Just A Few More Hours to Support NCLR with Your iPhone

October 21, 2009

jumbo-twin-bell-alarm-clockEarlier, we told you of My Gay Go’s pledge to donate all of its proceeds for today to NCLR. For everyone who has downloaded the app, thank you. If you haven’t yet, there’s still time!

My Gay Go is an app that lists local events and businesses that are LGBT-friendly and LGBT-owned. It’s only 99 cents and the proceeds will be donated completely to NCLR. Download today!

Watch Philip’s Touching Testimony for Marriage Equality in Maine

October 21, 2009

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services to Create a National Resource Center for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Elders

October 21, 2009

from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced plans to establish the nation’s first national resource center to assist communities across the country in their efforts to provide services and supports for older lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals.

Experts estimate that as many as 1.5 to 4 million LGBT individuals are age 60 and older. Agencies that provide services to older individuals may be unfamiliar or uncomfortable with the needs of this group of individuals. The new Resource Center for LGBT Elders will provide information, assistance and resources for both LGBT organizations and mainstream aging services providers at the state and community level to assist them in the development and provision of culturally sensitive supports and services. The LGBT Center will also be available to educate the LGBT community about the importance of planning ahead for future long term care needs.

The LBGT Resource Center will help community-based organizations understand the unique needs and concerns of older LGBT individuals and assist them in implementing programs for local service providers, including providing help to LGBT caregivers who are providing care for an older partner with health or other challenges.

The Administration on Aging will award a single Resource Center grant at approximately $250,000 per year, pending availability of funds. Eligible entities will include public-private nonprofit organizations with experience working on LGBT issues on a national level. The funding announcement for the Resource Center will be made available on this website very soon.

Obama Administration to Ensure Inclusion of the LGBT Community in Housing and Urban Development Programs

October 21, 2009

from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Obama Adminstration to Ensure Inclusion of the LGBT Community in HUD Programs

Commission’s first-ever national study of discrimination against members of the LGBT community in the renting and sale of housing

WASHINGTON – U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan today announced a series of proposals to ensure that HUD’s core housing programs are open to all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

“The evidence is clear that some are denied the opportunity to make housing choices in our nation based on who they are and that must end,” said Donovan. “President Obama and I are determined that a qualified individual and family will not be denied housing choice based on sexual orientation or gender identity.”

The initiatives announced today will be a proposed rule that will provide the opportunity for public comment. The proposed rule will:

  • clarify that the term “family” as used to describe eligible beneficiaries of our public housing and Housing Choice Voucher programs include otherwise eligible lesbian, gay, bi-sexual or transgender (LGBT) individuals and couples. HUD’s public housing and voucher programs help more than three million families to rent an affordable home. The Department’s intent to propose new regulations will clarify family status to ensure its subsidized housing programs are available to all families, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • require grantees and those who participate in the Department’s programs to comply with local and state non-discrimination laws that cover sexual orientation or gender identity; and
  • specify that any FHA-insured mortgage loan must be based on the credit-worthiness of a borrower and not on unrelated factors or characteristics such as sexual orientation or gender identity.

In addition to issuance of proposed rule, HUD will commission the first-ever national study of discrimination against members of the LGBT community in the rental and sale of housing.

read more

Support NCLR with an iPhone App

October 21, 2009

iPhone2830319467_634c5c8316Just 9 more hours until you can download My Gay Go to support NCLR. My Gay Go, an app that helps you find LGBT-friendly and LGBT-owned businesses, is donating the proceeds from all of today’s downloads.

Priced at 99 cents a download, the app features interactive maps and lists of local events and businesses.

Please download today!

Pass the Uniting American Families Act

October 21, 2009

by Sen. Patrick Leahy and Rep. Jerrold Nadler | The Hill

Sen. Patrick Leahy

Sen. Patrick Leahy

In many respects, Greg and Jaime of New York City are like millions of other American families. They met at a mutual friend’s party in 1998 and have built a loving, stable life together over the past 11 years. They live in a pre-war apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side and share a love of New York City, travel, dining out and hosting friends for dinner. Jaime has worked for nearly 10 years in the financial services industry. Like so many others in this economic downturn, Greg lost his job in January. If their life sounds unremarkable so far, that is because it is.

What is remarkable is that soon they may be forced to choose whether they will separate or leave the United States in order to remain together as a committed couple.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler

Rep. Jerrold Nadler

Greg and Jaime are both men, and Jaime, who was born in Argentina, is not a U.S. citizen. Because they are not a heterosexual couple, current immigration law does not allow Greg, who is a U.S. citizen, to sponsor Jaime for lawful permanent residence. When Jaime’s visa expires, in order to live together lawfully, they may have no choice but to leave the United States. This would mean abandoning their friends, Greg’s extended family and Jaime’s career. And then, where could they live together with immigration rights as a gay couple? Not Argentina.

read more

The Conversation Begins: Equal Opportunity for Transgender Student-Athletes, a National Think Tank

October 21, 2009

Helen CarrolOn Oct. 26, 2009, in Indianapolis, Indiana, home of the National Collegiate  Athletic Association (NCAA), a gathering of top sports leaders from across the country, athletic directors, researchers, medical and legal experts on transgender issues, student-athletes and NCAA officials will meet to examine the question of how to make sports inclusive for the transgender student-athlete . A national think tank sponsored by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) with the Women’s Sports Foundation Initiative:  It takes a Team!  Education Campaign for LGBT Issues (ITAT) will address the issue of equal opportunity for transgender student-athletes. The gathering is groundbreaking in the United States as this is the first such nationwide meeting of transgender rights experts and leaders of high school and collegiate athletics. Following this historic convening, we aspire to provide positive guidance through a report outlining best practices and possible recommended policies. Most importantly, through this work we believe that the lives of transgender athletes and their teammates will be greatly enriched.  It is an ambitious undertaking and one that I believe will make the world of the high school and collegiate sports a better place for all competitors. Diversity has so many positive aspects.

In speaking to a number of young student-athletes on college campuses, I have seen the emergence of this new group struggle to claim their place in athletics in the face of bias, misunderstanding, arcane rules, and sometimes even discrimination. To think that students are not playing sports, quitting teams, or leaving sports forever because of their gender identity/expression, that is something that must be addressed. I’ve met many of these students firsthand in filming their stories, speaking with them on campuses this year, and becoming friends; I know who they are and the pain they’ve suffered when they’ve felt that, because of their gender identity or expression, their only option is to quit sports. And there is so much to be gained by participating in athletics—health and social benefits among them—including by transgender and gender non-conforming students. Those gathering in Indianapolis will have the unique opportunity to hear the stories of these collegiate athletes, and to address their needs.  My hope is that their voices will assist us to develop strategies for the fair and equal treatment of all student-athletes.

Athletics often follows behind society in the acceptance of social change and social justice. As a former coach, I do not like to admit this but often leaders in sport such as coaches and athletic directors lag behind their athletes in accepting the changes and personal growth of teammates. I believe the think tank has the chance to provide athletic leaders and decision-makers with the tools to proactively assist their coaches and teams to understand that having a transgender person in their organization or on their team is a just one part of the diverse experiences that benefits their team and all involved.

There simply has to be a way to put in place policies and rules that both treat everyone fairly and do not foster prejudice or discriminate against people for who they are, including based on gender identity and expression. These and other principles are at the heart of equal opportunity. Everyone should be able to play, and to learn the many lessons that flows from participating in collegiate sports. So on to Indianapolis, and keep an eye out for our report following this Think Tank, in the near future…

Helen Carroll
NCLR Sports Project Director