Sunday, April 22, 2018

Republicans Hope To Legalize Anti-LGBT Discrimination

Look out for more anti-LGBT action in Congress as the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act (CWPIA) has been introduced in both chambers of Congress.

Currently pending in the House as H.R. 1881, and in the Senate as S. 811, the legislation seeks to legalize LGBQ discrimination by allowing adoption providers to use "sincerely held religious beliefs" as a basis for denying gays or lesbians adoption services.

"Prohibits the federal government, and any state or local government that receives federal funding for any program that provides child welfare services under part B (Child and Family Services) or part E (Foster Care and Adoption Assistance) of title IV of the Social Security Act (SSAct), from discriminating or taking an adverse action against a child welfare service provider that declines to provide, facilitate, or refer for a child welfare service that conflicts with the provider’s sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions."

The bill would require the Health and Human Services department to withhold 15% of federal funds from state or local governments that take action against folks who would exercise their right to discriminate against LGBTs.


Of course, the haters love the hateful bill:

Just Because...

From acclaimed photographer Michael Stokes.

Because we all can use a smile today.

Trump To Roll Back Transgender Health Care Protections

Donald Trump is looking to roll back a 2016 Health and Human Services rule put in place during the Obama administration that bars healthcare providers who receive federal funds from discriminating against transgender Americans.

From The New York Times:

The law prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability in “any health program or activity” that receives federal financial assistance.

The Obama administration said the rule covered “almost all practicing physicians in the United States” because they accept some form of federal remuneration or reimbursement. It applies, for example, to hospitals that accept Medicare and doctors who receive Medicaid payments, as well as to insurers that participate in health insurance marketplaces.

The rule kept insurers from limiting health services like psychotherapy, counseling or hormone treatment as trans patients transitioned from one gender to another.

Some insurers attempted to dodge coverage for these patients saying the treatments were "cosmetic."

Transgender Americans have been under fire since Donald Trump took office.

In addition to scaling back healthcare regulations, Trump has also proposed banning openly transgender people from serving in the U.S. military.

Plus, Trump's Education Department has repealed protections allowing transgender students access to school bathrooms that align with their gender identity.

Naked Gunman At Nashville Waffle House Shooting Leaves Four Dead

Travis Reinking

A shooting at a Nashville Waffle House has left four people dead as the naked gun man remains at large.

From The New York Times:

The shooting happened around 3:25 a.m. at a Waffle House in the Antioch neighborhood of Nashville. A patron wrestled away the gunman’s rifle, the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department said on Twitter.

Three people died at the scene and one person was declared dead at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, the police said.

Jennifer Wetzel, a spokeswoman for the medical center, said one wounded victim was in critical condition and the other was in critical but stable condition.

Two other victims were treated for minor injuries and discharged from TriStar Southern Hills Medical Center in Nashville, said Katie Radel, a spokeswoman there.

The police said they had identified a vehicle registered to a 29-year-old Illinois man they described as a person of interest and said he was later seen wearing black pants and no shirt.

Twenty-nine year-old Travis Reinking of Illinois is being sought as a person of interest in the shooting.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Video: Find Your Way Back

A dear friend of mine shared this today on Facebook, and wow, every single word resonated for me.

Small decisions can lead us to unexpected places. Small decisions can result in huge life choices.

But we can make the decision to undo those events; to choose to change direction.

I know this sounds like a bad Sunday morning cable ad, but its a truth worth repeating.

In my 20s, I fell in love with someone I cared for deeply. But the relationship was not healthy.

Even though we ended things after two years, the effects lingered in my life and behavior for years and years.

But, all these things are thoughts, and you can change a thought by changing your mind.

We are never "over the finish line" until we are over that final finish line.

Gay, straight, black, white, however you identify - the world will treat you as you treat yourself. Set your own best example.

I wrote this in two minutes because the video below spoke to me so hard.

Watch the video below.

Happy Saturday!

LGBTQ Inclusion Being Considered By Amazon In Search For HQ2

Apparently there's an unspoken component to Amazon's current search for a location for it's highly coveted second headquarters, known at this time as HQ2.

And that's taking measure of how communities view and treat local LGBTQ folks.

On one recent trip to Dallas/Fort Worth by Amazon, the local team made a point of showing off how inclusive and welcoming the community has been to the Rev. Neil G. Cazares-Thomas, pastor of a predominantly gay megachurch in Dallas, and his 4,000 congregants.

More from The Washington Post:

As Amazon executives recently toured finalist locations to help select what they’ve dubbed HQ2, they asked public officials about what sort of “compatible cultural and community environment” — the wording from the company’s search parameters — each city offers, adding to speculation about whether Amazon will choose a liberal stronghold.

In North Carolina, company representatives asked pointed questions of Gov. Roy Cooper (D) about several state policies such as the “bathroom bill,” which restricted the use of public facilities by transgender people, according to a person in the room. In another city, an Amazon executive groaned at the mention of proposed legislation in Georgia that would restrict funding for same-sex adoption, according to another person who attended the meeting between the company and state and local officials.

Given the publicity and economic impact of the project, including as much as $5 billion in capital expenditures, Amazon’s push on gay and transgender rights may increase pressure on state and local policymakers who have either declined to institute equal-rights rules or passed laws some view as discriminatory.

According to the WaPo, 11 of the 20 finalist cities have anti-LGBTQ laws on the books.

There are those that believe landing HQ2 in a red state might help facilitate positive change towards LGBTQ folks since Amazon would arrive with very pro-LGBTQ policies as a company.

The awarding of the contract for HQ2 will be a huge economic boon for the winner.

Over the past few years Amazon has invested $3.7 billion into the Seattle economy and paid more than $25  billion in salaries.

The new headquarters could mean up to 50,000 new jobs, and $5  billion in capital investments for the city that gets the contract.

Anti-LGBT laws could sink some Amazon HQ2 hopefuls. Amazon will consider LGBT rights in selecting a new headquarters from 20 finalists. 11 finalists are in states that have anti-LGBT laws on the books, according to the advocacy group No Gay No Way.

Daily Dog

Handsome Bentley has quite the cache of quirky fears.

Shiny areas on a tile floor freak him out; cords lying in his path make him walk backwards.

But there's one thing that totally calms this bulldog down. His dad figured it out and now Bentley is flying high.

Take a mid-day brain break and enjoy Bentley's story below.


Just Because...

(via Gruppo Dotati Maturi Italia)