State denounced over trans health plans
Equality North Carolina has denounced the decision by the State Treasurer Board of Trustees for the State Health Plan to reinstate exclusions for transgender-related healthcare in the plans that it offers North Carolina’s more than 720,000 teachers, state employees, state university and community college personnel, and their dependents. The exclusions deny coverage to transgender people seeking forms of treatment related to gender dysphoria. The treatment banned by the exclusions is considered medically necessary by the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and many other national healthcare organizations. And on Oct. 22, Max Kadel, Noah Lewis, Connor Thonen-Fleck, Alexis Thonen, Deborah Thompson, Jeanne Duwve, Ames Simmons brought testimony before the trustees in protest of their exclusionary stance and pled to have coverage restored for health plan beneficiaries, North Carolina Health News reported.
info: equalitync.org. bit.ly/2q71Oea.
SONG gets critically resistant
Southerners on New Ground and Critical Resistance will join together for a weekend of community-oriented events beginning Nov. 8 and running through Nov. 10 in Atlanta, Ga. SONG is celebrating its 25th anniversary and Critical Resistance’s 20 years of abolitionist movement-building.
info: southernersonnewground.org. criticalresistance.org.
Smith speaks at SC Pride
Emerson Smith, gay son of gubernatorial candidate James Smith, spoke at SC Pride about his father and how he came out to him. Emerson Smith encouraged everyone present to vote for his father and his running mate, Mandy Powers Norrell, who is vying for the lieutenant governor’s seat.
info: scequality.org. bit.ly/2CL13yP.
Nielson expands demos
Nielsen announced that as part of its commitment to reflect important demographic and household characteristics in Nielsen’s National TV panel, it will expand its reporting capabilities to identify same-gender spouses and partners and their households. Nielsen is working closely with GLAAD to determine the best approaches for reflecting LGBTQ inclusion and representation in its panels, including evaluating recruiting and classification techniques that help better identify same-gender spouses and unmarried partner households to participate in Nielsen’s nationally representative panel.
Power conference slated
NC AIDS Action Network will hold its annual advocacy conference, “Building Power Across the Spectrum 2018,” on Nov. 17 the Duke School of Nursing, 307 Tent Dr., in Durham, N.C. Registration is available online.
GGF Berlin apps available
The Guilford Green Foundation has announced that the Pearl Berlin Scholarship applications are now ready for use. The fund will award its inaugural scholarships in the Spring of 2019 to graduating seniors who have demonstrated leadership in the LGBTQ community.
Queens get tattooed
MTV’s “How Far is Tattoo Far?” aired an episode on Oct. 25 featuring two drag queen sisters who had harsh tattoos embellished on each other’s bodies while blindfolded with glasses.
Youth coalition launches campaign
The Sexual Health Youth Advocacy Coalition launched its “Consensus Statement on the Sexual Health Rights of Youth in State Custody” in October. The statement invites state policymakers to collaborate with the coalition in developing policy and practice that ensures youth in their care and custody receive sound, inclusive sexual health care, consistent with prevailing medical standards and legal and ethical obligations. The statement calls for additional training for residents and staff in youth congregate care and detention settings that is inclusive of youth of all sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions as a predicate to ending institutional violence.
TOY nets Novant grant
Time Out Youth Center was awarded $20,000 with seed grant from Novant Health to offer free mental health counseling for LGBTQ youth. A solution-focused, issue-based, brief counseling model will be utilized. This approach uses mindfulness-based cognitive behavioral therapy, trauma informed therapy and crisis intervention modalities to provide clients with up to 10 sessions to address presenting issues. “This award will save lives. The requests for mental health services has been a top request of our youth for several years. We are thankful that Novant understands the unique needs of LGBTQ youth and supports our community,” said Rodney Tucker, center executive director. Rich Robles, senior director of diversity and inclusion at Novant Health, added, “At Novant Health, diversity and inclusion are more than just words; they’re core values. … Eliminating LGBTQ health disparities is essential to ensure that all members of the community can live long, healthy lives.”
info: timeoutyouth.org. novanthealth.org.
Covington Allison headlines GBO Pride
Transgender advocate Janice Covington Allison served as the headline speaker at Greensboro Pride on Oct. 21. The former fire chief and U.S. Army veteran was the first transgender woman to represent North Carolina at the Democratic National Convention in 2012.
info: greensboropride.org. bit.ly/2Q1rjsL.
Vandals hit Charlotte church
LGBTQ-friendly Wedgewood Church was vandalized on in late October when someone spray painted the words “It’s okay to be white” and “Free Kekistan” on the rainbow doors and walls. The church as been the recipient of vandalism numerous times in the past. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police are investigating the act.
info: bit.ly/2D9Ljq7. wedgewoodchurch.com.
Intersex-affirming guide published
In observance of Intersex Awareness Day on Oct. 26, interACT: Advocates for Intersex Youth, Lambda Legal and Proskauer Rose LLP released the nation’s first intersex-affirming hospital policy guide, “Intersex-Affirming Hospital Policies: Providing Ethical and Compassionate Health Care to Intersex Patients,” offering concrete steps for medical providers to provide sensitive, non-discriminatory care to intersex patients. The guide is available online.
Smollett chairs heroes gala
“Empire” star and Black AIDS Institute board member Jussie Smollett will return as chair of the institute’s Heroes in the Struggle Gala Reception and Awards Presentation to be held on Dec. 1. This year’s theme is “Preparing for the Next Generation of the HIV/AIDS Response in Black America.” Smollett has worked with the organization since he was 15. Heroes honored this year are Billy Porter (“Pose,” “Kinky Boots,” “Angels in America”) and Wilson Cruz (“Star Trek,” “Rent,” “My So Called Life”); Atlanta-based physician, Dr. David Malebranche; and activist Gabriel Maldonado, executive director of TruEvolution in Riverside, Calif.
AFFA published trans guide
The Alliance for Full Acceptance has published a transgender action guide in response to the proposed erasure of a transgender preference by the Trump administration.
Net series launches third season
“Daddyhunt: The Serial” unveiled its third season on Oct. 24. The new episodes pick up three months after the conclusion of second season and focuses on STD testing and partner notification.
Med center opens
Truesdale Medical Center, offering both primary medical care and treatment specific to those living with HIV, has opened in North Charleston, S.C.. The center operates in partnership with Palmetto Community Care. The center is named in memory of James Edward “Jimmy” Truesdale who died on Feb. 12, 2017. Truesdale was a supporter of Lowcountry AIDS Services (now Palmetto Community Care) for a number of years, including serving as president of the board of directors.
Southern coming out film premieres
“Boy Erased,” a film that depicts a young gay boy’s struggle with his sexual orientation and his family’s religious views premieres on Nov. 2 across the country. The story shares Jared Eamons’ push into conversion therapy and his journey to find his own voice. It stars Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe and Troye Sivan among others. Sivan created a video for Spirit Day held in late October encouraging people to stand against bullying and support LGBTQ youth.
info: focusfeatures.com. wdrv.it/3271d477a.
Transgenderism questioned as contagious
The National Catholic Register published an article this fall questioning if transgenderism in teens was contagious. According to a blog post, a Brown University School of Public Health study, “Rapid-onset Gender Dysphoria in Adolescents and Young Adults: A Study of Parental Report,” found that “social and peer contagion” may play a role in “rapid-onset gender dysphoria” among adolescents and young adults.
Starbucks now safe place
Durham, N.C.’s The Herald Sun reported that its city’s Starbucks is now a safe place for LGBTQ individuals to wait for police to respond to acts of harassment or hate crimes. The coffee shops are the first in the Southeast to receive the designation. New rainbow stickers and posters are available for those who wish to participate in the program which is part of the Durham Police Department’s community-oriented policing policy.
info: bit.ly/2OJx4hY. starbucks.com.
School center increases growth
The North Carolina State University’s GLBT Center, as a result of increased population, is now focusing on partnering with community centers to help students feel represented in different spaces on campus, The Technician reported.
Queen exhibit opens
In a bicoastal event produced by Morrison Hotel Gallery, a special exhibition and sale featuring rock band Queen opens in Los Angeles, Calif. on Nov. 2 and Nov. 5 in New York City, N.Y., in time for the theatrical film release of “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Both galley presentations will continue through Nov. 10 and feature never-before-seen images of the band and its lead singer Freddie Mercury captured by rock photographers Mick Rock, Richard E. Aaron, Lynn Goldsmith, Patrick Harbron, Steve Joester and Paul McAlpine.
Catholic man responds to minister resignation
Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry has issued a statement in response to the forced resignation of a gay pastoral minister, Aaron Bianco, who feared for his life after 18 months of terrorist tactics.
Archbishop comment spells trouble
In another statement by Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, he said that Archbishop Charles Chaput’s statement about LGBT Catholics at the Vatican’s synod on youth made in early October was “a perfect example of how some church leaders have been so blinded by ideological homophobia and transphobia that they cannot perceive plain human facts accurately.” DeBernardo added that the archbishop’s comments reflect the dangerous avoidance mentality that is the cause of the clergy sexual abuse scandal and so many of the ills which plague the Catholic Church today.” The full reporting is available online.
Golfer shares coming out story
Ben Palmer told his story in a feature with Out Sports about how he came out to his classmates in high school in Hendersonville, N.C. While sitting around the lunch table, he divulged that when asked when he was going to come out, he replied with no hesitation, “I guess right now.” Palmer played golf in high school which was considered a gay sport among many at his school. Palmer now attends Blue Ridge Community College where he is studying criminal justice.
Jupiter appears trans in NASA photo
A photo released by NASA in October showcased colors mimicking the transgender Pride flag and has created social media buzz across the globe, GayVA reported. It seems that the Astronomy Picture of the Day had Twitch streamer Ashley Nova tweeting that Jupiter was transgender.
info: apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap181016.html. gayva.com.
Series tells teen stories
A new docuseries, “Room to Grow,” premiered as part of National Coming Out Day. Produced by Revry Original, the series chronicles the lives of LGBTQ teens and families across the U.S.
CDC approves Gardasil for adults
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in early October announced approved expanded use of the HPV Gardasil 9 vaccine for adults in the 27-45 age group. Gardasil 9 prevents certain cancers and diseases caused by the nine HPV types covered by the vaccine.
Sex reassignment surgery to hit milestone
According to a Global Market Sights, Inc. research study, the worldwide sex reassignment surgery market is poised to surpass $968 million by 2024. Those opting for surgery globally is on the rise, especially in the U.S. Over the last decade, increases were nearly fourfold.