HHS says ‘conscience rule’ won’t impair HIV work—but others disagree

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A top health official within the Department of Health & Human Services insists a “conscience rule” recently instituted by the Trump administration will have no impact on its HIV work, although LGBT groups are disputing that assessment.

Assistant Secretary of Health Adm. Brett Giroir made the remarks in testimony on July 8 before the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, which was restaffed this year by President TrumpA transcript of the testimony was obtained Wednesday by the Washington Blade.

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LGBTQ groups, HHS clash over asking youth in foster care about sexual orientation

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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LGBT rights groups and the Department of Health & Human Services are clashing over the proposed elimination of questions seeking to identify the sexual orientation of youth in foster care, which the Trump administration concluded could be “intrusive and worrisome.”

Julie Kruse, director of federal policy at the pro-LGBT Family Equality Council, said in a statement the planned removal from HHS is an “abdication of its statutory responsibilities to promote the safety, well-being, and permanency of foster youth, including those who are LGBTQ.”

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HHS lays out details for Trump’s plan to confront HIV/AIDS

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Top officials in the Department of Health & Human Services laid out details on Feb. 6 of President Trump’s plan to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2030, asserting “significant new resources” would be in the upcoming budget request for domestic HIV/AIDS programs after two years of proposed cuts.

In a conference call with reporters, the officials fleshed out the plan announced by Trump this week during the State of the Union address, saying the goal was to reduce new HIV diagnoses by 75 percent within five years, and by 90 percent within 10 years.

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HIV/AIDS council set to hold meeting — but Trump still hasn’t appointed members

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS is set to hold a meeting in March, even though the council still has no members nearly a year after President Trump terminated its remaining advisers without explanation.

According to an entry from Department of Health & Human Services set for publication in the Federal Register on Friday, PACHA “will be holding a meeting and will discuss recommendations regarding programs, policies, and research to promote effective prevention, treatment and cure of HIV disease and AIDS” on March 14-15, 2019.

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Outrage over report of sweeping Trump administration anti-trans plan

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Transgender advocates were vocal in their indignation Oct. 21 over a report in the New York Times about a sweeping anti-transgender plan within the Trump administration to limit the definition of “sex” in U.S. government policies to biological gender.

According to the New York Times, the Department of Health & Human Services is set to spearhead the initiative with the proposed rule that has been drafted and circulating since last spring and will be presented to the Justice Department by the end of the year. In the words of the New York Times, the proposal would amount to “defining transgender out of existence.”

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‘Fierce warriors’ rally against Trump plan to undo trans health rule

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Transgender advocates rallied in opposition to a Trump administration plan to undo a transgender health care rule. Washington Blade photo by Michael Key.

Transgender rights advocates rallied Tuesday night in defiance of Trump administration plans to roll back a rule under Obamacare barring health care providers from denying treatment to transgender people, including gender reassignment surgery.

The attendees congregated at the headquarters of the AFL-CIO near the White House as the Trump administration considers reversing the Obama-era rule interpreting Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which bars sex discrimination in health care, to apply to transgender people.

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House panel approves ‘religious freedom’ anti-LGBTQ adoption amendment

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) introduced a “religious freedom” anti-LGBTQ adoption amendment. Photo via public domain.

A House committee approved on Wednesday as part of major appropriations legislation an amendment seen to allow taxpayer-funded adoption agencies to deny placement into LGBTQ families over religious objections.

The amendment, introduced by Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), would bar the federal government and state or localities from denying funds to adoption agencies that have “declined or will decline to provide, facilitate or refer for a child welfare service that conflicts with, or under circumstances that conflict with, the provider’s sincerely held religious beliefs of convictions.”

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U.S. agencies to celebrate Pride month, but without Cabinet secretaries

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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With Pride month approaching, many U.S. agencies in the second year of the Trump administration are continuing plans to hold celebrations for their LGBT workers, although Cabinet leaders will be absent and some annual events are in question.

The absence of Cabinet leaders at these events stands in contrast to the Obama years when they were featured speakers at the celebrations, wished LGBT federal workers a happy Pride and reflected on the significance of the annual event.

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White House won’t comment on HHS proposal to nix rule for trans health

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The White House has declined to comment on recent indications the Trump administration is set to undo an Obama-era rule barring medical providers from refusing service to transgender people, including gender reassignment surgery.

The Washington Blade sought to ask White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders about the proposed reversal Monday during the daily briefing, but the spokesperson didn’t call on the Blade for a question, nor did any other reporter ask about the issue following a report on the development in the New York Times.

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Senate Dems object to removal of LGBTQ health data from gov’t websites

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key.

A group of 17 Senate Democrats led by Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) have expressed “serious concerns” with the Trump administration about the removal of LGBTQ health data from government websites and are calling for the restoration of the information.

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House Dems step up efforts against new anti-LGBT division within HHS

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: House Dems led by Rep. Charlie Crist are stepping up efforts to combat the anti-LGBT division at HHS. Photo public domain.

Amid the widespread view a new conscience division at the Department of Health & Human Services would enable medical practitioners to refuse treatment to women seeking abortions and LGBT people, House Democrats are stepping up efforts against the office.

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New HHS division slammed as tool for anti-LGBT discrimination

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Roger Severino hailed the creation of a conscience division at HHS. Image courtesy C-Span.

Consistent with media reports indicating the move was coming, the Department of Health & Human Services on Thursday formally established a conscience division that critics say will allow medical practitioners to deny abortion-related services and treatment to LGBT people on religious grounds.

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