Lambda Legal and Black AIDS Institute launch ‘Cut the Stigma’ campaign

LOS ANGELES — Lambda Legal and the Black AIDS Institute (BAI) launched “Cut the Stigma” on Wednesday. Cut the Stigma is a joint public education campaign focused on Black communities developed to dispel misconceptions surrounding the transmission of HIV and reduce HIV stigma and its resulting discrimination. Lambda Legal said in a press release that the ampaign was developed in conjunction with a complaint filed in United States District Court by Lambda Legal on behalf of Nikko Briteramos against the owner of a Los Angeles barbershop who refused to cut Briteramos’s hair because he is HIV-positive. “My experience at the Leimert Park barbershop was not the first I have had with HIV discrimination. Today, I am speaking out because I would like it to be my last,” said Nikko Briteramos, 34, in the press release.

Study shows no HIV transmission with undetectable partners

AMSTERDAM — Researchers at the 22nd International AIDS Conference confirmed Tuesday that the chance of any HIV-positive person with an undetectable viral load transmitting the virus to a sexual partner is scientifically equivalent to zero. Aidsmap reported that the results were presented during the opening press conference for the event. From Aidsmap:
Final results from the PARTNER study were presented this morning at a press conference on the opening day of AIDS 2018. Results originally announced in 2014 from the first phase, PARTNER 1, already indicated that “Undetectable equals Untransmittable” (U=U). However, the statistical certainty of this result was not quite as convincing in the case of gay men, or for anal sex, as it was for vaginal sex. Results from PARTNER 2, the second phase, which only recruited gay couples, were presented today.

CVS pharmacist who refused to fill hormone prescription fired

PHOENIX — The pharmacist who refused to fill a transgender woman’s hormone prescription has been fired by CVS, USA Today reported Saturday. Hilde Hall got national attention with her blog post last week about being refused her hormone prescription by a pharmacist in suburban Phoenix. She wrote in the blog post that she hadn’t heard back after sending complaints to CVS corporate headquarters. The company has definitely responded. They fired the pharmacist on Friday.

LGBTQ orgs ask court to stop discharges of HIV-positive service members

WASHINGTON — LGBTQ rights organizations have gone to court to stop the Trump administration from discharging HIV-positive service members. Lambda Legal and OUTServe-SLDN, along with pro bono counsel from Winston & Strawn LLP, on Thursday asked a federal court to halt implementation of a new Department of Defense policy resulting in the discharge of service members living with HIV. Lambda Legal said the motion for a preliminary injunction filed in Harrison v. Mattis—a case challenging the military’s discriminatory policies governing the enlistment, deployment, and promotion of service members living with HIV—follows multiple calls from other service members that plaintiffs’ attorneys received after his case was filed in May. Harrison v. Mattis was filed in June on behalf of Nicholas Harrison, a sergeant in the District of Columbia Army National Guard who was denied an officer position. He’s been positive since 2012.

Transgender woman says pharmacist refused to provide hormone prescription

PHOENIX — A transgender woman in Arizona has said a pharmacist at a CVS location refused to provide prescribed hormones this past April. This is the second time in a week that CVS has been under fire for the discriminatory actions of employees. Hilde Hall had just received the prescriptions to start her transition that day. She talked about the experience in a blog post for the American Civil Liberties Association (ACLU). From Hall’s blog post:
He did not give me a clear reason for the refusal.

Federal court denies another try at a transgender military ban

SAN FRANCISCO — U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit denied another attempt by the Trump Administration to implement its plan to ban transgender people from serving openly in the U.S. Armed Services on Wednesday, Lambda Legal said. The ruling in the lawsuit brought by Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN and joined by the State of Washington denied the administration’s motion to stay the preliminary injunction a lower court granted in December 2017, and affirmed last month. The injunction blocks implementation of the ban and enables transgender people to continue enlisting in the military. The court said that the stay requested by the government “would upend, rather than preserve, the status quo,” which currently allows transgender people to serve in the military. “Seven courts across the country have considered this so-called plan, and seven courts have recognized that there is no defensible reason to bar transgender Americans from serving our nation,” Staff Sergeant Cathrine (Katie) Schmid said in a statement from Lambda Legal.

Episcopal Chruch to allow same-sex weddings in all churches

AUSTIN, Texas — The U.S. Episcopal Church voted to permit same-sex couples at all of their congregation as they wrapped up their General Convention. The Tennessean reported that the church had the vote on Friday. From The Tennessean:

The General Convention, which wrapped up its triennial meeting in Austin, Texas, on Friday, passed a resolution with overwhelming support that makes it so all couples can marry in their local congregations. They now do so under the direction of their priest, instead of their bishop. “I am thrilled,” said Connally Davies Penley, a member of All Sacraments for All People. The local grassroots group has been advocating for equal access to marriage within the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee since Bishop John Bauerschmidt announced his ban on same-sex weddings in 2015.

Blade: Bill to ban ‘gay panic’ defense nationally submitted

WASHINGTON — The Washington Blade reported on Friday that a bill that would ban the “gay panic” defense nationally has been submitted in the U.S. House and Senate. The “gay panic” defense, per Wikipedia, is a legal defense, usually against charges of assault or murder, where the defendent claims they acted in a state of violent temporary insanity because of unwanted advances. Illinois banned the defense in 2017. It was only the second state to ban it after California. From the Blade:
The bill, introduced by Rep. Joseph Kennedy III (D-Mass.) in the U.S. House and Edward Markey (D-Mass.) in the U.S. Senate, is called the Gay & Trans Panic Defense Prohibition Act and would ban the use of anti-LGBT panic defense from being cited as a legal defense in federal court.