Contact your U.S. Representative and ask them to cosponsor H.R. 2607 to rename the Jackson Heights P.O. after Jeanne and Jules Manford, PFLAG Founder and Human Rights Champions.
On August 10th, Congressman Joe Crowley (D-NY) secured all other 26 members of the NY House delegation to name the Jackson Heights Post Office after Jeanne and Jules Manford. We need your help to urge other U.S. Representatives to cosponsor this bill that gives hope to so many about how parents and families who, through love, take a stand on safety and the wellbeing of their LGBTQ children.
Reach your U.S. Representative by clicking HERE, using this suggested PFLAG message:
As your constituent and a member of PFLAG, I urge you to cosponsor H.R. 2607, a bill to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 7802 37th Avenue in Jackson Heights, New York, as the “Jeanne and Jules Manford Post Office Building.” Jeanne, who alongside her husband Jules formed PFLAG–the organization uniting families, allies, and people who are LGBTQ–after their openly gay son Morty was beaten for protesting news coverage of the gay rights movement in 1972, served as the original grand marshal of the Queens LGBT Pride Parade founded in 1993 and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama. PFLAG’s values are America’s values, and that includes honoring this example of parents’ love for their child as a beacon for all families of our LGBTQ loved ones, standing up for their safety and fairness in our country. Please celebrate parents’ love for their children’s safety and wellbeing by cosponsoring this bill, and if you have already done so, thank you very much.
Please remember to include your name, street address, and zip code when reaching your legislators.
Civil Rights Hero and LGBTQ Supporter Julian Bond, former NAACP President, dies on August 16th at age 75 at his home in Ft. Walton Beach, Fla. A leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee with Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) and founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center before serving as a Georgia state legislator, Bond supported both the freedom to marry and transgender equality.
White House appoints first openly transgender permanent staffer, trans Latina Raffi Freedman-Gurspan. PFLAG National was invited to comment on the historic August 17th appointment of The National Center for Transgender Equality’s (NCTE) former policy advisor on racial and economic justice, alongside Presidential advisor Valerie Jarrett and other civil and LGBTQ human rights leaders. PFLAG National is thrilled that our colleague from our long-time partner organization NCTE has attained this historic position.
Long-time HIV-positive transman Teo Drake advises Positively Trans (T+) survey to encourage HIV positive transmen to participate, to educate and to call for more inclusive data collection among researchers. There is little data and less visibility about transgender men living with HIV. To date, there has been no evidence-based study or survey to document the number of gay and bisexual trans men who are HIV positive. The demographic data asked by the CDC for HIV testing and how it records information about people does not have a space on its forms for transmen or transwomen to check when noting their identity. This project seeks to remove barriers of stigma and drive conversation that can lead to recording data accurately about this important population often unseen and unheard.
Minor League Baseball active player comes out as gay, tells teammates before game. Reported on August 18th, David Denson, a first baseman who plays for the Milwaukee Brewers organization in Helena, became the first active player in affiliated professional baseball to disclose that he is gay, a first too, for a person of Latino and African-American descent. He consulted privately in advance with Billy Bean, the first MLB player to come out. Bean presented an award to hockey player Henrik Lundqvist at the Straight for Equality® Gala in 2015. MLB is an ongoing corporate partner of PFLAG National, and Straight for Equality® staff has conducted workplace learning sessions at MLB’s headquarters in New York City. PFLAG National staff and PFLAG members have also participated in the MLB Diversity Business Summit.
83 Students from 70 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) Named 2015 HBCU All-Stars. The White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (WHIHBCUs) today announced its 2015 HBCU All-Stars, recognizing 83 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students for their accomplishments in academics, leadership, and civic engagement.
Lawsuit filed to challenge Mississippi’s law barring same-sex couples from adopting. On August 12th, Family Equality Council and Campaign for Southern Equality filed litigation in federal court against Mississippi’s law banning same-sex couples from adoption.
NIH awarded on August 14th $5.7 million for first-of-its-kind five-year research study to evaluate long-term outcomes of medical treatment for transgender youth. According to a statement, the goal of researchers is to uncover evidence-based information on the physiological and psychosocial impact, as well as safety, of hormone blockers and cross-sex hormone use amongst transgender youth. The study will take place at four academic medical centers with dedicated transgender youth clinics.
Study estimates cost of care for transgender troops to be negligible. Transition-related care includes “gender affirming surgery, cross-sex hormone therapy, or both,” according to Aaron Belkin, Palm Center Executive Director and author of the article, which is published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Helping transgender military personnel transition will cost the military as little at 22 cents per service member per month, or $5.6 million annually, the study contends, with about 188 per year of the 12,800 transgender personnel expected to utilize transition-related care. Surgeries, hormones or both would cost an average of $29,929 over six and a half years per personnel receiving such treatment, according to the study.
PFLAG National among 130 civil rights organizations requesting Pres. Obama to rescind 2007 RFRA Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) memo exempting religious organizations from federal nondiscrimination laws when applying for federal funds. On August 20th, PFLAG National and 129 others sent to Pres. Obama a letter calling out for him to rescind the 2007 OLC memo, stating that it relies on flawed legal analysis. This is the first outreach directly to The President with previous request made to then-Attorney General Eric Holder, in 2009 and 2014, as well as to the head of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships in 2013.
Florida: The Osceola County Commission on August 17th passed a fully-inclusive Human Rights Ordinance with a vote of 5-0, granting everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, equal access to housing, employment, and public accommodations. (no credible news source link yet)
Federal judge throws out ACLU lawsuit against Florida middle school decision to refuse a student-led GSA. The suit, the second to be filed against Carver Middle School, alleged that the school violated students’ freedom of speech and federal rights by not allowing the club to form. No decision has been made as to whether there will be an appeal.
Illinois: Gov. Rauner signed into law the state’s fully inclusive reparative therapy ban, HB 217, on August 20th, which will be effective on Jan. 1st, 2016. The law prohibits therapists from trying to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of a person younger than 18 years old. PFLAG National and PFLAG chapter members worked to urge action on this bill since it was introduced on Jan. 16th, passed the House on May 19th and passed the Senate on May 29th. PFLAG National also works closely with Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA) for the passage of his bill H.R. 2450, the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act, the first federal bill to ban conversion therapy.
Ill. State Sen. Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon) introduced on July 28th the Religious Freedom Defense Act (SB 2164) which “prohibits the State and local governments from taking discriminatory action against a person if the person believes or acts under a religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is only between one man and one woman, or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.” The legislation that supposedly protects individuals and business entities opposed to same-sex marriage against charges of discrimination and has been referred to the Senate assignments committee.
Kentucky: This story is still in progress; stay tuned, but here’s the sequence so far. Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis turned away same-sex couples seeking marriage licenses beginning August 13th. She defied U.S. District Judge David L. Bunning’s prior orders to comply with the SCOTUS ruling on June 26th granting marriage in all states. On August 17th, the judge said that Davis isn’t entitled to more time before complying or resigning, but he delayed his order and stayed his decision while Davis appeals to a federal appeals court, advised by attorneys with the Christian law firm Liberty Counsel (named by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-LGBT hate group). Liberty Counsel advised the clerk’s office to continue refusing same-sex couples during the appeal. Davis wants Kentucky lawmakers to pass a law allowing county clerks to opt out of issuing marriage licenses for religious reasons. Davis faces fines and a possible jail sentence for contempt of court if she loses the lawsuit. She can only be impeached from her job by the state legislature, which reconvenes in January 2016.
Ohio: Advisory opinion issued, stating judges cannot refuse to marry same-sex couples. The Ohio Board of Professional Conduct issued on August 11th a non-binding for instructive advisory opinion that Ohio judges cannot refuse to marry same-sex couples.
Puerto Rico: Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla issued two executive orders against trans discrimination.On August 12th, he signed one prohibiting hospitals from discriminating based on gender identity in emergency rooms and another allowing Puerto Ricans to change their gender marker on their driver’s license.
State Department stands up for rights of LGBTQ envoys and their families. The current Administration has appointed a record-number of LGBTQ foreign officials including ambassadors and envoys, many of whom are posted in countries that either criminalize or escalate danger to LGBTQ people. Since the June 26th SCOTUS ruling on marriage, the U.S. is seizing the opportunity to set an example of safety and fair access for dependents in countries that have yet to recognize their own LGBTI residents’ rights.
Australian prime minister Tony Abbott took a stand against marriage equality on August 12th. His conservative coalition government blocked its members on August 12th from voting on same-sex marriage, which effectively rules out a marriage equality bill passing under his government.
Gambia’s President’s nephew is targeted for a pro-LGBTQ rights Facebook post. Alagie Jammeh, a student at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a nephew of the President of Gambia, wrote on Facebook in August “no one should be denied of their fundamental basic human rights because of their sexuality.” He wrote this after befriending a gay man, and the results were that he lost his Gambian-government-funded scholarship, was evicted from his apartment and risks a prison sentence back home for his remarks. His mother has left the country, and he said he will not return there, fearing prison or death there. Homosexuality is illegal in Gambia.
The Odessa District Administrative Court in Ukraine on August 13th to ban the LGBT Pride march scheduled for August 15th. The ruling responded to a petition from city legislators, citing potential “real danger and threat to the public order in the city, as well as to the health and lives of participants and other citizens,” noting that two soccer matches on August 14th and 16th would likely attach Pride march participants. PFLAG National has a close relationship with Ukraine’s organizations for LGBTI and families of LGBTI people, and an interview with our Ukrainian friend and colleague Bogdon Globa, ED of Fulcrum, by the Washington Blade conducted at PFLAG’s DC office this summer is referenced in this news article.
Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg presides as openly gay U.S. ambassador and husband say “I do” again. On August 8th, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg presided over the ceremony during which openly gay U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius and his husband renewed their wedding vows at the Ambassador’s official residence in Hanoi.
National Transgender Survey available online now through Sep. 21 – Take the survey by clicking here. PFLAG National is a national promoting partner/supporter of this initiative. Note that the survey takes 30-60 minutes to complete; you can save your place and take it in multiple sittings.
There’s still time for PFLAGers to be involved in the Journey For Justice. PFLAG National is a proud supporter and endorser of the NAACP’s AMERICA’S JOURNEY FOR JUSTICE – get involved, whether for a rally, a block, a mile, an hour, a state or a journey. America’s Journey for Justice will pass through several states this summer. Whether you are able to march across the state or join one rally, we need you with us. Click to view the complete rally and teach-in schedule, or choose your nearest state to RSVP:
HIVPlus Magazine Wants YOU to Nominate an Amazing HIV+ Person. HIV+ people across generations are usually hidden or heralded, but the local standouts across the country are often unknown. Lift up the names and inspirations of openly HIV+ people you know, and nominate them for this annual tribute. Read more at the link.
Dear Policy Matters
Dear Policy Matters,
Colleges are about to launch classes and sports seasons across the country. My transgender son is 16-year-old rising college junior and hopes to play college sports after high school. Is there a list of colleges that welcome LGBTQ, especially trans and gender expansive, athletes to participate alongside their peers, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity or expression?
Trans Athlete’s Mom
Yes, there is a set of self-disclosed colleges and universities who participate in the new Campus Pride Sports Index, launched on August 20th and in development since 2001, listing campuses that welcome LGBTQ athletes on a level playing field with their peers. The index sets a national standard of LGBTQ-inclusive policies, programs and practices in college sports.
On August 24th, The Campus Pride 2015 Top 25 LGBTQ-welcoming college and university campuses will be announced, and watch Policy Matters and other PFLAG news sources for that information.