Connecticut Becomes 5th State to Require Trans Healthcare Insurance Coverage

cthix_image_1I rarely get to report on developments in transgender rights as much as I’d like to, so today I am happy to say that Connecticut is now the fifth state to require health insurance companies(operating in the state) to cover medical costs associated with the transition process.

Connecticut will now join California, Colorado, Oregon, and Vermont in demanding that health insurance companies provide reasonable coverage to transitioning residents. Of course, the insurance companies will still be permitted to evaluate a medical claim’s necessity, but the company cannot deny a claim merely because it is part of the transitioning process as many have in the past.
Anne Melissa Dowling, Deputy Insurance Commissioner, has argued,  based on a 2011 Connecticut anti-discrimination statute, that gender identity/ expression is protected by the state and that this statute also applies to healthcare. In the past, companies have claimed that gender transition was not medically necessary, despite the arguments of psychiatrists and other mental health professionals. Now claims must be evaluated as with any other medical cost.
Congratulations to Connecticut, and Happy New Year!!!!
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Cuban Parliament Votes on Lesbian and Gay Workers’ Rights

cuba-gay-1The Cuban parliament has adopted changes to labor codes that will explicitly prohibit workplace discrimination based on a worker’s sexual orientation. 

This will be the first law that protects gays in the workplace in Cuba. Mariela Castro, the daughter of the current Cuban president, Raul Castro, even requested additional language that would prohibit discrimination based on gender identity, HIV status, or disability.  

Some critics warn that the gay rights included are merely a mask to distract from the language that was removed from the original proposal protecting anti-Castro employees. The original proposal would have also protected employees who were political dissidents of the current regime, but that language has since been removed.

Read more here

Uganda Passes “Kill the Gays” Bill

images (15)Sadly, the Ugandan government has finally passed the “Kill the Gays” bill, after years of rejection.

The parliament introduced the original bill in 2010. The bill was widely condemned by other nations as severe and unwarranted. . The new legislation must be signed by the Ugandan president, Yoweri Museveni,  before it will become official law. Proponents of the bill proclaimed that it is necessary to protect Ugandan families from Western influences, influences they claim will threaten their families and values.

The new version of the bill criminalizes “aggravated homosexuality” and removes the death penalty from possible punishments for gay sex. However, those convicted can be sentenced to life in prison for their sexual acts with members of the same sex. “Aggravated homosexuality” is defined to include homosexual acts committed by a person who is HIV-positive, is a parent or authority figure, or who administers intoxicating substances, homosexual acts committed on minors or people with disabilities, and repeat offenders.

Let’s hope the Ugandan president gets a grip, and refuses to sign.

Read more here

Same-Sex Israeli Couples with Children May Soon Enjoy Tax Breaks

393582547_640Gay Israelis with children will see an improvement their country’s tax policy now that opposing political parties have come to a compromise allowing same-sex couples to enjoy similar benefits to their heterosexual counterparts.
The Israeli centrist party, Yesh Atid, and members of the religious conservative party, Bayit Yehudi, have agreed to allow same-sex couples with children to to enjoy the same tax breaks straight couples in the country do.
Bayit Yehudi has been very vocal about its opposition to same-sex couples enjoying equal rights and had, in the past, threatened to veto bills that came before them. Fortunately, the group has come to its senses a bit and is working with other lawmakers. Bayit Yehudi has agreed to this compromise if the tax breaks are treated as regulations by the Finance Ministry, rather than being made into legislation and encoded in law. This permits Bayit Yehudi to save face by not putting their stamp of approval on a pro-gay law.

– See more at: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/israeli-parties-come-compromise-allow-equal-tax-breaks-same-sex-parents261213#sthash.UWdxyoU4.dpuf

Obama Appoints Lesbian Delegates to Olympic Games

President Obama has appointed two openly gay delegates to the Sochi Olympics in Russia. Currently, Russia bans “gay propaganda” or bascially anything openly gay that children could see and supposedly want to emulate(Because we all know that is how we became gay, we saw a gay person kiss another one.). Violation of this law can lead to fines of up to $6,250. Foreigners who violate the law can face up to 15 days of administrative detention before deportation.Sochi 2014 Company Olympics

The two delegates include tennis legend Billie Jean King as well as two-time ice hockey Olympic medalist Caitlin Cahow. Both are openly lesbian. Obama aimed to send a message to Russia by not only sending lesbian delegates, but also by not attending the games himself. This is the first time since 2000 that a president has not been involved in the Olympics. The French President, Francoise Holland, and German President Joachim Gauck, will also not be attending.

Another member of the delegation will be famed figure skater Brian Boitano, who has never made an official statement about his sexual preference.

Good News for Same-Sex Couples Facing Loss

"Till death do us part"
“Till death do us part”

Couples in Illinois dealing with a life-threatening illness can enjoy a bit of good news this week. That’s because  a federal court has ordered the state’s county clerk’s office to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples who want to marry quickly due to a partner’s life-threatening illness.

Illinois is now the 16th state to legalize same-sex marriage. Most same-sex couples will not be permitted to marry until June 1, 2014 when the legalization officially takes effect. This new order to allow emergency marriages was made by U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman and is being applied to Cook County. Couples will need to bring proof of the life-threatening illness from their doctors.

There is also good news for those same-sex spouses who have recently suffered the loss of their partner now that DOMA is donezo. Widows/Widowers from same-sex marriages are now able to collect survivor benefits according to the Social Security Administration recent press release.

The IRS has also gotten in on the action releasing a new guidance on same-sex couple filings.

Things are looking up for our more “seasoned” brothers and sisters.

Biblical Definitions of Marriage

So here is an interesting article on the biblical definitions of marriage. The author can be a bit dramatic and snarky at times. Regardless of his attitude his points are valid, although most of his evidence comes from the Old Testament.  Read on and don’t send me nasty messages about it 🙂

images (6)What Every American Should Know about the Biblical “Definitions” of Marriage by Arik Bjorn

Thoughts Concerning a ‘Biblical Definition of Marriage,’ and in Response to Umpteen Biblically-Ignorant Memes that have Sloshed Back & Forth across the Social Media High Seas e’er since the U.S. Supreme Court’s Landmark Same-Sex Marriage Ruling, and with Hellfire Spit Aimed at any Idiot who Buys the Rights to a Stock Photo of Two Aryans on a Beach and has the Holy-Ghostly Gall to Suggest this Represents God’s Eternal Vision of Connubial Bliss (& with Apologies to those who heretofore did not know what a Fleshlight is)

For the love of God—literally—please share this article with anyone you know who maintains there is such a thing as a ‘Biblical Definition of Marriage’ in any manner approaching what chicken fast food executives, Michele Bachmann and the rest of the deluded Christian Right spouts.

If there is one thing I simply cannot stomach—other than cardboard chicken sandwiches and the miscreants who hawk them—it is the egregious misrepresentation of the Bible. The Bible is notPaula Deen’s Southern Cooking Bible. If you call yourself a Christian, do not pretend that respectable theology consists of pulling out a few KJV verses from your lard-laden pantry and whipping up some peanut butter and chocolate balls to adorn your Tea Party potluck picnic table.

Biblical Marriage Peanut Butter & Chocolate Ball Buckeyes
3 cups – Adam & Eve
1 cup – Creamy Quote from Psalms (use Proverbs for substitute)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) – Pauline Epistle-Churned Butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon – Gospel Quote
3 cups – Semisweet Sodom & Gomorrah

Before we begin our Two-Minute Drill Survey of “Biblical Definitions of Marriage”—yes, plural—let me suggest that if you are naïve enough to believe in a Biblical Definition of Marriage based solely on the misguided hermeneutical assumption that there was an historical Adam and Eve, then you also need to fess up that your personal theology includes a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval for sibling incest—unless you have some other suggestion for how Adam and Eve’s children managed to propagate our species.

Probably never thought of that, have you? I’ll give you a 90-second time out to let the concept roll around in your head.

“Oh, but that was a one-time exception in the eyes of God,” you might offer. Or perhaps you’ll proffer this silly explanation: “Yes, but incest was okay before The Fall.”

My prepared response to whatever pops out of your mouth other than a realization that you haven’t previously exercised critical thinking in your interpretation of holy writ: Really?!

Good. Now you know that either (a) Adam and Eve are metaphorical creations, or (b) the Board of Directors of the Creation Museum should start building a Pro-Incest Wing to complement its Biblical Monogamy Wing. (Yes, maybe the folks in charge of the Creation Museum have stopped evolving, but the biblical concept of marriage has not. And for what it’s worth, other than swans, the animal kingdom almost universally refutes the concept of monogamy—unless you include insect species where the female happens to digest the male following procreation.)

Next.

Okay, everyone. Get out your flannelgraphs and fleshlights and cover your children’s eyes. Thus begins the Two-Minute Biblical Survey Drill!

Gimme dat apple!
Gimme dat apple!

Adam & Eve and Other Polygamous Ponderings from Genesis

We already covered Adam and Eve. Enough said.

When is the last time your minister preached on the story of Onan? Never? What a surprise. Permit me to quote Genesis 38:8-10:

“Then Judah said to Onan, ‘Lie with your brother’s wife and fulfill your duty to her as a brother-in-law to produce offspring for your brother.’ But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so whenever he lay with his brother’s wife, he spilled his seed on the ground to keep from producing offspring for his brother. What he did was wicked in the Lord’s sight, so he put him to death as well.”

Ouch.

So, our biblical definition of marriage now includes incest for the sake of species preservation along with summary execution by Jehovah if a man refuses to bed his brother’s wife once his brother dies. In case you’re following along at home with your Bibles, flip ahead to Deuteronomy 25:5-6, where this concept of Levirate marriage was ultimately etched into Judaic law.

Now, who’s ready for some Pentateuchal polygamy? I know who! Lamech, the first polygamist mentioned in the Bible. Flip back to Genesis 4:19. Lamech had two wives, Adah and Zillah. Would have made an amazing HBO drama in the day. And of course that crotchety Old Testament Yahweh made mincemeat of Lamech for daring to following marital cultural norms by striking him with theistic lightning. What?! You mean God did not smite Lamech for polygamy? That simply cannot be!

I mean, God struck down Onan for masturbating rather than knocking up his sister-in-law. Well, I’ll be. So it is possible to sneak an inside curveball by God. Or maybe, just maybe, God understands that human culture evolves at its own predictable pace.

Here are some other evil polygamists one finds in Genesis: Abraham, Jacob, Esau. Um, don’t we consider at least two of these gentlemen Mt. Rushmore patriarchs of the faith? As the song goes: “Father Abraham, had many wives / And many wives had Father Abraham.”

The Rest of the Old Testament

Judges 19. If Quentin Tarantino were ever going to turn a Bible story into a film, this is the one. It is a tale so befuddling that space simply does not permit full exegesis. Let me just quote the first and final verses:

Verse 1: “Now a Levite who lived in a remote area in the hill country of Ephraim took a concubine from Bethlehem in Judah.”

Verse 29: “When he reached home, he took a knife and cut up his concubine, limb by limb, into twelve parts and sent them into all the areas of Israel.”

What follows is a godawful war against the people of Gibeah who perpetrated the all-night rape of the Levite’s wife—er, concubine. Well, maybe there is one other verse I should include:

Verse 25: “So [the Levite] took his concubine and sent her outside to them, and they raped her and abused her throughout the night….”

It is perhaps understandable why the producers of Veggie Tales never devoted an episode to these final chapters of Judges. Equally, it is somewhat predictable as to why the Southern Baptist Convention entirely skipped over the whole “taking a concubine and throwing her out to the bastards for an all-night rape-fest” clause in its 2004 On Supporting a Federal Marriage Amendment.

Next. Wise King Solomon.

I Kings 11:3 says that Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. In deference to the Christian Right, the text adds that these women “led him astray.” So there you have it: a proper biblical definition of marriage puts the limit of opposite sex partners at 1,000. And to my knowledge, the only people who have ever violated this tenet are Peter North and Wilt Chamberlain.

The Gritty Gospels

Time is running out in our Two-Minute Drill, so let’s skip straight to the Hail Mary pass.

Question: How old was Mary when she married Joseph?

Answer: As near as I can tell, so young that Joseph would have been arrested in any state in the Union with the exception of Massachusetts and New Hampshire. (Can someone please do a follow-up article on why females are allowed to marry in the Land of the Red Sox at the age of 12 with parental consent?)

At any rate, here’s an unexpected addendum to a biblical definition of marriage: girls who are barely pubescent can get married—though possibly this rule may only apply to maidens who have conceived via the Holy Spirit. Still, can’t you just hear the wedding bells ringing across the Fruited Plain? Someone better size down those Vera Wang bridal gowns.

Let’s fast forward to Jesus, where things start to get real:

How often do you hear Matthew 19:9 quoted from the pulpit other than never? “I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

Just thought I would throw that out there for the 43% of adult Evangelical Christians who are divorced. I’m not going to compare this against a national statistic, which appears to be murky at best. So let’s just be equitable and say that Evangelicals are no less human than the rest of us—not matter what they contend.

For those who really care about authentic biblical definitions, here are a few ditties about love and judgment from Mary’s celebrity son:

“‘If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her’” (John 8:7).

“’What is written in the Law,’ he replied. ‘How do you read it?’ [The expert in the Law] answered, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind,’ and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ‘You have answered correctly,’ Jesus replied. ‘Do this and you will live.’” (Luke 10:26-28)

And just because I can, here’s a non-biblical quote from folk rocker Stephen Stills:

“And if you can’t be with the one you love honey / Love the one you’re with.”

Paul, the apostle, was originally named Saul until he was blinded by God while riding his horse. He had previously persecuted Christians, but after his meeting with God he became a devout follower of Jesus.
Paul, the apostle, was originally named Saul until he was blinded by God while riding his horse. He had previously persecuted Christians, but after his meeting with God he became a devout follower of Jesus.

The Apostle Paul: Tanner, Missionary, Anti-Marriage Advocate

Nearly 2,000 years since the advent of the religion, and people still do not universally recognize that, at least with respect to history, the spread of Christianity has as much to do with the Apostle Paul as it does with the religion’s lord and savior. So with just a few seconds left on the clock, I cannot help but give the Pharisee Formerly Known as Saul of Tarsus some props:

I Corinthians 7:8:  “Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am.”

Feel free to continue slogging your way through I Corinthians 7 and the other Pauline epistles. Just keep in mind that all of the strange marriage pronouncements made by Paul the Tanner make a lot more sense when you recognize that he, along with the other early Christian Church leaders, were convinced that Christ would return in glory at any moment to save the planet from Rome and the likes of such pagan assholes as Nero and Caligula, who, by the way, was briefly married at the age of 21. And just for what it’s worth, Caligula did not marry his horse; he merely promised to make it a Roman senator, yet instead made it a priest.

But that’s out-of-bounds for our Biblical Survey, and for that I deserve a five-yard penalty on the final play of the game.

In conclusion, what really matters is that the Biblical Definition of Marriage compiled during our Two-Minute Drill includes, but is not limited to: “Winks” to Incest, Polygamy, Concubinage (including the right to offer your concubine for all-night serial rape, followed by sectioning her body into 12 parts for distribution to fellow tribesmen), a 1,000 Opposite Sex Lifetime Partner Limit, Marriage at the Age of 13 (especially if endorsed by the Trinity), a Denouncement of the U.S. Evangelical Divorce Rate, and a Pauline Prohibition of Marriage.

For you diehard biblical-literalist Christians, here’s your chance to apply some of those critical thinking skills you acquired when earlier we discussed Adam and Eve.

Honest to God, do you really still think that same-sex marriage represents a blasphemous sacrilege of your religious tradition?

Hopefully you can now see that marriage, just like anything else, progresses naturally along a cultural evolutionary path. And for your spiritual comfort, please find solace in the knowledge that God meets humanity wherever culture happens to be. Day by day. Century by century. Millennium by millennium. E’er progressing.

Original Article at Forward Progressives

Spike in Transgender Attacks in Washington D.C.

Bree Wallace, was one victim listed in the attacks. Wallace was stabbed 40 times last month.
Bree Wallace, was one victim listed in the attacks. Wallace was stabbed 40 times last month.

Local community members are concerned in Washington D.C. over the recent rise in anti-transgender attacks. Activists,  business owners, and officers of the Metropolitan Police Department met last Friday to discuss appropriate responses and preventative measures in regard to the attacks.

Following the meeting, on June 29th, two more transgendered women have been attacked. The recent spike in attacks have included the stabbing of a transgender woman 40 times on June 21st, a the shooting of another transgender woman on June 22nd which resulted in her death, a transgender woman shot on June 27th, and  a gay man dressed in drag who was beaten on June 23rd.

Some officials along with police are claiming that only 2 of the crimes are hate-related. That is still 2 too many. The meeting ended up being pretty fruitless as to good ideas on how to prevent more violence, but at least the brainstorming has begun.

Read more at Edge

Binational Same-Sex Couples Feel Effect of DOMA Invalidation

 Traian Popov and Julian Marsh a binational will be permitted to stay together  now that a section of DOMA has been invalidated.
Traian Popov and Julian Marsh a binational will be permitted to stay together now that a section of DOMA has been invalidated.

A man from Florida and his husband, a native of Bulgaria, are now the first same-sex married couple in the United States to be approved by the government for a permanent resident visa based on their marital relationship!

Traian Popov, a Bulgarian immigrant, was emailed approval of his legal permanent residency(green card) last Friday.  Popov lives in Florida with his partner, Julian Marsh, and has been residing in the United States for 15 years legally on student visas.. The approval comes on the heels of the Supreme Court’s decision to invalidate a section of the Defense of Marriage Act that defines marriage as specifically between one man and one woman. This change to the act allows the federal government to provide the same rights to same-sex couples as their heterosexual counterparts. One of those rights provides married bi-national couples the ability to petition for their foreign partner to remain in the United States alongside them.

So glad to see that these couples will no longer have to fear being separated because of other people’s ignorance.

Read more at TowleRoad

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