Gay-themed book ok’d for fair

National News Notes

Gay-themed book ok’d for fair

NEW YORK, N.Y. — After meeting with media watchdog group The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, powerhouse bookseller Scholastic Inc. has decided to feature an LGBT inclusive book in its spring Scholastic Book Fairs, which will be held in middle schools across the nation. The company had declined to sell the book at its prior round of fairs.

The flap began when members of the LGBT community alerted GLAAD that Scholastic was excluding Lauren Myracle’s “Luv Ya Bunches” from its book fairs. “Bunches” features a young girl, Milla, being raised by lesbian parents. “Scholastic is offering ‘Luv Ya Bunches’ in our Book Clubs. We decided we would not offer this title in Fairs…,” the company stated on its website.

GLAAD reached out to executives at Scholastic to ask that the company reconsider its decision. In addition, Change.org, the web-based organizing community, generated over 4,000 signatures on its petition requesting that people make their voices heard on the matter. These efforts led Scholastic to change its stance.

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Inclusive ENDA gets first hearing

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Nov. 5, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee held the Senate’s first-ever hearing on a version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that includes both sexual orientation and gender identity. The bill would address discrimination in the workplace by making it illegal for companies with 15 or more employees to fire, refuse to hire or refuse to promote an employee based on his or her sexual orientation or gender identity.

Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese, who provided written testimony for the hearing, noted, “For the first time in history, the Senate is moving forward with legislation to protect Americans from arbitrary discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Like our neighbors and coworkers, LGBT people simply want a fair chance to succeed and support our families.”

ENDA was introduced in the U.S. Senate on August 5 of this year; a House version was introduced on June 24 and the House Education and Labor Committee held a hearing on the measure on September 23. An estimated 87 percent of Fortune 500 companies include sexual orientation in their equal employment policies, and more than one-third also include gender identity.

Panel study looks at polling

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — A groundbreaking new report presents the findings from a multi-year effort of an expert panel of scholars to identify the best practices for asking questions about sexual orientation on surveys. Researchers from 14 universities and 9 organizations were included on the Sexual Minority Assessment Research Team, a multidisciplinary and multi-institution collaboration, whose goal is to increase the quantity and quality of data on gay, lesbian and bisexual people.

Team members note that public policy debates have heightened the need for data on the sexual orientation of adults and young people in the U.S. Randy Sell, a researcher at the Drexel University School of Public Health, said, “The lack of sexual orientation questions on surveys had led to an invisibility of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people, which can have serious social and public health costs.”

The report addresses the issues researchers confront after they have decided to ask about sexual orientation, including what to ask, where to ask it, and how to analyze the results. The full report can be viewed online at www.law.ucla.edu/williamsinstitute.

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Neil Patrick Harris to be honored

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — The Trevor Project, the leading national organization focused on crisis and suicide prevention efforts among LGBT and questioning youth, will honor Emmy-nominated, openly gay actor Neil Patrick Harris and communications giant AT&T at Cracked Xmas 12, the group’s annual holiday event and biggest fundraiser which will be held here on Dec. 6. at The Wiltern Theatre.

Harris, star of the CBS sitcom “How I Met Your Mother” and host of the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards in September, “has emerged as a compelling example for LGBTQ youth through his extraordinary professional and personal success. The Trevor Project is pleased to bestow him with The Trevor Life Award, which annually honors an individual who, through his or her example, support, volunteerism and/or occupation, is an inspiration to LGBTQ youth,” the group said in a written statement.

“For many years, I have been a passionate and enthusiastic supporter of The Trevor Project’s lifesaving work, and I’m deeply honored to be recognized by an organization which has such a vital mission,” said Harris.

HIV travel/immigration ban ends

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Obama administration has published a new rule lifting the HIV travel and immigration ban by removing HIV from the list of communicable diseases of public health significance for immigrants to the U.S. With this change, the nation joins the vast majority of countries around the world that do not restrict the travel and immigration rights of people living with HIV.

Last year, Congress repealed the statutory language barring people with HIV. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the U.S. Department of Health announced in late summer its intention to eliminate the ban and after a period of public comment approved the new rule removing the prohibition.

Kevin Cathcart, executive director of Lambda Legal said, “We applaud the Obama Administration for its leadership in ending this kind of government sponsored discrimination against people living with HIV. The 22-year ban was discriminatory, violated basic human rights, and could not be justified on public health grounds.”

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Posted by David Stout

David Stout is the associate editor of QNotes. He can be reached at editor2@goqnotes.com.