Showing posts with label HRC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label HRC. Show all posts

Friday, January 21, 2022

Colorado’s LGBTQ+ Laws Rated in Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2021 State Equality Index

Today, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, and the Equality Federation Institute released their 8th annual State Equality Index (SEI). The SEI is a comprehensive report that groups states into several broad categories regarding the type of advocacy that occurs there and details statewide laws and policies that affect LGBTQ+ people and their families. Colorado falls into the category, “Working Toward Innovative Equality.”

This year a record breaking 21 states and Washington, D.C. were recognized in the SEI for prioritizing innovative measures to advance LGBTQ+ equality. These states have robust LGBTQ+ non-discrimination laws covering housing, healthcare and public accommodations. Although there has been incredible progress, by only March 2021, state legislatures across the country had filed more legislation that specifically targeted the transgender community than in modern history. In contrast, 2020 had previously held the record of the most anti-transgender legislation introduced, with 79 pieces of legislation—2021 had 147.

“The 2021 State Equality Index outlines and analyzes how over a dozen states across the country led an intentional, coordinated attack on the transgender community, particularly children, that has led to villainization, blatant discrimination, and ultimately, violence,” said JoDee Winterhof, Human Rights Campaign Senior Vice President of Policy and Political Affairs. “On the other hand, we have seen a record-breaking amount of states step-up for LGBTQ+ equality and fight to pass laws that champion inclusivity and equity in the face of sweeping discrimination. It is clear that considerable effort has been, and continues to be made, to prevent anti-LGBTQ+ legislation from becoming law, progress toward LGBTQ+ equality in the states truly cannot be stopped.”

In 2021, anti-transgender legislation took several forms: 81 bills aimed to prevent transgender youth from playing school sports consistent with their gender identity, and 43 bills to prevent transgender youth from receiving gender-affirming healthcare. Additionally, two bathroom bills were passed in Tennessee and Arkansas passed the first-ever ban preventing transgender youth from accessing gender-affirming care. By the end of the 2021 legislative session, another record 13 bills attacking transgender youth passed into law.

The SEI’s assessment of statewide LGBTQ+-related legislation and policies in the areas of parenting laws and policies, religious refusal and relationship recognition laws, non-discrimination laws and policies, hate crime and criminal justice laws, youth-related laws and policies and health and safety laws and policies has placed each state in one of four distinct categories based on the type of advocacy that takes place there:

• Twenty-One states and the District of Columbia are in the highest-rated category, “Working Toward Innovative Equality”: California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; District of Columbia; Hawaii; Illinois; Iowa, Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Minnesota; Nevada; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; Oregon; Rhode Island; Vermont; Virginia and Washington.

•Three states are in the category “Solidifying Equality”: Alaska; Pennsylvania; and Utah.

•Four states are in the category “Building Equality”: Florida; Kansas; North Dakota; and Wisconsin.

•Twenty-Two states are in the lowest-rated category “High Priority to Achieve Basic Equality”: Alabama; Arizona; Arkansas; Georgia; Idaho; Indiana; Kentucky; Louisiana; Michigan; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; North Carolina; Ohio; Oklahoma; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; West Virginia; and Wyoming.

“This past year was one of the toughest in recent memory for our state partners and the LGBTQ+ community. Our opposition, after learning to refine their attacks by taking aim at particularly vulnerable communities like transgender youth, covered the country with anti-trans sports and medical care bans,” said Fran Hutchins, Executive Director of the Equality Federation Institute. “Thanks to the work of advocates in the states, only a small percentage of these harmful bills were enacted. Despite difficult legislative sessions in many states, I am so proud of the work being done to make the lives of LGBTQ+ people better and more accepting no matter the community they call home.”

Although the transgender community received the brunt of discriminatory legislation, anti-LGBTQ+ bills took other forms as well, and one of the most notable trends was a resurgence of laws that carve all-new religious exemptions into existing laws that allows people to refuse to serve LGBTQ+ individuals. Across the country, 44 religious refusal bills were filed including about a dozen so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) bills and a dozen more bills that would allow for religious refusals, including against LGBTQ+ patients, in medical care. South Dakota and Montana passed RFRA legislation and Ohio passed a medical care refusal bill.

While this historically bad year has been the backdrop of the 2021 legislative session, 44 new pro-equality laws were also passed. The equality bills range in topic from ensuring that utility companies allow consumers to change their names and pronouns; to streamlining adoption requirements for stepparents; to ensuring that places of public accommodation have gender-neutral bathrooms; to make it easier to update birth and death certificates with correct names and gender markers. All ensure that LGBTQ+ people are able to take one step closer to full legal and lived equality.

HRC Foundation’s full State Equality Index report, including detailed scorecards for every state, and a preview of the 2022 state legislative session is available online at www.hrc.org/sei.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Human Rights Campaign, Athlete Ally and Other Advocacy Groups Urge NCAA To Include Non-Discrimination Language In New Constitution

Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Athlete Ally and 16 other national advocacy organizations publicly released a letter sent yesterday to National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) President Mark Emmert and NCAA governance calling on the organization to include and strengthen non-discrimination protections in the organization’s updated constitution. The letter was sent as the NCAA meets to vote on an amended constitution at their national convention, held between January 19th-22nd, and as the NCAA announced a new policy regarding transgender athletes. In November, the NCAA released a preliminary version of their amended constitution that stripped the governing document of previously existing non-discrimination language that would protect women, athletes of color, and LGBTQ+ athletes from discrimination in competition across the country.

Organizations that have signed onto this letter to the NCAA include: Human Rights Campaign, Athlete Ally, American School Health Association, American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Athlete Ally, Equality Federation, GLAAD, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, GLSEN, Lambda Legal, National LGBTQ Task Force, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Center for Transgender Equality, National Education Association (NEA), National Women's Law Center, SAGE, School Social Work Association of America, The Trevor Project.


"If the NCAA is committed to ensuring an environment of competition that is safe, healthy, and free from discrimination, they cannot dodge the question of how to ensure transgender athletes can participate safely,” said Human Rights Campaign Vice President for Policy & Political Affairs JoDee Winterhof in reaction to the NCAA’s new policy on transgender inclusion released late yesterday. “That is precisely why we and a number of organizations across a wide spectrum of advocates are urging them to readopt and strengthen non-discrimination language in their constitution to ensure the Association is committed to enforcing the level playing field and inclusive policies they say their values require. Any policy language is only as effective as it is enforceable, and with states passing anti-transgender sports bans, any inclusive policy is under immediate threat. We are still reviewing the NCAA's new policy on transgender inclusion and how it will impact each and every transgender athlete."

"We are deeply committed to ensuring the health, safety and success of all college athletes, and this includes transgender and nonbinary athletes,” said Athlete Ally Director of Policy & Programs Anne Lieberman. “Including comprehensive nondiscrimination language in the Constitution is a core piece of this work; as we learn more about how the NCAA's new guidelines for transgender participation will be implemented, we will keep pushing the NCAA to center the lived experiences of college athletes."

Key Excerpts From Today’s Letter:


“...While decentralizing the NCAA and giving power to conferences and schools has its benefits, we are concerned that leaving the enforcement of non-discrimination protections to schools will create a patchwork of protections rather than a comprehensive policy that would protect all athletes, no matter where they play. This would be similar to the patchwork of non-discrimination policies in states, where marginalized groups in some states or cities are protected while others are left behind by localities that opt not to enact inclusive policies. The health, safety, and well-being of every athlete is paramount, and a particular challenge for transgender athletes who have to contend with discriminatory laws that are being enacted in states across the country.”

“The political climate that we have seen develop in certain state legislatures gives us little hope that non-discrimination and fair treatment are principles that will be consistently upheld by state laws, or that state policies are even trending in the right direction. This past year, legislatures across the country have passed legislation that undermines the rights and protections of marginalized groups, from anti-abortion laws that undermine the rights of people who can become pregnant, to voting disenfranchisement laws that target and disproportionately impact communities of color, to anti-critical race theory legislation, to anti-transgender laws that ban trans participation in youth sports outright. Repeated attempts by organizations and individuals to fight against inclusive interpretations of Title IX make clear that the NCAA must be an active partner in the fight for equality.”

Our request is simple and straightforward. The NCAA should put non-discrimination language with enumerated categories in its new constitution as it did with its previous version with the clear disaggregation of gender identity…”

“…In previous fights, the NCAA has forcefully spoken up against anti-transgender legislation, committing to holding championships only in states that are “safe, healthy, and free from discrimination” in response to the 2017 passage of HB 2, the discriminatory bill in North Carolina. Transgender young people of all ages are harmed by discriminatory anti-transgender laws, and it’s important to remember that denying transgender children and youth from playing sports today is tantamount to denying the transgender NCAA athletes of tomorrow…”

In 2021, during the worst anti-transgender state legislative session on record, the Human Rights Campaign, Athlete Ally, and others called on the NCAA to step up their leadership, as the organization has done in previous anti-equality state legislative fights. The NCAA responded by publicly expressing opposition to anti-transgender laws and reaffirmed its commitment to their principle of awarding championship host sites to locations that were “safe, healthy, and free from discrimination.” Yet, after their statement, the NCAA violated its own principle by announcing softball tournaments at schools in Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee, all states that passed anti-transgender legislation last year. Ten states have enacted anti-transgender sports bans, including legislation in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Mississippi, Montana, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia and Executive Orders in South Dakota.

In 2015 the NCAA spoke out forcefully against the ratification of an anti-LGBTQ religious refusal bill in Indiana, threatening to reconsider future events and the maintenance of their corporate headquarters within the state. In 2017, the NCAA refused to award any championship host sites in North Carolina in response to the legislature’s hateful and discriminatory “bathroom bill,” lifting its prohibition upon the legislature’s repeal of the law.

The full text of the letter to the NCAA can be read here.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Human Rights Campaign Celebrates Advances in LGBTQ+ Policies One Year Into Biden-Harris Administration

One day before the one year anniversary of the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) celebrates the advances that have been made in LGBTQ+ rights under the Biden-Harris administration. Since day one, the Biden-Harris White House has taken concrete, meaningful steps to reverse the anti-LGBTQ+ policies of the previous administration, while also working to ensure government agencies don’t discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, close the gaps in measurable outcomes for marginalized populations and increase LGBTQ+ representation at all levels of government.

“We at the Human Rights Campaign want to thank President Biden and Vice President Harris for their principled and committed policies in support of LGBTQ+ rights,” said HRC Interim President Joni Madison. “For a community that is all too often under attack from a variety of regressive, self-serving actors, having strong LGBTQ+ allies in the White House has been a comfort to the community. From rolling back discriminatory policies and providing affirmative non-discrimination protections, to appointing LGBTQ+ people to prominent positions, to continuing to share the message of the importance of LGBTQ+ inclusion and equality, this administration has been as consistent in advancing the cause of progress as any we have seen. There’s still a lot more to be done, and we at HRC look forward to working with the Biden-Harris administration and partners in Congress to ensure that essential reforms – including the LGBTQ+ protections in the Equality Act and the voting rights safeguards currently before the Senate – become the law of the land.”

Some of the highlights of policy advancements during the administration’s first year in office relating to LGBTQ+ rights include:

On his first day in office, the president issued an executive order that required the federal government to align its policies with the Supreme Court’s landmark Bostock decision.

In June 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court of the United States affirmed that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is a form of prohibited sex discrimination. However, the Trump Justice Department failed to adequately instruct the federal government to implement the ruling, leading to dangerous misinterpretations. That state of affairs was addressed via President Biden’s first-day order.

Within their first week in the office, the White House put out an executive order repealing the Trump-era ban on transgender military service and ensuring transgender service members are able to serve openly.

After extensive study by the Pentagon, the Obama administration and the leadership of the Pentagon moved forward with the elimination of the transgender military ban and allowed transgender service members to serve openly. In July 2017, President Trump announced a full ban on Twitter without any consultation with Pentagon leaders. President Biden, in his first week in office, issued an executive order reversing the ban.

The Department of Housing & Urban Development withdrew a Trump-era proposal to gut the equal access rule.

The federal agency withdrew Trump-era proposed changes to the Equal Access Rule (EAR). The Obama administration’s EAR ensures non-discrimination protections in HUD-funded housing and programs based on both sexual orientation and gender identity. It also protects LGBTQ+ families and ensures people seeking emergency housing are housed safely in accordance with their gender identity.

The State Department announced changes to passport gender markers to include intersex, non-binary people.

The Biden–Harris Administration announced in June 2021 that the U.S. Department of State would begin the process of including a non-binary gender marker and have modernized existing requirements for updating gender markers on United States passports — a policy that will impact millions of individuals in the U.S., including 1.2 million non-binary adults, 2 million transgender people, and as many as 5.5 million people who were born intersex. The first such passport was issued in October 2021, with the expectation that routine applications will be taken in 2022.

The administration formed an interagency working group focused on safety, inclusion and opportunity for transgender people.

President Biden in June announced the establishment of an interagency working group led out of the White House to coordinate policies to advance safety, economic opportunity, and inclusion for transgender people. The group includes participants from the Departments of Justice, Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Education, Homeland Security, Labor, Interior, Veterans Affairs, and Defense.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg became the first Senate-confirmed member of the president’s cabinet to be openly LGBTQ+.

The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and presidential candidate was confirmed on a bipartisan basis with a vote of 86-13. As a candidate, he had been the first openly LGBTQ+ person to win a presidential primary or caucus.

Dr. Rachel Levine was confirmed as Assistant Secretary for Health at the Department of Health & Human Services and promoted to four-star admiral.

Levine, the former Secretary of Health for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, became the first openly transgender person to be sworn into a Senate-confirmed position in March. Levine was further recognized through promotion to four-star admiral of the U.S. Public Health Service Commission Corps, becoming the country’s first openly transgender four-star officer.

HRC’s timeline of the LGBTQ+ related policies and achievements during President Biden’s first year details these and other noteworthy milestones paving the way toward a more equitable future for all LGBTQ+ people.

Even in light of the manifest accomplishments of the past year, a great deal of work remains to be done. In November 2020, the Human Rights Campaign released the Blueprint for Positive Change, a document detailing more than 80 policy changes that the administration should put into effect that would meaningfully improve the lives of LGBTQ+ people. Many of those proposals still await action, and their implementation, along with the passage of the Equality Act, would help to guarantee for LGBTQ+ people for decades to come that they can participate fully in every part of society.

Among the needed policy changes, some of the most urgent include:

Ending the FDA’s discriminatory ban on blood donation from men who have sex with men, which can also help address the national blood crisis.

The FDA’s policy does not treat persons with similar risks in a similar way. Currently, donors are deferred based on their membership in a group — in this case, all men who have sex with men — rather than engagement in risky behavior. HRC has strongly encouraged FDA to revise the donor questionnaire based on an individual risk assessment of sexual behaviors upon which all donors are evaluated equally, without regard to sexual orientation or gender identity.

Prohibiting the practice of conversion therapy as a fraudulent business practice.

So-called “conversion therapy,” sometimes known as “reparative therapy,” is a range of dangerous and discredited practices that falsely claim to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. Such practices have been rejected by every mainstream medical and mental health organization for decades. HRC supports legislative and policy efforts to curtail the unscientific and dangerous practice of sexual orientation and gender identity change efforts.

Rescinding and replacing regulations restricting coverage of Section 1557 of the ACA.

The Trump administration finalized a rule implementing Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act in 2020 designed to eliminate explicit protections from discrimination based on sex stereotyping and gender identity, thereby sanctioning discrimination against LGBTQ people, particularly transgender and non-binary people, in federally-funded health care programs and activities. The rule was blocked by a preliminary injunction in response to a lawsuit filed by the Human Rights Campaign.

Eliminating discrimination against beneficiaries in charitable choice and faith-based initiatives.

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) was designed to protect minority religious groups' constitutional right to freely exercise their religious beliefs. Despite this focused, straightforward intent, individuals and businesses have worked to distort RFRA into a blank check to discriminate or to impose their religious beliefs on others. When LGBTQ+ people, religious minorities and women need to access the social safety net, they need to know that when they go to a federally funded entity, such as a nonprofit, for example, that they won't be turned away based on that entity's religious beliefs.

Continuing to appoint LGBTQ+ people at all levels of government, and ensuring that these appointees reflect the full diversity of the community.

Even after achieving a number of LGBTQ+ firsts with the range of appointments in the first year of the Biden administration, there remain positions that no openly LGBTQ+ person has ever held. Greater representation of this growing population within the ranks of government will serve to ensure that key marginalized groups are better served and treated equitably.

Friday, January 14, 2022

Human Rights Campaign Slams South Dakota Gov. Noem for Releasing Hateful, Inflammatory National Ad To Kick Off Discriminatory State Legislative Session

Today, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem released a national TV ad in support of her discriminatory sports ban bill, SB 46, which would prohibit transgender women and girls from playing sports consistent with their gender identity. In the ad, Noem suggests that transgender girls are not girls, as she amplifies her attacks on transgender kids. South Dakota has already introduced three anti-transgender bills early in the 2022 state legislative session, including two anti-trans sports bans and one bill that would prohibit transgender students from using locker rooms consistent with their gender identity. 

Human Rights Campaign Interim President Joni Madison issued the following statement in reaction to this TV ad:

“This ad is not just discriminatory, it erases transgender people and dehumanizes them, putting a target on the back of an already vulnerable community. Doing so on a national stage — in a brazen attempt to score political points with her base — makes these attacks especially egregious. In fact, it’s South Dakota’s women and girls that Governor Noem is attacking. Prohibiting transgender girls from participating in school athletics alongside their peers is a radical political talking point — one that Noem is using to advance her national political ambitions, but which does not serve South Dakota’s best interests. At stake is the safety of transgender young people, who are facing increased discrimination in their communities, last year leading to the highest incidence of fatal violence against transgender and gender non-binary people on record. Noem’s ad resorts to attacking children in service of a divisive and discriminatory political agenda. Every child deserves to be lifted up and supported by their leaders and their government, not targeted and dehumanized. Legislators must reject this divisive bill to avoid tarnishing South Dakota’s reputation and hurting kids in service of Governor Noem’s selfish political gamesmanship.”

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

To Address National Blood Crisis, Human Rights Campaign Calls for End to Discriminatory Restrictions on Gay and Bisexual Men Donating Blood

In the wake of news that the American Red Cross had declared the first “national blood crisis” due to critically low blood supplies, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — on Tuesday once again called for federal authorities to remove unnecessary restrictions on blood donation by men who have sex with men.

“We are facing a national blood shortage. This is a crisis that can in part be addressed by modernizing the Food and Drug Administration’s discriminatory policy that bans men who have sex with men from donating blood ” said Joni Madison, Interim President of the Human Rights Campaign. “The current policy is outdated, does not reflect the state of the science, and continues to unfairly stigmatize one segment of society.”

HRC has strongly encouraged the FDA to revise the history questionnaire used to screen potential donors to one based on an individual risk assessment of sexual behaviors upon which all donors are evaluated equally, without regard to sexual orientation or gender identity.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hot Guy(s) of the Week: Tyler Danner (and Friend)

Came across this picture of Tyler Danner (left) and a friend on HRC's Facebook page recently and figured I'd share his positive message (and gooooooood looks) with you guys.

You're welcome!

Monday, October 29, 2012

HRC, Freedom to Marry Praise Obama's Support for State Marriage Equality Efforts

President Obama recently called on Americans to support the freedom to marry when they vote on ballot measures in Maine, Maryland and Washington. The president has previously spoken out against a Minnesota proposal to exclude gays and lesbians from marriage in the state constitution. Washington residents are already voting by mail, while voters in the other three states will vote at the polls on Nov. 6.

“President Obama continues to be a transformational leader for LGBT equality,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin. “The president’s historic announcement of his support for marriage equality earlier this year sent a powerful message, particularly to LGBT youth, that no one’s hope of achieving the American dream should be curtailed simply because of who they are. In Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington, we enter the final two weeks of this hard-fought campaign knowing that the president of the United States joins our entire community in supporting their efforts to ensure that all people are treated with dignity and respect.”

"Today President Obama added a strong and personal ‘I do’ to voters still making up their minds on whether to support the freedom to marry in Maine, Maryland, and Washington this election, and Freedom to Marry applauds the president’s moral leadership in standing up for families, fairness, and freedom,” said Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry, the campaign to win marriage nationwide. “As the president said in May, ‘Same-sex couples should be able to get married … when we think about our faith, it’s also the golden rule.’ The right thing to do on these ballot-measures is to vote to treat others just as you would want to be treated – and let loving and committed couples share in the freedom to marry.”

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

HRC Statement on Boy Scouts’ Refusal to Revisit Anti-Gay Policy

Leaders of the Boy Scouts of America today affirmed their ban on gay scouts and leaders after conducting a secret two-year review.  Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin released the following statement in response: 

“This is a missed opportunity of colossal proportions.  With the country moving toward inclusion, the leaders of the Boy Scouts of America have instead sent a message to young people that only some of them are valued.  These adults could have taught the next generation of leaders the value of respect, yet they’ve chosen to teach division and intolerance.”

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

SAGE and HRC Applaud Obama Administration

The Administration on Aging (AoA) today announced that it would release important new guidance that empowers AoA-funded aging providers to consider lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults as a population of “greatest social need”—paving the way for increased services that can significantly improve their health and well-being. The Human Rights Campaign and Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) partnered to urge AoA to provide this guidance.

"SAGE applauds this critically important step taken by the Administration on Aging to recognize that LGBT older people have acute needs and to ensure that services are available to meet those needs," said Michael Adams, Executive Director of SAGE. "We look forward to working with the Administration on Aging to continue to improve the availability of appropriate services to LGBT elders across the country."

“This step brings much-needed attention to the unique needs of LGBT older adults, and the urgent actions we must all take to preserve their dignity,” said HRC President Chad Griffin.  “AoA’s actions today are a crucial step toward ensuring that this generation has equal access to the services and resources that they deserve.  HRC applauds AoA for its leadership, and we will look forward to working with them through implementation.”

The FAQ guidance clarifies that the current definition of “greatest social need” in the Older Americans Act—the country's leading vehicle for funding and delivering services to older people nationwide—allows communities to identify populations in their service area that experience isolation for cultural, social or geographic reasons.  The guidance provides specific examples of these populations, including increased need based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

LGBT older adults are at an increased risk for social isolation, experience poor health and health access, and face higher poverty rates than other seniors. Despite this increased need, this group is less likely to seek federal assistance and healthcare due to actual and perceived discrimination.  This FAQ guidance allows the aging networks that serve LGBT older adults and receive AoA funding to consider this vulnerable population as one with a “greatest social need.”  This designation will encourage Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) to include LGBT older adults when prioritizing funding, engaging in outreach, evaluating unmet needs and collecting data.

This announcement is the latest action taken by the AoA to address LGBT elders’ unique needs. In January 2010, SAGE received a historic grant from the Administration on Aging to establish the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging (lgbtagingcenter.org), the country’s only technical assistance resource center aimed at improving the quality of services and supports offered to LGBT older adults. With a wealth of multimedia resources for aging providers, the National Resource Center will be a key resource for AAAs as they implement the guidance.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

HRC Report: 2012 Sees Great Progress Toward LGBT Healthcare Equality

The number of American hospitals striving to treat lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) patients equally and respectfully is on the rise, according to a report released today by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation at a press conference with U.S. Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius at Howard University Hospital in Washington, DC. Much work remains to be done to end discrimination in America’s healthcare system, but the once invisible issue of LGBT healthcare equity is gaining national prominence, with healthcare facilities committing themselves to offering unbiased care.

“Just a few short years ago the healthcare industry wasn’t having conversations about LGBT healthcare equality,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Now, thanks to advocacy by the LGBT community and some standout leaders, growing numbers of healthcare providers are making an explicit commitment to treat all patients with dignity and respect. The healthcare industry is beginning to heed the call for fairness and compassion.”

The report details the results of the most recent Healthcare Equality Index (HEI), an annual survey administered by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. This year’s survey found a 40 percent increase in rated facilities, which totaled 407 nationwide. It also found an impressive 162 percent increase in the number of facilities achieving the status of “Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality,” special recognition given to facilities earning a perfect rating by meeting four core criteria for LGBT patient-centered care laid out in the HEI.

The HEI helps hospitals assess themselves against established best practices and ensure that they are complying with requirements for non-discrimination. These include a requirement issued last year by The Joint Commission, the largest accrediting body for U.S. hospitals, calling on all accredited facilities to extend non-discrimination protection to LGBT patients.

Over 90 percent of HEI 2012 participants explicitly prohibit discrimination against lesbian, gay and bisexual patients, and 76 percent ban discrimination against transgender patients. Additionally, about 75 percent of respondents have a written policy explicitly granting equal visitation rights to same-sex couples and same-sex parents. This represents a significant increase since the Department of Health and Human Services issued rules in 2011 requiring all hospitals that receive federal Medicare and Medicaid funding – nearly every hospital in America – to protect the visitation rights of LGBT people.

For the first time, the HEI additionally required participating facilities to document that high-level managers in key work areas had received expert training in LGBT health needs. As a result, more than 1,000 healthcare administrators across the country participated in training provided through the HEI.

“I commend the LGBT and healthcare communities for the progress made and I am proud to be part of an administration that has a historic record of accomplishment for the LGBT community,” said Sec. Sebelius. “We will continue to take action to ensure that LGBT Americans get equal treatment in healthcare settings and that all patients are treated with the dignity they deserve.”

Studies, including a 2011 Institute of Medicine report, have shown that the LGBT community faces health disparities and healthcare discrimination and that many LGBT Americans are concerned about experiencing bias in healthcare. But things are changing, as the HEI 2012 documents.

“Equal and inclusive healthcare saves lives,” added Griffin. “Increasing numbers of hospitals across the country are working to ensure LGBT patients receive care free of prejudice and discrimination. We thank the HEI 2012 participants for their hard work and dedication to ensuring healthcare equality for all patients.”

HEI Core Four Rating Criteria
2012*
2011*
2010*
  1. Patient Non-Discrimination
1a. “Sexual Orientation” in Written Patient Non-Discrimination Policy
90.2% (+0.5%)
89.7% (+6%)
83.7%
1b. “Gender Identity” in Written Patient Non-Discrimination Policy
76.2    (+16.4)
59.8 (+30.6)
29.2
  1. Visitation
2a. Explicitly Inclusive Written Visitation Policy Grants Equal Access for Same-Sex Couples
74.5    (+21.9)
52.6 (+20.8)
31.8
2b. Explicitly Inclusive Written Visitation Policy Grants Equal Access for Same-Sex Parents
74.0    (+25.4)
48.6 (+16.3)
32.3
  1. Employment Non-Discrimination
3a. “Sexual Orientation” in Employment Non-Discrimination Policy
96.7      (+5.9)
90.8
93.8
3b. “Gender Identity” in Employment Non-Discrimination Policy
74.6    (+10.2)
64.4 (+12.2)
52.2
  1. Training
Provides Training in LGBT Patient-Centered Care for Key Staff Members
67.2
**
**

* Lists of survey respondents are not identical from year to year.
** Training criterion differed significantly prior to 2012 survey
View the HRC Foundation’s Healthcare Equality Index 2012 at www.hrc.org/hei.

Monday, June 11, 2012

HRC President Chad Griffin - OUT across America

Chad Griffin, the new president of the Human Rights Campaign – the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization – begins his tenure with a series of events across the country, starting in Salt Lake City.  From Utah, Chad will travel to San Francisco, his native Arkansas, Omaha, Nebraska, and Baltimore, Maryland for a series of community events and informational meetings.  

 The tour will raise awareness of issues facing LGBT youth.  HRC recently released a new groundbreaking study of LGBT youth and their straight counterparts.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

HRC Launches New Site Showcasing Mitt Romney’s Constantly Changing Positions on LGBT Issues

Showcasing Mitt Romney’s constantly changing positions on issues important to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans, the Human Rights Campaign today launched a new website to educate voters about the former Massachusetts Governor’s record.  “Mitt ‘N Match” cleverly allows users to see his various stances on open military service, workplace non-discrimination and relationship recognition. The site is at www.MittNMatch.com.

“Mitt Romney changes positions on LGBT issues more often than he changes clothes,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “It is mind boggling that someone can go from once saying he would be more pro-gay than Ted Kennedy to signing a draconian pledge sponsored by the National Organization for Marriage.”
 
On “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the site outlines his original opposition to the ban on gay servicemembers to his statements supporting DADT.  On workplace non-discrimination, he promised to co-sponsor the Employment Non-Discrimination Act before turning around and saying he opposed ENDA. And on relationship recognition, he once indicated he supported domestic partnerships but as a presidential candidate he’s signed on to the agenda of the National Organization for Marriage. By aligning himself with NOM, Romney isn’t just agreeing to support a federal marriage amendment and the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act – he’s even throwing his support behind a McCarthy-like commission to investigate allegations of “harassment” against NOM’s rabidly anti-LGBT supporters.
 
“Mitt Romney is someone that voters just can’t trust,” said Solmonese. “The only thing clear about his record is his willingness to say or do anything to get elected.”

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Human Rights Campaign Foundation Gives Employers Resources to Best Serve Transgender Employees

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, today released a white paper titled: Transgender-Inclusive Health Care Coverage and the Corporate Equality Index, a resource for employers to make their workplaces more equitable for transgender employees.  The white paper is an educational tool for employers engaged in the Corporate Equality Index (CEI), a national benchmarking survey on policies and benefits for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees.

In 2009 HRC announced that earning 100 percent on the 2012 CEI requires employers to offer at least one firm-wide available health insurance plan that affords coverage for medically necessary transition-related care. The internationally accepted standards of care are maintained and published by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH). Other criteria changes that went into effect in 2012 are available at www.hrc.org/cei. The white paper is available at www.hrc.org/transbenefits.

“Corporate America is leading the charge for fairness for LGBT workers,” said Kathryn Friedman, director of the HRC Workplace Project.  “To attract and retain the best and brightest talent, employers must treat their LGBT employees equally, including in the administration of health care benefits.  Our new white paper will give employers the tools they need to offer equal benefits and stay on pace with other fair-minded companies.  This resource represents over three years of our groundbreaking work in the area of successfully advocating for, and implementing inclusive plan options for transgender employees.”

The 2012 HRC Corporate Equality Index, released in December, rated 850 companies, including the entire Fortune 500. The CEI is the foremost method for businesses to evaluate their diversity and inclusion efforts toward recruiting and retaining LGBT employees, customers and investors.  The first CEI in 2002 had just 13 businesses earning a perfect rating, but by the recent 2012 report reflective of the most stringent criteria to date, 189 Fortune-ranked and other major employers earned a 100 percent score and the distinction of being among the “Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality.”
Transgender-Inclusive Health Care Coverage and the Corporate Equality Index is a primer on transgender-inclusive health care coverage, including relevant concepts and vocabulary as well as specific guidance on meeting the CEI criteria.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

HRC to honor Anna Wintour at Greater New York Gala


With New York in the national spotlight after becoming the seventh U.S. jurisdiction to usher in marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples, the Human Rights Campaign – the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization – will host its annual Greater New York Gala dinner on February 4, 2012 at the Waldorf=Astoria.  This year’s event comes as lawmakers passed historic marriage equality legislation, making New York the largest state in the country to allow gay and lesbian couples to legally marry. Governor Cuomo listed marriage equality as one of his top accomplishments for 2011 in his annual “State of the State” address.

“Marriage equality in New York took center stage this past year,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese.  “We won the battle in the Empire State, sending a message to the rest of the country that full equality for LGBT people is the right thing to do and will be the reality.”

This year HRC will honor Anna Wintour with its Ally for Equality Award for her outspoken support of equality for the LGBT community (see above). The award will be presented by the creator of the hit series Glee and American Horror Story, Ryan Murphy.  The Ally for Equality Award recognizes the outstanding efforts of those who dedicate time, energy, spirit and whole-hearted commitment to better the lives of LGBT people. This award is given to allies outside the LGBT community who stand up on behalf of equality for all Americans.

“We recognize Anna Wintour for her grace, dignity, style, philanthropy, and generosity,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese.  “We are proud to honor her with the Ally for Equality Award for her commitment to the LGBT community through her work with marriage equality, HIV/AIDS activism, and the It Gets Better Campaign. It is completely fitting that someone like Ryan Murphy, who has done so much to advance LGBT equality, is presenting this award to Anna Wintour.”

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

HRC Adoption Forum Featuring HHS Commissioner on Children, Youth and Families

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Commissioner of the Administration for Children, Youth and Families Bryan Samuels, is joining the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, LGBT families, and representatives from area child welfare agencies, for an adoption forum on Wednesday November 30, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. to recognize the close of National Adoption Month, and to call on child welfare professionals to include LGBT families, year-round, in their efforts to expand the pool of families for foster youth.  A new video by the HRC Family Project on LGBT adoption will be premiered at the forum.  The event will stream live at www.hrc.org/adoptionforum.  HRC has celebrated adoptive families throughout National Adoption Month and is offering a wealth of resources related to adoption and other issues important to LGBT families at www.hrc.org/issues/adoption.

“As we end National Adoption Month, the work of finding permanent families for children and youth continues—it’s everyday work for child welfare professionals,” said Ellen Kahn, HRC Family Project Director and a professional social worker.  “Today we are recognizing several public agencies that have expanded their efforts to find families by reaching out to the LGBT community, a largely untapped resource. By partnering with HRC’s ACAF, these agencies have improved their practice with LGBT families and as a result are seeing an increase in foster and adoptive parents.”

This month, HRC issued All Children-All Families Seals of Recognition to Alameda County, CA, and to the state of New Jersey’s Resource Family Division, which join Los Angeles County as the only public social services agencies to earn the seal for their success in implementing the ACAF policies and practices.  HRC also issued the ACAF Seal of Recognition to Forever Families Through Adoption, a New York- and Connecticut-authorized adoption placement agency and resource center in Rye Brook, New York.  Bryan Samuels, Commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth  and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will join several of these agency leaders, and foster/adoptive families, to discuss this initiative and to feature a new video about this work. 

“We have more than 100,000 children in foster care in the United States waiting for a permanent family. Child welfare systems with responsibilities for finding potential parents now have resources through HRC’s All Children-All Families to reach out to caring and competent families in the LGBT community,” said Commissioner Bryan Samuels.

HRC has created a resource center for families considering adoption at www.hrc.org/issues/adoption with information about adoption agencies that work with LGBT families, answers to frequently asked questions about adoption and foster care, a video montage called Gay Parents Speak, featuring real parents telling their stories of adopting and loving children, and links to related programs and organizations.

The “All Children – All Families” initiative, launched in 2007, promotes policies and practices that welcome LGBT foster and adoptive parents.  The program seeks to enhance LGBT cultural competence among child welfare professionals and educate LGBT people about opportunities to become foster or adoptive parents to waiting children.  To date, ACAF has 50 participating agencies across the country, and has awarded 16 seals of recognition. In September HRC launched a “50 state strategy,” with the goal of securing at least one ACAF-recognized adoption agency dedicated to working with LGBT families in every state.   More information about the initiative can be found at www.hrc.org/acaf.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

HRC’s Call It Out Campaign Calls on Candidates to Disavow Dangerous “Ex-Gay” Therapies

The Human Rights Campaign – the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization – is calling on the GOP candidates for President to disavow the dangerous “ex-gay” or “reparative” therapies endorsed by Michele Bachmann and her husband Marcus.  Last week Bachmann signed her name to the far-right group the Family Leader’s pledge “The Marriage Vow: A Declaration of Dependence upon Marriage and Family” as did Rick Santorum.

The statements with which Bachmann has now aligned herself include the falsehood that being gay is a choice and dangerous to public health. The pledge cites a 1997 study from the International Journal of Epidemiology and presents the data in a way that claims nearly half of gay and bisexual men won’t reach the age of 65. The publication issued a statement years ago saying the data is regularly taken out of context by anti-gay groups.

“Michele Bachmann’s homophobic views are out of step with mainstream America, and it’s time for her fellow GOP presidential contenders to publicly denounce them,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “The past few years we’ve seen a surge in support for equality and have made important legislative progress. Bachmann’s support for things like reparative therapy signals just how fringe a candidate she really is.”

Michele Bachmann’s husband, Marcus, has called LGBT Americans “barbarians” who “need to be disciplined.” His clinic, Bachmann and Associates, also reportedly practices conversion therapy – based on the theory that being gay can be cured or prayed away. One activist from the group Truth Wins Out took an undercover camera into the clinic that shows a Bachmann associate claiming a man can change his sexual orientation. This dangerous practice has been strongly denounced by leading medical organizations, including the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association.  Learn more about the lies and dangers of reparative therapy at www.hrc.org/reparativetherapy.  

HRC’s Call it Out campaign will be tracking the homophobic activities and positions of Bachmann and her husband. As the first in a series of actions, HRC is calling on all other GOP presidential hopefuls to publicly denounce Bachmann’s support for reparative therapy and the dangerous homophobia behind it. Supports can add their voice to HRC’s petition. Learn more at www.hrc.org/callitout.