The National Coalition for LGBT Health spring meeting will take place in Washington, DC from Sunday, March 13 to Tuesday, March 15. The event will be the official kickoff meeting for National LGBT Health Awareness Week, March 13-19.
The meeting will consist of a special briefings and panels on the status and challenges of the LGBT health movement, and creating a health agenda in the wake of the 2004 election. In addition, attendees will have an opportunity to lobby their representatives in Congress.
The Coalition is committed to improving the health and well being of LGBT individuals and communities through public education, coalition building and advocacy that focuses on research, policy, education and training. The focus of this meeting will be advancing the Coalition’s common interest at the White House, Department of Health and Human Service, Congress and other entities.
The meeting registration fee is $60 for members and $85 for non-members. Community housing is available. For more information email [email protected], call 202-797-3516 or visit the organization’s web site at http://www.lgbthealth.net.
Victory Fund wins award for fundraising technology
Washington – The American Association of Political Consultants awarded the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, the nationÕs largest LGBT political action committee a Gold Pollie Award for the best use of a website for fundraising on Jan. 22. The Pollie Awards honor the highest professional achievements in political communications and public affairs. This is the first Gold Pollie to be bestowed upon a national LGBT organization.
Among other unique features, Victory Fund’s site offers “shopping cart-like” technology allowing users to add different candidate contributions to the cart, while tracking their contributions in real-time on an electronic map. Donors can also view their past contributions, RSVP for political fundraisers and sign-up to receive candidate specific news articles.
For more information on The Victory Fund visit http://www.victoryfund.org.
Joan Garry to step down from helm of GLAAD in June
NEW YORK – The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation announced on Jan. 28 that, after eight years at its helm, Joan M. Garry will step down as the organization’s executive director when her contract expires on June 15.
“I look back at the past eight years as the most professionally and personally rewarding of my life,” Garry said. “And now feels like the right time to pass the baton. This job requires significant travel, and right now I’d like to travel less, be at home more, and spend a bit more time with my kids and my partner.”
Oregon town to revisit transgender issue
EUGENE, Ore. – A new mayor means Eugene, Ore., will get another look at extending civil rights protections to transgender people.
The issue arose in 2002 when the city council was deciding whether to create a domestic-partner registry for gay couples. Members of the city’s Human Rights Commission tried to add “gender identity” to the list of the city’s protected classes, but then-mayor Jim Torrey threatened to veto the domestic-partner registry if transgender protections remained.
Councilors ultimately dropped the transgender language but approved the domestic-partner registry.
The new mayor has agreed to put the transgender topic on the council’s May agenda.
Extending the city’s civil rights protections would give transgender people a legal leg to stand on if they encounter discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations. The University of Oregon last fall changed its equal opportunity statement to include gender identity.
New Orleans’ domestic partner benefits, registry under attack
NEW ORLEANS – In 1997, the City of New Orleans extended health insurance benefits to same-sex partners of city employees. In 1999 the City Council, by a majority vote, created a domestic partner registry. The benefits policy and the registry have come under attack by a radical antigay group, the Alliance Defense Fund, based in Scottsdale, Arizona.
ADF claims that the city’s benefits program violates antigay citizens’ rights. A lower court dismissed the group’s lawsuit last year, and they appealed the case.
Public employers in over 10 states, and nearly 140 counties and cities nationwide have extended health insurance benefits to the domestic partners of gay and lesbian employees. More than 60 cities and counties have domestic partner registries, some of which have benefits attached.
Bisexual officer awarded $270,000 in bias case
NEW YORK – A former Suffolk County police officer who said he was subjected to death threats and harassment because he is bisexual was awarded $270,000 on Jan. 28 by a federal jury, his lawyer said.
The officer, a 10-year veteran of the department from East Islip, claimed in a lawsuit that he had been harassed and discriminated against based on his sexual orientation. His lawyer said the harassment, which began in 1999 when internal affairs officers found links to gay web sites on his client’s home computer, included a message left on a bathroom wall that said that he would “die like Matthew Shepard.”
In other news
Online Gay Travel Agency Founded to Support LGBT Equality
DALLAS – A new Internet-based travel agency with a philanthropic mission hopes to capture a piece of the estimated $54 billion gay travel market and contribute toward the advancement of equal rights for all. eDIRP.com Travel, Inc. recently launched its online portal with a pledge to give ten percent of annual profits to organizations working for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights.
The companyÕs website combines online booking engines for mainstream travel products and a database of gay travel options including lesbian and gay cruises, tours and resorts available through the travel agency. Categorized community calendars and gay travel guides for popular destinations are among the other travel-related tools featured on the site. Among the 65,000 worldwide hotels included in the companyÕs online reservation system, nearly 1,200 are classified as “gay-friendly.” In addition, the website has real-time booking capabilities for flights, cars, vacation packages, last minute deals, and mainstream cruises.
Visit http://www.edirp.comor call 1-888-334-7739 for more information or to book travel.
Gay DNA found
CHICAGO – In the first-ever study combing the entire human genome for genetic determinants of male sexual orientation, a University of Illinois at Chicago researcher has identified several areas that appear to influence whether a man is straight or gay, according to a report by 365gay.com.
UIC’s Brian Mustanski, working with colleagues at the National Institutes of Health, found stretches of DNA that appeared to be linked to sexual orientation on three different chromosomes in the nucleus of cells of the human male. His research will be published in the March issue of the biomedical journal Human Genetics.
For the entire article, visit http://www.365gay.com/newscon05/01/012705dna.htm.