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Rochester to cover transgender services

Rochester, New York, gay news, Washington BladeROCHESTER, N.Y. — The city of Rochester will add transgender health care benefits for employees and their families starting on Jan. 1, 2015, the Rochester City Newspaper reports.

The new coverage means that services related to gender reassignment procedures such as medical and psychological counseling, hormone therapy and reconstructive surgeries will be covered by insurance. To receive the benefits, employees will have to purchase an enhanced coverage plan, the paper said.

The City of San Francisco has offered the benefits since 2001and studies show that about 3 percent of the city’s employees use them.

28
May
2014

A son’s case for marriage equality

Sandy Stier, Kris Perry, David Boies, Chad Griffin, gay marriage, same-sex marriage, marriage equality, Proposition 8, Defense of Marriage Act, DOMA, Prop 8, California, Supreme Court, gay news, Washington Blade

Prop 8 plaintiffs Sandy Stier and Kris Perry addressed onlookers after a historic ruling at the U.S. Supreme Court. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The first time anyone asked me if I was disadvantaged to be raised by lesbian moms was in the first grade. A friend from my class asked what my mom and dad did for a living, and when I told him I had two moms, he told me that I wasn’t normal, that we were different.

Growing up, friends would ask questions like, “who cooks?” or, “who works?” trying to fit our puzzle piece where we just couldn’t. To me, my family was different because I had three parents; a step mom and two other moms; a twin and two step brothers; the fact that my parents were gay never made me think of them as different, until those outside my family made a point of it.

It wasn’t until my freshman year in high school that I finally saw how my family was “different.”

Elliott and I woke up early on Jan. 11, 2010, and put on our only suits. We shuffled into the back of Kris and Sandy’s SUV and the four of us drove across the Bay Bridge to a Victorian home in San Francisco. There, we met with Chad Griffin, president of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, Paul Katami, and Jeff Zarrillo (who with my moms would be the plaintiffs in the Proposition 8 case). The five of them stepped outside to meet the press, and it was Jeff who said, “We’re all Americans who simply want to get married like everybody else.”

In minutes, Elliott and I were on our way to the Federal District Courthouse. We were led through the back while our moms and a battalion of lawyers weaved their way between picket lines. It seemed that in no time Judge Walker was banging his gavel and the trial began.

One of our lawyers, David Boies, called Jeff and then Paul. The opposing lawyer, Charles Cooper, cross-examined Paul, and then, Ted Olson, our other lawyer, asked Kris to take the stand.

After a few questions, Ted asked Kris what it felt like to be discriminated against. It was the first time I had ever heard any of my moms describe what it was like to face prejudice. She told Ted about growing up in the Central Valley of California and hiding who she was. She told him how she was teased and mocked as she grew up and how that blanket of constant hate had lowered the quality of her life. She also said she had never allowed herself to be truly happy and how she didn’t want any kid to know what that felt like.

Looking around as Kris joined us again on the bench, I could see my brother, Sandy, and our friends in tears.

I had finally found my answer: Families like mine are no different than anyone else’s. We share the same love. We’re only different in that we felt the brunt of living under discriminatory laws.

When a family like mine is denied equal protection under the law, when society tells us that because you are a minority, you don’t get the rights of the majority, it hurts. It validates hate against that minority. It teaches kids in states with same-sex marriage bans that your family isn’t worthy of protection.

Perry v. Hollingsworth was appealed again and again until it reached the Supreme Court.  My first trip to D.C. was much like that drive to San Francisco three years earlier. Elliott and I woke up early to stand in line outside the courthouse. We walked behind our parents to sit behind Ted Olson and David Boies. In the midst of Charles Cooper’s oral argument, Justice Kennedy asked, “Forty thousand children in California … that live with same-sex parents, and they want their parents to have full recognition and full status. The voice of those children is important in this case, don’t you think?” Cooper responded saying there was no evidence that children, my brothers and I, would benefit from Kris and Sandy being married.

Today the same question is being asked in court cases across the country that challenge state bans on marriage equality and like Perry v. Hollingsworth have the potential to bring the battle of universal marriage equality to the Supreme Court.

Four months after the Supreme Court oral arguments, the court lifted the ban on same-sex marriages in California and I got to know exactly what that benefit is. Take it from a son –I’ve never felt prouder or more patriotic than when my moms were legally married one year ago on June 28. Every son and daughter in every state should have the right to feel that way.

Spencer M. Perry is the son of Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, plaintiffs in the Perry v. Hollingsworth case that overturned California’s ban on same-sex marriage. He studies economics and public policy at George Washington University.

Kris Perry, Sandy Stier, Spencer Perry, gay news, Washington Blade

From left, Kris Perry, Spencer Perry and Sandy Stier (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

 

25
Jun
2014

CNBC outs Apple CEO Tim Cook, who then appears at SF Pride

Cook is facing "the Queen Latifah problem," where people widely assumed to be gay refuse to come out.

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30
Jun
2014

Burger King’s amazing gift for Gay Pride (video)

"A burger has never made me cry before."

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02
Jul
2014

Grant money to help hoarders in San Francisco

hoarder, hoarders, hoarding, gay news, mess, Washington Blade

(Photo by Shadwwulf; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

SAN FRANCISCO — A local organization here that assists people with hoarding and cluttering issues will soon receive grant money to help it determine how to best help residents with this issue, many of whom are LGBT according to the Bay Area Reporter, a San Francisco-based LGBT newspaper.

The Mental Health Association of San Francisco offers support groups and other services to people who struggle with the issue. All services are free.

The association is partnering with the University of California at San Francisco, which is set to receive an estimated $2 million in grant funding over three years from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. The Mental Health Association’s part of the funding will be about $200,000 a year, although the details are still being worked out, the Reporter noted.

The funds are meant to study the efficacy of peer-led treatment groups compared with therapist-led groups.

Experts say hoarding may be a problem when the accumulation of possessions has begun to affect someone’s quality of life and is keeping them from using their home for its intended purposes. Someone may be unable to sleep in their bed, not have access to their bathroom, or be prevented from using their stove.

08
Jan
2014

Is it sexist to objectify an awfully hot (male) cop?

There's a bit of a phenomenon going on with a rather hot male cop in San Francisco, by the name of Chris Kohrs.

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10
Jul
2014

Houston mayor marries longtime partner

Annise Parker, Houston, gay news, Victory Fund, Democratic Party, Washington Blade

Houston Mayor Annise Parker married longtime partner Kathy Hubbard last week. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

PALM SPRINGS, Calif.—Houston Mayor Annise Parker and her partner of more than two decades, Kathy Hubbard, married on Jan. 16.

A press release the city of Houston released said Parker and Hubbard, who celebrated their 23rd anniversary on their wedding day, exchanged vows at a Palm Springs home.

Rev. Paul Fromberg of San Francisco officiated the wedding that Parker’s mother, Hubbard’s sister and a small group of family and friends attended. Harris County Civil Judicial District Court Judge Steve Kirkland and Mark Parthie were witnesses.

“This is a very happy day for us,” said Parker. “[Hubbard] is the love of my life and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life married to her.”

Harris County GOP Chair Jared Woodfill, who is suing Parker and Houston over the extension of benefits to the same-sex partners of city employees, criticized the wedding.

“This is about a bigger political agenda for her,” said Woodfill as Lone Star Q reported.

Houston voters first elected Parker as mayor in 2009. She won re-election for a third term last November.

23
Jan
2014

Gay juror removed from AIDS drug trial

gay juror, National LGBT Bar Association, Gay News, Washington Blade

(image via Wikimedia Commons)

SAN FRANCISCO — A San Francisco court ruled last week that a case against an AIDS drug company will get a new trial after it was determined that the company improperly excluded a gay man from the jury, Bloomberg reports.

In 2011, an Oakland jury ordered Abbott Laboratories to pay GlaxoSmithKline $3.5 million for breaching a drug agreement, though Abbott was cleared of charges that it sought to stifle competition over HIV drugs when it quadrupled the price of the drug Norvir in 2003, the article said.

The judge overseeing the trial permitted the exclusion during jury selection when Abbott exercised its right to keep certain individuals off the jury. When questioned, the man said he had a male partner and had lost friends to AIDS, Bloomberg reports.

“Permitting a strike based on sexual orientation could send the false message that gays and lesbians could not be trusted to reason fairly on issues of great import to the community or the nation,” a three-judge appellate panel in the U.S. Court of Appeals wrote last week.

30
Jan
2014

Dumped by her own community on Valentine’s Day

A Valentine's Day dance benefitting PFLAG banned a formerly-lesbian couple because one partner is female-to-male.

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14
Feb
2014

Fake Grindr profiles in Calif. run by health workers

Grindr, social media app, gay news, Washington Blade, profiles

Health workers have been creating fake Grindr profiles to encourage more men who have sex with men to get tested for HIV and other STDs.

SAN FRANCISCO — Health workers in California’s San Mateo County have been creating fake profiles on the online hookup application Grindr to encourage more men who have sex with men to get tested for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, the Bay Area Reporter, a gay San Francisco paper, reports.

Darryl Lampkin, prevention supervisor for the STD/HIV program at the county’s health department, told the Reporter that the efforts have enabled staff to reach far more people than they had been able to in the county, which is just south of San Francisco but includes no physical venues such as gay bars or community centers where outreach can be focused.

Lampkin, who spoke March 13 to members of San Francisco’s HIV Prevention Planning Council, said staffers don’t initiate contact with others on the site and the profiles contain minimal information. Instead, they respond when someone expresses interest in the profile.

26
Mar
2014