Cecilia Chung, transgender health advocate

From SF Gate:  http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Cecilia-Chung-transgender-health-advocate-4189493.php

Heather Knight
Saturday, January 12, 2013

Transgender patients seeking medical care face discrimination even in liberal, cutting-edge San Francisco.

But this being liberal, cutting-edge San Francisco, they also have a champion: Cecilia Chung, a transgender woman serving on the Health Commission.

Appointed to the commission overseeing the Department of Public Health by Mayor Ed Lee in April, Chung made news by pushing the department to pay for gender reassignment surgeries for uninsured transgender patients – making San Francisco the first city in the country to do so.

Now, she’s developed and is leading sessions for staff members throughout the department called Transgender 101, designed to help everybody – from doctors to nurses to receptionists to janitors – create a respectful atmosphere for transgender patients, increase sensitivity, and understand policies and laws related to medical care for transgender patients.

“We want to make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to cultural competency,” said Chung, 47, an Excelsior resident who works internationally as a health care consultant and advocate. “This is really walking the walk in terms of cultural competency and inclusion and making sure all of our community feels safe.”

Eventually, it will lead to more advanced courses for specialists that she’s developing called, you guessed it, Transgender 102 and Transgender 103.

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Portugal passes trans hate crime law

From Gay Star News:  http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/portugal-passes-trans-hate-crime-law210113

Portugal’s parliament has voted to include ‘gender identity’ as a category of hate crime law

By Dan Littauer
21 January 2013

The Portuguese parliament approved a revision of the country’s criminal code which will ban discrimination and hate crime against transgender people.

This addition to the criminal code was approved unanimously, following a proposal by the Portuguese Socialist Party.

Hate crimes against trans people in Portugal have been recorded in the recent past, transphobic violence made headlines with the murder of Gisberta Salce Júnior in 2006.

However, gender identity was absent from hate crime legislation.

Portugal’s parliament has now added ‘gender identity’ alongside ‘sexual orientation’ to articles relating to aggravated homicide and assault.

It also stressed the reprehensibility of these acts (and consequently strengthening the penalties) in case their motivation is based on the perceived sexual orientation or gender identity of the victim.

The inclusion of ‘gender identity’ in the Portuguese criminal code was a long-standing demand of ILGA Portugal.

Continue reading at:  http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/portugal-passes-trans-hate-crime-law210113

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Growing anger over religious exemptions

From Gay News Network Australia:  http://gaynewsnetwork.com.au/news/northern-territory/10388-growing-anger-over-religious-exemptions.html

Serkan Ozturk
January 21, 2013

As a Senate committee prepares to hold public hearings in Sydney this week on Labor’s draft national anti-discrimination laws, there’s growing outrage within the LGBTI community and elsewhere over the wide-ranging exemptions offered to religious bodies and other groups that will allow them to continue to legally discriminate against people on several grounds including sexual orientation and gender identity.

Lobby group GetUp, the Atheist Foundation of Australia and the Greens have also all criticised the Bill for not offering proper protections against discrimination for LGBTI people after media reports suggested Prime Minister Julia Gillard had already promised the Australian Christian Lobby religious groups will have the freedom to discriminate against homosexuals and others under any new laws. The reports have led Independent Sydney MP Alex Greenwich to challenge Gillard to “justify” her stance.

The Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill 2012 Bill, introduced by Attorney-General Nicola Roxon late last year, seeks to consolidate five separate pieces of legislation into a single Act and will provide federal protections for sexual orientation and gender and sex diversity for the first time.

In effect, the Bill will make it unlawful for persons and companies and others in “public life” to offer unfair treatment in service provision or employment opportunity on 18 grounds listed as protected attributes; including sexual orientation, gender identity sex, religion, political opinion, pregnancy or potential pregnancy, immigrant status, and social origin. People who believe they have been discriminated against will have the option to have complaints heard by the Human Rights Commission or in court.

Continue reading at:  http://gaynewsnetwork.com.au/news/northern-territory/10388-growing-anger-over-religious-exemptions.html

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Russia moves to enact anti-gay law to protect minors from Western ‘homosexual propaganda’

From The Washington Post:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/russia-moves-to-enact-anti-gay-law-to-protect-minors-from-western-homosexual-propaganda/2013/01/21/b0a6abcc-63ca-11e2-889b-f23c246aa446_story.html

By Associated Press
Monday, January 21, 2013

MOSCOW — Kissing his boyfriend during a protest in front of Russia’s parliament earned Pavel Samburov 30 hours of detention and the equivalent of a $16 fine on a charge of “hooliganism.” But if a bill that comes up for a first vote later this month becomes law, such a public kiss could be defined as illegal “homosexual propaganda” and bring a fine of up to $16,000.

The legislation being pushed by the Kremlin and the Russian Orthodox Church would make it illegal nationwide to provide minors with information that is defined as “propaganda of sodomy, lesbianism, bisexuality and transgenderism.” It includes a ban on holding public events that promote gay rights. St. Petersburg and a number of other Russian cities already have similar laws on their books.

The bill is part of an effort to promote traditional Russian values as opposed to Western liberalism, which the Kremlin and church see as corrupting Russian youth and by extension contributing to a wave of protest against President Vladimir Putin’s rule.

Samburov describes the anti-gay bill as part of a Kremlin crackdown on minorities of any kind — political and religious as well as sexual — designed to divert public attention from growing discontent with Putin’s rule.

Continue reading at:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/russia-moves-to-enact-anti-gay-law-to-protect-minors-from-western-homosexual-propaganda/2013/01/21/b0a6abcc-63ca-11e2-889b-f23c246aa446_story.html

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Legal showdown over gay conversion therapy waged in 2 states

From American Medical Newshttp://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2013/01/21/gvsb0121.htm

At issue is whether states can ban the therapy on minors and whether counselors who conduct the therapy can be held liable for consumer fraud.

By Alicia Gallegos, amednews staff.
Posted Jan. 21, 2013.

The patient’s anguish was clearly visible to psychiatrist Jack Drescher, MD, as the man spoke about his experience undergoing so-called gay conversion therapy.

Such therapy often is rooted in the claim that poor parenting is the cause of same-sex attractions, and that patients can change if they truly wish to be heterosexual. Methods of “repairing” patients can include instructing them to beat effigies of their mothers, touch themselves while naked in front of counselors and be subjected to mock locker room scenarios in which therapists scream anti-gay epithets at them.

After attending a religious-based therapy six times a week and experiencing no change in his sexuality, the patient was left feeling ashamed, depressed and suicidal, Dr. Drescher said.

“I felt sad[ness] and also anger, because sometimes a therapist would say things that were very hurtful to the patient,” said Dr. Drescher, an author and medical expert on gay conversion therapy. He also is president of the Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry, a think tank that analyzes issues in the field of psychiatry. “It’s distressing when you see professionals, regardless if they are well-meaning or otherwise, deliver intentional or inadvertent harm to a patient.”

Physicians and health professionals across the country have reported treating patients for the problems they have after conversion therapy. In recent years, physician organizations including the American Medical Association have developed policy opposing the use of “reparative” or “conversion” therapy that the AMA describes as “based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or … that the patient should change his/her homosexual orientation.” The potential serious risks of reparative therapy include depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior, said an American Psychiatric Assn. position statement.

Continue reading at:  http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2013/01/21/gvsb0121.htm

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Angela Davis: Now That Obama Has a Second Term, No More “Subordination to Presidential Agendas”

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In Historic Inauguration Address, Obama Takes the Fight to the Right

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/historic-inauguration-address-obama-takes-fight-right

From climate-change deniers to Confederacy buffs to Ayn Rand acolytes, Obama had a smack-down for every right-winger.

By Adele M. Stan
January 21, 2013

Before he uttered the first words of his second inaugural address on the national holiday that honors Martin Luther King, the nation’s first African American president made clear to his opponents on the right that he had a mandate, and he, Barack Hussein Obama, was done playing nice.

Offering the benediction was Myrlie Evers-Williams, widow of the slain civil rights leader, Medgar Evers. On the right, Medgar Evers is not celebrated as a hero. Now, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, servant of the Tea Party movement, was forced to bow his head in prayer as a living testament to the ravages of intolerance prevailed upon the Almighty to bless him.

Then came Obama’s first musical selection: The Battle Hymn of the Republic, which just happened to be the battle hymn of Union forces in the Civil War. Message to the right, which today is deeply rooted in the South: the Civil War is over, and your side lost.

And that was just the beginning of Obama’s assertion of his political capital, and his acknowledgment of the coalition that elected him: African Americans, Latinos, single women, and LGBT people — pretty much everybody on whom the right makes economic and civic war.

To administer the oath of office to Vice President Joe Biden, the White House chose Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latin American to sit on the Supreme Court.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/historic-inauguration-address-obama-takes-fight-right

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