Showing posts with label LGBTQ. Show all posts
Showing posts with label LGBTQ. Show all posts

November 6, 2018

2018 Midterms and Nine LGBTQ Congressional Candidates You Should Know👀

Representation by people from the LGBTQ community is still sparse within the U.S. government, especially for some of the most powerful positions.
Congress, in particular, has remained largely white, male, cisgender, and straight for the majority of the country’s history. And in the Senate, there’s been a slow change, with politicians like Illinois’s Carol Moseley Braun, who became the first woman of color elected to the Senate, in 1992, and Wisconsin’s Tammy Baldwin, who became the first openly gay person elected to the U.S. Senate, in 2012.
Fortunately, the range of candidates running for and being elected to government positions has become more diverse, with a historic number of LGBTQ candidates who've won primaries this year. Now, ahead of the November 6 midterms, there are more LGBTQ candidates running than ever before. Below, we introduce some of these candidates and explain what you should know about them.

Katie Hill, 31 — 25th Congressional District, California

  Katie Hill for Congress
Katie Hill is a bisexual woman who is vying to unseat anti-LGBTQ Rep. Steve Knight in California. Hill’s platform prioritizes advancing LGBTQ equality, finding solutions to homelessness, and advancing the expansion of Medicaid and other health care programs in California. She is a Democrat and also comes from a background of service, having run a homeless services agency. 

She’s also talked at length about her experiences with being pregnant at 18 years old and the importance of a woman’s right to choose. Hill is running in a traditionally Republican district, where Republican representatives have been the majority for years. 
[[Sharice Davids, 38 — 3rd Congressional District, Kansas]] If elected to represent the 3rd district in Kansas, Democrat Sharice Davids could become one of two first Native American women in Congress (the other being Deb Haaland of New Mexico). With a victory following November 6, Davids would also be making history as Kansas's first openly LGBTQ representative.
Davids participated in the White House Fellowship program in 2016 during Obama’s presidency. She’s also a former mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter — so she’s no stranger to tough fights.

Lauren Baer, 37 — 18th Congressional District, Florida
Barrier-breaking Lauren Baer, who’s running in Florida’s 18th district as a Democrat, could become Florida’s first-ever openly LGBTQ congressperson if elected. Baer is running to make Florida better for the most marginalized communities and has focused on championing quality, affordable health care, improving public schools, and combating environmental issues.
She also served as an official in the Obama administration from 2011 to 2017, acting as a senior adviser to secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, as well as to the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

 The second time could be the charm for Angie Craig, who first ran against Republican Representative Jason Lewis in 2016 and lost by only two points. If elected, Craig would become Minnesota's first openly LGBTQ representative. She is running as a Democrat.
Craig has spent more than 20 years working in the health care field. Now, she says she wants to use her experience to fix health care systems that currently don’t prioritize or help the most marginalized people, and to provide more opportunities for health care expansion so that all families in Minnesota have access to services. 
Jamie McLeod-Skinner, 51 — 2nd Congressional District, Oregon
Jamie McLeod-Skinner, a Democrat, was the first openly lesbian person elected to the Santa Clara City Council in California, in 2004. If elected in Oregon on November 6, she will become the state’s first openly LGBTQ congressperson. She believes it’s way past time to provide health care for all people and is striving to rebuild the middle class, as well as to focus on the needs of rural communities.
Ultimately, she’s hoping to unseat a lifelong politician, Republican Representative Greg Walden, who has been re-elected every time since first winning Oregon’s 2nd Congressional District, in 1998.

 Chris Pappas, 38 — 1st Congressional District, New Hampshire

Chris Pappas, the Democratic candidate from New Hampshire, is openly gay and already heavily involved in local politics, having represented his district on the New Hampshire Executive Council for the past five years. Pappas supports universal health care, reproductive health, and family planning, and has championed strong public school systems as the foundation of society. Pappas’s district is traditionally a swing district, so his win would be a big deal both for New Hampshire and for the country as a whole. The district, which has toggled between Democratic and Republican representatives every election for the past decade, could have its politics transformed by whichever candidate wins.
 Kyrsten Sinema, 42 — 9th Congressional District, Arizona
A Democrat, Kyrsten Sinema is the current congressional representative in Arizona, serving for the past five years. She’s also the first openly bisexual Senate nominee ever. Sinema has prioritized expanding access to quality, affordable health care, creating educational opportunities, helping veterans receive benefits and creating good-paying jobs for people in Arizona.
Now, according to her platform, she has plans to fix a “dysfunctional Washington,” as well as to continue to make good on the promises and issues she’s prioritized since taking office.

My Approved PortraitsIncumbent candidate Tammy Baldwin was the first openly gay person elected to the Senate, in 2012 (as well as the state’s first woman to be elected to serve in the Senate). Before that, she served in the House of Representatives for 14 years. During her career, Baldwin has important health care reform initiatives, like the rule that allows young people to stay on their parents’ insurance up to age 26. She has also pushed for action to be taken to address the opioid epidemic.
During this race, Baldwin has upheld these same values in her current platform, and is also prioritizing issues like fighting for debt-free higher-education opportunities for students.

Mark Pocan, 54 — 2nd Congressional District, Wisconsin
Also an incumbent in Wisconsin, Mark Pocan is currently one of only seven LGBTQ members in Congress. Pocan serves as co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, in addition to the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus.
Among other issues, Pocan is pushing to increase social-safety-net programs that help families, including unemployment compensation, aid to increase access to higher-education assistance, health care reform, and bolstering Social Security for seniors. Pocan has most recently introduced legislation that would terminate the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) and instead “implement a humane immigration enforcement system that upholds the dignity of all individuals,” according to a press release from his office.


Running! is a Teen Vogue series on getting 

involved in the government.

December 22, 2017

Report Highlights Dangers of Religious Exemption Laws for LGBT Elders

 Everybody Ages and some days are longer for some than for others


[NEW YORK, NY] The Movement Advancement Project (MAP), the Public Rights/Private Conscience Project (PRPCP) at Columbia Law School, and SAGE, the nation’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of LGBT elders, released a new report, Dignity Denied: Religious Exemptions and LGBT Elder ServicesTo download the report, visit
The report highlights the unique ways in which lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) elders are harmed by a growing number of laws and policies aimed at exempting religious organizations and individuals from following nondiscrimination and civil rights laws and policies.
By 2050, the number of people older than 65 will double to 83.7 million, and there are currently more than 2.7 million LGBT adults who are 50 years or older living across the country. LGBT elders face unique challenges to successful aging stemming from current and past structural and legal discrimination because of their sexual orientation, their gender identity, their age, and other factors like race. These risk factors are exacerbated by recent efforts at the local, state, and federal levels to allow those with religious or moral objections to be exempt from nondiscrimination laws, leaving LGBT older adults vulnerable to increased risk for discrimination and mistreatment.
According to the report released by MAP, PRPCP at Columbia Law School, and SAGE, religiously affiliated organizations provide a majority of the services LGBT elders rely on for their most basic needs. LGBT older adults, like many older Americans in the United States, access a network of service providers for health care, community programming and congregate meals, food and income assistance, and housing, ranging from independent living to skilled in-home nursing. Approximately 85% of nonprofit continuing-care retirement communities are affiliated with a religion. Religiously affiliated facilities also provide the greatest number of affordable housing units that serve low-income seniors. Finally, 14% of hospitals in the United States are religiously affiliated, accounting for 17% of all the country’s hospital beds.
While many of these facilities provide quality care for millions of older adults, there exists a coordinated nationwide effort to pass religious exemption laws and policies, and file lawsuits that would allow individuals, businesses, and even government contractors and grantees to use religion as a basis for discriminating against a range of communities, including LGBT elders.
Dignity Denied: Religious Exemptions and LGBT Elder Services outlines myriad federal and state efforts to allow individuals, businesses, and organizations to opt out of following nondiscrimination laws as long as they cite a religious objection. While most providers will do the right thing when it comes to serving their clients, some will only do so when required by law. The report concludes that because so many service providers are religiously affiliated, these laws pose a considerable threat to the health and well-being of LGBT older adults.
In conjunction with the release of the report, a panel discussion was held on Friday, December 15, at Union Theological Seminary at Columbia University featuring speakers from Center for Faith and Community Partnerships, The LGBT & HIV Project, American Civil Liberties Union, The Movement Advancement Project, The New Jewish Home, New York City Commission on Human Rights, Public Rights/Private Conscience Project, Columbia Law School, the Union Theological Seminary, and SAGE.
“This report and the amicus brief SAGE filed in the Masterpiece Cake case clearly demonstrate that personal religious beliefs should never be a license to discriminate against LGBT people or anybody else,” said Michael Adams, CEO of SAGE. “That’s why we are bringing together aging experts, religious leaders, and our elders to expose the dangers that so-called religious exemptions pose for LGBT elders who need care and services. We must not allow the door of a nursing home or other critical care provider to slam in LGBT elders’ faces just because of who they are or who they love.”
“This important report reveals the many ways in which the privatization of elder services, largely to conservative religiously affiliated providers, leaves LGBT older adults no choice but to obtain care in facilities that do not welcome them,” said Katherine Franke, Sulzbacher Professor of Law, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Faculty Director of PRPCP at Columbia University. “The many LGBT elders who are adherents of faith-based traditions themselves suffer a special indignity when they are forced to seek care in settings that deny the dignity of both their LGBT identity and their faith-based beliefs.”
“LGBT older adults already are more likely to be isolated and vulnerable. It is unconscionable that state and federal governments are working to allow providers to deny critical health care services and vital social supports to LGBT older adults simply because of who they are,” said Ineke Mushovic, executive director of the Movement Advancement Project. “Imagine how much harder it would be to reach out for help if you knew the organizations that were supposed to help you could legally reject you, and the government would back them up.”
The Movement Advancement Project (MAP) is an independent think tank that provides rigorous research, insight, and analysis that help speed equality for LGBT people. MAP works collaboratively with LGBT organizations, advocates and funders, providing information, analysis and resources that help coordinate and strengthen efforts for maximum impact. MAP’s policy research informs the public and policymakers about the legal and policy needs of LGBT people and their families.  Learn more at
PRPCP at Columbia Law School’s mission is to bring legal academic expertise to bear on the multiple contexts in which religious liberty rights conflict with or undermine other fundamental rights to equality and liberty. We undertake approaches to the developing law of religion that both respects the importance of religious liberty and recognizes the ways in which too broad an accommodation of these rights threatens Establishment Clause violations and can unsettle a proper balance with other competing fundamental rights. Our work takes the form of legal research and scholarship, public policy interventions, advocacy support, and academic and media publications.
SAGE is the country's largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) older adults. Founded in 1978 and headquartered in New York City, SAGE is a national organization that offers supportive services and consumer resources to LGBT older adults and their caregivers, advocates for public policy changes that address the needs of LGBT older people, provides education and technical assistance for aging providers and LGBT organizations through its National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, and cultural competence training through SAGECare. Headquartered in New York City, with staff across the country, SAGE also coordinates a growing network of affiliates in the United States. Learn more at

July 26, 2017

'These Queers Kill Fascists' .....Gays Fighting Isis in Syria

These Faggots Kill Fascists! We shoot back! The Black & Pink and Rainbow flag fly in Raqqa. smashing the Caliphate.

A group of LGBT people fighting against Isis in Syria has formed their own military unit as the battle to eradicate the Islamist organization continues. 
Isis has brutally persecuted LGBT people for several years and considers being gay to be a crime punishable by death.
Now a number of international volunteers fighting alongside Kurdish forces in northern Syria have formed an LGBT military unit and named it “The Queer Insurrection and Liberation Army” (TQILA) – pronounced “Tequila”.
The group was set up under the umbrella of the International Revolutionary People’s Guerrilla Forces (IRPGF), an anarchist group taking part in the fight against Isis.
TQILA's formation was announced in a statement posted on its Twitter page.
“We, the International Revolutionary People’s Guerrilla Forces (IRPGF) formally announce the formation of The Queer Insurrection and Liberation Army (TQILA), a subgroup of the IRPGF comprised of LGBT*QI+ comrades as well as others who seek to smash the gender binary and advance the women’s revolution as well as the broader gender and sexual revolution,” it said.
“TQILA’s members have watched in horror as fascists and extremist forces around the world have attacked the Queer community and murdered countless of our community members citing that they are ‘ill’, ‘sick’, and ‘unnatural’.
“The images of gay men being thrown off roofs and stoned to death by Daesh [Isis] was something we could not idly watch.”
The group said “hatred for Queer, Trans* and other non-binary peoples” is not limited to Isis but is also present among “Christian conservatives in the global northwest”.
The statement ends: “Queer liberation! Death to rainbow capitalism! Shoot back! These faggots kill fascists!”
Further details about the unit remain scarce and a spokesman for the group told Newsweek they would not be revealed for security reasons. Pictures posted on social media showed masked soldiers in military uniforms holding guns and standing in front of a banner reading: “These Faggots Kill Fascists, TGILA-IRPGF”.
In the background, other soldiers hold the rainbow flag and a banner showing the group’s logo – an AK47 on a pink background.
Isis has frequently murdered people in Iraq and Syria who it deems to be LGBT, including releasing videos showing gay people being pushed off buildings and stoned to death. 
Kurdish forces are unusual in their recognition of gender equality. They include all-female units and generally treat men and women as equals.
Isis has suffered several major defeats in recent months. It has been driven out of the city of Mosul in northern Iraq – its last remaining stronghold in the country. At the same time, its main base in Syria – the city of Raqqa – is under siege by a Western-backed coalition of forces that includes Kurdish units.

July 17, 2017

Prominent Honduran LGBTQ Rights Advocate Brutally Attacked Inside His Home

David Valle is a prominent Honduran LGBT rights advocate who was attacked in his home in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, on July 10, 2017. (Photo courtesy of Alex Sorto/Somos CDC)


A prominent Honduran LGBTI rights advocate was brutally attacked inside his home on Monday
Criterio, a Honduran newspaper, reported a man rang the doorbell of David Valle’s home in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa at around 10 p.m. local time.
Valle, who is with the Center for LGBTI Development and Cooperation, an advocacy group known by the acronym SOMOS-CDC, opened the door and the man immediately smashed his head against a wall.

Criterio reported Valle tried to use his feet to shut the door.
The man who attacked Valle chased him through his home with a “knife-like weapon.” Criterio reported the man beat Valle for more than 10 minutes before he left with his cell phone and the keys to his home and car.

Valle’s roommate found him roughly three hours later when he arrived home.
Personnel at the Honduran Institute of Social Security — a government agency that provides health care — treated Valle before his transfer to a private hospital on Tuesday.

Honduran advocates with whom the Los Angeles Blade spoke this week said Valle suffered serious injuries to his head and other parts of his body and required dozens of stitches. They said he was brought to a safe house after the hospital discharged him.

“He fought for his life,” SOMOS-CDC Executive Director Alex Sorto told the Blade on Thursday during a WhatsApp interview from Tegucigalpa.
Valle was expected to attend a meeting of Honduran LGBTI advocacy groups in the city of San Pedro Sula on Monday that the U.S. Agency for International Development has organized.

Valle, who ran for office in 2011, has participated in Gay and Lesbian Victory Institute-sponsored meetings and conferences in Honduras, the U.S. and the Dominican Republic. SOMOS-CDC has also received funding from a European Union program that seeks to bolster Honduras’ judicial system and improve access to it.
The Blade has reached out to U.S. officials for comment on the attack against Valle.

Honduran LGBTI, human rights advocates frequently targeted
Violence against LGBTI and human rights advocates remains commonplace in Honduras, which has one of the world’s highest per capita murder rates.

RenĂ© MartĂ­nez, a prominent activist from San Pedro Sula who was a member of Honduran President Juan Orlando HernĂĄndez’s ruling National Party, was strangled to death in June 2016.

The body of Sherlyn Montoya, a volunteer for Grupo de Mujeres Transexuales (Muñecas Arcoíris), a transgender advocacy group, was found in an alley in a Tegucigalpa neighborhood on April 4.
Paola Barraza, Erick MartĂ­nez Ávila and Walter TrĂłchez are among the other LGBT and intersex rights advocates who have been killed since the 2009 coup that toppled then-President Manuel Zelaya. The 2016 murder of Berta CĂĄcares, a prominent environmental and indigenous rights advocate, sparked outrage across Honduras and around the world. 

The motive behind the attack against Valle remains unclear, but he and Sorto on April 27 petitioned Honduran authorities to provide them with protection because their advocacy efforts had prompted threats. Sorto told the Blade on Thursday that he and Valle only received “some response” in order to “keep our mouths shut or to satisfy us.”

The Honduran National Police has yet to respond to the Blade’s request for comment.
“Honduran human rights advocates are on the frontlines risking their lives to fight for equality and better the lives of fellow citizens,” Gay and Lesbian Victory Institute Director of International Programs Luis Abolafia Anguita told the Blade on Friday in a statement. “Honduras has already lost too many to violence — including Berta CĂĄceres in her fight for the environment and indigenous rights, and Rene MartĂ­nez in his fight for LGBTQ equality.”

“This vicious attack on David is a reminder of the courage of these activists, and it is essential the government step-up its efforts to protect human rights activists exercising their democratic rights,” he added. “We will continue working with our partners on-the-ground to increase LGBTQ political participation, so that our community has a voice at the table and can work to end the intolerance and violence LGBTQ Hondurans regularly face.”

(Honduras, gay news, Washington Blade) 

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