30 Mar 2017 - NPWJ News Digest on on LGBTI rights


Deal Struck to Repeal N.C.'s HB 2 — But Is It Real Repeal?
by Advocate, 30 Mar 2017

North Carolina legislators announced late Wednesday that they have reached a deal to repeal the state’s infamous anti-LGBT House Bill 2 — but the repeal measure may leave some of the controversial law’s provisions in place, bringing opposition from LGBT rights proponents. State Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore announced the deal in a brief press conference Wednesday night and said a vote would come on the repeal measure Thursday morning, The Charlotte Observer reports. They took no questions and released no details, but Gov. Roy Cooper issued a statement of support. “I support the House Bill 2 repeal compromise that will be introduced tomorrow,” Cooper said, according to the Observer. “It’s not a perfect deal, but it repeals House Bill 2 and begins to repair our reputation.” Cooper, a Democrat, was elected in November partly because Republican incumbent Pat McCrory’s reputation had been damaged so by HB 2, which he signed into law last year. Cooper, then the state’s attorney general, refused to defend it in court. The law prohibits cities and counties from enacting or enforcing LGBT-inclusive antidiscrimination ordinances and bars transgender people from using the restrooms, locker rooms, and other single-sex facilities consistent with their gender identity, when those are located in government buildings, including public schools, colleges, and universities. It came in response to the city of Charlotte’s adoption of an LGBT-inclusive public accommodations ordinance.

Read More

Homeless rates for LGBT teens are alarming, but parents can make a difference
By The Washington Post, 30 Mar 2017

Up to 1.6 million young people experience homelessness in the United States every year. Forty percent of them identify as LGBT, according to a 2012 study conducted by the Williams Institute at UCLA Law. It’s estimated that LGBT youth represent about 7 percent of the population, which puts that 40 percent figure into heartbreaking context. The study’s other findings are equally bleak: 46 percent of homeless LGBT youths ran away because of family rejection of their sexual orientation or gender identity; 43 percent were forced out by parents, and 32 percent faced physical, emotional or sexual abuse at home. “There are several reasons parents reject their LGBT youth,” said Telaina Eriksen, author of “Unconditional: A Guide to Loving and Supporting Your LGBTQ Child.” “Sometimes it is based on religion; they think that their child is a sinner or that their child needs to be punished so they see ‘the error of their ways.’ They might think if they force their child to leave their home, their child may return repenting, magically somehow no longer LGBT.” Eriksen, who is an assistant professor at Michigan State University added that sometimes one parent is more accepting than the other and that they might kick a child out of their home to please their spouse or partner. Or parents might think that an LGBT child makes them look bad to their peers. “These attitudes can be present in any race, religion or income bracket,” Eriksen said. She said that parents who reject their LGBT child need to do some work on themselves, because the problem is theirs, not their child’s.


Read More

Russian government warns citizens not to be homophobic while on holiday in Europe
by Pink News, 27 Mar 2017

Russia has warned homophobic citizens to refrain from homophobic attacks… while on holiday in other countries. The advice comes from the Russian Foreign Ministry, which has updated its travel advice for visitors hoping to holiday around the world. The guidelines, which are aimed at preventing Russian tourists from causing offence, warns them that they may see “people of non-traditional sexual orientations” while on holiday in Europe and the Americas. The guidance for visiting France warns that in some countries it is advisable “not to speak or act abusively to members of the LGBT community”. Advice for Russians heading to Spain warns: “Public expression of negative attitudes towards persons with different sexual orientation are not met with understanding in others, so you should refrain from it.” Guidance for Denmark and Austria also warns Russians not to make offensive remarks to local gay people. The entry for Canada includes the longest warning. The travel advice warns that “there is a serious fixation on sexual equality” in Canada, “which has long legalised same-sex marriage”. It cautions Russians against telling homophobic jokes, noting that “in addition to public condemnation, in urban areas with many sexual minorities) particularly Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal) there is a risk of punishment in the form of fines or being charged with ‘hate crimes’.”

Read More

Transgender protections hang in the balance with healthcare's future cloudy
by The Guardian, 26 Mar 2017

In the spring of 2016, Elijah Fischer called his insurance company to ask if his plan would cover a double mastectomy. A 27-year old Floridian and trans man, Elijah had mostly completed his gender transition, except he still had feminine breasts.  “I look down, and it’s not me,” Elijah recalled feeling. He felt foreign to himself. With summer approaching, he dreaded another season of avoiding the beach and kayaking with his wife, Brianna. So it was a relief when his insurer, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, approved the surgery right away. “Oh wow,” the couple said to each other, Brianna recalled. “That was easy. That was fantastic.” In reality, it was just the start of a battle with Anthem that would stretch for more than nine months. The company backtracked, and revealed that Elijah’s policy specifically excluded “services and supplies related to sex transformation”. There were fraught phone calls and fine print before finally, Elijah contacted the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) about filing a discrimination claim. His case, he felt, was clear-cut. There is a federal law that bans insurers from discriminating against someone on the basis of gender. In practice, the government has said, this means an insurance company cannot cover a therapy or a procedure in one situation but refuse when the patient is trans. For example, since Eljiah’s Anthem plan covers mastectomies for women in many cases, the carrier ought to cover the same surgery for Elijah. But that interpretation of the law came from the Obama administration. And the law banning gender discrimination in healthcare is the Affordable Care Act (ACA), popularly known as Obamacare – which remains at risk with Donald Trump as president, despite the failure on Friday of the Republican bill to replace it.

Read More