PFLAG Policy Matters December 18, 2015

Policy Matters from PFLAG National

Take Action

NEW BILL: Urge your legislators to cosponsor The Stonewall National Historic Site Establishment Act (S.2386) and (H.R.4230).

The Stonewall riots of 1969 are known as one of the landmarks that launched the modern-day movement for LGBTQ equality. PFLAG members can help ensure that the historic location of these events is formally etched into world history by asking our federal government to preserve, protect, and interpret it for future generations to visit. The Stonewall National Historic Site Establishment Act (S.2386) and (H.R.4230), introduced in the Senate by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer from New York and in the House by Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10) on December 10th, would designate an historic site commemorating the 1969 Stonewall riots.

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 Stonewall National Historic Site Establishment Act (S.2386 and H.R.4230), introduced in the Senate by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer from New York and in the House by Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10) on December 10th, which would designate an historic site commemorating the 1969 Stonewall uprisings, heralded among the launchpads for the modern civil rights movement for LGBTQ people. PFLAG’s values are America’s values and that includes noting the historic role and location of these early steps calling for equal treatment of all people, including LGBTQ people. 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.

Background: This is a brand new bill, introduced on December 10th and announced on December 14th. In July 2015, legislators and officials signed a letter in support of this action, uniting the two NY U.S. Senators, 11 Members of Congress, and 58 other officials from New York State including Congressman Joe Crowley (NY-14) who sponsors a current federal bill to name the Queens U.S. Post Office after PFLAG founder Jeanne Manford.


Media Matters

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto “winding down” gender identity services for youth after external review. On December 15th, The Centre, (formerly) headed by psychologist Dr. Ken Zucker, was criticized by the transgender community and others for allegedly practicing reparative therapy–which has been deemed unethical and potentially dangerous by medical and human rights organizations–on young people. The external report found that the Centre’s approach was out of step with currently accepted practices.

Highly regarded, longtime NBA referee Bill Kennedy, 49, comes out after player allegedly makes anti-gay slurs to him. On December 13th, Kennedy said, “I’m proud to be an NBA referee and I’m proud to be a gay man.” This statement follows a December 3rd incident after Kennedy ejected Sacramento Kings guard Rajon Rondo during a game against the Boston Celtics; the official NBA investigation results report that Rondo followed Kennedy across the court saying anti-gay slurs. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver issued a statement of support for Kennedy and his disclosure.

New York Times reports a transwoman of color’s journey of transition. Kricket Nimmons tells her story.

Openly transgender African-American woman lieutenant of Larimer County, CO jail retires after 22 years. The Associated Press profiles Rachel Esters’ upon her retirement, preceded by pre-transition military service in the Air Force and the Army. Lt. Esters began her transition two years ago at age 50, having begun at the county jail 22 years ago as a deputy. She said that her transition at the sheriff’s office has been better than in the community.

Caitlyn Jenner apologizes for Time Magazine statement that “man in a dress makes people uncomfortable.” Noting that she is still learning about the community she has recently openly joined, Jenner clarified new learning and noted her prior comments alongside a desire to be more articulate in the future.

Empire State Pride Agenda closes major operations, citing securing trans nondiscrimination protections. Citing a unanimous vote by its Boards for its c3 and c4 operations, ESPA announced on December 12th that it would end its advocacy work and focus exclusively on its PAC and efforts in political elections.


Court Matters

SCOTUS grants on December 14th temporary relief to lesbian mother on adoption of her ex-partner’s children, in place while SCOTUS decides whether to hear her case. PFLAG National signed an amicus brief prepared and being submitted by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) with law firm Foley Hoag in support of this lesbian mother’s case. SCOTUS granted this request to have the adoption of her former partner’s children be enforced while the court decides whether to hear her appeal of an Alabama Supreme Court ruling that the adoption was void. Stay tuned to PFLAG media channels as the matter progresses.

Massachusetts court tells school it discriminated against a married gay man. A Boston-area Roman Catholic girls’ high school violated Matthew Barrett’’s rights when it revoked an offer for him to work as director of food services after he revealed on a form that he was married to another man, Massachusetts Superior Court Associate Justice Douglas Wilkins ruled on December 17th in this case led by GLAD.


Federal Matters

VA Hospital in Tucson, AZ becoming nation’s fourth to hold special clinic hours for transgender patients. The new clinics are the most recent steps in initiatives ordered by the Department of VA begun in 2011 to create veterans facilities as national centers of excellence for transgender care to better serve transgender veterans, including access to several specialists in a single visit as part of a transgender treatment team. The VA Boston Healthcare system was the nation’s first in 2011, and you can read the inaugural patient-care memo here.

Pentagon six-month review and initial findings on the report on lifting ban on open transgender service on track for January 2016 release. On December 14th, WH spokesperson Josh Earnest deferred to the Defense Department when asked whether the Pentagon will lift the ban on open service for transgender people. The response is that the report’s preliminary findings should be released in January 2016. Stay tuned to PFLAG National’s media channels for more.

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.

Department of Education waivers granted to religious schools to ban LGBTQ students spike in 2015. The waivers let religious schools ban students and discriminate on the basis of hiring, housing, financial aid and other issues on the basis of of sexual orientation or gender identity and still received federal funds from the DOE. Religious universities have applied for waivers at record levels in 2015: 43 applied and 22 were granted, with the balance listed as pending. At presstime, this list is being verified by CampusPride to ensure that the waivers were granted for SO/GI reasons and will be updated on its ShameList of colleges and universities which got waivers on this basis.


Global Matters

Greece – Parliament to open civil partnerships to same-sex couples. The parliament could vote as soon as December 22nd on legislation to open a civil partnership status currently restricted to opposite-sex couples to gays and lesbians.

Malta – Malta could become the first country in Europe to ban “gay cure” therapy. Conversion therapy bans are still pursued at state and federal levels in the U.S., deemed ineffective and dangerous by medical, behavioral health and public policy experts.

Slovenia – Slovenia votes on same-sex marriage. Voting announcement comes on Sunday, December 21st.  Stay tuned to PFLAG National media channels for more information as the vote comes in.


Dear Policy Matters

Dear Policy Matters:

It’s inspiring to have experienced Jason Collins come out on his own terms in Sports Illustrated as the first openly gay professional athlete in the big four pro sports, when he played in the NBA. But then I was shocked to see how NBA referee Bill Kennedy came out in Yahoo News 10 days after being called offensive names during an NBA game. I wonder whether professional sports leagues and teams consider public support for them as they decide whether to create welcoming environments for current or any undisclosed LGBTQ players or employees.

Has anyone studied the landscape and outcomes of how or whether the general public plays any current or prospective role in these actions of inclusion or shame?

Seeking Queer-Safe Sports

Dear SQSS:

Your questions are timely, and the answer is “Yes.” On December 18th, The Center for American Progress announced a new report that explores the public’s belief about professional sports teams that support LGBT issues.

Titled “LGBT Inclusion in Sports: Beliefs About the Role of Professional Sports in Public Life,” CAP explored several research questions, including:

  • To what degree do people believe that professional sports teams should take public stances on social causes?

  • How do opinions of professional sports teams change if those teams express support for LGBT athletes and fans?

  • How do opinions of professional sports teams change if those teams express support for laws protecting LGBT people?

  • Does the explicit inclusion of LGBT people in diversity statements affect perceptions of professional sports teams?

Results of this study indicate that professional sports teams that make public statements in support of LGBT equality for both athletes and everyday people will generally be viewed favorably by the public at large. Importantly, this study provides two pieces of evidence to support this conclusion:

  1. The majority of study participants reported that their opinions would become more positive.

  2. An experimental manipulation showed no negative effect of making diversity statements that explicitly include LGBT people.

The report on the study’s findings suggest that positive feelings are strongest among women, young people, self-identified Democrats, and LGBT-identified people.

PFLAG National has long been supportive of the need for inclusion in sports, whether at the professional, college, or student level. In fact, we’ve partnered with organizations such as Athlete Ally (whose founder, Hudson Taylor, was a Straight for EqualityTM award honoree in 2011) and You Can Play to further support the effort. Among our many Straight for Equality award honorees, we’ve included numerous NFL players, such as Scott Fujita, Chris Kluwe, and Brendan Ayanbadejob.

And we’re happy to give you a little heads up here: be sure to check out our Facebook page on Sunday afternoon–around 1:30pm ET–for a special sports message we think you’ll enjoy!

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