|Posted on March 26, 2013 at 2:15 PM||comments (0)|
The gay rights organization, Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, has shortened its name to simply GLAAD in a bid to be more inclusive and to reflect changing priorities. The advocacy organization, which announced the switch Sunday on Melissa Harris-Perry, said the change was important as it plans to focus more on advocating for equality for transgender people.
“This is a reflection of the work we’re doing today, and a reflection of the work the gay and lesbian community needs to be doing,” GLAAD spokesman Rich Ferraro told MSNBC.com in an earlier interview. “Our name was hindering that in many instances.”
Ferraro also pointed out that shifting societal attitudes created an opportunity to do more. “There have been huge increases in support for gay and lesbians, and for marriage equality. We’ve noticed that trend and wondered how we could use the tactics that the gay and lesbian community had used to get to today’s tipping point [for the trans community].”
“I was happy to hear GLAAD has committed to prioritize trans issues,” said Laverne Cox, an actress and transgender advocate. “They really need to be.”
People who identify as transgender were nearly 30% more likely to be a victim of physical violence than people who adhere to gender norms, according to a 2011 study by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, and discrimination based upon gender expression is widespread.
GLAAD has spent years working to counter negative media portrayals of gay and lesbian people, something it plans to do for trans people as well. More positive media narratives mean more support for children.
“I’d like to see other kids able to be themselves because they know there’s a community that supports them,” said Jazz, a 12-year-old whose fight to be allowed to play soccer on a girls’ soccer team in a local youth-recreation league led the United States Soccer Federation adopting a trans inclusive policy in 2012.
Melissa Harris-Perry recently received a Media Award from GLAAD for Outstanding TV Journalism in a Newsmagazine for its April 2012 segment “Transgender in America.”
|Posted on February 28, 2013 at 3:00 PM||comments (0)|
Fraternity Helps Transgender Brother Pay for Sex-Change Surgery
By SUSAN DONALDSON JAMES - ABC NEWS
Feb. 28, 2013
Donnie Collins never had to endure the hazing or the homophobia sometimes associated with all-male fraternities and Greek life.
The brothers at Phi Alpha Tau at Emerson College in Boston not only embraced the 19-year-old transgender student when he rushed the fraternity last year but have raised the money Collins needed for "top surgery" to remove his breasts.
When they heard that Collins' insurance would not pay for such sexual-reassignment surgery, they launched a campaign to help him out.
The men posted a video on the fundraising site IndieGogo.com and have now raised nearly $17,000. Since the surgery costs only $8,100, Collins has asked that the additional money be donated to the Jim Collins Foundation (no relation), which provides financial assistance for sex-reassignment surgeries.
Collins was in a transgender youth group during high school led by the organization's co-founder Tony Ferraiolo, and he credits it for providing support at a critical time.
Ferraiolo said that he was "incredibly proud of Donnie for overcoming the obstacles in his life, becoming the man he is today, for inspiring people to take on a cause that is larger than him, and giving back to the community in this way.
Friends of Collins told ABCNews.com that Collins has been so overwhelmed by the media "fire storm" that he could not talk by phone. But in a statement released by the foundation, he said, "It's been such a long road, and it has been life-altering to find support and brotherhood. ... The support I have received has made such a difference in my life."
Jason Meir, director of student activities at Emerson, said Phi Alpha Tau's founding 110 years ago made it the nation's oldest communicative arts fraternity, one of five other fraternities and sororities on the Emerson campus.
"It wasn't the least bit surprising to me that Donnie was admitted going into the pledge, and that they would take him as a member," said Meir. "Our fraternities are very open and affirming, and really are just accepting of all people and all types."
Collins' story was first published by Out magazine, written by his fraternity brother Benjamin Lindsay, a junior at Emerson.
"I was just like, 'Oh that's such a Tau thing to do,' and I didn't even think it was that weird," Collins told Out. "But then I started sending [the indiegogo link] out to people, and they were like, 'Oh my god, that's amazing! See, Greek Life isn't bad; it's amazing.'"
Fraternity brother Christian Bergren-Aragon made a plea for funds to help Collins in a video posted on IndieGogo, but said it was about more than money.
"We are here ... to tell a story," he said. "The story of transformation, the story of self-discovery, and the story of brotherhood. "Have conversations with your family and friends, sit down and talk with them."
Collins, a visual and media arts major at the liberal arts college, is from Alexandria, Va. He came out as a high school student living in an all-girl dormitory at a prestigious boarding school in Windsor, Conn., according to the Out magazine article.
"They were really nice," he said of the dorm. "But it was all horrible."
The first step in Collins' gender transition was hormone therapy, but his mother's insurance policy did not cover the cost. Since 2011, he has paid out hundreds of dollars on his own.
Collins now has a student insurance policy through Emerson, which is underwritten by Aetna, but it excludes coverage for sexual reassignment, which it defines as "elective treatment."
School officials declined to comment on the insurance plan for privacy reasons.
|Posted on February 13, 2013 at 2:30 PM||comments (0)|
Starting August 2013, Brown University, a US university located in Providence, Rhode Island, and one of the Ivy League prestigious schools, will start offering its students an extended health plan. In an attempt to make the university’s policy less discriminatory, the university says it is ready to cover 14 different sexual reassignment surgery procedures.
Brown University is one of the selected schools throughout the United States to introduce the change. The change goes in line with the university’s commitment “to support all students”, Jeanne Hebert, Brown’s Director of Insurance and Purchasing Services, said.
For female-to-male surgeries, the new coverage plan will include ‘mastectomy, hysterectomy, salpingo-oophorectomy, vaginectomy, metoidioplasty, scrotoplasty, urethroplasty, placement of testicular prostheses (and) phalioplasty,’ mass media cite Hebert as saying. For male-to-female surgeries, coverage will include ‘orchiectomy, penectomy, vaginoplasty, clitoroplasty (and) labiaplasty.’
The procedures to be included in the coverage plan are “very standard and very comprehensive,’” says Kelly Garrett, the university’s LGBTQ Center coordinator. She hailed the change.
It has been a confirmed fact, she went on, that sexual reassignment procedures are medically necessary for transgender students. But insurance companies have persistently described them cosmetic and thus not available under coverage plans, she said.
Brown University is one of the oldest higher education institutions in the United States. It was founded in 1764 and is one of the prestigious Ivy League universities.
Voice of Russia, The Daily Mail, Wikipedia.org
|Posted on February 10, 2013 at 9:10 PM||comments (0)|
Sweden will no longer sterilise transgendered patients after a law banning the practice entered into force on Thursday, but many who have already undergone a sex change are now seeking damages from the state.
The Stockholm administrative court of appeal recently ruled that the practice of forced sterilisations, which dated back to a 1972 law on sexual identity, was unconstitutional and in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights.
In its December 19th decision, the court said the law did not respect civil liberties as guaranteed by the constitution, and was discriminatory since it solely targeted transgender people.
The law stated that a person who wanted to change sex legally must be infertile. In practice, this lead to transgendered patients being sterilised, as they had to go through with the entire process including gender reassignment surgery in order to have their ID documents changed.
Some Swedes chose to wait to change sex legally in order to have their own biological children.
LGBT rights organisation All Out hand delivered 80,000 protest signatures to the Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt in January 2012, the Global Post reports.
The new ban on the practice entered into force on Thursday after an appeal period ended, judge Helen Lidö said. The government had planned on removing the sterilisation requirement on July 1st, 2013 but the ruling sets legal precedent from now on.
|Posted on February 2, 2013 at 7:20 PM||comments (0)|
Maryland lawmakers on Tuesday introduced a bill that would ban anti-transgender discrimination in the workplace, housing and public accommodations.
The Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2013 that gay state Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-Montgomery County) and state Sen. Jamie Raskin (D-Montgomery County) introduced has more than 20 co-sponsors. These include state Sen. Allan Kittleman (R-Howard County.)
The proposal died in committee last April because Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller (D-Prince George’s and Calvert Counties) reportedly blocked a vote on it. Miller has since backed the proposal.
“Put simply, the process of passing a bill requires that you line up the votes you need to make it through a chamber,” Dana Beyer, executive director of Gender Rights Maryland, told the Washington Blade. “That process is eased considerably when those legislators are willing to sign on as co-sponsors. I am very pleased we can show this degree of support in the Senate, which I attribute to the diligent work of Senators Madaleno and Raskin and their staffs. The trans community should be very hopeful that this is the year.”
Equality Maryland Executive Director Carrie Evans also welcomed the proposal’s introduction.
“The protections in this bill are long overdue,” she said. “We are confident the General Assembly will demonstrate, as they did in 2012, that we are a state that treats all of its citizens with dignity and equality under the law.”
Maryland is among the 21 states and D.C. that have banned discrimination based on sexual orientation, while the nation’s capital and 16 states have passed laws that ban anti-trans discrimination