Wednesday brings onslaught of anti-LGBTQ attacks
The LGBT South is a weekly email newsletter, compiling national, regional, and local news important to LGBT Southerners. Subscribe to get the latest edition to your inbox every Friday morning and keep up with what the Campaign for Southern Equality is up to!
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“[…] we will move forward. We will make sure that all trans people in the military, and all people outside the military after serving, receive the medical care they need. We will not back down. Our progress will continue. Our organizing and activism will grow stronger.
We are neither disruptive nor expensive. We are human beings, and we will not be erased or ignored.”
Here’s your breakdown of what’s happening this week in the #LGBTsouth:
ROLLING BACK OUR RIGHTS
This week the Trump administration took several steps toward reversing rights for members of the LGBTQ community nationwide. These are the latest in a long list of moves proving that Trump’s claims to be an ally to our community simply hold no weight.
On Wednesday morning, in a string of tweets, Trump stated that his administration would be reinstating a ban on transgender people serving in the military. Citing the costs of providing transition-related medical care and the alleged “disruption” caused by trans service members, Trump declared that military funds and resources would be better focused on “decisive and overwhelming victory”.
As many have pointed out, Trump’s claims that allowing trans folks to serve in the military is too great a cost is just one of the pieces of flawed logic behind this blatant and unconstitutional act of discrimination. Under the Obama administration, the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy regarding LGB service members was repealed, and laws were passed allowing trans people to serve openly in 2016, a move that then-Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter said would “cost little and have no significant impact on unit readiness.” While a tweet doesn’t constitute any official policy change, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has stated that there will be no policy changes made without Trump’s direction, it is a clear indication that the administration intends to take targeted action against the trans community, whether legal or social.
Also on Wednesday, attorneys for the Justice Department argued that LGBT people are not protected from employment discrimination by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. This has been at the center of several recent lawsuits around the country, including one in Indianawhere the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals found that discrimination based on sexual orientation constitutes “sex discrimination” as it is worded in the law. A federal ruling on the interpretation of this law could have a dramatic effect on protections for LGBT workers facing discrimination or firing based on their identities.
James Esseks, Director of the ACLU’s LGBT & HIV Project speculated that Wednesday “will go down in history as Anti-LGBT Day” given the onslaught of attacks on our community from the top officials in the country, a reality that shouldn’t seem possible in 2017. Still, none of these disgraceful acts have changed the law as of yet. The Trump administration is trying to stoke fear and write hatred into the law of the land and we are more committed than ever to fighting for full equality.
Here are some ways you can join us in standing up for trans equality right now:
1) Call the White House at 202-456-1111 and demand that President Trump clarify that transgender people can serve in the military
2) Raise your voice on social media to support the trans community and condemn Trump’s announcement.
3) Donate to organizations like the National Center for Transgender Equality, OutServe-SLDN, and the Transgender Law Center.
Folks from Mississippi’s LGBTQ community are demanding to have their voices heard.
Learn the story of Monica Helms, a trans veteran who designed the trans pride flag.
The Texas Senate has passed a bathroom bill, SB 3, which will now face a vote in the state House.
The story of Ruth Coker Burks, an Arkansas woman who helped hundreds of gay men during the AIDS crisis, will be told in a new short film.
Activists in Selma, AL opened a resource center for LGBTQ youth and young adults in the area and across state.
The Spectrum Center in Hattiesburg, MS is hiring a part-time Project Coordinator to run day-to-day operations at the center – click here to read more.
A new study has found that HIV positive people with an undetectable viral load are effectively unable to transmit the virus.
WHAT THE CAMPAIGN FOR SOUTHERN EQUALITY IS UP TO
Healthcare is a vital issue for everyone, but it’s a particularly important issue for trans folks. Time and again we hear from people who have been denied coverage of care related to their medical transition. Sometimes this is because they’re working with a doctor who doesn’t know how to code trans related care in a way to get it covered, and sometimes folks aren’t aware that they can appeal an insurance denial.
With that in mind, the Campaign for Southern Equality has compiled this Insurance Coding fact sheet to provide information about ICD-10 insurance codes and corresponding diagnoses and treatments the codes are related to. This information can help inform medical providers about insurance codes for trans healthcare that are commonly accepted and rejected.
This document is intended to assist trans people in advocating for themselves with their healthcare providers and insurance companies. We shouldn’t have to provide trans education while we’re in the stirrups, and this tool is designed to help trans people navigate medical transition from the initial coding from a doctor to the appeals process with an insurance provider.
The need for this survey has become even more urgent as LGBTQ people are being erased from government policy and research: LGBTQ questions from the National Survey of Older Americans Act Participants (NSOAAP) and the upcoming 2020 United States Census are now gone. Our voices are needed now. Please use this survey to tell your story. Let’s make clear that our lives and experiences will not be erased.
We are excited to launch Safe Schools, Safe Communities, a new round of rapid response grants to promote safety in schools and communities across the South.
We’re open to all kinds of ideas. If it will make your community safer, we want to hear about it – whether you’re organizing a rally to speak out against violence against trans women of color; hosting trainings to provide sanctuary for undocumented immigrants; educating legislators about the importance of access to affordable healthcare; or building a coalition of staff, faculty and parents to reduce bullying against LGBTQ, immigrant and Muslim students.
We need all of these efforts and more to protect and defend those who are most vulnerable in our communities across the South. Click here to apply for funding today.
We will accept and review applications for grants of up to $500 on an ongoing basis. Applicants will receive a response within one month of submission.