LGBT

LGBT Seniors Face Unique Aging Challenges

As cities across America celebrate diversity, AARP brings to attention unique problems faced by seniors of the “Stonewall generation.” In addition to practical problems such as lack of social and familial support and being three to four times less likely to have kids, these older adults may also face abuse, harassment and isolation in long-term care settings. There are an estimated three million LGBTQ Americans age 50 and older, with that number expected to reach seven million by 2030.

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Taylor Swift Urges Passage of the Equality Act

Noted LGBT advocate Taylor Swift on Friday urged the U.S. Senate to pass the Equality Act, a bill that prohibits discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation and gender identity in areas including public accommodations and facilities, education, federal funding, employment, housing, credit and the jury system, the Tennessean reports. Passed in the U.S. House by a 236 – 173 margin, the legislation faces an uphill battle in the conservative Senate with President Trump reportedly also opposing the measure. In addition to her social media post, Swift also penned a letter to Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander asking him to support the Act. It is not known when the bill will be heard by the Senate.

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Several States Add a Nonbinary Designation on State Issued IDs

Several states now offer the option to have a nonbinary designation on driver’s licenses and state-issued IDs, The New York Times reports. Individuals in California, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Washington D.C. can now specify their sex as “X” in addition to the traditional “M” and “F.” Colloquially known as Gender X, the recent movement has also unearthed a little-known Arkansas law that has allowed “X” as an option on driver’s licenses since 2010. Hawaii is also considering similar legislation that would omit the designation of sex completely in certain cases.

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Colorado Bans Conversion Therapy

The state of Colorado kicked off Pride Month by banning conversion therapy for minors, ABC News reports. The practice, which is intended to turn a gay person straight through cognitive conditioning, is opposed by The American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association and has been banned in 18 states to date. The legislation was signed into law by Colorado Governor Jared Polis, who is the first openly gay politician ever elected governor in the United States, on Friday.

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Stripping Protections for Gay-Straight Alliances Raises Concerns of Outing Students

Gay-straight alliances (GSAs), clubs where students offer support to their gay peers, have been a contentious topic since their inception in 1988, most recently sparking a debate in the Canadian province of Alberta over whether parents can be notified if their child joins such a club, BBC News reports. The issue arose during the recent provincial election, with conservative party leader and incoming provincial premier Jason Kenney expressing that he will undo legal protections regarding identifying students involved in the clubs, saying "parents know better than politicians what is best for their kids.” Critics of the move argue it could unwillingly out children to parents who might not be supportive of their sexuality or identity and could endanger relationships, or even the children’s lives. In the US, GSAs have prevailed in 17 federal lawsuits under protections of the Equal Access Act, Title VIII of Public Law 98-377.

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SCOTUS to Consider Cases Regarding Federal Protections for LGBT Persons

The U.S. Supreme Court last week announced that it will hear three key cases that will define federal workplace protections for LGBT persons, The Washington Post reports. The arguments revolve around Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and whether the law is written broadly enough to cover these identities. The three cases — Melissa Zarda et al. v. Altitude Express, Gerald Lynn Bostock v. Clayton County and the Sixth Circuit's own: R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission — will be the first major gay rights cases heard by the court since Justice Anthony Kennedy retired.

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Major Music Labels Join Fight Against 'Slate of Hate'

Nashville-based record labels Warner Music Group and Curb Records are the latest additions to a growing opposition of the “Slate of Hate” legislation proffered by Tennessee lawmakers, Billboard reports. The labels signed onto a letter authored by a music industry leader, cautioning Tennessee's legislature of potential negative consequences that might arise if the laws are adopted. Almost 40 companies have voiced disproval of the legislation, along with another music industry powerhouse, Taylor Swift, who donated $113,000 to the cause.

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Juvenile Court Judge Speaks Out Against Bill Allowing Exemptions for Adoption Agencies

Nashville Juvenile Court Judge Sheila Calloway recently spoke out against proposed adoption legislation in an opinion piece in the Tennessean. The bill would allow adoption agencies to deny placement to LGBT families based on religious grounds. She references one bill in particular — HB0836/SB1304, sponsored by Rep. Tim Rudd, R-Murfreesboro, and Sen. Paul Rose, R-Shelby, Tipton counties — that has passed the House by a 67-22 vote. Calloway expresses concerns that this legislation could serve as a jumping point for discrimination and could have a ripple effect, affecting children who may not share common religious beliefs with agencies or those who themselves identify as LGBT. She further cites a case in Philadelphia where a federal judge upheld the city's non-discrimination policies for adoption agencies that sought denials for LGBT families and legal challenges for several states that have attempted to instill similar legislation. The Senate bill will be considered by its Judiciary Committee today.

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Study Finds Same-Sex Couples Encounter More Denials, Higher Interest Rates for Mortgages

A just-released study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that mortgage lenders are more likely to deny loans, or charge more on approved loans for same-sex couples, the Washington Post reports. National mortgage data from 1990 to 2015 shows that these couples were 73 percent more likely to be denied, and on average paid 0.2 percent more in interest and fees than heterosexual couples with comparable financial standing. Since mortgage applicants cannot be asked about sexual orientation, the study identified same-sex couples as co-applicants of the same gender in its model. The researchers involved cite the probe as evidence that sexual orientation should be added a protected class under federal lending laws.

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LGBT-Positive Content a Frequent Theme Among Most Banned Books of 2018

The American Library Association on Monday released its list of challenged and banned books for 2018, showing that over half of the books were censured because of LGBT-positive content, NBC News reports. Coinciding with National Library Week, the organization usually submits a list of ten banned or challenged books, however, this year there was a 10th place tie between two books — “This Day in June” and “Two Boys Kissing” —both of which were burned by a religious protesters in an Iowa last December. John Oliver’s Pence parody book "A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo” highlighting the life of a fictional gay bunny and pet of the vice-president was number two on the list.

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