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October 17 , 2014

News Briefs

Major organization expands its name

Washington, D.C.--The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is expanding its name, in part to better indicate the full scope of their mission.

The organization is now the National LGBTQ Task Force, bearing the tagline “Be you.”

“We are seeing a real palpable hunger in LGBTQ people’s hearts not just to be out, but to bring their entire selves to every aspect of their lives: to ‘Be You’ without fear, without persecution, without discrimination,” Rea Carey, executive director, noted. “And there is a deep desire for more change, to look beyond marriage equality, with millions of us still facing formidable barriers in every aspect of our lives: at school, in housing, employment, in health care, in our faith congregations, in retirement and in basic human rights.”

“Now more than ever we have the power to define the future we want -- a world where every LGBTQ person can be themselves without any barriers. We have worked hard for decades to create this momentum,” Carey continued. “Let’s seize this opportunity, let’s be ourselves fully, and let’s make a future together that’s worthy of our struggle.”

Trans woman injured in anti-gay attack in Brooklyn

New York City--Despite the image of Brooklyn as a center for gentrified, hipster-haven intelligentsia, a transgender woman was severely injured by a group of men yelling anti-gay slurs early in October.

The woman, 28, works as a freelance illustrator and lives in Brooklyn. She and a gay male friend were going to visit another of their friends who lived in the Bushwick neighborhood when a group of men started yelling anti-gay slurs at them and questioning why they were there.

An argument ensued and one of the men threw a piece of Plexiglas, which struck the woman in the head. She is in critical condition and had brain swelling. According to Kate Barnhart of New Alternatives, the woman might suffer permanent brain damage.

When she first came to New York from Utah at the turn of the century, she was a frequent consumer of services at Barnhart’s organization for LGBT homeless youth.

Hall of Shame sees 19 inductions

Washington, D.C.--The Human Rights Campaign announced on October 7 that they were inducting 14 representatives and five senators to their Hall of Shame, an honor reserved for the most anti-LGBT members of Congress.

“If you want to understand why LGBT equality has hit a roadblock in Congress, you don’t need to look any further than these leaders of anti-LGBT obstruction and animus,” said HRC government affairs director David Stacy. “These members go out of their way to oppose any step toward equal protection under the law or to protect LGBT Americans from violence, discrimination and harassment. They proactively work to undermine existing legal protections and promote anti-LGBT discrimination.”

The five senators include none from Ohio, but include Ted Cruz of Texas, Michael Enzi of Wyoming, Oklahoma’s James Inhofe, Utah’s Mike Lee, and Jeff Sessions of Alabama.

Ohio does have a representative on the list, however, and it is surprisingly not John Boehner, the Speaker of the House. It is Jim Jordan, who represents the 4th District, which includes Lima, Elyria, Tiffin and various and sundry rural areas stretching from Lake Erie to just north of Columbus.

Joining him are former presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, Texas’ Louie Gohmert, Randy Neugebauer and Randy Weber, Maryland’s Andy Harris, Tim Huelskamp of Kansas, North Carolina Reps. Walter Jones and Mike McIntyre, Rep. Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania, Steve King in Iowa, Doug LaMalfa of California, Steve Pearce of New Mexico and Tim Walberg of Michigan.

The Hall of Shame announcement comes in advance of the HRC’s annual Congressional Scorecard.

Laws to make gender change easier in New York

New York City--The country’s largest city will see regulations change from anatomy to identity to determine gender in a shift being pushed by both the city council and the mayor’s office.

A birth certificate will be able to change with a note from a range of health care professionals, from physicians’ assistants and nurse practitioners to doctors and therapists.

Under current law, a birth certificate can only be changed with the presentation of proof of gender reassignment surgery.

The change is coming four years after the State Department dropped the requirement for changing gender on a passport, and the state of New York followed suit earlier this year.

The city plan goes further than the state law by allowing a greater range of medical professionals to attest to the gender change.

Pro-gay states have more prosperity for all, study says

Denver--The Movement Advancement Project and the Center for American Progress issued a new report, “Paying an Unfair Price: The Financial Penalty for Being LGBT,” indicating that LGBT people are unfairly financially penalized by anti-gay laws.

It points to three ways the law penalizes LGBT people financially.

“LGBT people can struggle to find work, make less on the job, and have higher housing and medical costs than their non-LGBT peers,” the report’s executive summary notes. “LGBT families pay more for health insurance, taxes, legal assistance, and essential protection for their families in times of crisis. LGBT young people and the children of LGBT parents are more likely to perform poorly in school and to face challenges pursuing postsecondary educational opportunities. This, in turn, can reduce their earnings over time.”

It points out that transgender people are almost four times more likely than the general population to earn less than $10,000 per year.

“It is time to put an end to the financial penalties that LGBT Americans face simply because they are LGBT,” the report states. “Action is needed on three main fronts. First, policymakers at all levels need to update laws to prohibit discrimination against LGBT people in areas from hiring to housing and credit.”

“Second, policymakers need to update how laws and regulations define family so that LGBT families have access to the same protections and benefits that are available to other families. And last but not least, it is time for action to make America’s schools safer and more welcoming for LGBT students and the children of LGBT parents so they can have the same opportunities as everyone else to get the education they need to build successful and rewarding lives,” it concludes.

Scotland gets marriage on New Year’s Eve

Edinburgh, Scotland--The country’s first same-sex marriages will be performed on December 31, according to the government.

It announced that the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act will take effect on December 16, when couples will be able to register to marry. However, there is a 15-day waiting period between registration and marriage, so the first marriages will be held on December 31.

However, couples who are already in civil partnerships will be able to convert them to full marriages as of December 16 at a register office. However, if they want a full marriage ceremony, they will have the same waiting period and will have to pay the full fees.

The implementation of the law also means that transgender people will not have to divorce their spouses to have their genders changed officially as of December 16.










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