PFLAG National Policy Matters December 4, 2015

Policy Matters from PFLAG National

Take Action

Urge your two Senators and one Representative to cosponsor the REPEAL HIV DIscrimination Act (S. 2336 and H.R. 1586)

Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) on December 1st, World AIDS Day, introduced in the U.S. Senate the companion bill to Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s (CA-13) REPEAL HIV Discrimination Act of 2015. The bill, similar to that introduced in the last Congress which PFLAG National supported, modernizes laws and eliminates discrimination with respect to people living with HIV/AIDS. The bill requires a review of laws by federal, state and local stakeholders that impose criminal liability on people with HIV. The bill also provides states with guidance on best practices for revising HIV criminalization laws.

Please reach out to your two US Senators and one Representative and use this PFLAG message:

As your constituent and as a member of PFLAG, I urge you to cosponsor the REPEAL HIV Discrimination Act (S. 2336 and H.R. 1586), introduced in the Senate by Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) and House by Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13), which would modernize laws and eliminate discrimination with respect to people living with HIV/AIDS. PFLAG’s values are America’s values and that includes ensuring that people living with HIV or AIDS are not discriminated against based on their HIV status. If you are already a co-sponsor of this bill I thank you. If not, I urge you to please consider signing on.

Note: Remember to specify your name, full address and to include your zip code.

Media Matters

Prudential Financial and AEQUALIS partner to offer milestone life insurance for people living with HIV. Provided they meet the underwriting requirements, people living with HIV may now be eligible to obtain 10- and 15-year individual convertible term life insurance products, offered through Prudential’s issuing insurance companies. The partnership represents a milestone in the changing nature of HIV infection and life with the disease as part of a commitment to support underserved communities, including people living with HIV.

Colorado College LGBT activist group tries unsuccessfully to halt showing of “Stonewall”; film played on campus on Nov. 9th. LGBT rights activists staged protests to fault replacing the factual presence of lesbians and transgender people of color with fictional gay white men as the film’s central protagonists. The objectors to showing the film say that it endangers their lives by being non-inclusive of people who are non-white, lesbian, or transgender.

SCOTUS Chief Justice Roberts likely helped set stage for marriage equality decision. In October 2014, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) declined to hear appeals of any of the cases challenging state bans on same-sex couples’ marriages. The decision set off a chain reaction in the days that followed, increasing the number of states with marriage equality from 19 to 29. By time SCOTUS heard a marriage case—appeals of the cases out of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, led by Obergefell v. Hodges—same-sex couples had married legally in 38 states.

Why attacks on same-sex parenting depend on flawed research. Columbia Law School’s “What We Know Project” director Nathaniel Frank explains how flawed scholarship is being used to create the illusion of legitimate debate where none exists. The op-ed discusses faulty research used to make the case recently in Utah and Kansas to limit same-sex couples’ parental rights.He also notes that 73 of 77 legitimate studies that find that children face no disadvantages from having same-sex couples as parents.

History-making transgender actress Mya Taylor talks about Oscar-contending film “Tangerine” premiering on Netflix on Dec. 4th. Taylor attended the White House Champions of Change event, offering an interview discussing the theme of the film as well as the technology used to create it: An iPhone 5s. Tangerine has received four nominations for Film Independent’s Spirit Awards, including acting nods for both actresses, the first time a trans woman has been nominated for both Best Female Lead and Best Supporting Female. At the Gotham Awards, Tangerine won for audience film favorite and Taylor won for breakthrough actor, making her the first trans actress to win that award.

Court Matters

Massachusetts Superior Court judge historically rules to stop Barnstable from shutting down Hyannis sterile needle distribution programDeclaring on December 1st, World AIDS Day, that AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod’s (ASGCC) needle access program “saves lives,” Superior Court judge Raymond P. Veary, Jr., in a first-of-its kind ruling, issued a preliminary injunction against the town of Barnstable, which had tried to shut down a needle distribution program run by the group in Hyannis. The decision is the first to affirm the meaning of a 2006 Massachusetts law that removed restrictions on the possession and distribution of needles and syringes. “An Act Relative to HIV and Hepatitis C Prevention” was passed to enable injection drug users to get sterile needles and syringes, critical to stopping the spread of diseases.

Federal Matters

HUD issues preliminary rule on November 20th that requires shelter access for transgender people according to their gender identity; updates existing policy from 2012 including LGBTQ people. Stay tuned to PFLAG National media channels and publications as PFLAGers will be asked to submit personal stories and letters with guidance that we will provide you. You can read HUD’s preliminary rule here.

U.S. Department of Defense historically grants to women the remaining 10% of military positions, including combat roles and pay. President Obama issued a supporting statement, adding to military gains for LGBTQ people under his command, formerly signing into law the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell allowing open service since 2010 to gay and lesbian servicemembers and overt support for open transgender military service, which has yet to be realized.

President Obama and Members of Congress redidicate commitment on World AIDS Day, December 1st. The White House of Office National AIDS Policy (ONAP) issued its planned 33-page plan updating the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, Senators reintroduced the REPEAL HIV Discrimination Act as the companion bill to the House bill introduced in March 2015 (which PFLAG National supports) and President Obama issued a World AIDS Day Proclamation.

State Matters

Florida – Jacksonville Human Rights Ordinance (HRO) gets second “Community Conversation”, adds 75 faith leaders in support. On December 3rd, residents convened for the second of three conversations on whether to expand the city’s HRO. Among the 75 faith leaders standing in support of the inclusive HRO is Mayor Lenny Curry’s pastor Bruce Jones.

New York – New report quantifies disparities for transgender New Yorkers. On November 27th, a new survey-based assessment of the education, employment, income, housing and health status of transgender residents statewide was released. The report shows broad disparities, even when compared to other segments of the LGBTQ community.

Global Matters

Brunei – On November 30th, U.S. and Bruneian officials met to discuss new penal code with death penalty provision for sodomy convictions. U.S. Ambassador to Brunei Craig Allen and several State Department officials met in London with Brunei’s officials to discuss human rights issues, including the penal code, which is based on Sharia law.

Cyprus – Civil unions legally recognized in Cyprus on November 26th. The Cypriot parliament voted in favor of the Civil Partnership bill 39-12, granting legal recognition of same-sec couples to with the same rights as civil marriage. Joint adoption rights are not included in this law.

Dominican Republic – Dominican LGBT advocates criticized Catholic cardinal for referring to openly gay married U.S. Ambassador as a “wife.” Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez of the Archdiocese of Santo Domingo commented during a news conference and called Ambassador James Wally Brewster as a man’s wife.

Dear Policy Matters

Dear Policy Matters:

Especially as the holidays are upon us, I am grateful to be a major donor to PFLAG National. I feel like there is so much work yet to be done to reach equality for everyone who is LGBTQ, but I fear that some people are still celebrating marriage as if funding isn’t that needed anymore. Is there anything that tells us what the trend in participation of funding to LGBTQ organizations, including by LGBTQ people? Thank you.

Curious about Giving

Dear CAG:

First, thank you for being a major donor to PFLAG National. Yes, we have current information for you, as The Movement Action Project (MAP) issued a new report on December 3rd current for 2014 and 2015. The report shows a trend that LGBTQ organizations have experienced decrease in financial support even as the urgent work for non-discrimination and other protections for LGBTQ people and families continues.

The report provides a comprehensive overview of the finances and financial health of a key segment of the LGBT movement: LGBT social justice organizations focusing on broad LGBT advocacy, issue-specific advocacy, legal advocacy, and research and public education. The 38 national and leading statewide organizations participating in this report collectively represent 66% of the budgets of LGBT social justice organizations. Among the findings of the report:

  • Movement groups are highly efficient in their fundraising and programming operations. On average, 81% of total expenses are dedicated to programs and services, exceeding the nonprofit efficiency benchmarks set by American Institute of Philanthropy (AIP) and Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance (BBB).
  • Fundraising and individual donations continue to increase, with a notable spike in individual giving, which increased 11% from 2013 to 2014 for participating LGBT nonprofits, compared to a 5.7% increase in individual giving for nonprofits nationwide.
  • General financial health remains strong. In 2014, LGBT organizations reported an average of sixth months of working capital, a 2% increase from 2013.

The report also uncovered some other challenging trends:

  • While more individual donors are giving to LGBT organizations, still less than 3.3% of LGBT adults have donated to one of the participating LGBT organizations.
  • Participating organizations received, on average, 39% of their 2014 revenue from their 10 largest contributors. Eleven organizations received more than 50% of their income from their top 10 contributors. Only five organizations received less than 20% of their income from their top 10 contributors.
  • Organizations experienced an alarming 18% drop in foundation contributions, which fell  from $35.3 million in 2013 to $29.0 million in  2014.
  • The racial and ethnic diversity of paid staff at participating organizations have similar diversity to the overall population: 38% of paid staff identify as people of color compared to 38% of the U.S. population. However, among senior staff, the percentage who are people of color was 35%. Also, 46% of all staff are women and 8% identify as transgender.

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