Pritzker signs LGBTQ-inclusive jury service non-discrimination legislation

CHICAGO — On Aug. 9, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a law that will protect LGBTQ Illinoisans from discrimination in jury service, according to Equality Illinois. “Serving on a jury is a fundamental obligation of American democracy. Now, like other pro-equality states, Illinois will protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in jury service,” said Michael Ziri, Director of Public Policy at Equality Illinois, the state’s civil rights organization for LGBTQ people. “This new law will bring our judicial system nearer to eliminating discrimination and ensuring equal protection under the law.

medical

Lambda Legal to HHS: Health care discrimination against LGBT people is illegal

WASHINGTON — On Tuesday, Lambda Legal submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services objecting to a proposed rule change that seeks to roll back the protections under the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) nondiscrimination provision (also known as Section 1557) that prohibit discrimination in health care on the basis of sex. The proposed rule seeks to carve-out LGBT people from the ACA’s nondiscrimination protections, inviting health care workers, doctors, hospitals and health insurance companies that receive federal funding to refuse to provide or cover health care services critical to the health and wellbeing of LGBT people and people living with HIV. But this attempt to roll back protections through an agency rule change cannot change the law itself. 

“The ACA is a law that prohibits health care and insurance providers from discriminating based on sex, which means LGBTQ patients are protected,” said Senior and Transgender Rights Project Attorney for Lambda Legal, Sasha Buchert. “This is an especially appalling attempt by the Trump administration to harm LGBTQ people because health care is so important, and because discrimination against transgender patients in particular is both rampant and devastating. The administration knows full well that court after court has held that the ACA protects transgender people.

Illinois Safe Schools Alliance merges with Public Health Institute of Metropolitan Chicago

CHICAGO — After almost a year of integrating operations, the Boards of Directors for Public Health Institute of Metropolitan Chicago (PHIMC) and Illinois Safe Schools Alliance (the Alliance) are delighted to announce their merger. Going forward, the Alliance will be a program of PHIMC. The two organizations signed a memorandum of understanding in September 2018, expressing their intent to merge. Since then, PHIMC and the Alliance have worked together to consolidate daily operations, unite strategic goals, and create a strong, dynamic partnership. Last month, in a unanimous vote, leaders of both organizations approved the merger.

Gay man tortured during 2017 crackdown in Chechnya reveals his identity

TORONTO, July 30, 2019 /PRNewswire/ – In 2017, Amin Dzhabrailov was being held in a torture facility somewhere in Chechnya, unsure if he would ever make it out alive. Now, after escaping with the help of Rainbow Railroad, Dzhabrailov has bravely gone public with his story, in a Timearticle entitled “A Victim of the Anti-Gay Purge in Chechnya Speaks Out: ‘The Truth Exists.'”

Very few of those who survived the 2017 crackdown against gay men in Chechnya have dared speak out with their name and face attached. Many live in fear that, even safe in a new country, Chechen authorities will hunt them down. “I hope this helps save lives,” Dzhabrailov, who now lives in Toronto, says about speaking to Time. “There are so many people in Chechnya still so scared to talk about what happened to them.

Military experts, medical associations and HIV advocates oppose Trump DOD’s discharge policy for HIV-positive airmen

Image by skeeze from PixabayNEW YORK — Military leaders, medical associations, public health groups, and HIV advocates joined three friend-of-the court briefs filed today in support of a federal lawsuit challenging the Pentagon’s discriminatory policies, which prevent service members living with HIV from deploying to most locations outside the United States. These deployment restrictions recently resulted in decisions to discharge a number of Airmen.  The briefs being filed today in Roe and Voe v Shanahan before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit urge the court to uphold a preliminary injunction preventing the Air Force from discharging service members with HIV. “Given the assessment of military experts and the advances in HIV treatment, the Pentagon’s policy of refusing to deploy—and now to discharge—HIV-positive servicemembers who honorably serve our country is utterly discriminatory, outdated and unnecessary,” said Scott Schoettes, HIV Project Director and Counsel at Lambda Legal. “As the world’s largest employer with 2.5 million employees, it is outrageous that the Department of Defense has a harmful and unlawful policy that perpetrates stigma, jeopardizes public health, and dishonors servicemembers.”  

In the lawsuit, Lambda Legal and the Modern Military Association of America (OutServe-SLDN) represent two active duty airmen, identified anonymously as Roe and Voe, who served their country honorably for years until they were discharged in 2018 for being HIV-positive.. The briefs argue that the Pentagon’s categorical exclusion and discharge of HIV-service members is outdated, irrational and discriminatory given the strides in HIV medicine that allow people living with HIV to suppress HIV to undetectable levels, return to health, and lead full lives. The briefs further argue that the Pentagon’s policies lacks scientific support and justification, enact real world harms, and undermine broader public health—debunking erroneous claims by the government.

One Iowa to host Midwest LGBTQ Older Adults Conference

DES MOINES — One Iowa, a statewide LGBTQ organization, will host the Midwest LGBTQ Older Adults Conference on Wednesday, August 7 from 8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. at the Goodwill of Central Iowa Headquarters in Johnston. Formerly known as the LGBTQ Senior Summit, this annual event provides workshops and networking opportunities to address the needs of older LGBTQ people in Iowa. This year’s theme is “Legacy and Empowerment”, and older LGBTQ individuals and service providers who work with them are encouraged to attend and connect with one another. “76 percent of LGBTQ adults are anxious about having ‘adequate family and/or social supports to rely on as they age’ according to 2018 AARP data,” One Iowa Interim Executive Director Courtney Reyes said. “That number is far too high, and that’s why we’ve worked with our LGBTQ Older Adult Advisory Council to develop a conference specifically targeting areas of highest concern for this community.