Risks to LGBTQ people in coronavirus crisis cited in new lawsuit against HHS

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Donald Trump’s administration is being sued for refusing to enforce a non-discrimination rule (Screen capture via YouTube)

LGBTQ legal advocates highlighted the dangers of the coronavirus in a lawsuit Thursday challenging the Trump administration’s refusal to enforce an Obama-era rule barring federal grantees from discriminating against LGBTQ people.

Because medical practitioners are among federal grantees, LGBTQ legal advocates say the Department of Health & Human Services’ refusal to enforce the rule puts LGBTQ people at risk as the coronavirus pandemic escalates.

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Judge sides with transgender Alaska librarian in health case

By : wire report
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JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) | An Alaska health care plan that has excluded coverage of gender-confirming surgery for transgender employees is discriminatory, a federal judge ruled March 6.

The decision came in a 2018 case filed against the state by Jennifer Fletcher, a legislative librarian who said she was forced to pay thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs for medically necessary transition-related care not covered by her insurance plan.

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South Carolina sued over its ban on LBGTQ sex ed discussions

By : Wire Report
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ABOVE: The Campaign for Southern Equality team at the Charleston Capitol. (Photo from Facebook)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) | It is against state law in South Carolina for public school sex education classes to mention anything other than heterosexual relationships, unless the talk involves sexually transmitted diseases. A federal lawsuit now aims to change that.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights and Lambda Legal said their lawsuit filed Feb. 26 seeks to overturn the Comprehensive Health Education Act of 1988 as an unconstitutional violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

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Homeless transgender woman brutally murdered in Puerto Rico

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Advocacy group Puerto Rico Para Tod@s calls for no more hate. Photo via Puerto Rico Para Tod@s’ Facebook page.

A homeless transgender woman was brutally murdered in Puerto Rico early Monday.

Pedro Julio Serrano, founder of Puerto Rico Para Tod@s, a Puerto Rican LGBTQ advocacy groups, confirmed media reports that said the victim, who was known as Alexa, was killed in a park in Toa Baja, a municipality that is about 15 miles west of San Juan.

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Illinois updating birth certificates for transgender dads

By : Wire Report
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Above: Myles and Precious Brady-Davis (Photo from Twitter)

CHICAGO (AP) | Illinois is updating its birth certificate system to affirm the gender identities of transgender parents, after a transmasculine person asked to be officially recognized as a father who gave birth to their daughter.

Myles and Precious Brady-Davis of Chicago learned after their daughter, Zayn, arrived in December that the Illinois Department of Public Health automatically names the parent who gives birth as “Mother/Co-Parent” on a birth certificate.

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Federal court considers bathroom use by transgender student

By : wire report
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ATLANTA (AP) | A student has the right to use the bathroom that corresponds to his gender identity, a lawyer told a federal court Thursday, arguing that the issue is about the right of transgender students to “equal dignity.”

But the Florida school district that’s appealing a lower court order in favor of the transgender boy told three judges on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that they should overturn the ruling and let the school district restrict students to the bathroom matching their at-birth sex to protect the privacy of other students.

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Kevin Jennings: new leadership at Lambda Legal

By : Karen Ocamb OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Kevin Jennings, photo courtesy of Lambda Legal.

Kevin Jennings is not a lawyer so why was he tapped to lead Lambda Legal, one of the LGBTQ community’s most important national organizations?

“Well that was sort of what I said when Lambda called me,” Jennings told the Los Angles Blade by phone before officially starting on Dec. 2. “They said, ‘We’re not looking for a lawyer. We have lots of brilliant lawyers. We’re looking for an experienced organizational leader,’ — and that I am. I’ve been a leader of the LGBT movement for over 30 years and this is really a critical time for a movement, particularly for Lambda. The right wing has a very clear strategy to use the court and all of [President] Trump’s horrific judicial appointments to roll back everything we’ve won over the last 40 years. Lambda is going to be a key player in stopping that.”

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Judge vacates Trump admin’s anti-LGBTQ ‘conscience rule’ for health workers

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Donald Trump, photo by palinchak via Bigstock.

A federal judge in New York has vacated a Trump administration “conscience rule” allowing health care workers to get out of procedures with which they have religious objections, such as abortion or gender reassignment surgery.

In a lengthy 147-page decision against the “conscience rule,” U.S. District Judge Paul Engelmayer, an Obama appointee, concludes the measure was enacted in contravention of the Administrative Procedures Act, calling the violations “numerous, fundamental and far-reaching.”

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Idaho makes it harder to change gender on birth certificates

By : wire report
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BOISE, Idaho (AP) | Idaho officials have made it more difficult for young transgender people to change the sex listed on their birth certificates despite a U.S. court ruling that appears to ban such obstacles.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare released comments from the public Oct. 24 on a temporary rule requiring people younger than 18 to get approval from medical or mental health professionals before requesting the change.

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DC holds hearing on local hate crimes prosecution, panic defense bills

By : Philip Van Slooten of the Washington Blade, Courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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ABOVE: The D.C. Council on Oct. 23 held a hearing on the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s failure to prosecute hate crimes in D.C. and banning so-called LGBT panic defense in the city. (Washington Blade photo by Philip Van Slooten)

Lambda Legal and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers were among the groups Oct. 23 that weighed in at a hearing on hate crimes prosecution and two related panic defense bills currently before the D.C. Council.

Though their representatives sat at the same witness table, each expert differed sharply on the issues of an LGBT victim’s right to respect and the defendant’s right to due process.

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Kevin Jennings named CEO of Lambda Legal

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Kevin Jennings is the new CEO of Lambda Legal. Photo courtesy Jennings.

Longtime LGBT rights advocate and former Obama administration official Kevin Jennings will become the CEO of Lambda Legal, the organization announced Monday.

“Being Lambda Legal’s CEO is a dream job that anyone would love to have, and I am thrilled to be stepping into this role at such a critical time for Lambda and our nation,” Jennings said in a statement. “From my childhood as the son of a Southern Baptist preacher to when I became a member of the Obama administration, I’ve known what it’s like to be the target of hateful, anti-LGBT bullies, but those attacks only made me more determined to challenge them.”

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Transgender group’s birth certificate suit advances in Ohio

By : wire report
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) | Four transgender people challenging an Ohio rule preventing people from changing the gender listings on their birth certificates have won their day in court.

U.S. District Court Judge Michael Watson denied the state’s request that the lawsuit filed by the ACLU, Lambda Legal and the ACLU of Ohio be dismissed.

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