Wednesday, August 5, 2015

2020 Vision: Our Updated National HIV/AIDS Strategy

 Posted by Valerie Jarrett on July 30, 2015. Reposted at,
Today, the Obama Administration is releasing the National HIV/AIDS Strategy: Updated to 2020 (“Updated Strategy”). Since we released the nation’s first comprehensive HIV/AIDS strategy in 2010, we’ve made tremendous progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS. More people living with HIV know their status and are linked to care. We have better medications to treat the disease and better tools to prevent its transmission, like pre-exposure prophylaxis (“PrEP”) —a daily pill that can reduce a person’s risk of acquiring HIV by more than 90 percent when taken consistently.

Yet, despite this progress, there is still an HIV epidemic in the U.S. Not only has there been a recent HIV outbreak among injection drug users in Indiana, there has also been a national increase in the number of diagnoses of HIV infection among young gay and bisexual men. This disease is preventable and if a person is infected, there are ways to drastically minimize transmission to others. Too many people living with HIV are unaware of their status or are diagnosed late. Many people may not realize that while being HIV-positive may once have been a death sentence, they can now live long, healthy lives with HIV if they are diagnosed and treated.

There is a great discrepancy between the number of people who are diagnosed with HIV and those who are in care. Of the 1.2 million people living with HIV in the U.S., 87% (or about 1 million) of them know they have HIV, yet only 39% are engaged in care. This means that the majority of folks with HIV are not consistently getting the care they need to stay healthy and decrease their chances of transmitting HIV to others.

Groundbreaking research is unlocking new tools and methods to help keep people in care, prevent and treat the disease, and find a cure. A critical part of making the best use of current investments and maximizing impact is to focus attention and resources on persons living with HIV infection and those who are at greatest risk for acquisition. That’s why the Updated Strategy’s update calls for a focus on the right people, the right places, and the right practices…right now.

Our efforts under the Updated Strategy will prioritize the groups most affected by HIV: gay and bisexual men of all races/ethnicities (especially young Black gay and bisexual men), Black women and men, Latinos and Latinas, people who inject drugs, youth aged 13 to 24 years, and transgender women (particularly Black transgender women). We will also focus on the areas with the highest burden of disease, such as the Southern United States.

Learn about the five major changes to the strategy since 2010 here.
In 2015, we know what works, and to make a significant impact on the epidemic, the Updated Strategy calls for a focus on the following actions that will move us toward the 2020 goals:
  • Widespread testing and linkage to care, enabling people living with HIV to access treatment early.
  • Broad support (from housing and transportation to treatment adherence) for people living with HIV to remain engaged in comprehensive care.
  • Universal viral suppression among people living with HIV.
  • Full access to comprehensive pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) services for those whom it is appropriate and desired.
Obtaining health care coverage is an important step to keep ourselves and our families healthy. More than 16 million people have taken this step since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, contributing to the largest reduction in the nation's uninsured rate in four decades. But we only realize the full value of that coverage when we use it to access the types of preventive services that will keep us healthy. The ACA provides access to precisely those services. Thanks to the ACA, most private plans, Medicare, and Medicaid coverage offer HIV testing without requiring a co-pay or deductible. PrEP is also covered by many insurance programs. Promoting testing, linkage to and staying in care, having the support services to achieve viral suppression, and using PrEP, are all parts of how the Updated Strategy encourages Americans be their healthiest selves.

Still, too many people lack either the health insurance coverage or the financial resources to obtain treatment and care. The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program helps to fill that gap. It provides critical coverage completion services to nearly half of all Americans living with HIV and remains an essential part of our national response to HIV.

I encourage all Americans to take advantage of the preventive services available to them, get tested for HIV if they haven’t been, and consider using PrEP if they are at substantial risk of contracting the disease. With the release of our Updated Strategy, let’s all commit to double down on our efforts, and focus our HIV outreach on the right people, in the right places, with the right practices, right now. We’ve made great progress, but there’s more work to be done. The Updated Strategy will enable our nation to become a place where new HIV infections are rare, and where every affected person will have access to life-extending care, regardless of their circumstances, and live free from stigma and discrimination.

There's an overview of everything you need to know about the Update Strategy, at

Thursday, July 30, 2015

THe Need for Full Federal LGBT Equaility

Human Rights Campaign
As you know, same-sex couples can now get married in all 50 states and territories across the United States of America...
But get this: the fundamental right to marriage does not protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans from discrimination in the workplace, housing and public spaces.
HRC has put together a helpful infographic that you can share that outlines the areas where LGBT Americans regularly face discrimination and the risks they face on a daily basis.
Click to see the full infographic

HRC has launched a campaign for full federal equality — nothing more, nothing less. To get there, we must pass the Equality Act — a comprehensive federal LGBT non-discrimination bill that was introduced in Congress last week. This effort has been heralded as the next major fight for the LGBT community by both the Washington Post and the Huffington Post.
Within 24 hours of the introduction of this unprecedented bill, millions of Americans learned about the discrimination LGBT people face and the Equality Act from HRC and through dozens of national news stories. HRC members in every single congressional district across the country sent messages to their legislators. Corporations immediately stepped up, as well — including Apple, Microsoft, and General Mills — and the list continues to grow.
We need to keep the momentum going and make sure even more people learn about the Equality Act and the very real discrimination LGBT people encounter every day all across the country.
By informing others of just how many forms of discrimination LGBT people continue to face, you will help lay the groundwork for the passage of this crucial bill. It's time for a comprehensive federal LGBT non-discrimination law. It's time for the Equality Act.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Practice Spirit Do Justice Ohio Power Summit

A Leadership Training for All People of Faith
Fairlawn West, United Church of Christ, 2095 West Market Street, Akron, OH 44313
4 pm Friday, October 24 -- 4 pm Sunday, October 26
Special Clergy Session 9 am -- 3 pm, Friday, October 24                                         
Come and be part of an inspiring statewide community of faith to support LGBTQ inclusion! In Ohio, the state legislature will be considering a vote on statewide protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBTQ) people in the workplace, housing and public accommodations.                        

This training will prepare over 200 people of faith to make a bold impact within their congregations for LGBTQ justice; to educate people about the harms caused to LGBTQ people by discrimination; and, to ready their congregations, we'll train lay leaders and clergy how to build relationships with legislators around Ohio.


Training topics are both for people at the beginning of their welcoming journey and for those who have been on the path for a while. These include:                        

--Why is transgender justice key to an LGBTQ welcoming movement of faith?                            
--How can we increase our skills and knowledge about transgender people's needs in our congregations and in public life to become the best allies we can be?                            
--Understand and use conversations with people you know to lift up listening as a spiritual practice within individual conversations and learn how people you know feel about LGBTQ inclusion.                            
--Learn how to be a congregational leader and effectively develop teams of people to advance LGBTQ justice through strategic key activities including: educational conversations, visibility, letter-writing to legislators, letters to the editor, relationship building with questioning legislators and non-welcoming people of faith.                            
--Clergy facilitation includes media training, writing op eds, sermons about the harms caused to LGBTQ people and the need for redress and visibility.                            
--From idea to event: clear and effective action steps planning, including inspiring invitations.                            
--The Ohio Faith Council and the Equality Ohio Education Fund faith organizer will deliver a campaign update on the work toward a statewide non-discrimination law.                                                                          

--Our training site is Fairlawn West, United Church of Christ, 2095 West Market Street, Akron, OH 44313

--Meals provided: Friday dinner, Sat & Sun cold breakfasts and lunches

--Materials include a participator list, all training materials and a next steps work plan template

--Training fee is $100.00. Scholarships are available and we encourage you to request one.

--Request a Scholarship

--Gas stipends will be offered for people who request them.

--Our preferred hotel is the Holiday Inn, 4073 Medina Rd, Akron, OH 44333. The hotel is 7-10 minutes away from the training. Call Tami Mahoney, 330.666.4422 to make a reservation.

--Limited community housing will be offered, so please request that on the registration form.                        

For More Information:

Call or text Kathleen Campisano, 202-577-3139;                        

Sponsoring faith organizations include:
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's Institute for Welcoming Resources, Integrity Episcopalians, More Light Presbyterians, Open and Affirming Coalition of the United Church of Christ, Reconciling Works: Lutherans for Full Participation, Reconciling Ministries Network, Equality Ohio Education Fund, the Ohio Faith Council, the Overbrook Foundation, the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, and Believe OUT LOUD.                         

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force builds the power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community from the ground up. The Task Force is the country's premier social justice organization fighting to improve the lives of LGBT people, and working to create positive, lasting change and opportunity for all. The Task Force is a 501(c)(3) corporation incorporated in Washington, D.C. Contributions to the Task Force are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by law. (C) National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. 1325 Massachusetts Ave NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20005. Phone 202.393.5177. Fax 202.393.2241. TTY 202.393.2284.                                                                                                                  


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Call for Papers 2015 UNC Asheville Queer Studies Conferenc

Call for Papers: 2015 UNC Asheville Queer Studies Conference April 2-4, Asheville, NC
“Navigating Normativities, Queering Institutions and Challenging Inequalities”

Abstract Deadline Monday, November 24, 2014

The UNC Asheville Queer Studies Conference, a biennial event established in 1998, attracts an international audience of activists, academics, and artists who showcase a range of creative and scholarly pursuits related to the investigation of genders and sexualities. All GLBTQ-related proposals will be considered. We invite a diverse representation of approaches and participants, including faculty, staff, graduate students, community members and undergraduate students.  All formats will be considered, including paper presentations (15 minutes), panels (60 to 75 minutes), workshops, exhibitions, film screenings, and performances. Paper presentations will be organized into groups of 3 to 4.

Elaborations on the theme Navigating Normativities might include:
·         what gets lost with gained rights?
·         queer gains and losses in the classroom, health care, military, and workplaces
·         navigating legal, cultural, educational, professional or faith-based discourses
·         navigating race, disability, ethnicity, class
·         queering gender borders, identities, spaces
·         navigating our queer bodies through straight spaces
·         transgender, gay, lesbian, bisexual and/or intersexed action or voices
·         queer activism: measured means and/or outcomes
·         investigations of shame, privilege, home, space, reclamation
·         queer youth/older adults: lived experience and activism
·         queer representations, expressions and cultures in art, literature, craft, and performance

In addition, we are issuing a special call for papers, presentations or performances on the theme of Black Mountain College. Inquiries and submissions for this special theme should be sent to Dr. Brian Butler,

Panel proposals, paper abstracts, and proposals for art exhibitions, workshops, film screenings and performances are due as a PDF or .Doc file attachment no later than Monday, November 24, 2014.

Please email individual paper abstracts (up to 500 words), panel and workshop proposals (up to 700 words) and other proposals (up to 1000 words when appropriate include images, samples, or clips). All proposals should include a title for the presentation, panel or performance, type of format preferred, length of time preferred, audio/visual and accessibility needs as well as full names, email addresses and affiliations of all the authors. Send your completed abstract/proposal to:

Registration: To register, please fill out and mail the registration form. All speakers must register for the conference. Registration (due February 23, 2015) is $100 for faculty/professional, $80 for graduate students/non-profit professionals, and $60 for undergraduate students/unemployed or underemployed. Late registration (after February 23rd) is $125 for faculty, $100 for graduate students, and $70 for undergraduate students (includes breakfasts and lunches). Daily community passes (to attend sessions) will be available at the conference ($20); the fee to attend only a keynote address will be $20.

Keynote Presenters
Kate Clinton - Thursday Evening, April 2

Urvashi Vaid - Friday Afternoon, April 3

For additional information, email questions to Lori Horvitz:, or Sophie Mills:

For more information:

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Public Policy Priorities for the Bisexual Community

Bisexual people have been a driving force in the LGBTQ community since before Stonewall and continue to be leaders within local, regional and national organizations and issue-based campaigns. Every day, bisexuals work side by side with the larger LGBT community to effect change and equality.
What does it mean to be bisexual? Renowned gender and sexuality advocate Robyn Ochs puts it this way: “Bisexuals are people who acknowledge in themselves the potential to be attracted—romantically and/or sexually—to people of more than one gender, not necessarily at the same time, not necessarily in the same way, and not necessarily to the same degree.”
2013 Bisexual Community Issues Roundtable at the White House *Source: BiNet USA

Bisexual Public Policy Priorities

Statistics show quite clearly that bisexual people report higher levels of physical and mental health disparities, sexual and domestic violence, and poverty than gays and lesbians. Often these disparities can be attributed to bisexual discrimination and anti-bisexual bias. Wendy Bostwick’s study on microaggressions against bisexual people points out that many of these negative interactions are initiated by lesbian and gay people, so it is not surprising that Pew research has shown that bisexual people report much lower levels of feeling connected to the LGBTQ community. For more on the important issues facing Bisexual Americans please check out Movement Advancement Project’s Understanding Issues Facing Bisexual Americans report.
The Bisexual Resource Center has designated March as Bisexual Health Awareness Month to raise awareness about bisexual health disparities. Source: Bisexual Resource Center

About Bisexual Erasure

Bisexual erasure/bisexual invisibility is a pervasive problem in which the existence or legitimacy of bisexuality (either in general or in regard to an individual) is questioned or denied outright. For example, two married women might spend time in community spaces dominated by lesbians. Perhaps one of the women is bisexual and objects to the assumption that she is a lesbian (i.e., when others call the two women a “lesbian couple”). However, every time she mentions this, others insist that she can’t really be bisexual or that her orientation doesn’t matter (perhaps with the subtext that she shouldn’t talk about it) now that she is partnered. Bisexual scholar, activist and theorist, Dr. Herukhuti has cautioned, “By selecting which loved ones and sexual partners in someone’s life are worthy of being recognized, bisexual erasure is a violent amputation of a person’s chosen family and community.”
Bisexual erasure plays a critical role in reducing access to the resources and support opportunities bisexually oriented people so desperately need. Source: Bisexual Resource Center

Talking about bisexuals can help save lives.

Thankfully the bisexual community has displayed a high level of resiliency and despite many challenges has worked to create awareness of important bisexual public policy priorities. Whether it be speaking with President Obama about the bisexual community, launching bisexuality related social media campaigns or advocating for fair treatment in the media, the bisexual community’s hard work towards equality should be recognized and supported.
Every day is a day you can support people who identify as bisexual, pansexual, fluid, queer, non-monosexual, no labels, pomosexual, bi-romantic, pan-romantic, polysexual, multisexual or any of the several dozen “labels” the bisexual community celebrates and supports as equally valid and equally brave.
Examples of anti-stigma campaign done by the Centre for Addiction & Mental Health, Toronto. Posters, buttons, and postcards available for sale at
Bisexual cultural competency training is a necessity to understand bisexual history, identity, culture, politics and community. Please contact one of the three U.S. based bisexual non-profit community organizations to be connected to trainers affiliated with The Bisexual Resource Center, Bisexual Organizing Project and/or BiNet USA.

Bisexual Awareness Week Reporting Best Practices

For more best practices, see GLAAD Media Reference Guide – In Focus: Covering the Bisexual Community at

  • Don’t make assumptions about how someone identifies. For example, do not refer to a married male couple as a gay couple unless you know they both identify as such. The same goes for a female couple or a different-sex couple; any of the people in any of these types of relationships may identify as bisexual. The same goes for single individuals; do not assume they are lesbian, gay or straight unless they identify themselves that way.
  • Don’t assume that bisexuals cannot be monogamous. Monogamy, non-monogamy and polyamory are separate from bisexuality; there are people of all orientations with those relationship styles, and there are bisexuals with various types of relationship styles. Don’t conflate sexual orientation with relationship type.
  • Don’t assume that bisexuals necessarily are interested in threesomes, open relationships or casual sex. Do not choose sexualized photos/illustrations/videos for pieces about bisexuals unless it is germane to the specific story. For example, a profile of a bisexual woman should not be illustrated with clip art or photos that allude to group sex.
  • Don’t assume or imply that a bisexual who is in a monogamous relationship has “chosen” an orientation and/or become lesbian, gay, or straight.
  • Don’t assume that a person must have had sexual experiences with both men and women (or any particular set of sexual experiences) in order to be bisexual. Just as many lesbian and gay people come out without having had a same-sex sexual experience, bisexuals, too, often go through a coming out process without having had either a same-sex or different-sex sexual encounter.
  • Don’t assume that bisexuality is a less valid identity because you know of someone who once identified as bisexual and now identifies as lesbian or gay. The reverse is also true; there are people who once identified as lesbian, gay or straight who have since come out as bisexual. Coming out is a process, and sometimes identity evolves. That does not invalidate bisexuality.
  • Ask people how they identify if the information is relevant to your story.
  • Avoid implying that someone’s orientation or gender identity is suspect. For example, don’t call someone a “self-identified bisexual” or say she or he “currently identifies as bisexual” when you would not use such phrases to refer to a lesbian, gay or straight source.
  • Don’t imply that bisexuals are inherently transphobic or only recognize two genders. Many bisexual people have transgender partners, and many bisexual people are themselves transgender or genderqueer.
  • If a source identifies as pansexual or fluid, use their identity word to describe them—but do so without making or repeating assumptions about those who identify as bisexual. For instance, a source may say that she or he identifies as pansexual because of a capacity to be attracted to people of any/all genders. Do not assume that the same is not true for someone who uses the term bisexual.
  • Do recognize that people who fall under the “community identity label” bisexual may use “personal identity labels” such as fluid, multisexual, pansexual, polysexual, pomosexual and omnisexual. The use of these labels may vary by region, ethnicity and socioeconomic class. Understand that the bisexual community (and the LGBT community as a whole) has ongoing conversations about labels. Those conversations do not invalidate the label bisexual–or the labels lesbian, gay, transgender, queer, etc.
  • Do not assume that someone must be equally attracted to men and women to be bisexual. Within the bisexual community, you will find that people have a broad array of attractions. Some bisexuals may be more attracted to people of a particular sex/gender identity, while others may experience attraction as unrelated to sex/gender identity.
  • The Kinsey Scale is one metric that expressed the concept of a continuum of attractions; that tool tracks a spectrum of attractions from 0 (heterosexual) to 6 (homosexual) with shades of bisexuality between the two poles.
  • Another metric is the Klein Sexual Orientation Grid, which charts multiple factors–including sexual attraction, experiences, fantasies–over time.
  • When reporting broadly about LGBT issues, don’t make assumptions or statements that exclude bisexuals. For example, it is not accurate to state that LGBT couples do not have to worry about birth control or unintentional pregnancy, which are relevant to bisexuals who have relationships with partners of other sexes/gender identities.
  • Recognize that bisexuals are part of the LGBT community, regardless of their current relationship status. Don’t refer to bisexual people as straight, and do not call them “allies” of the LGBT movement. For example, media coverage of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie frequently characterized both as supporters or allies of the LGBT movement (or, in some cases, their support has been questioned). In fact, Jolie is a bisexual woman who has been out for years. The fact that she married a different-sex partner does not change that she is part of the LGBT community, not an ally/supporter.
  • Understand that bisexual people frequently encounter prejudice from lesbian and gay people as well as from straight people. They may face the perception that their identity makes them inherently indecisive, greedy, untrustworthy and/or promiscuous. Don’t assume that any of those things are true of a bisexual person.
  • Do not hyphenate the words bisexual or bisexuality.
  • Spell out the word bisexual on first reference. The abbreviation bi is often acceptable on subsequent references; however, some members of the bisexual community prefer that the full word always be used. Ask your sources and respect their preferences. Other abbreviations of bisexual may include bi* and bi+ to indicate the diversity of identities within the bisexual community (i.e. pansexual, non-monosexual, fluid, queer). The label bi* maybe considered analogous to the abbreviation trans*, which is similarly used to indicate diversity within the transgender community. These abbreviations are not widespread, and if you use them you will most likely want to include a note of explanation for readers.
  • Avoid phrases that are frequently used to mock the idea of bisexuality. For example, do not say someone “plays for both teams,” is “on the fence,” gets “the best of both worlds” or has twice as many chances to get a date.
  • Avoid using the word gay as an umbrella term for the LGBT community. Likewise, “gay and transgender” is not inclusive of the whole community and should be used only if you’re referring only to gay men and transgender people. If your intention is to refer to the whole community, LGBT is the most commonly accepted term. In some cases, it may be acceptable or preferable to use: LGBTQ; LGBT and questioning; or queer.
  • Avoid using the phrase “gay marriage” in favor of “marriage equality.” Likewise, “same-sex couple” should be used instead of “gay couple” or “lesbian couple” unless you know the people referenced identify as gay or lesbian. See for more on covering marriage equality.
  • Don’t assume or advise that coming out as bisexual is anything to be ashamed of. Don’t imply that saying you are bisexual is suggesting that you are sexually available or saying anything about your sex life. Bisexuality is a sexual orientation, just like being straight, lesbian or gay; it should not be stigmatized.

Thank you to Our Supporters

Working collaboratively BiNet USA, Bisexual Resource Center, The Bisexual Organizing Project and GLAAD wrote the “Open Letter Supporting Bisexual Awareness Week”. We asked that LGBT service providers, organizations and media outlets join us during #biweek by agreeing to:

  • Write blog posts by bisexual, pansexual, fluid or non-monosexual identified writers sharing their pride
  • Write blog posts by allies sharing their support for bisexual communities and bisexual culture
  • Post on Twitter, Facebook and other social media engagements that visibly affirm, celebrate and support bisexual people
  • Host an event to celebrate Bi Pride Day on September 23rd or another day during the awareness week

Bisexual Awareness Week co-partners have also committed to having their staff trained in bisexual cultural competency by the end of 2015.

Co-partners of Bisexual Awareness Week include:

Download the Open Letter Supporting Bisexual Awareness week here.

To join us as co-partners please email