Tuesday, December 21, 2010

New Reports available online

The National Coalition for LGBT Health has published a new report on Federal government response to Homeless LGBTIQ Youth,

New LGBT-Inclusive Federal Guidelines on Multiple Chronic Conditions Earlier this week, the Department of Health and Human Services issued its new Strategic Framework on Multiple Chronic Conditions, “an innovative private-public sector collaboration to coordinate responses to a growing challenge.”  According to the report, “More than one in four Americans have multiple (two or more) concurrent chronic conditions (MCC), including, for example, arthritis, asthma, chronic respiratory conditions, diabetes, heart disease, human immunodeficiency virus infection, and hypertension.”  In response to comments submitted by the National Coalition and several of its partners on the draft framework, the final version includes recognition of HIV as a chronic condition and notes, “It is likely that as racial and ethnic, gender, gender identity, disability, sexual orientation, age, geographic, and socioeconomic disparities of access to care and health outcomes exist in the total population, those disparities also exist in the MCC population.” For a link to the report and supporting information, please see http://www.hhs.gov/ash/initiatives/mcc/

Center for American Progress Releases New Reports on Mental Health Services for LGBT Youth
The Center for American Progress, with the support of the National Coalition for LGBT Health, has released new fact sheets on mental health services for LGBT youth. The two fact sheets, “Providing a Lifeline for LGBT Youth: Mental Health Services and the Age of Consent” and “How to Improve Mental Health Care for LGBT Youth: Recommendations for the Department of Health and Human Services,” detail the obstacles LGBT youth face in accessing appropriate mental health services and offer recommendations for advocates working to connect LGBT youth with vital mental health resources. The fact sheets can be found on the website.

DOJ's Civil Rights Division Releases Anti-Bullying Video

On December 9, 2010, The Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division released a video that focuses on stopping bullying and harassment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth, as well as other youth who do not conform to traditional expectations about gender roles or appearance. The video is part of the Division's "It Gets Better" project, in which LGBT adults and straight allies share experiences to show youth that life gets better after high school.
The video features DOJ employees, who share stories of their own experiences with bullying and harassment and provide personal messages of support to youth. It emphasizes that DOJ is committed to ending bullying and harassment in schools, and highlights the Department's authority to enforce laws that protect students from bullying because of sexual orientation or gender stereotyping.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Facebook Needs to Update!

Facebook currently has only two options to describe your gender. The question itself improperly asks what your "SEX" is.

Tell Facebook to additionally ask your "GENDER" and to give a open field so a person may self identify.

The survey establishing transgender/transsexual identity "Who we are" has now been closed. Thank you!


Copy the message below and click the 'website' link on the groups info page to the fb profile suggestion form.


SUGGESTION: Include Transgender in Profile options

Facebook currently has only two options to describe gender. The question itself improperly asks what your "SEX" is.

I am asking that a profile option "GENDER" be added and a open field be presented so a person may properly self identify.


Send the above message to Facebook via there contact form


Quotes from Recent Ruling on DADT

Judge Phillips ruled that the plaintiffs had proven to her satisfaction that the military policy does not "significantly further" the government's interests and, indeed, undercuts those interests. She wrote:
. . . by impeding the efforts to recruit and retain an all-volunteer military force, the Act contributes to critical troop shortages and thus harms rather than furthers the Government's interest in military readiness;
by causing the discharge of otherwise qualified service members with critical skills such as Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, and Korean language fluency; military intelligence; counterterrorism; weapons development; and medical training, the Act harms rather than furthers the Government's interest in military readiness;
by contributing to the necessity for the Armed Forces to permit enlistment through increased use of the "moral waiver" policy and lower educational and physical fitness standards, the Act harms rather than furthers the Government's interest in military readiness;
Defendants' actions in delaying investigations regarding and enforcement of the Act until after a service member returns from combat deployment show that the Policy is not necessary to further the Government's interest in military readiness or unit cohesion;
by causing the discharge of well-trained and competent service members who are well-respected by their superiors and subordinates, the Act has harmed rather than furthered unit cohesion and morale;
the Act is not necessary to protect the privacy of service members because military housing quarters already provide sufficient protection for this interest.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Study Finds Few LGBT Youth Experiencing Mental Health Problems

Although a new study finds one-third of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) adolescents have attempted suicide in their lifetime, few are experiencing mental health problems. Researchers, who reported their findings in the American Journal of Public Health, said the prevalence of mental disorders among LGBT youth was higher than that in the general population, but comparable to that of urban and minority youth. The study found seventy percent of youth did not have any mental disorders. Fifteen percent met the criteria for major depression and nearly 10 percent met criteria for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. (HealthDay News, 12/08/10)

Journaling Project for Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse

Fill Your Paper With The Breathings Of Your Heart
– Wordsworth

A FREE event with light snacks and beverages to encourage healing effects of journaling for male survivors of sexual and intimate partner violence.

Please join writer Debbie Hanchin of The Raye Foundation and Chad Corbley of Affirmations for a workshop exploring the healing power of expressing your feelings, thoughts, and experiences through expressive writing and journaling.

Saturday, December 18, 2010 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
1299 Olentangy River Road
Columbus, OH 43212

Register by contacting one of the following:
Stephanie Smith Bowman, 614 566 3933 or sbowman@ohiohealth.com
Gary Heath, 614 294 7867 or gary@bravo-ohio.org
Chad Corbley, 614 445 8277 or affirmations@rrohio.com

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Jon Stewart responds to John McCain on "Don't Ask Don't Tell"

Worth the long wait through the clip

Gay Teenagers Face Harsher Punishments

Gay Teenagers Face Harsher Punishments
New York Times HEALTH   | December 06, 2010

Gay, lesbian and bisexual teens in the United States are far more likely to be harshly punished by schools and courts than their straight peers, even though they are less likely to engage in serious misdeeds, according to a study published on Monday in the medical journal Pediatrics.

The findings, based on a national sample of more than 15,000 middle and high school students, come at a time of heightened attention to the plight of homosexual and bisexual teens. While several high-profile bullying and suicide cases around the country have highlighted the harassment of these adolescents by their peers, the new data suggest they also suffer a hidden bias when judged by school and legal authorities.
“Gay, lesbian and bisexual kids are being punished by police, courts and by school officials, and it’s not because they’re misbehaving more,’’ said Kathryn Himmelstein, the study’s lead author, who initiated the research while an undergraduate student at Yale University.

Ms. Himmelstein, now a high school math teacher in New York City, began the study after spending time working in the juvenile justice system during a leave of absence from college. She noticed a disproportionate number of gay and lesbian teens in juvenile court but could find no studies in the scientific literature evaluating whether gay teens were more likely to be involved in criminal activity or to be more severely punished.
As a result, she began conducting her own study for her senior thesis at Yale University. She used data collected between 1994 and 2002 for the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, an ongoing survey tracking the behavior and health issues of middle and high school students.

Researchers asked teens about nonviolent misdeeds like alcohol use, lying to parents, shoplifting and vandalism, as well as more serious crimes like using a weapon, burglary or selling drugs.
Lesbian, gay and bisexual youths were only slightly more likely to report minor and moderate non-violent misbehavior, like running away, lying to parents or shoplifting, compared to straight peers. These teens were less likely to engage in serious crimes and violence than their straight peers.

But after controlling for differences in behavior, lesbian, gay and bisexual teens overall were far more likely to be stopped by police, arrested or convicted of a crime than other adolescents, Ms. Himmelstein found.
In addition, teens who said they had experienced feelings of same-sex attraction were more likely to have been expelled from school than other teens.

Girls who labeled themselves as lesbian or bisexual appeared to be at highest risk for punishment, experiencing 50 percent more police stops and about twice the risk of arrest and conviction as heterosexual girls who reported similar levels of misconduct.

The study wasn’t designed to determine the reasons that behavior by lesbian, gay and bisexual teens is more likely to be punished or criminalized. The authors speculated that the more severe punishments meted out to these teens may reflect a bias by school and court officials, or that they may be less likely to receive educational and child welfare support services than their straight peers.

“Our youth tell us this kind of thing all the time,’’ said Betsy Pursell, vice president for public education and outreach for Human Rights Campaign, a Washington-based advocacy group.

Ms. Pursell notes that while teens obviously don’t wear labels, teens who are struggling with same sex attraction or who have self-identified as gay may be perceived to be more difficult if they adopt various behaviors that set them apart from straight peers.

For instance, a gay teen may feel victimized or ostracized, or may be more likely to step outside traditional gender roles or be more guarded in interactions with peers and adults.

“I think adults who work with young people, for better or worse, tend to quickly categorize kids,’’ says Ms. Pursell. “They may not be categorizing them as L.G.B.T., but as mainstream or out of the mainstream, a potential troublemaker or not a potential troublemaker.’’
New York Times HEALTH   | December 06, 2010

Senator Brown (D-OH) Speaks Out Against Bullying

The full text of Sen. Brown's floor speech, as prepared for delivery, is provided below.

CAMPAIGN TO STOP BULLYING -- (Senate - November 30, 2010)

Mr. BROWN of Ohio. Over the last few months, our Nation has mourned the loss of several lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender teenagers driven to suicide because of hateful and ignorant bullying and harassment. These tragic circumstances brought families, friends, and concerned citizens together through vigils on public squares in communities all over this country and on college campuses throughout the Nation. Together, millions of fellow Americans have drawn attention to intolerance and violence that LGBT Americans face each day. Together, we can ensure all LGBT Americans that life will get better for them.

As a father, I cannot bear to imagine the unspeakable pain endured by the parents of those teenagers who tragically took their own lives. No parent should have to bury a child. No child should ever feel so hopeless and so forgotten and so alone and so isolated that suicide seems like their only escape. But the rash of highly publicized suicides of LGBT students not only highlights the national epidemic of bullying these students face, it also reminds us that we all as adults, as clergy, as educators, or as peers of these students--we all have a role to play in preventing discrimination.

Bullies target the vulnerable and subject them to cruelty through taunts in the classroom or on the Internet, through chants on the playing field or physical abuse in the neighborhood. Prejudices based on religion or race or disability or sexual orientation or gender or physical or intellectual differences too often translate into physical torment and isolation and abuse against others.

LGBT youth, in particular, are frequently targeted by bullies. Public surveys indicate that 80 percent of LGBT students report regular harassment by fellow students--a rate three times that of heterosexual teens, three times the rate of their heterosexual peers. Seventy-five percent of high school students routinely hear homophobic remarks in school, reinforcing stereotypes and prejudices. Without a safe space to speak openly with a caring adult or a like-minded peer, victims are left to question their self-worth.

On top of the self-doubt and insecurity that all young people feel already regardless of gender or race or sexual orientation--we have all been through that certainly as young teenagers and older teenagers, too, for that matter, but add to that the kind of insecurities that are put on them by bullying tactics, by so many people spouting homophobic remarks.

Too many young gay men and women, boys and girls, are forced into secrecy about who they are rather than affirming the person they should proudly be.

A brave young Ohioan named Nicholas sent me a letter detailing an attack by a schoolyard bully. Here is what Nicholas wrote:

On September 18th, 2009 I was attacked by a student at my school for being gay. This student beat me in the head with a hammer three times. He chased me down so he could get the last two hits. The student attacked me for being gay. I have no way of using this attack to promote gay rights, to promote gay equality, but you do. And you could do this for me. I need your help more than anything. No one deserves to go through what I went through.

My message to Nicholas and to all LGBT Americans is this: You are not alone. Life will get better. You can find the love and acceptance you deserve, and you will find the love and acceptance you deserve, free from fear and hate. You will realize your full potential every bit as much as anyone else because things are changing in this country.

There is no acceptable justification for the violence experienced by Nicholas or the physical and emotional mistreatment of LGBT students in our schools and in our communities. That is why the Senate must take crucial steps to ensure that schools are safe places for learning, safe places for students, and not breeding grounds for bullying.

First, we must pass the Safe Schools Improvement Act which would help schools implement LGBT-inclusive programming to combat bullying and harassment. Second, we must pass the Student Nondiscrimination Act which would bar schools which receive public money from implementing programs that discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Legislation alone, of course, will not eradicate or put an end to bullying, but we also know what legislation did for women, for children, for civil rights. Attitudes change over time. Legislation helps accelerate that change. That is why those two pieces of legislation matter. They will be major steps toward ensuring safety and equal treatment for all students in our school systems.

Parents and teachers also have a special responsibility to help LGBT youth confront the bullying they face at school. They, too, should ensure that every student knows she is valued, knows he is valued, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

LGBT community centers or national organizations such as the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network are valuable resources for students, parents, and educators.

I remember several years ago an event where students sat together as part of a gay/straight alliance at a high school in western Cuyahoga County. There were 10 students at 2 different tables, 5 gay students, 5 straight students, all supporting one another, understanding each other and accepting their differences. They can still care about one another, and they can protect them, in many cases, from some of the bullying that might have befallen some of them.

To our own LGBT students who are either forced to live a lie or face hostility for simply living their lives, all of you should know there are resources to help you in times of need. The Trevor Project is the leading national organization focused on crisis and suicide prevention among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth. For more information, if you are feeling alone, anyone watching today feeling alone, helpless, or in crisis, people can visit the Trevor Project's Web site, thetrevorproject.org, or they can call the hotline at 866-488-7386.

For anyone who is in suicidal crisis or in need of help, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 1-800-273-TALK.

To Nick: I don't normally come to the floor and talk about a service like this. I think, though, when people feel alone, they don't always know there is help out there for them. Young people need to know that it is getting better, that life will get better for them, so it is important to share that information on the Senate floor.

To Nicholas: History is on your side. It will, in fact, get better. Workers fought for the right to organize, women fought for the right to vote, African Americans fought for equal justice, and now LGBT Americans of all backgrounds are fighting for equality.

It is up to us to join this fight. It is up to us to be on the side of people whose lives are a little bit more difficult, perhaps, than others' lives. It is that spirit of inclusion, it is the pursuit of the American dream, that will, in fact, make it better for these young people, and it will make it better for all Americans.