LGBTs should not feel caged in our society, says Priya Dutt


Ashok Kumar | OneWorld South Asia | Daily Queer News | Last Updated: Thursday, August 20, 2015 – 12:16

New Delhi: Lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders (LGBTs) should not feel caged in our society, asserted Congress leader and Parliamentarian lj. She was speaking at the 3rd National Solidarity Event in New Delhi.

Supporting the cause of men who have sex with men (MSM), Priya said that LGBTs are entitled to enjoy rights like anyone else. “Sexuality of an individual is a private matter and there is no need for anyone to hide because of their sexuality. Every Indian lives by the constitution of our country which talks about equal rights and equal opportunities to all citizens without discrimination of any kind,” she said.

Priya affirmed her commitment towards protecting the rights of MSM and the LGBT community more broadly and called for collective action towards this goal. Talking about the cultural arguments against the LGBTs, she said India has had long tradition of being a diverse and cultural society and the presence of LGBTs is just an extension of that diversity with the former living in harmony with the rest of society for ages.

Prominent gay rights activist Aditya Banopadhyay pointed out that article 377 mobilised the gay community into a movement. “In our society, the lives of MSM are fraught with social taboos and homophobia. What further compounds the issue is criminalization and infringement of our basic human rights by people, police authorities and the government,” he said.

Bandopadhyay urged the gay community for building its own culture and said that the government was not providing enough funds for the welfare of LGBTs. “The need of the hour is that MSM people should come out of their closets and fights for their rights in solidarity, so that the legislature is forced to recognize the strength of our population and work towards our collective welfare,” he said.

James Robertson, Executive Director of India HIV/AIDS Alliance, said, “To address the engaging vulnerabilities of MSM and gay men in India to HIV and a host of social ills, it will be necessary for all stakeholders across the spectrum to collaborate actively and commit themselves to the task ahead.”

Leaders of the LGBT movement, such as Ashok Row Kavi, Rajesh Srinivas, and celebrities like Sushant Divgikar and Yuvraj Parashar, also spoke about the importance of national forums, such as the solidarity event, in ensuring the collaboration of different stakeholders for strengthening the work that has been done so far and to come out with the plan ahead.

The event saw gay rights activists across India come together to consolidate efforts towards the realization of health and human rights for the LGBT community. Policy makers, social welfare officials, UN representatives, members of Parliament, National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) delegates, media, healthcare providers, and civil society also took part in the event.

Organised by India HIV/AIDS Alliance’s Pehchan programme, the event highlighted the continued escalation of violence and discrimination against the LGBT community in India. This year’s Solidarity Event served as a forum for dialogue for different stakeholders from government, civil society and communities to strengthen the movement and create a consensus for a national action plan for the welfare of MSM and other gay men.


Federal judge strikes down Utah’s same-sex marriage ban


Mark Daley Director of Communications (Office) 202.639.6325 (Cell) 202.379.8318

Federal judge strikes down Utah’s same-sex marriage ban

WASHINGTON, Dec. 20 — The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force celebrates the ruling by a federal judge today that Utah’s Amendment 3 is unconstitutional. The ruling has not been stayed and couples are applying for marriage licenses now, making Utah the 18th state with the freedom to marry.
Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force:
“Today’s ruling is the first after the landmark Perry and Windsor Supreme Court decisions to strike down a state marriage ban under the federal constitution. This is a major step forward as we work towards full equality for LGBT people in all 50 states.”

To learn more about the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, visit and follow us on Twitter: @TheTaskForce.


Task Force Statement on House Food Stamp Program Cuts and Obamacare Defunding

English: Barack Obama signing the Patient Prot...

English: Barack Obama signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act at the White House (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

MEDIA                                 CONTACTS:

Mark Daley                                  Director of Communications (Office) 202.639.6325                                  (Cell) 202.379.8318
Pedro Julio Serrano                                  Media and Public Relations Director
(Office) 646.358.1479                                  (Cell) 787.602.5954

Task Force Statement on House Food Stamp Program Cuts and Obamacare Defunding 


WASHINGTON, Sept. 20 “Yesterday it was deep cuts to the food stamp program, today it’s defunding Obamacare. This House leadership appears hellbent on attacking the most vulnerable people in our nation, the poor millions of whom are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. Most of us were brought up to believe that it’s morally wrong to kick a person when they are down and it is morally appalling to kick millions of people when they are facing economic hardship,” said Rea Carey, Task Force Executive Director.

At the 2013 United States Conference on AIDS

English: IPSF HIV/AIDS Campaign Logo

English: IPSF HIV/AIDS Campaign Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At the 2013 United States Conference on AIDS (USCA)

September 8-11, 2013  |  Hyatt Regency  |  601 Loyola Avenue New Orleans, LA 70113

Exhibit Hall: Visit us at Booth #110

All presentations will be available online at:

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Women over 50: HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis

Workshop: 10:30 am – 12:00 pm

Strand 13 B, Level 2


Workshop description: The purpose of the workshop is to present recent HIV/AIDS data among women over 50, engage in didactic discussion regarding HIV prevention messages and HIV and hepatitis testing strategies targeting women over 50, and discuss the importance of increasing women’s knowledge of their HIV/AIDS and hepatitis status to optimize future health outcomes.  Discussion will address barriers and challenges, as well as best practices and lessons learned from implementing HIV prevention and testing efforts among women over 50.  Participants will join in a facilitated discussion of fundamental strategies for providers working with women over 50.  This will further demonstrate the need for targeted HIV prevention messages and HIV and hepatitis testing strategies.



Presenters: Marylin Merida, Michelle Scavnicky, Ivy Turnbull, and Spencer Lieb

Getting to Zero: Achieving Viral Suppression on a National Level Through

Adequate Funding of Domestic HIV/AIDS Programs

Seminar: 2:30 pm – 5:30 pm

Strand 13 B, Level 2



Seminar description: In order for patients to achieve viral suppression, HIV/AIDS Programs must receive adequate funding. The current budget battles in D.C. have cut HIV funding, and further cuts could potentially send us backwards in the fight to “get to zero.” This Seminar will examine the following points:

1) The recent federal budget environment;

2) The FY2014 budget and appropriations outlook for HIV/AIDS programs such as HIV prevention at the CDC, the Ryan White program (including ADAP), NIH AIDS research, and HOPWA;

3) The impact of Health Reform on future funding of HIV/AIDS; and

4) Effect of sequestration on Ryan White Part D recipients

Presenters: Carl Schmid, Deputy Executive Director, The AIDS Institute; Bridget Verrette, MPH, Public Policy Associate, The AIDS Institute; Lindsey Dawson, MPP, Public Policy Associate, The AIDS Institute; and Ivy Turnbull, PhD, Deputy Executive Director, AIDS Alliance for Women, Infants, Children, Youth & Families.

Monday, September 9, 2013

From Policy to Practice: Health Reform and HIV and Hepatitis Testing

Seminar: 8:30 am – 11:30 am

Imperial 1, Level 4


– Please join us for a light breakfast beginning at 8:15am –


Seminar description: In order to meet the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and to actually see an end AIDS in the U.S., everyone who is HIV positive must be made aware of their status through HIV testing. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) will dramatically increase access to health coverage and can potentially increase HIV testing. This seminar will provide an update on what new insurance coverage under the ACA will mean for expanding HIV and hepatitis testing. The session will examine the role of the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) and payers of preventive services including Medicare, Medicaid and Private insurance. The audience will hear from a range of perspectives including those from: the CDC, individuals working to implement HIV testing reimbursement practices in the field, a hepatitis policy expert, a health department, and from NASTAD and UCHAPS.


Presenters:Carl Schmid, Deputy Executive Director, The AIDS Institute; Lindsey Dawson, Public Policy Associate, The AIDS Institute; Pascal Wortley, Senior Advisor for Prevention Through Healthcare, Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, CDC; Ryan Clary, Director of Policy and Programs, National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable; Amy Killelea, Senior Manager, Health Care Access, NASTAD; Marsha Martin, Director, UCHAPS; Tina Penrose, Project Coordinator, Mid-Atlantic AETC in Philadelphia; Daphne Ruello LeSage, Revenue Operations Manager, Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals.

The AIDS Institute acknowledges the MAC AIDS Fund for their continued support of The AIDS Institute’s HIV testing reimbursement advocacy and Alere for its support of this

seminar and for providing breakfast.

Biomedical HIV Prevention as a Comprehensive Approach to Reaching an AIDS Free Generation

Presented by:AIDS Alliance for Women, Infants, Children, Youth & Families

Workshop: 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm

Imperial 1, Level 4



Workshop description: The AIDS Institute/AIDS Alliance is a participant in the Be the Generation Bridge Partnership Project, funded by the BTG Bridge Project, a collaboration between FHI 360/HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) and the Legacy Project at the Office of HIV/AIDS Network Coordination (HANC). TAI/AA will provide a brief overview of the project that increases awareness and knowledge around biomedical HIV prevention research and discusses efforts that include targeted training to community educators on biomedical HIV prevention interventions that support a comprehensive approach to reaching an AIDS free generation. TAI/AA will provide a summary of the community education sessions, review the evaluations from the sessions and facilitate a panel discussion of community educators who will share their experiences in conducting the biomedical HIV prevention intervention sessions.


Presenters: Michelle Scavnicky and Carole Treston

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Ending the HIV Epidemic: Reimagining the Ryan White Program

and the National HIV Funding Landscape to Reach Zero

Seminar: 8:30 am – 11:30 am

Strand 12A, Level 2



Seminar description:

With implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the U.S. may be able to ensure that most people living with HIV have access to care. Health care reform truly creates an opportunity to end the HIV epidemic. Yet the ACA is about individual access to care – it won’t solve many of the public health barriers of the HIV epidemic. Other programs like the Ryan White Program must now fill in the gaps to respond to the health crisis. Health care and political experts will discuss the history of HIV funding, what is happening now (and why). They will also discuss the major changes taking place and ultimately will work with the audience to come up with big and doable ways to fund the end of the HIV epidemic.
Presenter: The AIDS Institute’s Carl Schmid will speak on the future funding of the Ryan White Program.

Campus Pride Releases 2013 ‘Top 25 LGBT-Friendly Universities And Colleges’ Listing


campus (Photo credit: msmail)

 | Huffington Post | August 20, 2013

Campus Pride, a nationally-recognized organization dedicated to making colleges and universities safer, more inclusive spaces for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals, released its annual list of the “Top 25-LGBT Friendly Colleges And Universities” in the country today.

The organization determined the listing by utilizing the data gathered from the Campus Pride Index. “Campus Pride’s Index is the only one of its kind,” said Campus Pride Executive Director Shane Windmeyer. “Unlike other commercially-driven rankings, our ratings are done for and by LGBT people and set in a foundation of solid research practice.”

Each campus included in the final listing achieved 5 stars overall in the index, plus 5 stars in sexual orientation and 5 stars in gender identity/expression for an LGBT-friendly campus. In addition, the campuses had to have 4.5 stars or above (or the highest percentages) in all eight LGBT-friendly factors.

Read more

Youth Equality Act Advances Out of Two Key Assembly Committees

Icon for Wikimedia project´s LGBT portal (Port...

Icon for Wikimedia project´s LGBT portal (Portal:LGBT). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


August 13, 2013
         CONTACT: Jesse Melgar
PHONE: 909.800.3840 EMAIL:
CONTACT: Lizette Mata, Senator Lara’s Office
PHONE: 916-651-4033 EMAIL:


Youth Equality Act Advances out of Two Key Assembly Committees

(Sacramento) The Youth Equality Act (SB 323), designed to bring youth group tax exemptions in line with California’s existing non-discrimination laws, has passed both the Assembly Tax and Revenue and Judiciary Committees this week, advancing this historic bill to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

“Today, the Youth Equality passed out of its last policy committee but our work is far from over. We are going to need to work very hard to ensure that members in the Assembly understand the importance of this bill,” stated Lara. “With their support, California will remain a leader for LGBT rights and equality.”

The bill, authored by Senator Ricardo Lara and sponsored by Equality California passed the Assembly Tax and Revenue Committee with a vote of 6-3, and the Judiciary by a vote of 6-3. In June, the Youth Equality Act received a two-thirds vote in the Senate – the first time an LGBT bill received a two-thirds vote in the state’s history.

“California does not tolerate discrimination and we certainly shouldn’t pay for it,” said John O’Connor, Executive Director of Equality California. “Organizations that discriminate against a young person or leader because of who they are or who they love should be sent a clear message – discrimination has a real cost!”

The Youth Equality Act will eliminate a sales and corporate tax exemption for youth groups that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or religious affiliation.

The bill now moves on to the Assembly Committee on Appropriations.

If you missed the press conference this morning in room 317, here’s a link to the Senator’s remarks:

For more information please visit this link:

Equality California (EQCA) is the largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender advocacy organization in California. Over the past decade, Equality California has strategically moved California from a state with extremely limited legal protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to a state with some of the most comprehensive human rights protections in the nation. Equality California has partnered with legislators to successfully sponsor more than 90 pieces of pro-equality legislation. EQCA continues to advance equality through legislative advocacy, electoral work, public education and community empowerment.


OutServe-SLDN closes headquarters, reveals organization is bankrupt

 | America Blog | July 12, 2013

April Heinze, the chair of the board of directors of the lead “gays in the military” organization, OutServe-SLDN, revealed last night that the organization is basically bankrupt, and that it will be closing down its Washington, DC headquarters on July 31.

Heinze explained in an email to the group’s several dozen Military Advisory Committee members that the board of directors would continue to offer a whittled-down version of OutServe-SLDN’s core services of assisting LGBT service members in need (more details on that here), and that it will continue to hold its annual leadership conference.

Allyson Robinson SLDN ED

Allyson Robinson, outgoing executive director of OutServe-SLDN

The news comes after two weeks of confusion following the allegedly accidental leak of an email by then- board member Sue Fulton, proposing that the board meet to seek Executive Director Allyson Robinson’s resignation.

In the email, Fulton made clear that “this isn’t working out,” referring to Robinson’s tenure as ED.   (Fulton later claimed that she was attempting to save Robinson’s job by asking the board to let Robinson go in a few weeks, rather than immediately.)

The dire financial straits of OutServe-SLDN go a long way towards explaining the confusion of the past two weeks.

Read more

OS-SLDN to Close Office, Keep Embattled Board Chair

Bil Browning | Bilerico | July 1, 2013

Following news that OutServe-SLDN chapter leaders have mutinied over the organization’s board decision to force popular Executive Director Allyson Robinson to resign, a leaked document shows the board’s response to the uprising. Multiple calls with chapter leaders over the weekend also revealed even more startling details about the group’s future plans – outserve-sldn-300x210.jpgincluding shuttering the organization’s office space and laying off the entire remaining staff.

A group of OS-SLDN chapter leaders issued a statement on the group’s Facebook page on Saturday. They also followed up the Facebook statement with a letter sent to the organization’s board of directors the same day. The letter was signed by almost two dozen chapter leaders – including the entire women’s caucus, transgender caucus, and the leaders of several overseas chapters.

The coalition demanded Seefried’s resignation as board co-chair originally but expanded their demands in the letter to include a completely new board of directors. Members have already handpicked a group of individuals that would step into the board roles in an attempt to salvage the floundering organization.

Read more

Robinson to Resign: Is OutServe-SLDN Future in Jeopardy?

Bil Browning | Bilerico | June 24, 2013

OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson announced today in a posting on the group’s magazine website that she will resign her position in the near future.

“It is my intent to continue to lead OutServe-SLDN in the near term as we approach an bigstock-Savings-Loss-42104506.jpghistoric moment for our community and our country,” she said. “After that, at a date to be determined, I have decided of my own accord to step down, and will work with our members to ensure an orderly transition to the next phase of this organization’s life.”

Sill in question though is what will happen to OutServe-SLDN’s funding? Will they remain a viable organization once the dust has settled?

The organization’s board met repeatedly in emergency session to try to come to a resolution on Robinson’s position within the group, but locked on a motion that removed board co-chair Josh Seefried from his leadership position for leading the sudden coup against Robinson. Seefried has refused to step down voluntarily. At least three board members and all of the senior staff, as well as some additional staffers and volunteers resigned in protest.

Now movement funders are starting to question not only the state of the organization, but whether OutServe-SLDN will be a recipient of future funding.

Read more

University of Missouri System Expands Health Care Benefits

Yesterday, the University of Missouri Board of Curators voted in favor of extending health care benefits in its current health care plan for employees.  The Interfaculty Council has been working on this case since 2011. We recently became involved in the effort.

Zuleyma Tang-Martinez, Founders Professor of Biology, who has been at the University of Missouri St. Louis for more than 36 years, added, “This is something we have fought for and waited for, for more than 20 years. I am thrilled that the university has finally recognized that granting domestic partner benefits levels the playing field for all its employees and will also enhance the university’s ability to attract the best national and international scholars, regardless of their sexual orientation. This was the right thing to do, but long overdue.”
The health care system that is being offered to all eligible couples is called a “Plus One” plan. This plan states that any cohabitants meeting specific criteria will be eligible to receive the same benefits as spouses of the University of Missouri system employees. The University of Kentucky instituted the same plan and University of Missouri will be modeling after their success and praises of the system.
“Part of the University of Missouri System’s mission is to advance the health of the people of Missouri. As a University of Missouri Curators Board member, I believe this addition to our health and welfare benefits will help faculty and staff be more productive and will help recruit and retain those of high quality,” concluded Former Senator Wayne Goode and chair of  University of Missouri Curators Board Chair.
In 2012 the Williams Institute, at the request of State Representative Stephen Webber (D-Columbia) and PROMO, issued a report on the cost of adding health care benefits for University of Missouri employees. While other studies will often claim 3-5% of the workforce of a public employer will utilize such benefits, often the implementation rate is closer to .25% of employees. The report detailed the implementation cost to cover another adult in a household is relatively low.
A.J. Bockelman, Executive Director of PROMO, concluded “This is a great step forward. When employees can provide basic care for those they love, it is a win-win situation for both the employer and the employee.”
In Equality,