Health Care for GLBT people

A number of states have passed or are considering laws that appear to permit health care providers to deny services to LGBT people. For example: Michigan’s House recently passed HB 5006, which states: “A health care provider may assert as a matter of conscience an objection to providing or participating in a health care service that conflicts with his or her sincerely held religious or moral beliefs.” Similar legislation has been introduced in in Mississippi, Illinois, Louisiana, Minnesota, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia.
The gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA) is being asked by the press whether these kinds of laws threaten the health of LGBT people, and specifically, whether we are aware of any real cases in which a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender person has been denied a necessary service from a medical professional (including pharmacists) based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
If you are aware of any such case send an email to Joel Ginsberg, GLMA’s Executive Director, at jginsberg@glma.org, or call him at 415-255-4547 x314. In your message, describe briefly what happened and give your name, title, organizational affiliation (if any) and contact numbers so they can follow up. Do not communicate any confidential information. Also indicate whether they have your permission to forward your name and contact information to a reporter. If not, they will give a quote that describes the substance of what happened without giving any identifying information.
Please forward this request to any whom you think may have useful information.
Thanks for your help.
For more information on the GLMA, check their website.

Rebecca Juro article

There’s an article by Rebecca Juro up on www.gaycitynews.com, and it made me think of a quote by Eugene Debs:
“While there is a lower class I am in it; while there is a criminal element I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.”
Eugene Debs was a socialist, and ran for President on the Socialist Party ticket five times (once from jail, where he was for protesting the draft).
My feeling personally is that it is too early to expect anyone – much less the stodgy Democratic Party – to include transgender equality. That’s not a reason not to push for it, by any means, and I applaud Juro’s efforts. I will keep working personally on education, which I hope clears some of the pathways to power, over time.
But I’m still picking stodgy over hateful (which is what I find the Republicans to be on GLBT issues), so this year I’m voting Kerry/Edwards.
Continue reading “Rebecca Juro article”

Comments Off

I’m turning the comment feature off because they’re getting spammed. I’m going to upgrade the blog software to something that might actually have a chance at blocking this stuff. When? Soon, I hope.
Thanks to everyone for your support and general all-around loveliness.

MHB on SexTV

sex tv shootWith a little help from our friends (Minerva, Christine, Zoe & Kat) we filmed a segment with SexTV, a Toronto-based show.
It’s been seen in Toronto, and is expanding to Canada and internationally, but for now, you can see it on the web!

Dark Odyssey

Betty & I are going to be presenting at this year’s Dark Odyssey, a sexual vacation for all kinds of sexualities and people. This is not a huge orgy – more a place where couples or singles or the polyamourous can go learn new techniques, meet others of alt sexualities, and play.
Kate Bornstein will also be presenting, and transpeople are encouraged to attend!
Where: Northern Maryland
When: September 9 – 15, 2004
This will be a good safe space for anyone wanting to wander outside of their current sexual practices, who are exploring bisexuality, BDSM, gender role-play, etc.
For more information (pricing, registration, workshop descriptions, etc), visit the Dark Odyssey website.
Continue reading “Dark Odyssey”

FMA Defeated

From The Washington Post:
Senate Scuttles Amendment Banning Same-Sex Marriage
By David Espo
The Associated Press
Wednesday, July 14, 2004; 12:56 PM
The Senate dealt an election-year defeat Wednesday to a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, rejecting pleas from President Bush and fellow conservatives that the measure was needed to safeguard an institution that has flourished for thousands of years.
The vote was 48-50, 12 short of the 60 needed to keep the measure alive.
“I would argue that the future of our country hangs in the balance because the future of marriage hangs in the balance,” said Sen. Rick Santorum, a leader in the fight to approve the measure. “Isn’t that the ultimate homeland security, standing up and defending marriage?”
But Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle said there was no “urgent need” to amend the Constitution. “Marriage is a sacred union between men and women. That is what the vast majority of Americans believe. It’s what virtually all South Dakotans believe. It’s what I believe.”
“In South Dakota, we’ve never had a single same sex marriage and we won’t have any,” he said. “It’s prohibited by South Dakota law as it is now in 38 other states. There is no confusion. There is no ambiguity.”
Supporters conceded in advance they would fail to win the support needed to advance the measure, and vowed to renew their efforts.
“I don’t think it’s going away after this vote,” Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., said Tuesday on the eve of the test vote. “I think the issue will remain alive,” he added.
Whatever its future in Congress, there also were signs that supporters of the amendment intended to use it in the campaign already unfolding.
“The institution of marriage is under fire from extremist groups in Washington, politicians, even judges who have made it clear that they are willing to run over any state law defining marriage,” Republican senatorial candidate John Thune says in a radio commercial airing in South Dakota. “They have done it in Massachusetts and they can do it here,” adds Thune, who is challenging Daschle for his seat.
“Thune’s ad suggests that some are using this amendment more to protect the Republican majority than to protect marriage,” said Dan Pfeiffer, a spokesman for Daschle’s campaign.
At issue was an amendment providing that marriage within the United States “shall consist only of a man and a woman.”
A second sentence said that neither the federal nor any state constitution “shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman.” Some critics argue that the effect of that provision would be to ban civil unions, and its inclusion in the amendment complicated efforts by GOP leaders to gain support from wavering Republicans.
Bush urged the Republican-controlled Congress last February to approve a constitutional amendment, saying it was needed to stop judges from changing the definition of the “most enduring human institution.”
Bush’s fall rival, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, opposes the amendment, as does his vice presidential running mate, Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina. Both men skipped the vote.
The odds have never favored passage in the current Congress, in part because many Democrats oppose it, but also because numerous conservatives are hesitant to overrule state prerogatives on the issue.
At the same time, Republican strategists contend the issue could present a difficult political choice to Democrats, who could be pulled in one direction by polls showing that a majority of voters oppose gay marriage, and pulled in the other by homosexual voters and social liberals who support it. An Associated Press-Ipsos poll taken in March showed about four in 10 support a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, and half oppose it.
Democrats said that Bush and Republicans were using the issue to distract attention from the war in Iraq and the economy.
“The issue is not ripe. It is not needed. It’s a waste of our time. We should be dealing with other issues,” said Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut.
But Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee said a decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Court had thrust the matter upon the Senate. The ruling opened the way for same sex marriages in the state, and Frist predicted the impact would eventually be far broader.
“Same-sex marriage will be exported to all 50 states. The question is no longer whether the Constitution will be amended. The only question is who will amend it and how will it be amended,” he added.
He said the choice was “activist judges” on the one hand and lawmakers on the other.
� 2004 The Associated Press

Happy Bastille Day!

Not only is it Bastille Day (215 years since the French Revolution), but is also our 3rd wedding anniversary. Happy Anniversary, Betty!
A US clothing manufacturer whosse clothes are sold in France recently got a message to the French people after all the bad blood between our governments re: Iraq. It made me laugh.

UNFPA, instead

While we’re all worried (and mobilized) on the defeat of the FMA, it turns out that Bush will be deciding on whether or not to fund the UNFPA. We’ve been successfully distracted. Here’s the word from Planned Parenthood:
On Thursday, July 15th, the Bush Administration will decide whether to fund UNFPA (The United Nations Population Fund) this year. UNFPA runs life-saving programs for women and girls in 140 countries that increase access to gynecological care and voluntary birth control, reduce infant and maternal mortality, and prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.
The United States helped to create UNFPA in 1969 and, up until recently, has played a leadership role in the program. Unfortunately, in recent years President Bush has refused to release the funds that Congress has set aside for UNFPA. It is time to tell the White House: “We have had enough!”
CALL THE WHITE HOUSE (202-456-1111) TODAY AND SAY: “I am calling to urge the President to release the $34 million that Congress has promised to UNFPA. The work of UNFPA saves lives. The President must release this desperately needed funding. Thank you.”
What’s At Stake:
On Thursday, July 15th, the Bush Administration is expected to decide on this year’s funding for UNFPA (The United Nations Population Fund). UNFPA runs life-saving programs that build healthy families and improve the health and well-being of women and girls in the world’s poorest nations. UNFPA funds programs in more than 140 countries to improve poor women’s reproductive health through access to gynecological care and voluntary birth control, reduce infant and maternal mortality and prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.
The United States helped to create UNFPA in 1969 and, up until recently, has played a leadership role in the program. In recent years, however, the United States has been an unreliable source of financial support for UNFPA. But for fiscal year 2002, in recognition of the critical need for the services provided by UNFPA, Congress earmarked $34 million for the program. President Bush however refused to release the $34 million Congress approved in 2002 and he again refused to release last year’s Congressional appropriation of $25 million. On Thursday, July 15 the administration is expected to decide whether or not to release the $34 million that Congress appropriated this year for these vital efforts.
A recent New York Times (7/6/04) editorial stated: “One of the uglier aspects of the Bush administration’s assault on women’s reproductive rights is its concerted undermining of the United Nations Population Fund based on the false accusation that it supports coerced abortions in China… the State Department’s investigating team found no evidence that the Population Fund has supported or participated in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization”
For more information on UNFPA visit:
http://www.freechoicesaveslives.org
http://www.populationaction.org/resources/factsheets/factsheet_3.htm
http://www.genderhealth.org/UNFPA.php
http://www.genderhealth.org/pubs/UNFPASavetheDate.pdf

Sign the Petition

Please sign on to our emergency petition to Congress to stop this divisive amendment at:
http://www.moveon.org/unitednotdivided/
Then please ask your friends and family to sign, by forwarding them this email. We’ll deliver our comments tomorrow, before the vote, so we need as many people as possible to sign on today.
President Bush campaigned on a promise to unite us, not divide us. Yet today, as people are questioning Bush’s handling of everything from the war in Iraq to the economy, Bush and his friends are trying to distract voters from the real issues by turning to the politics of division and hate.
If America stands for anything, it stands for equal rights and opportunities for everyone. Throughout our history, we’ve struggled to guarantee that equality: ending slavery; securing voting rights for women; and passing the Civil Rights Act just 40 years ago.
Equality in marriage is the civil rights issue of our generation. We can’t let anyone, or any group, be singled out for discrimination based on who they are or who they love.
When two people make a deep personal commitment, taking responsibility for each other and doing all the work of marriage, they should be able to share in the legal benefits of marriage as well. These benefits include access to health care and medical decision-making for one’s partner and children, parenting and immigration rights, inheritance, taxation, and Social Security benefits.
This isn’t a partisan issue, notwithstanding Bush’s pandering to his right-wing base. Former President Gerald Ford, a Republican, said this about same-sex couples and marriage: “I think they ought to be treated equally. Period.”
[1] Also, many major corporations, including Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Disney, Coors, and IBM, offer health insurance and other benefits to their employees’ same-sex partners. Senator Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) says the amendment is “Nuts… To be seen as the party that’s coming between two people that love each other doing what they want to do… to me that’s going to be seen as a liability, politically.” [2]
Yet President Bush is bent on moving America backward, by enshrining discrimination in the United States Constitution.
Don’t let him divide us like this. Go to:
http://www.moveon.org/unitednotdivided/
Please help make sure your friends have signed on too, before we deliver this
petition tomorrow.
Thank you.