Governor Cuomo Signs Legislation Serving LGBT Senior Community Needs

Today, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law requiring the New York State Office for the Aging( Hereafter, NYSOFA) to research and study the needs of elderly communities that have been ignored including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender seniors. The legislation will also provide grants to organizations serving LGBT seniors.

Under the new law, NYSOFA, must give an annual report to the governor and legislature that includes suggestions on how to better serve lgbt senior communities through the expansion and replication of services provided other social minorities. The reports must also include information on programs that are successful in serving our community as well as shortfalls that need work.

This is a great step in better serving lgbt communities and providing for the unique needs of lgbt seniors, who may have been reluctant to seek medical help or social services in the past in fear of judgment or rejection. Those individuals who are over 55 now did not have the same luxuries and freedom that we do, especially the ability to speak openly about their love life without being ostracized.

Source: OutCome Buffalo






California Inmate Denied Sex-Reassignment Surgery

Lyralisa Stevens was denied her request for a state-funded sex reassignment procedure.

A California Appeals court ruled Wednesday that a transgender inmate who has “lived as a woman” since 1993 is not entitled to a state funded sex reassignment surgery.

The inmate, Lyralisa Stevens, is currently serving a 50-year to life sentence for murdering a female friend over a clothing bill in their shared hotel room.  Currently, Stevens resides at an all-male prison in Vacaville, California.

Stevens has requested her removal to an all-female prison, but the court found she has been protected adequately in her own cell separated from male inmates and will not provide for her sex reassignment.

The state already funds Stevens’ hormone therapy following a federal court ruling requiring prisons to do so, but no court has ruled that the state should be required to fund sex-reassignment surgery. Stevens has already had her breasts and hips augmented to appear more feminine, hopefully not on the state’s dime.

I am trying to be sympathetic about this case, but why should taxpayers pay for this procedure? And should we limit the rights of prisoners who have proved a danger to society? On the other hand, Stevens has no way of funding the surgery herself while she is a prisoner, and the denial of these surgeries has led to incidents like that of Ophelia De’lonta‘s self-castration attempt. Things to consider…



Northern Ireland Refuses to Lift Gay Blood Ban

Northern Ireland’s health minister, Edwin Poots, is refusing to lift the ban on accepting gay blood donations despite the relaxation of bans in Scotland, the U.K. and Wales.

Poots claims that altering the current policy would fail to protect blood transfusion recipients adequately, and may even increase the possibility HIV infections, despite contrary findings  by United Kingdom health ministers and the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues, and Organs. According to the committee men who refrain from homosexual sexual acts for 12 months prior to donation should be permitted to give.

Poots would rather Northern Ireland maintain the lifetime preclusion of gay blood donors, and to ignore science and probability. Although Poots does have some grounds to worry about increased infections, he doesn’t seem concerned about heterosexuals that could also be HIV positive and donating at such an early stage that they are not testing positive yet. Instead of discriminating, Poots should be finding ways to create more and better testing screens for donated blood.


Source: Gay Agenda


Alaskan Court Gives Same-Sex Couples Marriage Tax Breaks

Same-sex couples in Alaska can save a bit of money on their taxes next year according to a new ruling by the state’s superior court.  The state’s same-sex couples are now entitled to the same senior citizen and disabled veteran property tax exemptions as any other married couple would be.

Alaska’s Superior Court Judge, Frank Pfiffner, said that any decision treating couples differently based on their composition would violate the equal protection clause of Alaska’s constitution. The case was brought by the ACLU on behalf of three couples to challenge tax assessment rules that denied tax breaks to same-sex couples. The only way for same-sex couples to receive these tax breaks was through marriage, a right denied them by the Alaskan government after resident voters chose to define marriage as between a “man and a woman” in the state constitution.

Under Alaskan tax law, couples over the age of 65 and disabled veterans can exclude up to $150,000 of value from property taxes on their primary residence. Great news for Alaska! Hopefully, federal tax law will soon follow suit.




Mumbai Police Raid “Gay Rave Party”

A “gay rave party” was broken up Sunday morning by Mumbai police in India. Approximately 130 patrons of the party were fined for drinking alcohol and committing “indecent” acts.

The party was raided at around 2AM in Jogeshwari, a western suburb of Mumbai, after the police were informed that there was a gay party at the residence. One attendee, Bobby Darling, a transgender actress that has made a name for herself in Bollywood, claims she was paid to attend the party along with other Indian celebrities, all of which were fined.

According to police, men were committing “obscene” acts as they danced nude with each other under the influence of alcohol. The men were fined 1,200 rupees each most likely under the Bombay Police Act which permits individuals to be charged for nudity in a public space. Of course, a private party isn’t very public, but when you have a desire to vilify a sexual minority with the support of your government, you can probably bend the law a bit.

Although Mumbai’s gays aren’t having much luck, I still want to congratulate the United States armed forces now that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is finally gone! Woohoo!

Source: PinkNews



Taiwanese Presidential Candidate Promises Greater LGBT Rights

Taiwan could soon be an even greater leader in the fight for LGBT rights, as one of the republic’s presidential candidates promises to promote greater gender and gay equality.

The Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen has been lauded for her stances on gay rights, but most can’t help but be suspicious of a promise made during a campaign. Although the gay community comprises only about 10% of voters, Ing-wen may just want all the help she can get to enter presidential office in Asia’s most progressive society.

Neither Ing-wen or the DPP has released any type of plan to further gay rights in the nation, but instead claim they will “protect gay rights”. Unfortunately, there isn’t much to protect. Same-sex marriage, under “The Basic Human Rights Law”, was proposed back in 2003 and has not been voted on since. The positive steps Taiwan has taken were an anti-discrimination law and the inclusion of LGBT history in the nation’s student textbooks. Important steps to make a more inclusive and accepting society for future LGBT Taiwanese.

I wonder what China has to say about this?

Source: China Post


Court Says Arizona Must Continue Same-Sex Benefits

The state of Arizona must continue providing same-sex partner health benefits to lesbian and gay government employees following a court ruling this week.

Back in 2008, Arizona initiated benefits for the same-sex partners of state employees, but a bill passed in 2009 attempted to terminate the policy and only permit legally married couples to receive them.

A three judge panel in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco agreed with a lower court finding that the 2009 law should be blocked and that it was in fact unconstitutional.

According to the Court’s opinion: “When a state chooses to provide such benefits, it may not do so in an arbitrary or discriminatory manner that adversely affects particular groups that may be unpopular.”

By making benefits only available to married couples only heterosexual unmarried couples could remedy their benefit loss by getting married. Meanwhile, same-sex couples had no similar recourse as long as Arizona does not permit same-sex marriage.  The Court found it unjust for the state to provide benefits only to legally married couples, when the state itself only lets certain ‘types’ of couples marry.

Take that Jane Brewer!


Source: Gay Agenda

Three Gay Iranians Executed Sunday

Depressing news out of Iran this week.  According to reports 3 men were hanged last Sunday, September 4th, in Ahvaz(an area of southwest Iran) following their convictions of “unlawful acts” and “acts against the Sharia” under article 108 and 110 of the Iranian Islamic Penal Code.

Article 108 of the code criminalizes sodomy defining the term as “sexual intercourse between men” and is followed up by article 110 prescribing execution as punishment for these acts.  The ultimate decision on how to carry out the killing falls to the presiding Sharia judge.

Normally, Iranian authorities will present homosexuals facing execution as having also been convicted of other arbitrary charges to make the public less sympathetic to the persecuted gay community. Often the authorities will use the charge of rape to stigmatize those to be killed, despite the criminal act never having been committed. In this case the men were convicted of kidnapping and robbery along with their sodomy charges.

Take a moment and think about how lucky you are not to be gay in Iran…

Source: Towle Road



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