Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Argentine Congress to talk with Trans Individuals

The Argentine Congress debate the laws of identity for people transShare .. Yesterday at 10:48 a.m.
LGBT Federation ATTTA Argentina (Association of Shemales Transsexuals and Transgender) invites an encounter between the trans concerning the country and deputies as the nation.

The aim of the conference is to present the identity projects for trans people (transvestites, transsexuals, transgender) presented in the National Congress of the Federation and Argentina LGBT Rep. Silvia Augsburger. Also will discuss the projects submitted by the National Institute against Discrimination at the Ministry of Justice, Security and Human Rights.

The meeting will be held on Wednesday March 31 at 10:30 pm. Heads in the Hall of the House of Deputies.

Trans people have hindered, if not forbidden, our right to identity in Argentina. From very small we are assaulted at school, and for our own family, usually ending, at an average age of 12 years on the street for the sole use of sex work, for our livelihood. At this point we restrict access to health, education and work, among other rights, result of which our life expectancy is 35 years (data reported by the Office of the Ombudsman of the City of Buenos Aires .)

This is one case in which discrimination clearly a situation of extreme exclusion and marginalization that restricts access of people to their human rights and basic civil. To end this situation, we must first remove all legal obstacles that make trans people see we are prevented from freely exercising our right to identity. This requires:

- The repeal of the Code of Misdemeanors and Misdemeanor
- Adoption of a law authorizing the Trans Identity modification of the registry changes without sex reassignment surgery or judicial authorization
- Adoption of a law of health care for trans people to authorize treatment and sex reassignment surgery without judicial authorization

To converse with the trans concerning about this situation and the proposals in Congress to advance the recognition of their rights, we invite you to talk with us.

For more information:

Maria Rachid, president of the Federation LGBT Argentina: 15 6548-9608
Marcela Romero, ATTTA Coordinator and Vice President of the Federación Argentina LGBT 16 64764182
Claudia Pia Baudracco, ATTTA Coordinator 15 62642973
Esteban Paulón, Secretary General of the Federation LGBT Argentina: 0341 15 6068171

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Advocate To Partner With NBC News

The parent company of The Advocate announced today that they have inked a partnership deal with NBC News. Via press release:

Here Media and The Advocate, the world’s leading gay news source, announced today their new affiliate deal with NBC News Channel, an NBC News unit that provides content services to NBC television affiliates and other selected news outlets around the world. It’s the first partnership of its kind between NBC News Channel and an LGBT news outlet. The award-winning will now utilize NBC News Channel’s worldwide resources to create daily news segments that will air online and on air. The new collaboration continues The Advocate’s strategic overall expansion. The brand now produces its iconic print publication, breaking news and video content on, and The Advocate On-Air, a television and online newsmagazine.

“Media continues to evolve, and The Advocate continues to grow and deliver news and entertainment across all platforms,” said Paul Colichman, CEO of Here Media. “The Advocate’s partnership with NBC News Channel allows our brand a unique opportunity to focus an LGBT lens on issues important to gay and lesbian Americans and their families. Our editors and expert journalists look forward to breaking new ground in a diverse media landscape.” will host daily video news reports using footage from NBC News and its local television affiliates. Additionally, NBC News can access America’s most trusted gay news source by using Advocate talent and content when reporting on important gay issues to its predominantly mainstream audiences.
A federal judge today approved a settlement that includes a series of reforms for the Mohawk Central School District in a gay student’s harassment lawsuit.
As part of the settlement, the school district agreed to the following:
Working with the Anti-Defamation League and to hold staff training on appropriate ways to address issues of harassment;
Reviewing its policies and procedures governing harassment based on sex, gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation;
Reporting to the New York Civil Liberties Union and the Department of Justice on these efforts as well as its ongoing response to complaints of discrimination and harassment.
The New York Civil Liberties Union sued the school district in August on behalf of a student who alleged that he was repeatedly harassed, threatened and physically assaulted at school for being gay and not conforming to gender stereotypes. The civil rights lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York, maintained that district officials were aware of the bullying and did nothing to stop it. The school district denied the allegations in the complaint.
The student, identified by his attorney’s only as Jacob. was entering the ninth grade at Gregory B. Jarvis Junior/Senior High School when the lawsuit was filed earlier this school year. He has since transferred to a high school in another district.
The lawsuit drew the attention of the U.S. Department of Justice, which filed a motion to intervene in the case on Jacob’s behalf. That motion was pending when settlement negotiations commenced.
Under the settlement, Jacob has agreed to dismiss the lawsuit against the school district and its employees, and the Justice Department agreed to withdraw its motion to intervene.

Copyright 2010 The Observer-Dispatch. Some rights reserved

Friday, March 19, 2010

Kicked Out

Hi Everyone!
Just wanted to remind you that the NYC release of Kicked Out is TONIGHT 7pm at The Center! (208 West 13th St.) in room 310

I would really love to see you there. This book has been in the making for over two years. Its release has been a long time coming and I really value the support that you have given to me during that time and want you to be there to celebrate with me and the rest of the local contributors

There will be incredible readings from local authors as well as beautiful art on display.

Hope to see you there!

Blogswarm: Demand LGBT Employment Rights Today
Filed by: Dr. Jillian T. Weiss
March 18, 2010 9:30 AM

Note from Bil: The Bilerico Project is participating in a blogswarm today with Daily Kos, Open Left, Americablog, Towleroad, Pam's House Blend, Joe My God, Michelangelo Signorile, David Mixner, Daily Gotham, Culture Kitchen, Taylor Marsh, PageOneQ, Dan Savage, GoodAsYou, and many others. We're asking our readers to contact Speaker Nancy Pelosi and ask that she move the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (HR 3017) to a floor vote. Contact info at the end of the article.

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act, first introduced in 1994, would prohibit job discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. But LGBT people have never been able to achieve the enactment of the bill, known by the acronym of "ENDA".

Last year, the Administration's highest ranking gay official, Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry, indicated that ENDA was highest priority on the LGBT civil rights agenda.

"If we can get ENDA enacted and signed into law, it is only a matter of time before all the rest happens," he said. "It is the keystone that holds up the whole bunch, and so we need to focus our energies and attention there."

Hearings were held last Fall in the House and in the Senate to demonstrate the need for the bill, and testimony was heard on the severe unemployment, underemployment and harassment experienced by LGBT workers. Witnesses testified to the scientific studies demonstrating this.

But nothing has happened. Click here to find out why and join us in swarming Speaker Pelosi's office.
Why We Need ENDA And Why It's So Hard To Get

The reason that workers need this protection is that the LGBT community is a relatively small minority, probably around 5% of the U.S. population, and there are many people with prejudices against them. This is also one reason that the bill has had difficulties in Congress: the minority in need of protection from discrimination are drowned out by the many bigots.

Civil rights, by definition, are needed most by those against whom there is most prejudice.

Surveys over the last fifteen years show that 16% to 68% of LGBT people surveyed reported experiencing employment discrimination. Preliminary results from a major survey of transgender workers show 97% reported harassment on the job and 26% lost their jobs because of their gender identity.
What's the Holdup?

Various sponsors promised that the bill would move to a vote in August, September, October, and November of 2009. But in order to go to a vote, the bill had to pass through the House Committee on Education and Labor via a "markup" procedure. Markup was finally scheduled for November 18, 2009. But at the last minute, the markup was postponed, and has still not been rescheduled.

Initially, the Committee said that some technical language required tweaking, ostensibly to insure that plaintiffs could not recover too much money or attorney fees, and to prevent lawsuits based on inadvertent discrimination. But it has become increasingly clear that something else is at work.

A clue to the inaction: Speaker Nancy Pelosi publicly told Democrats that she would not move controversial bills. Meanwhile, the House Committee has stated its readiness to move, but is waiting for a signal from Speaker Pelosi.
Why We Need To Demand ENDA Now

We know that Speaker Pelosi is sympathetic to our cause. Clearly, she needs encouragement, because she won't commit to giving the signal to move forward. Meanwhile, LGBT Americans continue to suffer discrimination and harassment with no recourse. Why should we accept mere lip service?

President Obama famously said in a campaign speech that "Power concedes nothing without a fight."

The quote is from an oration Frederick Douglass gave on August 4, 1857 speaking about the emancipation of West India. The complete quote is very powerful in context, and is germane to the subject at hand (emphasis mine):

If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what a people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress. Men may not get all they pay for in this world; but they must pay for all they get. If we ever get free from all the oppressions and wrongs heaped upon us, we must pay for their removal. We must do this by labor, by suffering, by sacrifice, and, if needs be, by our lives, and the lives of others.

By the end of the Civil War, and by the end of the 1960's civil rights movement, Douglass's evaluation proved true time and time again.

We demand that LGBT people receive the same job rights as other people: to be able to get and keep a job based only on relevant factors, like job performance, and not on irrelevant criteria, like sexual orientation or gender identity.

There is a majority in both Houses of Congress in favor of ENDA. Now is the time to move it.

In 30 states across America, there is no law against firing someone based on his or her sexual orientation, and the same is true in 38 states for gender identity.

Will you join with us in asking that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people be protected from job discrimination?
Please call Speaker Nancy Pelosi at 202-225-4965. Ask that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, HR 3017, move to a vote.

Please be polite, but firm.

After you call, please tell us how the call went by clicking here. If you get a busy signal or hang up, let us know that too.

If you want more information on Speaker Pelosi's position on ENDA as stated by her office, you can find it here

Let's work together to let Speaker Pelosi know that we want action now!

At the end of the day, we will post a round-up of how the day went. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Today is Statewide GENDA Call-In Day - It's Time to Act!

March 9, 2010

Last week, the New York State Assembly passed the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA). The only remaining obstacle to the bill becoming law is the New York State Senate. The time is NOW to take action and make our final push to get the Senate to vote to end discrimination against transgender New Yorkers.

GENDA would amend the state's human rights law to ban discrimination in housing, employment, credit and public accommodations. It also expands the state's hate crimes law to explicitly include crimes against transgender people.

We need you to call your Senator and the lead Senate sponsor Tom Duane at their Albany offices to tell them that you want them to bring GENDA to the Senate floor and pass it. We're at a crucial moment and it is vital that they hear from you.

Here's how to make your calls:

1. Find your State Senator's Albany phone number here. You can reach Senator Tom Duane at (518) 455-2451.

2. Tell them the number of the GENDA bill (S.2406) and ask them to support GENDA and bring it to the floor for a vote.

3. Use these talking points to convey the urgent need for GENDA and the broad support it has:
Transgender people experience tremendous job discrimination. One-fifth of transgender New Yorkers have incomes below $10,000 a year.
28% of transgender New Yorkers have experienced a serious physical or sexual assault motivated by hate.
78% of New York voters support GENDA.
Unions representing 2.1 million working New Yorkers support GENDA.
30 Fortune 500 companies based in cities like Rochester, Corning, New York City and White Plains already have non-discrimination policies that include gender identity and expression. It's time for the rest of the state to catch up.
547 clergy and lay leaders representing over 20 different religious denominations support GENDA.
4. After your call, please report your results to our partners at the Empire State Pride Agenda. Tell them which Senators you called, who you spoke to in the Senator's office, and what response you received. Your feedback will help us pass GENDA in 2010!

Working together, we can win! If you can't call today, call tomorrow. Start making those phone calls now!

Can you help phone bank for GENDA this Thursday?

Phone banking is a key element in the strategy to win protections for transgender New Yorkers. If you have some time to spare, you can make a huge difference. The GENDA phone bank will take place this Thursday, March 11th, from 5:30 - 8:30 pm at the offices of the Empire State Pride Agenda. You can arrive any time between 5:30 and 7:30 pm and stay for as long as your schedule allows.

Please respond by calling Joanna at 212.627.0305, x103 or sending an email letting her know that you are available.

Please forward this message to anyone you think might be interested in helping.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Senators ask FDA to lift gay blood donor ban

Friday, March 5, 2010

Cheryl Wetzstein

The push to eliminate the lifetime ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men received a boost yesterday, when 18 senators signaled their support for such a change.
"[H]ealthy blood donors are turned away every day due to an antiquated policy," Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, said in a letter to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Margaret Hamburg.
"We live in a very different country than we did in 1983," when gay and bisexual men were permanently "deferred" from giving blood, due to the HIV/AIDS crisis, the letter said.
Now that more is known about HIV transmission and dramatic technological advances have been made to detect HIV in blood, "we agree with the American Red Cross, America's Blood Centers, AABB, and others that the time has come for the FDA to modify" its donor rules, said senators, including 17 Democrats and Sen. Bernard Sanders, Vermont independent.
They asked the FDA to consider using the same deferral policies with men who have sex with men (MSM) that apply to heterosexuals who engage in high-risk behavior - usually a 12-month deferral. This would mean that a gay or bisexual man could donate blood if he had not had sex with a man in the past 12 months.
The senators' letter to the FDA comes a week after the Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) released a report on why the lifetime ban on MSM blood donations is punitive, unfair and unnecessary.
"We don't want to increase the risk to the nation's blood supply," said Joseph Wardenski, lead author of the GMHC report and a former associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell law firm.
"We would like to reduce discrimination, and we would like a blood-donor pool that's large enough to ensure that there's a safe and sufficient blood supply, particularly in times of emergency," he said.
U.S. blood bank organizations have been amenable to change since 2006. The AABB, America's Blood Centers and American Red Cross support a one-year deferral for MSM because that would be "consistent with the deferral period for other potentially high-risk sexual exposures," the organizations said in a joint statement.
But an association for people with blood-clotting disorders supports the FDA's very cautious approach.
When it comes to pathogens transmitted in the blood supply, "100 percent of the risk is borne by the recipient" and none is borne by the donor, said Mark Skinner, president of the World Federation of Hemophilia.
Blood-donor rules are discriminatory by design, Mr. Skinner said. But the rules are grounded in science and intended to protect the end users, not target a group, he said, noting that hemophiliacs like himself can never give blood. "It really isn't even a gay issue because lesbians are not excluded unless they fall into other risk categories," Mr. Skinner said.
"We can't look narrowly at HIV; we have to look at the whole system," he added. The hemophilia community "serves as the canaries in the mine for the nation ... we're on the front line, and we require constant vigilance."
The lifetime ban on MSM donations was established because in the early stages of the AIDS epidemic a major share of cases involved transmission via blood transfusion. Now such cases are extremely rare - less than 1 percent of all new HIV infections, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.
However, transmissions with HIV-infected blood still occur, and the number of "bad units" would increase if the MSM deferral was changed, Dr. Andrew I. Dayton told an FDA workshop in March 2006.
His computer models found that if MSM were deferred for five years, about 1,430 HIV-infected units would enter the blood supply in the first year of the new policy; with a one-year deferral, the number of infected units would "about double," to 2,780, Dr. Dayton said.
This "small but definite increased risk" is part of the reason the FDA has upheld the MSM ban several times, most recently in 2006. MSM have an HIV prevalence "60 times higher than the general population, 800 times higher than first-time blood donors, and 8,000 times higher than repeat blood donors," the agency added.
Other countries that currently ban MSM from blood donations are Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland and the Netherlands. Hong Kong also bans them.
Still, gay rights groups have long been fighting to change blood-donor rules, and several countries have relaxed their policies. On March 1, Sweden began allowing MSM to give blood if they have not had sex with a man in the past 12 months.
Argentina, Australia, Hungary and Japan already have such "one-year deferrals," and South Africa has a six-month deferral policy. In 2008, New Zealand changed its 10-year deferral for MSM to five years.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual individuals risk psychiatric disorders from discriminatory policies |

Lesbian, gay, bisexual individuals risk psychiatric disorders from discriminatory policies |

Monday, March 1, 2010

Out on the street
A quarter of Milwaukee’s homeless youth are LGBT

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(4 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)
Written by Louis Weisberg, Staff Writer
Thursday, 11 February 2010 09:45
As a student at Nicolet High School, Kevin never fit in. An African-American who likes to wear a little make-up, he endured constant teasing and bullying. Eventually he transferred to The Alliance School, which helps students who are not succeeding in traditional schools due to harassment.
But when Kevin’s mother discovered he’s gay, she threw him out of the house. Determined to earn a diploma, he camped out on the streets near the Alliance campus and continued attending classes until he graduated. Last fall, an older gay man gave him a place to live in exchange for sex.
Andrea was banished from home because she’s a lesbian. She was placed in foster care with a fundamentalist Christian family and ran away. Most of her teenage years were spent on the streets, sleeping under porches and bridges, dodging the police and street violence.
“Kevin” and “Andrea” aren’t their real names, but their stories are true. They are also surprisingly common, as reported in a groundbreaking new study compiled by Cream City Foundation.
Titled “State of Youth Homelessness,” the study found that 23 percent of the estimated 400 youth (ages 24 and under) living on Milwaukee’s streets on any given night are LGBT. The report’s findings were based on a yearlong research project by the Center for Urban Initiatives and Research at UW-Milwaukee, which collected data from several area agencies serving homeless youth.
The report’s findings are consistent with those of a National Gay and Lesbian Task Force study released three years ago, which found that 20-40 percent of the nation’s homeless youth identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
This problem appears to be growing. As societal acceptance of LGBT people has increased, people are coming out at younger ages and encountering rejection from their families, according to experts from the local agencies involved in the report. The problem, they say, is particularly acute in evangelical-dominated cultures, such as the African-American community, and it has been exacerbated by the culture of violence that has overspread the nation’s streets.
Mean streets
Life on the streets is harsh for any homeless youth. “The shocking statistic is that within 72 hours of a young person being homeless, they are more likely to engage in survival sex as a means of getting their basic needs met,” says Lisa Gumm, youth shelter program manager at Pathfinders, which provides outreach and support services to homeless youth.
For LGBT youth, the outlook is particularly grim.
“They face even greater risks, due to the isolation they experience,” Gumm says. “They don’t feel that they’re accepted and they have fewer options.”
In fact, homeless gay and lesbian youth experience an average of 7.4 more acts of sexual violence than their heterosexual peers and twice the rates of sexual victimization, according to data compiled by the National Alliance to End Homelessness, Lambda Legal, National Network for Youth and the National Lesbian Rights Center. These agencies also found that transgender youth are frequently harassed, assaulted and arrested by police because of their gender presentation.
Tess Gallun, who teaches documentary filmmaking for UW-Milwaukee’s Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, has witnessed the problem up close, through the lens of her camera. She and her students are creating a documentary – the working title is “Out of Respect” – about the lives of homeless LGBT youth in Milwaukee. They’ve followed the stories of Kevin, Andrea and others who’ve been abandoned by their families because of their sexual orientation.
While their sexual orientation is the cause of their homelessness, it’s the last thing on their minds when Gallun meets them. They’re focused simply on staying alive, she says – “trying to find a warm bed for the night and something to eat.”
Despite the rejection they’ve endured, “all the youth we’ve worked with just want to be reunited with their families,” Gallun says.
Tears swell in her eyes as Gallun shows a picture of the 16-month-old boy she and her partner Mary adopted at birth. He was born addicted to cocaine, but now he’s healthy and thriving.
“What’s going on in our society that people lose their ability to love and care for their own child?” she asks.
As societal acceptance of LGBT people has increased, people are coming out at younger ages and encountering family rejection. – Photo: Dan Zaitz
Repairing the system
Despite the magnitude of LGBT youth homelessness, the problem was hardly a blip on the radar screen of local social service agencies when Cream City Foundation began coordinating the study. There was no dedicated housing, no advocacy, no mentorship program and no funding. Nor was there LGBT sensitivity training for shelter staff workers.
“People who are licensed to work in group homes are not required to take a course that teaches them how to treat LGBT youth in a culturally sensitive manner,” says Cream City Foundation executive director Maria Cadenas. “A lot of time there’s verbal and physical abuse from the other youth and the staff. There’s no enforcement of fair and equal treatment for our youth. That’s a broken system.”
Last year, Cadenas began convening regular meetings of local agencies, including Lad Lake, Milwaukee LGBT Community Center, Pathfinders and St. Aemilian-Lakeside. Together these agencies created Q-Blok, the first program in the city to work specifically on LGBT youth homelessness. Cream City Foundation and the Greater Milwaukee Foundation stepped forward with three years of funding.
The first order of business was to provide shelter. This required a creative approach. Due to the abuse LGBT homeless youth experience in foster care and emergency shelters – as well as the sexual predation they encounter on the streets – they’re wary of being placed with adults or in group settings. Q-Blok adopted a plan used successfully in Minnesota that provides temporary independent housing along with attachment to a sponsor family that lends emotional support and celebrates milestones with them.
Since its inception in December 2009, 22 young people have enrolled in the program, nearly filling its capacity of 25, says Karie Lowe, program coordinator at Lad Lake. Five sponsor families are in training.
“The kids are coming in and they’re very excited about (the program) and they’re doing good,” Lowe says. “With funding for 25 youth per year for the next three years, we’re going to be able to help 75 youth. That’s huge.”
In addition to housing and a sponsor family, the youth receive case management services. Q-Blok also has street outreach, mentorship and advocacy components. And it provides LGBT training to shelter workers.
New hope
While Q-Blok is an important step forward, everyone agrees there’s much more work to be done. Inevitably, many youth will have to be turned away due to limited space, as well as legal complications that prevent the program from serving youth under 18. Some will survive, others will fall victim to the streets.
Still, Gallun is heartened by the progress she’s seen since beginning her documentary.
“Now there are (LGBT) questions being asked when a youth enters a shelter,” she says. “There’s more sensitivity. They’re being careful not to put (these youth) with a foster family or case worker who’s homophobic.”
Among the youth Gallun and her crew have followed are a young gay couple, Jim and John (not their real names). John left home after his mother, a religious zealot, painted his bedroom red one day, telling him the color was the blood of the devil. He and Jim survived the streets by sticking closely together, Gallun says.
Since getting an apartment through Q-Blok, their lives have turned around, she says. They check in regularly with their case workers. They cook meals together. They’re both enrolled at Milwaukee Area Technical College.
“It’s been hopeful to see them creating a family together,” Gallun says. “They empower each other.”