612 posts categorized "Health"

August 30, 2015

Oliver Sacks Dead at 82

Rest in peace. Condolences to his partner Bill Hayes.

August 27, 2015

Gun violence and mental health

My initial reaction to Wednesday's horrific shooting death of a Roanoke television reporter and cameraman during a morning news broadcast, other than shock and sadness, was that we need fewer guns and better mental health care. But I like a friend's comments on Facebook:

There is a really offensive meme going around that says to "like & share if you blame [Vester Flanagan] for the Virginia shooting...not the gun." My response to the people who have posted it and it showed up in my feed:

"I blame every single person who prevents implementation of policies and procedures to keep people like him from having access to guns in the first place. I blame everyone who refuses to recognize the critical need and provide funding and help for people who suffer with mental health issues. Then I blame him. I don't blame the gun."

Mr. Flanagan was sufficiently responsible to know what he was doing...otherwise he would not have had the wherewithal to send a manifesto or liveblog his actions. He could and should have voluntarily walked into any hospital or police station and declared he was in crisis and the tragedy could have been averted.

He plainly was a troubled man. I hope his family tried to get him help. Even so, the system failed everyone in this case...same as it has before...same as it will again. Anyone who claims they are pro-life, pro-family, and a Christian, is anything but if they oppose fixing our laws and our society to prevent tragedies involving guns. It's just that simple. Stop playing along with them and they will lose their power.

Some on the right, I suppose inevitably, are blaming the shooting on #BlackLivesMatter activists, whose advocacy is nonviolent and in protest against state-sanctioned violence against black citizens. The fact that the shooter, who died from a self-inflicted gunshot, was also gay (according to a manifesto posted in his name, purportedly by him) only gives more red meat to the haters.

A few months ago, around LGBT Pride, I announced a policy of apologizing for every crime or calamity that anyone blames on gay people as a class. This of course is ridiculous, unless you are prepared to blame (say) Ted Bundy's serial murders of women on all straight guys. But reason has little to do with scapegoating of minorities, so I wish to apologize for these horrific killings. I am so sorry. What was I thinking. Please forgive me. And fuck you ignorant motherfuckers. Oh, sorry, I was temporarily channeling Samuel L. Jackson.

Seriously, we need to do something about the proliferation and glorification of guns in this country. Due to a second fatal shooting Wednesday, you couldn't bring up "the shooting" without clarifying which one you meant.

As another friend said last evening, in response to a colleague who snarkily suggested it is "peak assimilation" when a deranged shooter announces he's gay:

The fact he was gay, and his complaints around such, are irrelevant. He was severely mentally ill. If he'd been told they were out of his favorite cone at Dairy Queen, he'd have imagined some slight that was worthy of massacre.

Yes. Let's address the problem, not exploit it to score cheap points on social media.

August 21, 2015

Illinois becomes fifth state protect youth from conversion therapy

Congrats to our colleagues in Illinois, and welcome to the club!

Scott Walker, translated

August 20, 2015

President Carter discusses his cancer

A remarkable display of grace by our 39th president.

August 15, 2015

Cost of treating transgender troops called negligible

Stars and Stripes reports. Another anti-trans myth collapses under scrutiny.

Chris Christie Laughs About Veto of Trans Birth Certificate Bill

Gov. Christie thinks the rights of trans people are laughable. What is laughable is that this smug bully is the governor of a state, much less a presidential candidate. But the rights of our transgender brothers and sisters are no laughing matter. The legal denial of trans people's existence is cruel, pointless, and must stop.

Our friend Andy Bowen at Garden State Equality comments:

Hey Governor Chris Christie: 33 trans women have been murdered in the US in the last two years. Our survival is ‪#‎nolaughingmatter‬

August 06, 2015

The truth about government spending on women's health

August 04, 2015

Sen. Warren slams attack on Planned Parenthood

Elizabeth Warren Standing Strong in Support of Planned Parenthood

Watch Senator Elizabeth Warren crush it on the Senate floor during the debate to defund Planned Parenthood: “Did you fall down, hit your head and think you woke up in the 1950s or the 1890s? Should we call for a doctor?”

Posted by AlterNet on Tuesday, August 4, 2015

A bracing speech in defense of women's healthcare and reproductive freedom.

(Hat tip: Ernest Hopkins)

August 03, 2015

Planned Parenthood defunding bill fails first test vote in Senate

The Republicans' war on women's reproductive health and freedom is not over, but their bluster and doctored videos do not give them the votes they need. I stand with my sisters.

More here.

July 31, 2015

Obama unveils new HIV strategy

July 28, 2015

ICYMI: Senate appropriations bill emerges without D.C. riders

July 16, 2015

ESPYs honor brave girl and her dad with Perseverance Award

Devon Still of the Bengals and his daughter Leah, who is battling cancer, were honored last night at the ESPYs.

July 14, 2015

GLAA at the witness table

Here I am, testifying at the July 10 hearing on the Death with Dignity Act. My hair looks less gray in my mirror in the morning.

Rev. Cedric Harmon testifies for Death with Dignity Act

Our friend Rev. Cedric A. Harmon, who was on the steering committee for D.C. Clergy United for Marriage Equality, and is co-director of Many Voices, testified on July 10 in support of the Death with Dignity Act of 2015. Thanks to him.

July 13, 2015

End criminalization of HIV status

GLAA has long agreed with the National Center for Lesbian Rights on this issue. Criminalizing HIV status is insanely counterproductive.

Obama signs work-around to Hobby Lobby ruling

We'll see how this goes.

July 10, 2015

GLAA testifies for Death with Dignity Act

Today at a hearing of the D.C. Council Committee on Health and Human Services, I will testify for GLAA in support of Councilmember Mary Cheh's Death with Dignity Act. I will be accompanied by former GLAA president Craig Howell, who drafted our testimony. Here's a passage from the ending:

The Humanist magazine reported last December that Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town Desmond Tutu publicly "declared himself in favor of assisted dying should he ever find himself terminally ill or in a situation of unbearable suffering." Stephen Hawking, probably the most famous differently-abled person in the world, has said he too might one day want to exercise his right to die: "To keep someone alive against their wishes is the ultimate indignity."

The openly gay retired Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire, Gene Robinson, writes, "There is nothing innately good about allowing 'nature' to take its course in a prolonged and painful journey to an inevitable death. It doesn't make you a better person because you endured the indignity and trauma of it."

Contrary to Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl, this legislation is not based on a "eugenic philosophy" but on compassion and respect. We urge its passage.

The bill is based on a 1997 Oregon statute, and includes appropriate safeguards to prevent coercion or other abuses. The experience in Oregon and other right-to-die states should allay concerns in this regard. Read GLAA's testimony here.

D.C. cracks down on synthetic drugs

Well this is disturbing. NBC4 reports:

In one week in D.C., police say, a woman abandoned a baby in a stroller alongside a busy D.C. street -- and a young man who had been in college just a year ago stabbed a passenger on a Metro train 30 to 40 times.

The two crimes were tied together by the drug police believe the suspects may have been using: synthetic marijuana....

Mayor Muriel Bowser will sign into law the "Sale of Synthetic Drugs Emergency Amendment Act of 2015" Friday at noon.

June 30, 2015

SCOTUS allows Texas abortion clinics to remain open

Some good news, if temporary, on the reproductive choice front.

June 25, 2015

SPLC Wins Fraud Suit Against New Jersey 'Ex-Gay' Torture Group

'Etched into American law for a genereration'

CAP: ACA decision saves lives and affirms the rule of law

Right wing cries Apocalypse over ACA ruling

Good for some laughs.

#SCOTUS upholds ACA subsidies 6-3

OPM to ban trans-exclusion in federal health plans

What? The Obama administration is working to advance transgender equality? Outrageous! Interrupt the president at the Pride Month reception!

Dear GetEqual: If you can't get some manners, get a frigging clue.

June 24, 2015

Feds Order Federal Employee Health Plans To Cover Transgender Health Services

Our friend Dana Beyer writes on Facebook:

Good story by Geidner on the continuing progress towards trans equality in the administration. We're now at the stage where muscle needs to enforce the words as they're being clarified.

June 22, 2015

A humane way to end life

WaPo makes the case for D.C. Council member Mary Cheh's Death with Dignity Act of 2015, Bill 21-38, which GLAA endorses.

June 16, 2015

A fun night at Chef's Best

Savada-Stevenson table Chefs Best 2015

The 25th anniversary Chef's Best was held Monday evening at the Marriott Marquis. I was a guest of my friends Alan Savada and Will Stevenson. Here's a picture of our table. The whole thing was a bit chaotic, but was a lot of fun and we had some wonderful food. One highlight was a small plate of cookies from pastry chef Peter Brett. Also the lobster mac and cheese, but I forget who that was from. And there was a tasty shrimp and corn salad, and the most incredible deviled eggs, and....

The event was a fundraiser for Food & Friends, which is expanding to serve people with diabetes.

June 15, 2015

Penis transplant recipient impregnates his girlfriend

The wonders of modern medicine never cease.

June 05, 2015

Thanks to Caitlyn Jenner, a teaching moment on trans lives

Here are a few thoughtful entries in the national discourse prompted by Caitlyn Jenner's coming out on the cover of Vanity Fair. Also at WaPo, a story on social conservatives dancing the Apocalypso.

June 02, 2015

No, this didn't 'cure' his homosexuality

May 29, 2015

Legislative victory against conversion therapy in Illinois

The national movement to protect youth from the discredited and dangerous practice of “conversion therapy” has another victory. On Thursday evening there was a celebration of D.C.’s new law prohibiting conversion therapy for minors. Four survivors of the practice told us their stories, which were troubling but also inspiring. There is growing energy in this movement.

May 26, 2015

MD Gov. Hogan to allow two LGBT bills to become law

Better than a veto.

May 20, 2015

Oregon bans conversion therapy

May 19, 2015

Rep. Ted Lieu presses nationwide conversion therapy ban

Good.

May 15, 2015

Jeb says you don't need Obamacare, just get an Apple Watch

May 12, 2015

Anti-Choice Groups Vow to Defy New Provisions of DC Law That Don't Exist

Right-wing groups and members of Congress are determined to block the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act of 2014 for things it does not do. The few, the obnoxious, the illiterate.

Could we maybe stop mistreating children with disabilities?

Meanwhile, in Louisiana, police handcuff an autistic girl and pin her to the ground for climbing a tree.

May 06, 2015

California AG seeks to block gender reassignment for trans inmate

Uh-oh.