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Things That Happened in 2014

By | 2014-12-25T09:00:00-05:00 December 25th, 2014|Michigan, News|

Jeremy Moss won a seat to serve in the Michigan State House for the 35th District. One of his main priorities once he sits down in January is to work a bipartisan model to get a predictable stream of money to come to Michigan communities. There is no doubt that he would like to see Lansing pass an amendment to the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights act, but Moss plans to wait and see what can happen in the lame duck session before he decides his next step.
Running in a seat that largely swings Democratic, candidate Jon Hoadley and CEO of Badlands Strategies, LLC, celebrated a victory on Nov. 4 as the next state elected official in the 60th District. He has a five point plan that includes passing the budget earlier so districts can attract and maintain the best teachers. Hoadley believes that stability is good for high performing teachers and students and will work towards increasing private partnerships in at-risk neighborhoods.
At 4:40 p.m. Nov. 6 the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati became the first federal appellate court in over a year to rule against the freedom to marry. The ruling overturned lower court decisions out of Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio and Michigan, all of which found that denying marriage to gay couples is unconstitutional. The 6th Circuit’s decision is in conflict with favorable marriage rulings in virtually every court to this point and a strong majority of the American people.
The Department of Labor published a new rule to prohibit businesses that contract with the federal government from engaging in workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The rule implements the historic LGBT non-discrimination Executive Order 13672 that was signed by President Obama in July, prohibiting federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating in employment practices on the bases of gender identity and sexual orientation. The rule appeared in the Federal Register on Dec. 4 and will take effect 120 from that date.
PrEP is an HIV prevention intervention that’s been out for more than two years using the anti-HIV drug Truvada. When an HIV-negative person takes the pill daily, it has been shown to be at least 92 percent effective in preventing HIV infection, and in a study from the National Institutes of Health, the efficacy of daily use of the drug was pegged at 99 percent. In May, the CDC released new clinical guidance on who should take the little blue pill – clearing the way for as many as 500,000 Americans to meet the clinical guidance.
There is a divide among public health officials, leaders in the gay community and people in the HIV prevention community. Some are concerned that widespread adoption of Truvada will result in a spike in other sexually transmitted infections in men who have sex with men – they believe it will empower those men to engage in riskier sexual activity, referred to as risk compensation in science. Some say the drug has too many potential negative side effects.
Celebrating its 15th anniversary, Ruth Ellis Center (REC) has been and continues to be one of the nation’s leading experts in serving runaway, homeless and at-risk lesbian, gay, bi-attractional, transgender and questioning youth.

REC was formed by concerned community members in response to a severe act of violence against a gay youth who was experiencing homelessness. The violence and victimization against LGBTQ youth often leads to and is a result of homelessness. In Detroit, it is currently estimated that there are between 800 to 1,000 LGBTQ runaway and homeless youth living on the streets. REC served more than 50 percent of those youth last year.
KICK have been serving the Detroit community since the early 2000s and have been active as a supporter of LGBT African-Americans since they were first a publishing company back in 1994. The organization, originally created to inform the community of specific issues, garnered local and national support; this success led to “Hotter Than July!” in the mid-90s, the black LGBT pride event in Detroit held every summer. In 2003, KICK finally became a Michigan non-profit, dedicating itself fully to not just informative publications, but also affirming programs, services, projects and special events. KICK opened their Center in 2011, offering a safe space for the LGBT and allied community. KICK can now be found at 31 Burroughs St., Suite 109, Detroit.

In addition to the bill that excludes transgender people from anti-discrimination protections under Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen’s Civil Rights Act, the Michigan Republican leadership has introduced House Bill 5958, the Michigan Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Although not tie barred (making it a condition of passing another piece of legislation) to the Elliott-Larsen bill, the proposed RFRA legislation is being touted by House Speaker Jase Bolger as somehow necessary to protect the religious liberties of individuals who may not believe that LGBT people deserve fair treatment under the law.
An estimated 35.3 million people are living with HIV worldwide, but despite recent improved access to antiretroviral treatments, the disease continues to claim an approximate two million lives a year. A study published in the journal The Lancet HIV reports that there is a significant disparity in HIV prevalence between black and white men who have sex with men. The study was published on Nov. 18 and found a startling 32 percent prevalence rate for black men who have sex with men, compared with only eight percent for white men who have sex with men.
The study also found a significant disparity along the continuum of care for HIV-positive persons. While 51 percent of white MSM are retained in care, the study found only 33 percent of black MSM were retained. Achieving viral suppression saw even greater disparities: just over one third of white MSM had achieved viral suppression compared with just 16 percent of black MSM.

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.