National

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Appeals court panel rules for Ga. trans woman in job discrimination case

Vandy Beth Glenn wins appeal

A federal appeals court panel today upheld a lower court ruling that Georgia transgender woman Vandy Beth Glenn was illegally fired from her job as a legislative editor in the Georgia General Assembly after she informed her employer she planned to transition from male to female.

"The question here is whether discriminating against someone on the basis of his or her gender non-conformity constitutes sex-based discrimination under the Equal Protection Clause. …We hold that it does," the three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled. Judge Rosemary Barkett wrote the opinion for the unanimous panel.

Read the story on oral arguments held before the 11th Circuit on Dec. 1 here.

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[Video] Federal appeals court offers hope in Ga. transgender woman’s job bias lawsuit

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Three judges sitting on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals today appeared to side with transgender woman Vandy Beth Glenn, who was fired from her job as a legislative editor for the Georgia General Assembly after she informed her boss she was transitioning full-time to a woman.

"We have direct evidence of intentional discrimination," said Judge Bill Pryor.

Richard Sheinis, representing the state, argued that if Glenn was to win this case, transgender people would become a "protected class."

"That's right," Pryor and Judge Rosemary Barkett answered, almost simultaneously.

Pryor told Sheinis if he wanted to change the outcome, he should "go talk to Congress."

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CDC’s ‘Testing Makes Us Stronger’ first federal campaign focused on gay men

HIV poster

"Testing Makes Us Stronger," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's new HIV testing campaign targeting young black gay and bisexual men, is the federal government's first foray into specifically asking gay and bisexual men help stem the wave of new HIV infections with community input into the campaign.

The Atlanta-based CDC determined figures that show that in 2006, there were 4,400 HIV infections among black gay and bisexual men ages 13-29. The numbers jumped to 6,500 infections in 2009 within the same age group, for a momentous increase of 48 percent. This subpopulation represents the only subpopulation in the U.S. to experience a statistically significant increase of new HIV infections during these three years.

Kevin Fenton, the openly gay director of the CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, said black gay and bisexual men are one of the population's hardest hit by HIV and "the name for this campaign could not be clearer."

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New HIV infection rates in the U.S.

1.2 MILLION people in the United States are living with HIV.

1 in 5 are unaware of their infection.

CDC estimates that men who have sex with men (MSM) account for just 2 percent of the US population, but accounted for 61 percent of all new HIV infections in 2009. MSM accounted for 49 percent of people living with HIV infection in 2008.

In 2009, white MSM accounted for the largest number of new HIV infections of any group in the US, followed closely by black MSM.

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Occupy Equality aims to unite LGBT economic protesters

A lesbian activist in New York is trying to unite LGBT members of Occupy Wall Street protests across the country to highlight the economic issues gay and transgender people face for simply being who they are.

Jessica Naomi, 60, from Catskills, N.Y.,  started the Occupy Equality movement, an Internet gathering of LGBT activists involved in the nationwide OWS protests, a month ago and has held several working group meetings online.

“We’re trying to connect the street to the net,” Naomi said in a phone interview. “We’re using it as a way to do direct action.”

Naomi said a disability makes it difficult for her to walk and attend OWS protests, which is why she turned to the Internet for a way to become involved.

“I’m disabled, I can’t even go to these things. My ability to walk is very limited, which is why I’m trying to connect the Internet to the street. We should all have a voice,” Naomi said.

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U.S. Rep. John Lewis joins brief challenging federal gay marriage ban

Ga. Rep. John Lewis supports Respect for Marriage Act

Georgia's own U.S. Rep. John Lewis has joined more than 100 members of Congress in a legal brief arguing that part of the Defense of Marriage Act, the ban on federal recognition of same-sex marriage, is unconstitutional.

“The stories of people in long-term relationships who are denied the right to act on their partners’ final requests are heartbreaking,” Lewis said in a press statement today. “If a state provides the right for gay and lesbian citizens to marry, the federal government should not bar their ability to receive any of the rights and privileges given to any other married citizen.

"To do so seems discriminatory on its face. We must get to the place in our society where we see beyond our own biases and accept each other as one human family," Lewis said.

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National Gay History Project highlights LGBT people among nation’s founders

James Buchanan

James Buchanan: America’s first gay president?

More than 150 years before America elected its first black president, Barack Obama, it most likely had its first gay president, James Buchanan (1791-1868).

Buchanan, a Democrat from Lancaster County, Pa., was the 15th president of the United States, and a lifelong bachelor. He served as president from 1857-61, tumultuous years leading up to the Civil War.

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Herman Cain: ‘Homosexuality is a choice’

herman cain

GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain appeared on CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight last night talking up his presidential run. In an already up-and-down primary season, Cain has made his way into the top tier of GOP candidates in recent weeks, according to recent national polls.

Host Morgan asked Cain his stance on LGBT issues among a wide array of topics:

“I happen to think that it is a choice,” Cain stated. “You show me evidence, other than opinion, and you might cause me to reconsider that.”

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Transgender advocates welcome revised standards of care

WPATH transgender health conference

There were champagne toasts and rounds of applause as the World Professional Association for Transgender Health released on Sept. 25 its newest Standards of Care for the Health of Transsexual, Transgender, and Gender Nonconforming People at a symposium at the Emory Conference Center in Atlanta.

WPATH revision committee chair Eli Coleman launched the 7th version of the standards of care to some 300 people who attended the symposium as part of a partnership with the Gay & Lesbian Medical Association and the Southern Comfort Conference, the largest transgender conference in the nation that takes place annually in Atlanta.

WPATH was formerly named the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association to honor one of the earliest doctors to work with transsexuals. The organization provides comprehensive ethical guidelines concerning the care of transsexual, transgender and gender nonconforming people.

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CDC awards Atlanta AIDS organizations large grants on Gay Men’s HIV Awareness Day

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention announced today — National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day — that is is awarding $55 million over five years to 34 community-based organizations, including AID Atlanta and Positive Impact.

The grants amount to approximately $300,000 per organization each year and will be used to expand HIV prevention services for young gay and bisexual men of color, transgender youth of color, and their partners.

AID Atlanta will receive $381,888 per year over five years and Positive Impact will receive $250,000 per year over five years, according to a spokesperson from the CDC.

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WPATH announces new standards of care for transgender and gender nonconforming people

There were champagne toasts and rounds of applause as the World Professional Association for Transgender Health released on Sunday its newest Standards of Care for the Health of Transsexual, Transgender, and Gender Nonconforming People  at a symposium at the Emory Conference Center in Atlanta.

WPATH revision committee chair Eli Coleman launched the 7th version of the standards of care to some 300 people who attended the symposium as part of a partnership with the Gay & Lesbian Medical Association and the Southern Comfort Conference, the largest transgender conference in the nation that takes place annually in Atlanta.