Friday, June 19, 2009

Make 2 Calls Today!!

Health care reform is moving fast through Congress, and provisions are at risk that would protect people living with HIV and AIDS and those most vulnerable to transmission. Opponents are citing high costs, but 50% of people living with HIV and AIDS in the US do not have regular health care.

Health care is a human right, and
a critical investment for healthy families, a healthy work force and a healthy economy.

Your help is vital NOW to ensure Senate committees keep key components of the legislation that protect people living with HIV and AIDS.

How you can help:

Call your two United States Senators in their Washington, DC office. Ask to speak to the staff person who handles HIV and health care issues. You might get their voicemail, or you might speak to them in person. Either way, tell them:

"My name is ____________ and I live in (city/state). I am very concerned that health care reform will not meet the needs of people living with HIV/AIDS. Any final health care legislation must eliminate the disability requirement for Medicaid and ensure that all low-income people, including childless adults, have early access to care. It must also include language from the Early Treatment for HIV Act which expands access to Medicaid for people living with HIV. Finally, it must have a public plan option to best ensure affordable access to comprehensive care for people with HIV. All three provisions are crucial to ensure that people with HIV/AIDS have early access to care and treatment that keep them healthy and productive. I urge Senator ______________ to do everything in his/her power to fight for these important provisions."

You can reach your Senators by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 1-202-224-3121. If you don't know who your Senators are, go to and enter your zip code in the upper right corner.

Phone calls are particularly effective right now because Congress is moving quickly. However, if you prefer to send an email, go to your Senator's website (linked from You will find instructions on sending emails to that office. Cut and paste the phone message, make sure your name and the Senator's name is included, and add a short personal note explaining why this issue is important to you.

If you need help figuring out who your Senators are or how to call/email them, write to and someone will help!

The move to reform health care in the United States must ensure that everyone living with HIV benefits from early and reliable access to lifesaving care and treatment. Coordinated action by our entire community is needed to make sure Congress knows how important these three core provisions are for all of us:

Expanding Medicaid for all low-income people, including childless adults, by eliminating current requirements that tie Medicaid to disability status. This would give approximately 42% of all people living with HIV who are currently uninsured immediate access to health care through Medicaid.

Including Early Treatment for HIV Act (ETHA) language which gives states the option to expand Medicaid access to low-income people living with HIV whose incomes are above established Medicaid income eligibility rules. This will give states the option to expand coverage for people living with HIV/AIDS, reaching more than 75% who are currently uninsured.

Including a strong public plan option to help provide affordable access to comprehensive care for people HIV - nearly 30 percent of whom have no insurance. This would offer a national standard for coverage and greater dependability, consistency and security for people with HIV than private plans, which can charge higher prices and/or close, merge or change benefits at will.

All three of these priorities are crucial to ensure the best possible expansion of care and treatment for people with HIV/AIDS and must be part of any final health care reform package.

Decisions are being made quickly and Congress needs to hear directly from people who are most impacted by this legislation. Please take a minute to make two important phone calls today!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

BIAS attacks highest since 1999

NEW YORK (AP) - The number of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people killed in bias-motivated incidents increased by 28 percent in 2008 compared to a year ago, according to a national coalition of advocacy groups.
Last year's 29 killings was the highest recorded by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs since 1999, when it documented the same number of slayings, according to a report released Tuesday by the coalition.
"What we're also seeing, more disturbingly, is the increase in the severity of violence," said Sharon Stapel, executive director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project, which coordinates coalition.
Stapel theorized that at least some of last year's violence was backlash against issues that arose during the during the presidential campaign. She cited debates about same-sex marriage, the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, and federal legislation that would ban employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity as possible flash points.
"The more visibility there is the more likely we're going to see backlash, and that's exactly what we see here," Stapel said.
Overall, the number of victims who reported anti-LGBT violence in 2008 increased by two percent compared to 2007, said the New York-based coalition of programs in 25 states.
Coalition officials say their figures are more accurate than those from law enforcement agencies. As an example, they say, the FBI doesn't record bias crimes against transgender people because gender identity isn't covered by federal hate-crime law.
Also, victims sometimes are reluctant to report bias incidents to police because they don't want to reveal their sexual orientation or gender identity and/or they fear bias from police, officials said.
Reports of physical abuse by police increased to 25 incidents last year from 10 in 2007, the report said.
For the new report, programs in Milwaukee, Minnesota, Chicago, Los Angeles, Colorado, Columbus, Ohio, Houston, Pennsylvania, New York City, Kansas City, Missouri, Michigan and San Francisco submitted data.
Programs in Vermont and the Boston area participated in the 2007 report but not the current one. The program in Rochester, N.Y., participated in 2008 for the first time.
The largest increase - 64 percent - was in Milwaukee, where the number of reported incidents rose to 18 in 2008 from 11 in 2007, the report said.
Officials weren't sure whether reported increases were attributable to more people reporting incidents or an actual rise.
Meighan Bentz, a victim outreach advocate at the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center, which includes an anti-violence project, said, "I think it's a combination."
"Certainly there are more people reporting," Bentz said, adding that the project started in 2005. "As time goes on there are more people aware of our program as a resource."
Bentz added, "I do believe there are ongoing issues of violence and its affect upon LGBT individuals. It's a vulnerable population."
Many of 2008's incidents made headlines.
In December, a man was beaten to death in New York City while he walked arm in arm with his brother as their attackers yelled anti-gay and anti-Latino epithets. Two men have been charged with murder as a hate crime.
In February 2008, 15-year-old Lawrence King was shot to death at school in Oxnard, Calif., near Malibu after enduring harassment after he told classmates he was gay; a classmate is charged as an adult in the killing, which prosecutors classified as a hate crime.
Last June, a surveillance tape was publicized showing Memphis, Tenn., police officers beating Duanna Johnson, a transgender woman, and shouting slurs in a jail booking area; a public outcry erupted.
In November, Johnson was found fatally shot on a Memphis street.
Consensus Conference Addresses Suicide Risk among LGBT Populations

In November 2007, AFSP organized a conference cosponsored by the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association and the Suicide Prevention Resource Center that brought together leading experts in areas related to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender suicide.
for the
conference agenda

The two-day “Consensus Conference on LGBT Suicide: Research, Treatment and Prevention," took place in Chicago on Nov. 8-9, and looked to assess the current state of knowledge and develop a consensus statement with recommendations to guide future research, treatment, education and suicide prevention interventions related to LGBT populations.

Over the last two decades, research findings have pointed to disproportionately high rates of suicidal behavior among LGBT adolescents and young adults. Suicide attempts in this population have been linked to a variety of factors including gender nonconformity, lack of support, family problems, violence/ victimization, early sexual debut and mental health problems, notably depression and substance abuse or dependency. How these factors converge to produce suicidal behavior among different groups of sexual minority youth, however, remains only partially understood.

While some research suggests that LGBT adults are not at substantially higher risk for suicidal ideation or attempts compared to comparably aged heterosexuals, other recent population-based studies have found higher lifetime rates of suicide attempts among homosexual men, in particular, that could not be explained solely on the basis of higher psychiatric morbidity. Few studies have looked at LGBT older adults, although many in this group share characteristics that make the elderly overall particularly vulnerable to suicide risk, such as chronic illness. LGBT elders may have additional risk factors related to sexual orientation or gender identity.

Because official suicide statistics do not include information on sexual orientation or gender identity, firm data are lacking on whether rates of completed suicide are higher among LGBT youth, adults or older adults, compared to the general population. Lacking clear data on the prevalence of suicide among these individuals, and clear understanding of the underlying causes, few suicide prevention programs have focused specifically on this population.

This LGBT conference was designed to address these gaps. AFSP anticipates that this conference will be the first step of a long-term initiative to address LGBT suicide, similar to initiatives the Foundation has undertaken to address suicide in other understudied populations. Post-conference goals include stimulating needed research on LGBT depression and suicide, increasing public and professional understanding in these areas and guiding the development of empirically-grounded suicide prevention interventions for LGBT individuals across the lifespan.

Ms T.

Many of you have been following--and organizing around!--the case of Ms. T, a 28 year-old HIV-positive pregnant woman from Cameroon who was recently sentenced to 238 days in prison by a judge trying to protect her unborn child from being born with HIV. Ms. T has spent nearly six months in the Cumberland County Jail in Maine.
It is with much relief that I tell you--Ms. T was released Monday on bail, perhaps ironically, for the same reason that the judge originally imprisoned her, and efforts are proceeding forward to appeal her initial sentence.
A longer update on Ms. T's case is available online at RH Reality Check:
and pasted below.

Since the first public news of Ms. T's sentence, there has been a tremendous outpouring of support, uniting advocates in HIV/AIDS, detention and imprisonment, reproductive health, and racial justice movements. As efforts to appeal Ms. T's sentence at the First District Court level and address her immigration issues proceed, I will continue to reach out with updates and requests for support.

In struggle,

Laura McTighe
Director of Project UNSHACKLE
Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project (CHAMP)

Friday, June 12, 2009

LGBT New Yorkers: You responded and you were counted!

Some of the report’s findings include:

For something as fundamental as receiving basic health care, 40% of respondents say that there are not enough health professionals who are adequately trained and competent to deliver healthcare to LGBT people, and LGB people lack health insurance at rates higher than heterosexual people (20.6% for lesbian and gay and 23.5% for bisexual versus only 14.9% for heterosexual people).

14% of LGBT people, and one-third of transgender New Yorkers, are or have been homeless at one time.

13% of LGBT New Yorkers have been victims of a homophobic or transphobic sexual or physical assault severe enough to require medical care. The rate is even higher for people of color: 19% for Black New Yorkers and 20% for Latino.

Social isolation is a significant problem for LGBT people, with two-thirds of rural LGBT residents saying they feel isolated from others, and over half of LGBT seniors saying they sometimes or always lack companionship.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Join the Growing List of Endorsers Trans Day Of Action 2009 Please Forward Widely
On June 26, 2009, Trans and Gender Non Conforming People of Color and allies will take to the streets of NYC once again and demand justice to let the world know, that on the 40th anniversary of Stonewall, the rebellion is not over and we will continue fighting for justice, raising our voices until we are heard. We call on all activist and organizers for justice, both local and organizations around the country and world to endorse this call to action and to build contingents to march in solidarity together. Below and attached are the points of unity which hold together the purpose of this march.

To endorse TDOA 2009, send an email to endorsetdoa@
For more info contact - info4tdoa@alp. org or Mya at 718-596-0342 x 23.

SAVE THE DATE – Trans Day of Action – June 26, 2009 – Starting Rally 3PM

Friday, June 5, 2009

Cure CVS

Thank you so much for supporting Cure CVS's Unlock the Condoms Initiative! We appreciate your support in the work toward a fair condom policy at the country's largest retail pharmacy chain. Along with allies like the Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project (CHAMP), we're building a growing network of advocates, and your participation is invaluable.

There's already a lot you can do to help persuade CVS to unlock condoms at its stores. Link to from your organization's website, send an email about the campaign to your members, or join Cure CVS and CHAMP for a press conference on Thursday, June 11 in Washington, DC. More details about the event will be announced early next week.

Thank you again for your support!

Cure CVS

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Yet another major victory in New England: today New Hampshire's governor signed marriage equality into law, making it the sixth state to allow loving same-sex couples to marry.
The bill survived a spate of propaganda from the right-wing National Organization for Marriage – the same group that ran the fake "Gathering Storm" ad – hammering Gov. John Lynch to veto equality.
We prevailed. But now Gov. Lynch and the courageous lawmakers who passed this bill are about to feel the sting of a right-wing backlash. Let's show them they did the right thing.