and national allies to defend both bills.

Roll Call reports.

(Hat tip: Bradley Truding)

Update: The OGR markup has been rescheduled for 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 21, 2015.

April 14, 2015

Cultural competency bill for healthcare providers introduced in D.C. Council

Thanks to Councilmembers Grosso and Alexander for introducing the bill we and our allies have been working on to establish LGBT cultural competency requirements for District-licensed healthcare providers. And thanks to their colleagues for unanimously co-sponsoring. CM Alexander chairs the Health committee, so we were pleased to help get her on board as co-introducer.

D.C. Council rejects Corizon contract on 6-5 vote

Thanks to Councilmembers Charles Allen, Mary Cheh, David Grosso, Phil Mendelson, Brianne Nadeau, and Elissa Silverman for voting today to disapprove the Corizon contract for inmate healthcare. Thanks also to our many allies who opposed the contract, including Deb Golden at the D.C. Prisoners Project, Samantha Davis at So Others Might Eat, and Shannon Minter at the National Center for Lesbian Rights. Here is a sample of GLAA's letter to CMs urging rejection of the contract.

A number of people hired by Corizon wore t-shirts saying "Jobs Not Jail," which is agreeable enough but not the issue under discussion, which was Corizon's terrible record in providing correctional healthcare services. Some of the same folks were picketing in front of the Wilson Building when I arrived for the legislative meeting, and their picket signs were incoherent. I asked one of the Corizon picketers whether he was for Corizon or against it, and he could not answer me. I guess the instructions were, "Wear this shirt and carry this sign."

This could come up again if allies of Mayor Bowser win the special elections for D.C. Council seats in Wards 4 and 8. So stay tuned.

April 13, 2015

GLAA urges D.C. Council to reject #Corizon contract for inmate healthcare

Deb Golden of the D.C. Prisoners Project tweets GLAA's letter to D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson urging rejection of the Corizon contract. Here is a copy of our letter to Ward 1 CM Brianne Nadeau. We have also signed on to a joint letter.

April 09, 2015

President Obama opposes youth 'conversion' therapies

Thank you, Mr. President.

March 24, 2015

The questionable ethics of #Corizon

GLAA's concerns about Corizon are stated here.

March 23, 2015

States propose wave of anti-LGBT bills

Many of us have been saying that increasingly, the fight for LGBT equality will be in the states. Well here it is.

Norton Gearing Up for Defense in the House of D.C.’s Anti-Bias Bills

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Contact: Benjamin Fritsch – o: 202-225-8050, c: 202-225-8143
March 23, 2015

Norton Gearing Up for Defense in the House of D.C.’s Anti-Bias Bills

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Following what appear to be new threats against two anti-discrimination bills recently passed by the District of Columbia Council, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today said that she will oppose any effort to overturn the bills in the U.S. House of Representatives as strongly as she indicated last week she would oppose the disapproval resolutions introduced in the Senate. In an interview with Roll Call, Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which has jurisdiction over D.C., said about the D.C. bills, “we want to take some action in the House too” and that “we’re still working on that.” The two bills are the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act, which prohibits employers in D.C. from discriminating against employees based on their personal reproductive health decisions, and the Human Rights Amendment Act, which protects lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students from discrimination by educational institutions in the District.

“I still hope that Chairman Chaffetz will respect D.C. home rule as he said he would when he took the chairmanship of the Committee,” Norton said. “I was not surprised that Senator Ted Cruz would leap at the opportunity to introduce two disapproval resolutions last week, perhaps in anticipation of announcing his bid for presidency at Liberty University, where reproductive choice and sexual orientation are hot-button issues. I recognize that the District’s protection of employees who do not want to answer to their employers on their reproductive choices as well as its protection of LGBT students who are singled out for discrimination at their own universities may not be the policies of other jurisdictions. We who live in the nation’s capital are American citizens and demand the same respect that is given to citizens in other jurisdictions whose local governments pass similar legislation. I appreciate the more than 50 organizations that have stepped up to oppose these disapproval resolutions. The broad coalition fully recognizes that D.C. residents not only deserve their support, but also that attempts to curtail rights here can easily spread to other parts of the country.”

Under the Home Rule Act of 1973, all D.C. bills must be transmitted to Congress for a review period before they can take effect. The anti-discrimination bills were transmitted for a 30-legislative-day review period on March 6, 2015. A bill takes effect at the expiration of the review period unless a resolution of disapproval is enacted into law during that period. Norton has prevented a disapproval resolution from being enacted into law since 1991.

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Catholic bishops, including Cardinals Wuerl and O'Malley, urge congressional overturn of D.C. anti-discrimination bills

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(Wuerl at left, O'Malley at right. Photo credit: Ed Pfueller, Catholic University of America)

More lies from Catholic Church leaders urging Congress to interfere with DC anti-discrimination legislation related to LGBT students and reproductive health. These clerics do not want religious freedom, they want religious supremacy. (Reported by Roll Call)

March 14, 2015

Norton slams conservative attacks on pro-choice, pro-LGBT D.C. legislation

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Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) issued the following news release on March 10 (and pardon my tardiness):

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today reaffirmed her commitment to defend two anti-discrimination bills that the District of Columbia transmitted to Congress on March 6, after the Heritage Foundation and other conservative organizations once again called on Congress to pass disapproval resolutions to overturn these two bills during the congressional review period. The Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act would prohibit D.C. employers from discriminating against employees based on their personal reproductive health decisions, and the Human Rights Amendment Act would protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender D.C. students from discrimination.

“The Heritage Foundation and its social conservative allies are trying to start a new social issues war using District of Columbia local laws in a Congress that has yet to show it can govern the nation,” Norton said. “They picked the wrong jurisdiction, and they picked the wrong issues. We are not going to have our local citizens answering to employers on their personal reproductive health care decisions. And we are not going to have our LGBT students stigmatized and denied by their own universities and schools. We are already working with a broad coalition representing local and national organizations to defend D.C.’s local anti-discrimination laws from congressional interference.”

Bill 20-0790, the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act of 2014, was transmitted to Congress on March 6 for its congressional review period. The projected Law Date is April 17.

Bill 20-0803, the Human Rights Amendment Act of 2014--which was written at the request of GLAA and (among other things) repeals the congressionally-imposed Armstrong Amendment--was transmitted to Congress on the same date, and has the same projected law date of April 17.

The right-wing group Heritage Action issued an alert attacking these two bills on January 29. Its characterization of the bills is inaccurate. GLAA is working with Congresswoman Norton and allied groups to defend both bills from congressional interference.

March 08, 2015

SNL mocks Ben Carson

Sometimes an apology comes too late.

March 04, 2015

SCOTUSblog reports on oral arguments in ACA case

Meanwhile, lots of people mistakenly think the blog is part of the Court.

February 24, 2015

Not OK: bill to protect parents' right to torture gay children advances in Oklahoma

Oklahoma Rep. Sally Kern's bill to prohibit the state from regulating dangerous and discredited "ex-gay" therapy was approved by an Oklahoma House committee.

GLAA's testimony against conversion therapy is here.

February 23, 2015

Labor secretary announces same-sex couples will have access to FMLA

Labor Secretary Tom Perez announces a rule making to ensure access to the Family And Medical Leave Act for same-sex couples.

February 19, 2015

The blood ban and the celibacy challenge

A message from Alan Cumming. Second option: sign the petition to pressure the FDA to screen donors based on their exposure to risk, not on their sexual orientation.

February 10, 2015

SPLC: New Jersey judge rules conversion therapy group can’t claim homosexuality is a disorder

The Southern Poverty Law Center reports excellent news:

A New Jersey Superior Court judge has ruled misrepresenting homosexuality as a disorder in marketing conversion therapy services violates the state’s consumer protection laws – a devastating ruling for the conversion therapy industry, which claims to “convert” people from gay to straight, the Southern Poverty Law Center announced today.

GLAA's 2015 policy brief discusses DC's bill prohibiting conversion therapy for minors, which is currently undergoing congressional review. We are part of a nationwide movement to protect youth from this fraudulent and harmful practice.

February 04, 2015

Beck: anti-vaxxers are being persecuted, just like Galileo

Right Wing Watch reports on the latest recklessness from Glenn Beck.

Justin Fox of Bloomberg explains that Refusing to vaccinate isn't just a personal choice.

February 03, 2015

'Death With Dignity' bill likely to get slow walk through D.C. Council

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(Photo by Matt McClain for The Washington Post)

Mike DeBonis at WaPo reports on the Death with Dignity Act, introduced by Ward 3 CM Mary Cheh and endorsed by GLAA.

I am quoted in the article, which also links to GLAA's 2015 policy brief. Councilmember Yvette Alexander, to whose Health committee the bill was assigned, said her Catholic faith, which she cited in opposing marriage equality, will not influence her handling of this bill. That remains to be demonstrated.

February 02, 2015

Chris Christie's long flirtation with anti-vaxxers

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(Photo by Neil Hall / Reuters)

Olivia Nuzzi at The Daily Beast reports on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's history of being "pro choice" on whether parents should vaccinate their children. This means he is fine with people endangering the health of other people's children by embracing junk science. Because everyone is entitled to their own truth. Or something. Could there be a virus that only kills stupid people? That's just an idle thought.

Shep Smith 1, Rand Paul 0

Above, Shepard Smith of Fox News calls anti-vaxxers science deniers and tells them to get their kids vaccinated and stop endangering public health. Below, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) shocks everyone by saying something crazy.

January 08, 2015

ICYMI: Putting It Together in 2015

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My column looking at the year ahead appears in this week's Blade, revised a bit. Here's an excerpt:

2015 promises continued fights against right-wing aggressions that include vagina policing and other gender-based discrimination; attacks on church-state separation; xenophobia; quackery disguised as science; biased profiling and excessive force by police; and criminalization of healthcare issues.

None of these will be resolved by the likely nationwide victory for marriage equality in the U.S. Supreme Court. Thus, in the words of Ella Baker, "We who believe in freedom cannot rest." Here are some thoughts for the work ahead.

Curb the language cops. We will win the marriage fight even if some use the misleading phrase "gay marriage." If people who are not belligerent use the wrong pronouns or otherwise display their ignorance, be like my amazingly patient transgender friends and politely clue them in. Creating change requires the politics of addition; we must always seek new ways to connect with people.

Read the whole thing here.

January 01, 2015

Putting It Together in 2015

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(Photo by See-ming Lee, United Nations Africa Renewal)

My look at the year ahead in LGBT activism is now up at Bay Windows. Here's an excerpt:

From a liberal perspective, 2015 promises continued fights against right-wing aggressions that include vagina policing and other gender-based discrimination; attacks on church-state separation; xenophobia; quackery disguised as science; biased profiling and excessive force by police; and criminalization of healthcare issues.

None of these will be resolved by the likely nationwide victory for marriage equality in the U.S. Supreme Court. Thus, in the words of Ella Baker, "We who believe in freedom cannot rest." Here are some thoughts for the work ahead.

Read the whole thing here.

December 31, 2014

Strong beat

One of White House photographer Pete Souza's most charming photos of 2014, from March 4.

Leelah Alcorn: 'My death needs to mean something'


More ABC News Videos | ABC World News

Jo Barrow and Tom Namako at BuzzFeed report on this sad story that reminds us how much support our youth need. Below, the Trevor Project's Lifeline.

2014 year in review: Athletes and Ambassadors

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My year-in-review is now up at the Washington Blade. Here is an excerpt:

Military and international. The transition to openly gay military service has gone so smoothly it has generated little news. The fight to end discrimination against transgender service members continues; two dozen have been discharged in the past two years. The First Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a lawsuit by Sexual Minorities Uganda against Scott Lively for crimes against humanity can proceed. In diplomatic news, Ted Osius III joined a growing list of openly gay envoys when he was sworn in as ambassador to Vietnam.

Health. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) led 80 senators and House members in urging an end to the lifetime ban on blood donations by men who have had sex with men, calling for science to replace stereotypes. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called for wider use of Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention, despite strong opposition by Michael Weinstein of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. There have been no new HIV infections among more than 500 Kaiser Permanente customers using PrEP. New York and the District of Columbia adopted rules forbidding health insurers from denying medically necessary treatment to transgender people. D.C. joined California and New Jersey in passing legislation banning "ex-gay" conversion therapy for minors.

Media. Schadenfreude was rampant after Sean Eldridge failed in his bid to buy a congressional seat and husband Chris Hughes provoked a mass walkout at The New Republic by sacking top editors. Hughes was faulted for wrecking a century-old magazine in his effort to create a "vertically integrated digital media company," that is, a word salad. Former TNR writer Jamie Kirchick at The Daily Beast dubbed them "America's worst gay power couple," but their youthful hubris and confusion of wealth for wisdom transcend sexual orientation.

Read the whole thing here.

December 23, 2014

FDA lifts blood donation ban for gay men, sort of

Vox.com reports. Basically, if you've been celibate for the past year, step right up. I can hear Frank Kameny denounce this from beyond the grave. And he doesn't have a grave. Never mind, sore subject.

December 22, 2014

Mayor Gray signs bill to prohibit conversion therapy for minors

This morning, I was honored to attend on behalf of GLAA as Mayor Vince Gray signed Bill 20-501, the Conversion Therapy for Minors Prohibition Amendment Act. Thanks to Gray, bill introducer Mary Cheh, and all who worked in support of this important legislation to protect our youth from a dangerous and discredited outgrowth of anti-gay junk science. It now goes to Capitol Hill for the requisite congressional review period before becoming law.

Read GLAA's testimony from last June.

December 20, 2014

Chinese Court sides with gay man in electroshock therapy case

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(Photo by Ng Han Guan/Associated Press)

NYT reports:

In a victory for gay rights advocates in China, a Beijing court ruled on Friday that a Chinese clinic must pay compensation to a gay man who sued it for giving him electric shocks intended to change his sexual orientation.

Stating that homosexuality is not a mental illness, the Haidian District People’s Court ordered the Xinyupiaoxiang Counseling Center in the southwestern city of Chongqing to pay 3,400 renminbi, or $560, for costs incurred by the plaintiff, Yang Teng. It also ordered Baidu, China’s leading search engine, which was also named in the lawsuit, to remove the advertisement that Mr. Yang said led him to the clinic.

China bears watching. Now the world's largest economy, it has been a friendlier place for gay activists than one might have expected from a totalitarian state. Congrats to Yang and best of luck to his comrades for continued progress.

December 15, 2014

Stop Corizon from running D.C. Jail healthcare

GLAA sent letters like this one to all D.C. Council members on Monday afternoon:



Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance
Fighting for equal rights since 1971
P.O. Box 75265, Washington, DC 20013


Monday, December 15, 2014

The Honorable Phil Mendelson, Chairman
Council of the District of Columbia
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20004

Dear Chairman Mendelson:

We urge you to vote against the Office of Contracting and Procurement's recommendation to award the new five-year D.C. Jail healthcare contract to Corizon, a for-profit company with a bad track record.

This is especially scary for people with HIV, transgender people, and anyone with mental health or medical issues. Quality mental healthcare during incarceration is important to successful reintegration into society.

Continue reading "Stop Corizon from running D.C. Jail healthcare" »

December 11, 2014

Perkins says conversion therapy ban will help gays recruit children

Because he says so. Pay no attention to the science. Just make stuff up. Sorry Tony, but you're losing the argument.

December 07, 2014

If Bill Donohue is your mental health consultant, you're in trouble

The latest from Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.

December 02, 2014

D.C. Council passes bill to protect ‪#‎LGBT‬ youth from ‪#‎ConversionTherapy‬

NCLR writes:

Today, the District of Columbia Council unanimously approved a bill that will protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth from the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy.

When signed into law, Washington, D.C. will become the third jurisdiction—behind California and New Jersey—to pass legislation protecting LGBT youth from practices that are known to cause severe depression and even suicide.

“Today, the DC Council sent a powerful message to LGBT youth and their families that they are accepted, supported, and loved,” said Samantha Ames, NCLR staff attorney and coordinator of the #BornPerfect campaign at the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR). “The Council has used its authority to protect our most vulnerable youth from dangerous and discredited pseudoscience that tells them who they are is wrong, and reaffirmed the consensus of every major medical and mental health organization that all children are born perfect, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

NCLR, in conjunction with other organizations, including the Human Rights Campaign, played a key role in organizing the coalition behind the bill, which was authored by Councilmember Mary M. Cheh. A broad range of groups supported the Youth Mental Health Protection Act, including national LGBT organizations, mental health organizations, faith leaders, youth advocates, reproductive justice groups, and civil rights organizations.

Earlier this year, NCLR launched the #BornPerfect campaign to protecting LGBT youth across the country from conversion therapy over the next five years by passing laws, fighting in courtrooms to ensure their safety, and raising awareness about the serious harms caused by these dangerous practices.

Learn more about #BornPerfect at www.NCLRights.org/BornPerfect.

GLAA is proud to be part of the coalition that pushed for this bill. Now it goes to Mayor Gray for his signature, then to the Hill for the requisite congressional review period. Our youth will be that much safer for our collective effort, and the national movement to protect minors from these dangerous practices will get a boost.

Thanks to NCLR and all our coalition partners. Special kudos to Alison Gill, formerly of the Trevor Project and now Senior Legislative Counsel with the Human Rights Campaign, who served as coordinator.

More on the bill here.

December 01, 2014

Lambda Legal: end HIV criminalization

Lambda Legal issued this by news release:

On World AIDS Day 2014, Lambda Legal urges those tasked with enforcing U.S. criminal law - from governors to prosecutors to police detectives - to halt the criminal prosecution of people based on their HIV status, thereby assisting efforts to combat the misconceptions, fear, stereotypes, discrimination and stigma faced by people living with HIV that fuel the epidemic in the U.S. and around the world.

HIV criminalization is a striking example of how misinformation, stereotypes and unfounded fears affect people living with HIV and of the government engaging in discrimination that perpetuates these stigmatizing messages. Imposing unjustified and unnecessary criminal prohibitions on people with HIV has led to a society where people are - among other forms of oppression - imprisoned, classified as felons and forced to register as sex offenders, based on outdated and inaccurate information regarding HIV.

We have not come nearly far enough in educating the public about HIV and in reducing stigma and discrimination. Fear and ignorance about HIV and discrimination against people living with HIV remains a serious problem that both marginalizes people and poses barriers to treatment and care.

Lambda Legal remains committed to securing equal protection and equal rights for this community - because living with HIV is not a crime. Lambda Legal's commitment to fighting HIV and AIDS stigma and discrimination began more than twenty-five years ago in 1983 when we filed the nation's first challenge to AIDS discrimination and helped secure a court order stopping the efforts of neighbors to evict a doctor from his offices because he treated HIV-positive patients.

That commitment remains strong today. People living with HIV have a right to work and live free from discrimination, and laws, policies and other governmental actions should be based on sound science rather than fear and bias.

See the relevant portion of GLAA's 2014 policy brief.

World AIDS Day: 7 facts about the disease

Above, Helen Bygrave of Doctors Without Borders talks to AFP.

USA Today reports 7 facts about AIDS:

  1. An estimated 34 million people have HIV/AIDS worldwide. In the USA, an estimated 1.2 million people live with HIV and one out of every seven are not aware they have the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  2. Sub-Saharan Africa has the most people living with HIV in the world and 70% of all new HIV infections occur there. In 2013, there were an estimated 24.7 million cases in the region, according to the World Health Organization.
  3. In the USA, the number of new HIV infections reported have decreased from approximately 130,000 a year to 50,000 a year since the height of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, according to the CDC.
  4. There is no cure for HIV, but antiretroviral drugs (ART) have helped people live longer with the virus. In 2013, 12.9 million people received the drug therapy, according to the World Health Organization.
  5. From 2005 to 2013, AIDS-related deaths globally have decreased by almost 40% across age groups. However, deaths for children ages 10 to 19 have not decreased, according to UNICEF.
  6. In the USA, HIV primarily occurs in urban areas with a population of 500,000 people or more. Hardest hit areas in 2012 included Atlanta, Miami, Baton Rouge, La., New Orleans, Memphis and Baltimore, according to the CDC.
  7. The group most affected by HIV in the USA remains gay or bisexual men. Male-to-male sex accounted for 63% of new HIV infections in 2010, according to the CDC. The CDC reports that African Americans are disproportionately affected. In 2010, they made up 14% of the U.S. population, but accounted for 44% of new HIV infections.

Prince Harry shares a secret for #WorldAIDSDay

CBS News reports.

November 22, 2014

Regarding healthcare before Obamacare

November 14, 2014

The implications of PrEP

New York Magazine has an interesting article on the debate over Truvada.

U.S. Panel Supports Lifting Ban on Blood Donations from Gay Men

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(Photo by Malaysia Blood Donors Society)

Time reports:

A federal panel voted Thursday in favor of partially lifting a 31-year ban against accepting blood donations from gay and bisexual men.

The current ban in the U.S. applies to any potential male blood donor who has had sex with another man since 1977, the start of the country’s AIDS epidemic. The FDA website states that these men are at an “increased risk for HIV, hepatitis B and certain other infections that can be transmitted by transfusion.” The Department of Health and Human Service’s Advisory Committee on Blood and Tissue Safety and Availability examined data and heard testimony on Thursday from critics of the lifetime ban, who say it is discriminatory and now unnecessary, since technological advances have made the risk infinitesimal in most cases.

The panel then voted 16-2 in support of allowing men who have had sex with other men to give blood after being abstinent for one year, Bloomberg Businessweek reports. The FDA is not obliged to follow the panel’s advice but Jennifer Rodriguez, a spokeswoman for the agency, said “the meeting provided valuable information and perspectives that will help inform the FDA’s deliberations.”