Tuesday, July 31, 2018

New Anti-LGBT Religious Task Force

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced the creation of a taxpayer-funded Religious Liberty Task Force which is the latest step by the Trump administration to provide a license to discriminate especially against our LGBT community. Sarah Kate Ellis, President & CEO of GLAAD stated, “Though freedom of religion is a core American value, religious exemptions from adhering to non-discrimination protections are not. Sessions’ announcement today is yet another example of the Trump administration’s anti-LGBTQ agenda as they seek to weave protections for those seeking anti-LGBTQ religious exemptions into the government.” Michael Adams, CEO of SAGE added, "Attorney General Jeff Sessions' announcement of a so-called Religious Liberty Task Force at the Department of Justice is one more effort by this Administration to obliterate anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people. LGBT elders – who rely on religiously affiliated providers for non-discriminatory care -- have played a huge role in the 'changing cultural climate' that the Attorney General condemns. They will not go back into the closet so that this Administration can pander to the forces of intolerance & bigotry." Since 85 percent of nonprofit continuing care retirement communities are religiously affiliated, the federal government’s approach poses a grave threat to LGBT elders who need care, as highlighted in Dignity Denied: Religious Exemptions & LGBT Elder Services, a recent report by SAGE, the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) & Columbia Law School’s Public Rights/Private Conscience Project. Sessions claims that the goal of this task force is to accommodate people of faith but his explanation of its purpose & his extensive anti-LGBT record suggest otherwise. Sessions has a long history of defending the use of “religious exemptions” to discriminate against LGBT people & opposing non-discrimination protections for our community.
For More Info: glaad.org
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Monday, July 30, 2018

Elder Lesbian Couple Denied Housing

While Massachusetts passed legislation protections for LGBT Elders last week the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), Relman, Dane & Colfax PLLC & co-counsel filed a lawsuit in St. Louis, MO on behalf of married lesbian couple Mary Walsh & Bev Nance against senior housing community Friendship Village Sunset Hills after being denied housing. Friendship Village refused Mary & Bev who have been together for 40 years because it followed the “Biblical definition” of marriage & “defined marriage as between a man & a woman.” Shannon Minter NCLR Legal Director stated, “Bev & Mary faced painful discrimination & would not have if either of them were instead married to a man. This story demonstrates the severity of the discrimination & harm that members of our community still face daily. NCLR thanks SAGE for its important work to increase public education & eliminate this discrimination in the lives of LGBTQ seniors.” Michael Adams SAGE CEO concluded, “The horrible discrimination experienced by this older lesbian couple for something as basic as senior housing is a stark reminder of the challenges that many LGBT elders face. We know that this story is far from unique. Research shows that 45 percent of same-gender couples who apply for senior housing in Missouri are discriminated against. This lawsuit will help ensure that Mary & Bev & all older same-gender couples will have the same access to senior housing as everybody else.” In response SAGE is expanding its Care Can’t Wait campaign by asking community members & supporters to sign a pledge to stand with Mary & Bev & all LGBT elders in the face of discrimination.
To Sign Pledge…
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Friday, July 27, 2018

Out & Equal LGBTQ India Forum

Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, the world’s largest non-governmental organization dedicated to achieving LGBTQ workplace equality will host the Out & Equal LGBTQ India Forum on Thursday on August 2nd, 2018 at The LaLiT Ashok Bangalore. This groundbreaking event will convene more than 150 executives, LGBTQ leaders & allies from over 100 domestic Indian & multinational corporations to discuss strategies for advancing LGBTQ workplace inclusion in India. Openly gay Bollywood Director & Producer Onir will open the Forum by delivering the Keynote Address. Steve Roth, Senior Director of Global Initiatives at Out & Equal stated, “We are thrilled to be bringing Out & Equal’s 20-plus years of experience advancing workplace inclusion for LGBTQ people to India. Despite unique social & political challenges, an increasing number of companies are taking innovative strides to foster LGBTQ inclusion in the workplace in India. We are excited to come together with dedicated corporate leaders who recognize the value of diversity to share ideas & best practices for advancing LGBTQ inclusion in the Indian workplace.” There will be more than two dozen speakers & experts, including an opening address by Karan Bajwa, Managing Director, IBM India Pvt. Ltd. & influential openly LGBTQ executives such as Parmesh Shahani, Vice President of Godrej Industries Ltd., Keshav Suri, Executive Director of the LaLiT Suri Hospitality Group, Shobhna S. Kumar, Publisher, Producer & Founder of Queer Ink, & Markus Mueller, Director IBM Collaboration Solutions. The event is supported by Presenting Sponsor IBM, Leadership Sponsors Visa, Intel & Symantec & supporting organizations Interweave Consulting, Xerox & The LaLiT Ashok Bangalore. For More Info: outandequal.org
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Thursday, July 26, 2018

Transgender Murders In Florida

Equality Florida is demanding Governor Rick Scott directly address the rash of murderous violence targeting transgender women of color in Orlando & Jacksonville. Last week's murder of Sasha Garden was the fourth killing since February. Gina Duncan, Equality Florida Director of Transgender Equality stated, "Rick Scott has been conspicuously silent as the number of killings continue to mount. We need the governor to speak out, clearly & immediately to condemn this pattern of violence targeting transgender women & to direct state law enforcement agencies to assist in the investigations. At this point we're not even sure Governor Scott can pronounce the word transgender. His lack of leadership & his lack of action is shameful. How many people have to die before this becomes a priority for Governor Scott? When law enforcement disrespects the dead by refusing to even use their correct names, they breed an environment of mistrust & send a message to the community that these murders are not a priority. As a result, they are actually impeding their own investigations as people with information may also fear being disrespected or mistreated if they come forward." The number of killings in a small area over a short period of time has spread fear throughout the transgender community & raised questions about whether the murders are connected. Regardless of whether these murders are connected such a spike in anti-trans violence is a terrifying pattern that must be addressed. Compounding the problem law enforcement has repeatedly misgendered the victims & failed to use the names in which they identify in their daily lives which significantly hampers their investigations.
For More Info: eqfl.org
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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Massachusetts Protects LGBT Elders

The Massachusetts Legislature has passed “An Act Relative to LGBT Awareness Training for Aging Services Providers” becoming the only state in the country to require that all state funded or licensed providers of services to older adults complete training in how to provide meaningful care to LGBT older adults & ensure that LGBT older adults can access services. Lisa Krinsky, LICSW, Director of Fenway Health’s LGBT Aging Project stated, “It’s impossible to overstate what this is going to mean for LGBT older adults in Massachusetts. LGBT people are significantly more likely to age alone without a spouse or partner or children to support them. They are more reliant on formal caregivers such as home health workers & visiting nurses or assisted living communities. They have valid fears about experiencing discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity & expression & some even feel the need to go back into the closet.” The new legislation requires the Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA) develops a training program for providers of elder services on how to prevent discrimination against older adults based on sexual orientation & gender identity & expression & on how to improve access to services for LGBT elders & caregivers. The law also requires all providers of aging services who contract with or receive funding from MassHealth’s office of long-term care or EOEA or whose services are certified by EOEA, to complete the training program. California has a similar law but training is limited only to those working in the field of long-term care.
For More Info: fenwayhealth.org
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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

New Trump HIV Military Ban

Last February the Trump administration unveiled new policies that would bar people living with HIV from serving in the military. The policy was outlined in a Department of Defense memo & described by Under Secretary of Defense for Personal Readiness Robert Wilkie as a “deploy or be removed policy” which the administration claims is meant to improve military readiness for deployment. The policy instructs the Pentagon to discharge any service member who is unable to be deployed outside of the country for more than 12 months. This new Department of Defense policy would result in the discharging service members living with HIV. Lambda Legal & OutServe-SLDN along with pro bono counsel from Winston & Strawn LLP filed a motion for a preliminary injunction in Harrison v. Mattis challenging the military’s discriminatory policies governing the enlistment, deployment & promotion of service members living with HIV. Sergeant Nick Harrison stated, “This case is not just about me. This is about every person living with HIV knowing that they can perform any job in the world, including serving in the military. Together, we must stop the Pentagon from closing its doors to successful & talented service members. I look forward to the day that I can serve my country to the full extent of my abilities, based on my performance & unfettered by unfounded fears and misperceptions about HIV.” An estimated 1,200 people living with HIV currently serve in our military. Like the recent attempts to bar transgender individuals from military service this latest discriminatory decision is rooted in prejudice & the politics of division. This horrendous “deploy or be removed policy” is scheduled to go into effect in October 2018.
For More Info: lambdalegal.org
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Monday, July 23, 2018

NCLR Protecting LGBTQ Youth

The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) has released two toolkits for child welfare & juvenile justice agency employees on how to protect LGBTQ youth from the serious harm caused by conversion therapy. Carolyn Reyes NCLR Youth Policy Counsel & Born Perfect Campaign Coordinator stated, “From social workers & foster parents to probation officers & facility chaplains, these toolkits are designed to assist child welfare & juvenile justice agencies with protecting youth from harmful, ineffective conversion therapy. Conversion therapy has been denounced by every major medical & mental health organization & has been shown to lead to depression, anxiety, substance abuse & even suicide. While a child is in the care of the State, it is critical that State systems ensure they are protected from this harm.” Conversion therapy, sometimes called “ex-gay therapy,” is an attempt to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity & has been debunked by every major medical & mental health organization in the U.S. For the past 20 years NCLR has been working closely with conversion therapy survivors to end these harmful practices. In 2014, NCLR launched its Born Perfect campaign which is committed to ending conversion therapy nationwide. Through the Born Perfect campaign conversion therapy is now prohibited in 13 states including California, New Jersey, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, Connecticut, Nevada, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Washington, Maryland, Hawaii, New Hampshire & the District of Columbia. In Delaware, anti-conversion therapy legislation has passed & was signed into law by the governor July 23rd.
For More Info: nclrights.org
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Saturday, July 21, 2018

Scotty Bowers To Be Honored

Hollywood legend Scotty Bowers will be honored with a special proclamation from the City of West Hollywood for his role in LGBTQ history. Mayor Pro Tempore John D’Amico will present Bowers with the proclamation at a ceremony scheduled to take place at The Abbey 692 N. Robertson Blvd. in West Hollywood, CA on Wednesday July 25th at 5P. This is two days shy of the official theatrical opening of “Scotty & the Secret History of Hollywood” Matt Tyrnauer’s critically acclaimed documentary about Bowers’ life. Matt Tyrnauer stated, “It’s very fitting for Scotty to be honored by the city of West Hollywood. He helped build the city as a key figure in the LGBTQ community for decades… I’m thrilled that this honor is being given to him to mark his 95th birthday & the release of my film about him.” Bowers became confidante, aide-de-camp & lover to many of Hollywood’s greatest male & female stars. In the 1940s & ‘50s, Scotty ran a gas station in the shadow of the studio lots where he would connect his friends with actors & actresses who had to hide their true sexual identities for fear of police raids at gay bars, societal shunning & career suicide. The documentary “Scotty & the Secret History of Hollywood” is based on his New York Times best-selling memoir “Full Service” & provides the historical context for his life story presenting a striking pre-Stonewall era counter-narrative of Classic Hollywood with its eye-opening takes on towering icons from the Golden Age including Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Lana Turner, Ava Gardner & many more. The ceremony will be open to the public.
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Friday, July 20, 2018

Equality Federation Leadership Event

Equality Federation is presenting their 21st Annual Leadership Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana from July 25th to July 28th. Rebecca Isaacs, Executive Director of Equality Federation stated, “This is perhaps the most crucial year for our movement to come together in our history because we’re facing an opposition, at the federal & state levels, that is more extreme & more emboldened than ever. Thankfully, we have a roster of brilliant state & movement leaders who are energized & ready to fight back. I’m excited that we’re convening in the South this year because of the rich history of resistance & all the inspiring social-justice leadership from this region.” Forum for Equality & Louisiana Trans Advocate who are Equality Federation member organizations based in New Orleans will serve as a host organizations for the conference. SarahJane Guidry, Executive Director of Forum for Equality concluded, “We are so excited to welcome the Leadership Conference to New Orleans & the have the LGBTQ movement bringing their hometown expertise to ours. This conference is so valuable to us because it gives us the opportunity to give each other support during difficult times & share with each other across state lines our strategies to win equality. It’s an exciting time for our city & state as we continue to grow, but remaining always unique. We are proud to call it home. Louisiana confronts many challenges & we’re meeting those challenges during a time of larger, nation-wide change.” The conference will include workshops on issues such as comprehensive nondiscrimination, HIV, racial justice, immigration, reproductive justice, defeating anti-LGBTQ religious exemptions & winning bans on conversion therapy, plus skills-building sessions focused on leadership, field organizing, digital organizing, messaging & more. This year Equality Federation member organizations from Equality Florida to Equality California have defeated over 160 anti-LGBTQ bills & won victories in towns & states all across the nation.  
For More Info: forumforequality.org
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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Ruthie & Connie LGBT Elder Act

U.S. Representative Suzanne Bonamici honored Ruthie Berman & the late Connie Kurtz for their tireless activism in our LGBT community & in addition to acknowledging their efforts Bonamici along with her colleagues Florida Representatives Ted Deutch & Charlie Christ advocated for the passage of the Ruthie & Connie LGBT Elder Americans Act. The bill introduced in 2017 would better serve LGBT elders who face higher rates of poverty, pronounced social isolation & less access to health care due to barriers in the aging system & past discrimination. Michael Adams SAGE CEO stated, "SAGE applauds representatives Bonamici, Deutch & Christ for championing the inclusion of LGBT elders in the Older Americans Act. This is a well-deserved honor & tribute to our beloved Ruthie & Connie, LGBT trailblazers who spent decades fighting on behalf of equal treatment for the LGBT community. SAGE will continue to advocate for this important legislation & for more federal policies that address the needs of our LGBT elders & enable them to age with the dignity & respect." The bill endorsed by SAGE, would increase federal support to millions of LGBT elders through the Older Americans Act (OAA), the country’s largest vehicle for funding & delivering services to older people in the U.S. It is expected to be re-introduced next year for a vote. SAGE is the country's largest & oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of LGBT older people. Founded in 1978 & headquartered in NYC SAGE is a national organization that offers supportive services & consumer resources to LGBT older people & their caregivers
For More Info: sageusa.org
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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Black Lesbian Conference Event

Beyond Bold And Brave presents “Work As Memoir” for their 2nd Bi-Annual Black Lesbian Conference at Barnard College in NYC July 27th to July 29th providing three days of affirming Black Lesbian work, life & community that will continue building on being the first conference its kind in Harlem & the first of its kind in NYC in over thirty years. The conference will unite Black/African-descent lesbians of varied ages & histories to responsibly & honestly address important issues & concerns in a respectful, welcoming & safe space. Film & Television director Cheryl Dunye will open the conference on Friday July 27th with a keynote presentation. Dunye stated, “I am looking forward to The Bold & Brave. I'm so excited to celebrate Black Lesbian lives lived, loved & those yet to be invented”. Dunye is a Guggenheim Fellow & member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has made over 15 films including the award-winning The Watermelon Woman The Stranger Inside. Dunye has also directed television episodes of Queen Sugar, Love Is __, The Fosters, Claws & is adapting the novel, “The Wonder of All Things” as her next independent feature film. The celebrated Barnard Center for Research On Women is again the conference host & the New York Women’s Foundation, a returning sponsor, is also this year’s conference Co-Presenter. Presenter & Lambda Literary Award-Winning Author & Playwright Jewelle Gomez concluded, “Black Lesbians have been the innovators & the designers of our future, bringing healing & vision. I feel fortunate to have lived long enough to even hear the words Black Lesbian Conference out loud so being able to sit in rooms with those walking that path from our past to our future is a gift."
For More Info: beyondboldandbrave.org 
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Monday, July 16, 2018

LPAC Provincetown Brunch Event

LPAC will be hosting their annual "Politics by the Sea" brunch on July 29th from 11A to 1P at the Harbor Lounge at 359 Commercial Street in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Diane Felicio LPAC Board Member stated, “As many of you know, this event always has a great vibe & energy & this year we are excited that our new Executive Director, Stephanie Sandberg will be there & spending time greeting & chatting with our guests & donors. I am personally invested in Stephanie’s success since I served on the LPAC search committee that recommended her to the full board for consideration. I believe you will be impressed by her smarts & vision for LPAC. Urvashi Vaid, Kate Clinton & others from the LPAC crew will also be there & will be delighted to see you. As you know, there could not be a more important time to support progressive candidates who champion LPAC's values of LGBTQ & women's equality & social justice. At the event the dollars we raise are all about growing the national slate of pro-LGBTQ candidates that LPAC is supporting in 2018.” Now in its sixth year LPAC continues to build the political power of LGBTQ women by electing candidates who champion LGBTQ rights, women’s equality & social justice issues & with the 2018 Midterm elections in November it is crucial to back candidates that support our LGBTQ values & stop the Trump administration’s attempt to erase the progress our LGBTQ community has achieved. Last month we talked to supporters of LPAC in this exclusive audio montage on the red carpet at “Levity & Justice For ALL” a comedy benefit for LPAC at Town Hall in NYC. LISTEN:
For Info & RSVP: teamlpac.com
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Friday, July 13, 2018

GMHC & AIDS Walk San Francisco

In San Francisco on Sunday July 15th thousands of people are expected to gather in Golden Gate Park for the 32nd annual AIDS Walk San Francisco (AWSF) both in support of people living with HIV/AIDS & to defend the dignity & equality of vulnerable populations everywhere. This is the first year that the NYC org GMHC is the main organizer of the San Francisco AIDS Walk following its merger with ACRIA last year. The 10-kilometer Walk begins & ends in Golden Gate Park. Celebrities at the Opening Ceremony in Robin Williams Meadow will include Barrett Foa (NCIS Los Angeles), Nico Tortorella (Younger), Dale Soules (Orange is the New Black), ABC-7 news anchor Dan Ashley, and more. A Post-Walk Show also in Robin Williams Meadow will be held for all participants & will be co-hosted by Nico Tortorella, fitness celebrity Bethany Meyers & RuPaul’s Drag Race star Alexis Michelle. Since 1987 AWSF has raised more than $90 million for a variety of Bay Area HIV/AIDS care, prevention services & advocacy organizations & has long been Northern California’s largest AIDS fundraising event. This year’s Walk benefits ACRIA, PRC & Project Open Hand, as well as dozens of other Bay Area HIV/AIDS service organizations. ACRIA envisions a world where all people with HIV receive the treatment, care & support they need to lead healthy, productive lives & where new transmissions of the virus have been eliminated. Positive Resource Center (PRC) helps people affected by HIV/AIDS, substance use, or mental health issues better realize opportunities by providing integrated legal, social & health services that address the broad range of social risk factors that impact wellness & limit potential. Project Open Hand’s mission is to nourish & engage our community by providing meals with love to the sick & the elderly.
For More Info: sf.aidswalk.net
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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

LPAC Backing August Candidates

LPAC has announced several new endorsements on the heels of several successful primary campaigns by previously endorsed candidates. As August primaries approach & the critical midterm elections loom these additional endorsements paired with a renewed effort focused on key races will be the focus of LPAC’s efforts in the coming months. Stephanie Sandberg, LPAC’s Executive Director stated, “We are encouraged by the recent successes of our endorsed candidates but there is so much more work to do between now & November, with the August primaries first & foremost. It is time to raise more money, get out the vote & engage local communities in these historic elections. With the recent resignation of Justice Kennedy & continued attacks on LGBTQ rights, reproductive rights & social justice there is more at stake than ever.” The newly endorsed candidates with August primaries include: Donna Shalala, US Rep. FL-27: Donna Shalala is running for US Congress for FL District 27 to replace retiring Rep. Ros-Lehtinen. Jamie McLeod-Skinner, US Rep. OR-2:McLeod-Skinner is running for US Congress for OR District 2 after a victory in her May 15th primary. Stacey Abrams, Georgia Governor: Abrams is running for Governor of Georgia after a victory in her May 22nd primary. Lupe Valdez, Texas Governor: Valdez is running for Governor of Texas after a victory in her May 22nd primary win and has already made history in her career as a Latina out lesbian. Nickie Antonio, OH State Senate: Antonio is running for Ohio State Senate in District 23 after a victory in her May 8th primary & Mary Washington, MD State Senate (apparent winner): Washington is running for Maryland State Senate in District 43, part of Baltimore County, after a victory in her June 26th primary.
For More Info: teamlpac.com
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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Supreme Court Heartbreak Resumes

With Brett Kavanaugh’s extreme conservative record & his past support of the anti-LGBTQ hate group Family Resource Council (FRC) our LGBTQ community’s progress is in jeopardy along with a woman’s right to choose, the Affordable Care Act, immigrants & more. Sarah Kate Ellis, President & CEO of GLAAD stated, “If confirmed, Brett Kavanaugh will have the chance to codify President Trump & Vice President Pence’s dangerous anti-LGBTQ record & the agenda of anti-LGBTQ groups into law for decades to come. Like Neil Gorsuch before him, Kavanaugh is an ideologically driven pick designed to create an activist Supreme Court that will undermine rights & protections for women, LGBTQ people, immigrants & all vulnerable people. Americans do not want or need 40 more years of Trump’s values.” Vanita Gupta, President & CEO of The Leadership Conference concluded, “Brett Kavanaugh is a direct threat to our civil & human rights & is unfit to serve on our nation’s highest court. Earning a spot on this list of anti-civil & human rights all-stars required satisfying the ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation & Federalist Society & passing Trump's ideological litmus tests. Trump promised that, if confirmed, his nominee would overturn Roe v. Wade & undermine the Affordable Care Act, which would have a devastating impact on those with pre-existing conditions, people of color, women, people with disabilities & millions of others for decades to come. Access to health care is a civil & human rights issue of profound importance. Our civil & human rights hang in the balance with this Supreme Court nomination. Senators must put country over party to protect their constituents, the Constitution & civil & human rights by rejecting this extreme nomination.” 
For More Info: glaad.org
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Sunday, July 8, 2018

Florida Creating A New HIV Crisis

Governor Rick Scott & Florida Medicaid officials are denying renewal of an HIV care contract with AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s Positive Healthcare which has been providing critical health insurance coverage for people living with HIV in Florida since 1999 & forcing HIV patients to use for-profit companies that don’t currently cover their sustained medical provider. Donna Stidham, Chief of Managed Care for AHF stated, “Given the increased number of those now living with HIV in Florida, it is deplorable that Governor Scott has continued to play with people’s lives, while padding the pockets of a small group of for-profit companies. Many of these patients, currently covered by PHC, have been seeing their doctor for years, even decades & are thriving in care. These same patients will suffer disruption of treatment & can suffer substandard care if they are simply dumped into the general patient population, or if their care is jobbed out by huge, for-profit insurance companies for treatment by a family medicine doctor or general practitioner without HIV expertise.” Michael Kahane, AHF Southern Bureau Chief concluded, “If we are to address the continual rise in individuals newly diagnosed with HIV, it is critical that Governor Scott & all public servants, guarantee that everyone is at the table to ensure the necessary care is provided for those living with HIV. As the leading non-profit agency addressing the HIV epidemic across this nation, our primary focus is on quality patient care & not profit. All who are living with a chronic illness, like HIV, have the undeniable right to choose the medical provider that they trust, that provides the care that they need & the insurance coverage to sustain this care.”
For More Info: aidshealth.org
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Thursday, July 5, 2018

Changing The Political Landscape

Now that the Fourth of July holiday is over there’s work to be done to change this horrendous administration with 472 women entering the race for the House in November & 57 potentially running for the Senate. We haven’t seen anything like this since 1992 referred to as the “Year of the Woman” when 24 women were elected to the U.S. House of Representatives which was the largest group of women ever to enter the House in a single election. So let’s focus on getting these women candidates elected in November & one crucial way is through savvy media campaigns because if voters know a candidate's name & if they have seen her face before they're more likely to vote for the candidate in the booth. A good campaign video translates to reach, name recognition & of course fundraising. LPAC is the country’s only political action committee that is committed to empowering & engaging LGBTQ women. Now in its sixth year LPAC builds the political power of LGBTQ women by electing candidates who champion LGBTQ rights, women’s equality & social justice issues. LPAC has successfully raised millions of dollars to reach these goals. With the 2018 Midterm elections in November it is crucial to back candidates that support our values & stop the Trump administration’s attempt to erase the progress we have achieved. In this exclusive audio montage we talked with red carpet attendees at “Levity & Justice For ALL” a comedy benefit for LPAC at Town Hall in NYC about the midterm elections & more. LISTEN:
For More Info: teamlpac.com
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Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Transgender Victory In Montana

Unlike Massachusetts, Montana has struck down I-183 the anti-transgender ballot measure that would have prevented transgender Montanans from using facilities consistent with their gender identity. I-183 also called the “Montana Locker Room Privacy Act,” failed to gain enough signatures to qualify for a ballot initiative this November. Sarah Kate Ellis, President & CEO of GLAAD stated, “Local advocacy groups in Montana set a powerful example for the rest of the country by refusing to let this harmful anti-trans initiative reach the ballot in November. While safety in public facilities is important to all of us, assault & harassment are already illegal & laws that specifically bar restroom access for transgender people only increase the abuse & mistreatment that many trans people already face.” The measure sponsored by the anti-LGBTQ & anti-choice group Montana Family Foundation (MFF), which has an extensive history of defending religious exemption bills, I-183 would have endangered transgender & non-binary Montanans forcing them out of public places by restricting their use of facilities. Additionally, it would have granted people the right to sue the government if they encountered a transgender or non-binary person in a facility that did not match the gender on their birth certificate. As you know the battle for transgender rights continues in Massachusetts where Freedom for All Massachusetts is working to fight a November 2018 ballot initiative that would repeal basic protections for trans people after the state extended non-discrimination protections to transgender people in July 2016.
For More Info: freedommassachusetts.org
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Monday, July 2, 2018

America Land Of The Deported

An opinion by Chef Rossi. When I was growing up, the Fourth of July was a chance to celebrate the freedom I was taught the United States stood for. Land of the free, home of the brave. The Declaration of Independence: just its name made me feel proud & empowered. Signed on July 4, 1776, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty & the pursuit of Happiness.” As I got older & smarter, issues with the Declaration bubbled to the surface. All men were created equal, but women weren’t allowed to vote until 1920. All men were created equal, but most of the signers of the Declaration of Independence owned slaves. Yes, a lot of the Founding Fathers were against slavery, but not enough. Slavery wasn’t abolished until 1865 & it took a civil war to do it. Immigrants were fine. We were a struggling new nation, we needed our immigrants & gave them the same rights “to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness” that natives had. Oh, not the real Native Americans, of course. They were raped, murdered, conquered, had their histories erased & were forced, if they survived, into white society or onto reservations. Immigrants did come. More than 80 million of them (since they started counting anyway). My grandparents came, escaping anti-Semitism in Hungary. They were welcomed by the great lady herself, the Statue of Liberty! “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” The 45th president of the United States is clearly not a fan of huddled masses. He likes to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. His “zero tolerance policy” separated thousands of immigrating children from their parents. Since his election, I hear this expression a lot: “This is not America.” I grew up thinking that the United States stood for freedom, honor & humanity. But we also have a dark history of racism, sexism & homophobia. It is that fire that the 45th president stokes. Sadly, that vile flame is also America, just not the America we celebrate & certainly not one we care to repeat.
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Sunday, July 1, 2018

Independence Day Spirit For All

We approach Independence Day on July 4th 2018 with millions of American citizens marching across the nation attempting to save the democracy from the hands of an administration bent on destroying everything good this country stands for. After enduring weeks & months witnessing the disheartening news of US citizens & immigrant families being ripped apart in the name of so called “justice” protesters gathered Saturday in massive “Families Belong Together!” rallies & marched in New York, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago & other cities across the country calling for an end to the Trump administration's perceived-harsh immigration enforcement & recent family separations at the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump reacted in usual form by not acknowledging the crowds & spending the weekend at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J. concerned that the protesters gathered outside may affect his golf score. The fact that he didn’t mentioned anything on Twitter or anyplace else about the huge “Families Belong Together!” national events just confirms that this sort of action really gets to him. He may try to dismiss it all as Fake News but it’s just too in his face to escape. This is how we begin to take back our country. The next step is preventing Trump from appointing a replacement for United States Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy until after the midterm elections in November when we all come together & win back control of both the US House & Senate to restore democracy. This will slow the administration down from causing more misery & hardship until we can vote them out of office in 2020. Then the real work will begin to rebuild America both domestically & abroad to resemble a place where we work to obtain equality for all.
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