Thursday, December 22 2011 21:25

National News: December 23, 2011-January 19, 2012

By  Rachel Roth

Petition Urges Broncos to Take a Stand on Bullying LGBT Youth

Despite the efforts of nearly 10,000 people, the Denver Broncos won’t be making an “It Gets Better” video anytime soon.

Broncos fan, Andy Szekeres, created a petition on Change.org to urge his team to become the first in the NFL to participate in the anti-bullying campaign.

“The Denver Broncos can do what the San Francisco Giants did earlier this year, starting a movement within their sport to stand up against bullying and homophobia,” said Szekeres in a statement on Change.org. “Given how popular the Broncos have become, and the nationwide attention being paid to the team and their starting quarterback Tim Tebow, this is a unique moment for the Denver Broncos to send a strong message to the community and to LGBT fans worldwide that bullying is wrong.”

Patrick Smyth, a spokesman for the Broncos, told the Huffington Post that while the team is “committed to tolerance, acceptance and respect for all in the community,” there are no immediate plans to participate in the It Gets Better campaign.

Instead, Smyth said that the Broncos will work in conjunction with the NFL and the USA Network on its “Characters Unite” campaign, which aims to combat prejudice and intolerance.

To sign the petition visit Change.org/petitions/denver-broncos-make-an-it-gets-better-video-2

 

Ed Koch Endorses Openly Gay NYC Mayoral Candidate

Ed Koch, former mayor of NYC, is endorsing Christine Quinn—an out lesbian—for the 2013 mayoral race.

“I believe that she is the best one for New York because I think she’ll be in the tradition of being in the center—a center candidate like I was center left,” Mayor Koch said in a statement announcing his endorsement. “I think she’ll follow in the tradition of Mike Bloomberg, and of all the candidates, I think she has the most experience and the best philosophy to lead New York in these difficult times.”

Quinn, a city council member since 1999, and the first openly gay speaker of the city council, has doggedly fought against harassment at reproductive health clinics and exposed anti-abortion front groups that pretend to be family planning clinics. She also coordinated a public/private partnership to expand free HIV testing for tens of thousands of public hospital patients.

Additionally, Quinn recently ended the injustice at Riker's Island that was turning innocent immigrants over to the INS and splitting up families. She also works extensively to expand access to healthy food and reduce hunger by expanding access to food stamps for those that need them, and making sure food stamps can be used to buy fresh produce at Greenmarkets around the city.

 

Corporate Equality Index Reports Huge Increase in Employer-Provided Health Care for Transgender Employees

On Dec. 8, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) published the 2012 Corporate Equality Index (CEI) which evaluates the inclusiveness of corporate policies towards Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender people. The most striking findings include the huge increase in transgender inclusive policies, particularly those offering health care coverage to transgender employees.

Some of the key findings in the HRC's report are as follows:

  • 80% of rated employers include gender identity protections in their non-discrimination policies. In 2002, it was only 5%.
  • More than 200 major U.S. businesses include transgender-inclusive health care coverage that provides medically necessary transition-related care, tripling since last year.
  • 50% of Fortune 500 companies now include gender identity in their employment nondiscrimination policy, a dramatic growth of 1,567% since 2002.

The Transgender Law Center has worked tirelessly over the last year to improve polices and educate employers on obtaining equitable health benefits for transgender individuals. Most recently, the Transgender Law Center helped Google develop and implement a "gold standard" role model, a comprehensive insurance plan for transgender employees.

"While transgender people, especially people of color, continue to face discrimination at every level of society, we are inspired to see that more than ever businesses are realizing that healthy employees whose human dignity is respected make for a more motivated workplace," said Masen Davis, executive director of the Transgender Law Center.

 

Gay Republicans Running as Delegates for D.C. Primary

Campaigns for GOP presidential hopefuls Jon Huntsman, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul have each selected openly gay Republicans to run with them as candidates for delegate to the Republican National Convention in D.C.'s April 3 presidential primary.

According to the Washington Blade, Huntsman's campaign selected R. Clarke Cooper, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans. The Gingrich campaign selected gay Republican activists Marc Morgan and Timothy Day. The Romney campaign, meanwhile, recruited Rachel Hoff, a lesbian who last year ran for the presidency of the Young Republican Federation, a national GOP youth group.

While the campaigns may have openly gay delegates in their ranks, many of the candidates are staunchly opposed to gay marriage. Paul is personally against it, but thinks it is a matter for the states to decide. Huntsman supports civil unions but not gay marriage. Both Romney and Gingrich have publicly declared support for an amendment that would define marriage as between one man and one woman.

For the complete article, visit: washingtonblade.com/2011/12/14/gay-republicans-running-as-delegates-for-d-c-primary/

 

Massachusetts Senate Hopeful, Elizabeth Warren, Declared Support for all LGBT Issues

In a recent press release, Elizabeth Warren pledged support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, called for the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and advocated a program to help teachers and school administrators combat bullying.

The piece, which was published December 15 on BlueMassGroup.com, praises Massachusetts for "[being] the nation's leader in protecting and promoting equality—from marriage equality to the recently passed Transgender Equal Rights Bill," but she added there is still much work to be done.

"As other states grapple with whether to support marriage equality, I'm ready to move to the next step: End the two-tiered system created by the Defense of Marriage Act. Our federal government should not be in the business of selecting which married couples it supports and which it treats with contempt."

Warren, who is running against incumbent Scott Brown (R) also wrote that "This is our moment in history. From marriage equality to investing in public education, from sensible financial regulations to environmental protections, we must decide what kind of people we are and what kind of nation we are going to build."

To read the entire piece, visit: bluemassgroup.com/2011/12/protecting-and-promoting-equality

 

Sen. Kerry Demands LGBT-Friendly Financial Aid

As the cost of college education rises, federal financial aid is declining. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) is calling for the federal government to remove barriers against incoming college students who are transgender or the children of same-sex parents and looking for financial aid.

According to an article on Advocate.com, transgender students encounter complications with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), because of name and gender identity mismatches between their official documentation and application information, a problem Kerry called "disturbing."

"We should encourage all students to pursue a higher education, and turning them away because the bureaucracy can't 'compute' their gender is just wrong," he told the Advocate.

 

Historic Number of LGBT Roles Nominated for SAG Awards

The Screen Actors Guild Award nominations were announced on Dec. 14. GoldDerby.com reports that among those nominated were a record number of LGBT roles.

For films, Leonardo DiCaprio and Armie Hammer were recognized for their performance in "J. Edgar," in which DiCaprio played the title role and Hammer played Hoover colleague Clyde Tolson. Hoover and Tolson's close friendship was rumored to have a "romantic element," one that was explored more in the film than perhaps Hoover's life.

Glenn Close and Janet McTeer were nominated for "Albert Nobbs." The two play women dressing as men in the late 1800's. McTeer's character is married to a woman, and Close, who plays the title character, falls in love with a female coworker.

Nominations for television boast even more LGBT parts. Three Best Comedy Series Ensemble nominees have LGBT actors or characters in their cast; "Glee," "Modern Family," and "The Office" all star one or more LGBT character. Eric Stonestreet, a straight actor who plays the gay character Cameron Tucker on "Modern Family," is nominated for Best Actor in a Comedy Series.

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