HRC, UCONN release report on Asian and Pacific Islander LGBTQ youth

WASHINGTON — The Human Rights Campaign and the University of Connecticut released a report on Asian and Pacific Islander (API) LGBTQ youth on Wednesday. The HRC said in a press release that the report, the 2019 LGBTQ Asian and Pacific Islander Youth Report, analyzes responses from nearly 1,200 young people who participated in HRC’s online 2017 LGBTQ Teen Survey,  and reveals elevated levels of stress among 13-to-17-year-olds, and a lack of comfort in being open about their identity at home and in school. “While there is power in being both a person of color and LGBTQ, we know that discrimination against people holding multiple marginalized identities can be magnified — and this is true for the many young LGBTQ Asian and Pacific Islanders we surveyed,” said Ellen Kahn, HRC Foundation director of the children, youth and families program. “Our findings make it clear that we must address the harmful policies and practices, negative or nonexistent portrayals in the media, challenges in finding culturally competent support and historically maintained systems of racial oppression that complicate the ability of LGBTQ API youth to thrive.”

The report is being released during Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month to further conversations about the intersections of LGBTQ experiences and Asian American and Pacific Islander identities. HRC and researchers at the University of Connecticut found that:

Only 19% of LGBTQ API youth say they can “definitely” be themselves at home, and only 29% say they can “definitely” be themselves in school;
84% of respondents rate their average stress level a 5 or higher on a 10-point scale;
Only 9% of respondents said they would be very comfortable discussing a question about their LGBTQ identity with a counselor;
Over half of transgender and gender-expansive API youth surveyed can never use the restroom that aligns with gender identity at school.


State, local governments sue over new HHS ‘religious objection’ rule

NEW YORK — States and local governments are suing the Trump administration to stop enforcement of the Department of Health and Human Services new “religious objection” rule. The rule, finalized at the beginning of May, would allow healthcare providers and organizations to refuse to provide types of care because of “religious objections.” It protects anyone who refuses to provide services related to provide, participate in, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for, services such as abortion, sterilization, assisted suicide or others. Religious objection also happens to be a major reason for refusing treatment of LGBTQ people, especially if they’re transgender. The rule is set to go into effect on July 22. Reuters reported that two dozen states and municipalities are part of the lawsuit.

Lambda Legal sues HHS for failure to disclose documents relating to LGBTQ people

NEW YORK — Lambda Legal on Wednesday filed a federal lawsuit to compel the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to release information about their communications with outside organizations and decisions pertaining to the health care and well-being of LGBTQ people, including the alleged suspension of the publication and implementation of LGBTQ nondiscrimination rules and regulations. Lambda Legal filed three Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with HHS more than one year ago for documents and communications relating to LGBTQ people and the decision to freeze implementation of these rules. HHS has so far provided no records for any of these requests. “Since taking office, the Trump administration has sought to undermine the mission of the Department of Health and Human Services, and sought to promote discrimination against LGBTQ people in all spheres of life, particularly in health care. We deserve to know how and why they have made these decisions,” said Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, senior staff attorney and health care strategist at Lambda Legal.

Arrest made in murder of transgender woman in Philly

PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia police have arrested a man suspected of killing Michelle Washington, according to local media. 

Washington, a 40 year old transgender woman, was found shot in North Philadelphia on Sunday. Philadelphia TV station WVPI reported that Troy Bailey, 28, is charged in the murder and related crimes. From WVPI:
Police said Bailey came to police headquarters voluntarily Monday morning, but his story started to unravel and he was placed under arrest. Smith said, “Initially, Mr. Bailey claimed that he was an eyewitness to the murder. So he came down to the homicide unit of his own accord and then the investigation began to lean toward Mr. Bailey as being a suspect.”

Trump administration to gut protections for transgender people in homeless shelters

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration announced a rule that could deny transgender homeless people shelter access on Thursday. The proposal, announced by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, centers on the Equal Access Rule, first published in 2012 to ensure shelters and programs do not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. HUD Secretary Ben Carson plans to weaken those provisions and other protections for transgender people seeking access to HUD programs.

On Wednesday, Carson told a House committee that HUD had no plans for revising the Equal Access Rule, stating, “I’m not going to say what we will do in the future about anything. I’m not currently anticipating changing the rule.”

“This is a heartless attack on some of the most vulnerable people in our society,” said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, in a statement. “The programs impacted by this rule are life-saving for transgender people, particularly youth rejected by their families, and a lack of stable housing fuels the violence and abuse that takes the lives of many transgender people of color across the country.

‘Stonewall Generation’ confronts old age, sickness — and discrimination

By JoNel Aleccia and Melissa Bailey
Kaiser Health News

WASHINGTON — Two years ago, nursing professor Kim Acquaviva asked a group of home care nurses whether they thought she was going to hell for being a lesbian. It’s OK if you do, Acquaviva said, but is the afterlife within your scope of practice? After Acquaviva’s talk, an older nurse announced she would change how she treats LGBTQ people under her care. “I still think you’re going to hell, but I’m going to stop telling patients that,” the nurse told Acquaviva. Acquaviva, a professor at the George Washington University School of Nursing in Washington, D.C., raised the example Tuesday at a panel hosted by Kaiser Health News on inclusive care for LGBTQ seniors.

Another transgender woman of color killed, this time near Philly

PHILADELPHIA — A transgender woman of color was killed in North Philadelphia this past Sunday. The news comes just after news of the death of Muhlaysia Booker in Dallas was becoming known. The Philadelphia Gay News reported that Michelle Washington was shot in North Philadelphia. From the PGN:
The incident took place on the 3400 block of North 11th Street in North Philadelphia’s Franklinville neighborhood. Police responded to the scene at approximately 5:07 a.m.

Washington, who was in her 30s, suffered gunshot wounds to the head, body and buttock, according to police.

Nevada the latest state to ban gay, trans panic defenses

CARSON CITY — Nevada has become the fourth state to ban the gay and trans panic defenses. Illinois is one of those four states. The others are California and Rhode Island. NBC OUT reported that Senate Bill 97 signed into law on Tuesday. It prohibits defendants from using a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity or expression as a defense in a criminal case.


Equality Act passes U.S. House

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Equality Act on Friday. It now goes to the Senate. The Washington Post reported that the bill passed 236-to-173, with eight Republicans breaking ranks and joining all Democrats in backing the measure. Whether or not it gets a vote in the Senate is another question. Trump has already voiced opposition to it.