Emerging Indie Wrestling Star Anthony Bowens Takes Pride in Representing LGBTQ Community

Emerging Indie Wrestling Star Anthony Bowens Takes Pride in Representing LGBTQ Community

Courtesy of Victor Llorente Anthony Bowens stands for more than solely great performances in the ring.

One of pro wrestling’s rising stars, Bowens is entertaining in the ring, able to work on the mat, in the air, and show off some power. He also provides a voice to those who have not often been heard. Bowens came out as bisexual in January 2017, showing courage and bravery in that decision, and acting as another role model in the world of pro wrestling.

“It means something when a person can see someone that looks like them, gets them, and understands what they’re going through,” said the 28-year-old Bowens. “I’m representing the LGBT community and athletes that are LGBT, but even more than that, too. I’m representing the small-town kid who was told he’d never make it, and I’m here for the shy kid that is ready to burst out of his shell and be that social butterfly.

“I’m trying to represent all of these people in the most positive way I can. I get messages from people that make me cry. To know that I’m having a positive impact on people is a blessing, and makes me feel that I made the right decision to come out.”

Bowens takes immense pride in his craft, delivering a unique and compelling style in the ring. Unafraid of hard work, he has taken different avenues to achieve wrestling stardom, beginning with his work in the BMG Talent modeling agency, formerly known as Silver Model Management, in New York City.

The decision to work with BMG was directly related to Bowens’ career aspirations in wrestling.

Following a failed WWE tryout in 2015—which was made even more crushing by the fact that he learned WWE had passed on him the same day his beloved grandmother passed away—Bowens made a fateful decision. He would not feel sorry for himself, or become bitter to those that had received the call from WWE. Instead, Bowens was hit with an epiphany—perhaps just to him from his grandmother—with the pathway to success in pro wrestling.

“WWE is not a wrestling company, it’s an entertainment company,” said Bowens. “Thinking about that was when the bells went off. I sought to make myself a more well-rounded performer, and I signed up with BMG Talent. From there, I started acting classes, improv classes, I did live sketch comedy shows, commercials, and modeling. It all helped create what the ‘Five-Tool Player’ is today.”

Bowens is wrestling’s “Five-Tool Player,” boasting that he is the perfect combination of power, athleticism, intelligence, look, and the elusive it-factor. On paper, that sounds like a classic wrestling heel, but Bowens has allowed art to imitate life and he has transformed his character into one of the most compelling indie stars in the business.

He is a former Division I baseball player at Seton Hall University with an action figure physique, but Bowens has bravely revealed his vulnerabilities in a realm better known for machismo and testosterone. He has constantly battled self-body image issues, which is an ongoing battle.

“I’d look at the mirror and immediately think I wasn’t good enough,” Bowens explained. Revealing his doubts and insecurities has deepened his connection with those who have followed his career. “Maybe to some people that is ridiculous, but there are times when I put on so much weight because of that. I can honestly say I’m happy with my appearance, and I’m happy in life.”

The next step for Bowens, who headlines a WrestlePro show this Saturday in the promotion’s first-ever ladder match in Alaska, is to sign an exclusive deal. He would fit anywhere, especially AEW or NXT, but he could also add buzz to Ring of Honor, Major League Wrestling or the NWA. But Bowens is not overly fixated on signing his name onto a contract, instead opting to remain focused on controlling the areas of his life he can control.

“I’m focused on having the highest quality, entertaining matches I possibly can,” said Bowens. “Getting signed, that’s an external factor. I’m sure big things will happen in 2020, but I’m going to focus on having as much fun as possible.

“My goal is to be as versatile and well-rounded as possible as a sports entertainer. I like the leaner frame that I have now [Bowens dropped 20 pounds over the past 18 months and now competes at 200 pounds]. I was probably a little too big before, and that hindered my in-ring performance, and my current size allows me to be more agile. I want to continue having really entertaining matches, and increase LGBT visibility in entertainment.”

Coming out represented an extraordinarily difficult challenge for Bowens.

“That was very, very hard when I was getting into the wrestling industry,” said Bowens, whose new documentary “The Five Tool Player” was released online Wednesday. “I knew, at some point, it was something I had to address. I wasn’t sure how people were going to react to it. It was a very scary thing. I didn’t know when would be the right time to say something, so I kept it to myself.”

Bowens met his boyfriend, Michael Pavano, in May 2016. After dating for six months, Bowens shared that he was not ready to come out yet, asking if they could keep the relationship to themselves.

“I don’t think you should ask anyone to do that, but to his credit, he liked me enough to put up with that,” said Bowens. “It took time. I was growing as a performer in wrestling, I had a platform where I knew, if I said something, I could help other people struggling with the same thing. My parents and friends already knew and supported me, and I created a YouTube video called ‘The Laughing Challenge.’ I was hesitant to do it, but I said, ‘I’ll just do it. Who’s going to see it?’”

The video was enormously popular. Many of Bowens’ peers in wrestling reached out to say they had viewed it and extended their support for his courage to come out.

“That’s when I realized I should say something,” said Bowens. “I first came out to a closer circle of people in January, and then I came out publicly to the world in a piece I wrote for Outsports . It was picked up by the Huffington Post, and that spread everywhere.

“Initially, it was very scary. It took me a while to really get comfortable with everything, but now I can say I’m living my happiest life. With all the walls I’ve broken down inside myself, I see a difference in the ring. What you see in the ring is Anthony Bowens, not a person with all these walls up trying to be who he’s not. I’m very, very lucky to have had all the support I have.”

As supportive as some people were, there were others that were brutal toward Bowens, particularly on social media. Despite the hate, Bowens refuses to apologize for being himself.

“I feel bad for those who are projecting so much negativity onto other people,” said Bowens. “I knew, as a performer, that I’d need thick skin, and I knew I’d need to ignore a lot as an LGBT performer. That criticism makes me laugh sometimes, and it needs to be taken in stride. You can’t let people have power over you.”

Bowens does not allow the hate to consume him, especially when he is well aware that his main objective is to provide a voice and support for those who need it most.

“The most important thing we do in wrestling is connect to an audience,” said Bowens. “We’re connecting with people, helping them forget about their worries through our art. It’s very humbling to take a step back and realize the importance of what we’re doing.

“People have written letters to me about their lives, and they make me cry. I want people to see I am living as authentically as possible, trying to give back and help people.”

This weekend’s ladder match is a significant step for Bowens. He is still riding the high of winning WrestlePro’s first-ever Dream 16 Tournament in October, wrestling three times in one night. Now he is preparing to headline a show in Alaska, on a card that features an appearance from wrestling royalty Bret “The Hitman” Hart, giving him another show to prove he belongs in the discussion of wrestling’s emerging talents.

“This is such a great opportunity, but I wouldn’t be here without people believing in me,” said Bowens. “I’m so thankful for my following. To have a core group of people that follow me, and are so supportive, I couldn’t be more grateful.

“If you watch on Saturday, you’ll see I’m also pretty badass in the ring. You’re going to get quality entertainment any time you see me perform. I have five tools and one rule, to prove that I am a superstar.”

Justin Barrasso can be reached at JBarrasso@gmail.com . Follow him on Twitter @ JustinBarrasso .

New blood donation rules for gay and bi men in the UK has not changed rates of infected blood

New blood donation rules for gay and bi men in the UK has not changed rates of infected blood

Pexels New blood donation rules that allow gay and bisexual men to give blood if they have abstained from sex for three months have not changed rates of infected blood.

Just seven out of 2 million blood donations made in England, Scotland and Wales in 2018 were infected with HIV, Katy Davison of Public Health England revealed in a presentation in San Antonio, Texas, New Scientist reports.

The number was up from the year before – by just one. Six donations were infected with HIV in 2017, during which time gay and bisexual men were only allowed to give blood after abstaining from sex for 12 months.

Davison revealed the stats at a meeting of the AABB international blood bank association recently and said that the infected donations were discarded so nobody received HIV-infected blood. LGBT+ activists want to see the three month abstinence policy scrapped in blood donation policy.

The relaxing of blood donation restrictions has been widely welcomed by LGBT+ activists – however many have warned that a three month abstinence requirement is still too long. Furthermore, gay and bisexual men in Northern Ireland must still abstain from sex for 12 months in order to give blood.

Josh Bradlow, head of policy at Stonewall, told PinkNews that the UK needs to adopt a blood donation policy that would allow “the most possible people to donate safely.”

“The current three month deferral period means most gay and bi men will still be excluded from donating blood,” Bradlow said.

“It’s simply untrue that every gay and bi man is a high-risk donor.

“At a time when the number of people donating blood is in decline, we’re calling for a system based on individualised risk assessment of blood donors, rather than the exclusion of an entire group.

“Stonewall will continue to work with the Government, NHS Blood and Transplant Service and other charities to create a fair and safe system.” An ‘illegal blood bank’ was recently set up to protest against the exclusion of queer men.

The news comes just weeks after LadBible’s UNILAD in partnership with ELVIS and pressure group FreedomToDonate set up an “illegal blood bank” specifically for queer men.

The “illegal blood bank” was set up to protest against discriminatory blood donation policies that insist gay and bisexual men abstain from sex in order to be eligible blood donors.

Among those who donated at the illegal blood bank was gay rugby player Keegan Hirst. Organisers said that the blood bank was at capacity and 26 pints of blood were taken in one day.

Furthermore, 2,300 men who have sex with men pledged “digital” pints of blood to show that they would donate if they were eligible – and to highlight the amount of blood donations that are lost due to the policy.

The National Health Service has seen a 25 percent drop in men donating blood since 2014 and requires 135,000 new donors each year to maintain blood levels.

Blood stocks also tend to fall between December and January according to statistics.

TCS first Tata co to include LGBT staff for health cover

TCS first Tata co to include LGBT staff for health cover

Udit Prasanna Mukherji & Namrata Singh | TNN
Kolkata/Mumbai: IT giant Tata Consultancy Services ( TCS ), the country’s largest private sector employer with over 4 lakh people on its payroll, has tweaked its health insurance policy to cover staffers involved in a same-sex relationship. It would perhaps be the first Tata Group company to do so.

In an email update to its employees, TCS announced the new changes which will benefit LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) employees. The new policy redefines ‘spouse’ as ‘partner’, thus broadening the scope to cover same-sex partners.

Some progressive companies have already extended medical cover/family health insurance cover to same sex partners and these include RBS India , Citibank , Capgemini India . Some of these policies have been extended to live-in partners as well.

TCS global diversity head Preeti D’mello told TOI the new policy was formalised last week. The definition of spouse will now include same-sex partners irrespective of their marital status.

Under the new policy, up to 50% of the cost of sex/gender reassignment surgery (up to a maximum of Rs 2 lakh) will be covered by insurance.

“Respect for the individual is one of our core TCS values, and built on this value, we continue our journey towards LGBTQ+ inclusion. We believe in building an organisation where everyone feels included, involved and respected. We want to make the ecosystem fare and conducive for all,” said D’mello, adding that the firm has already received one application for gender reassignment surgery.

KPMG India director and leader for inclusion and diversity Zainab Patel said: “When it comes to promoting LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer/questioning, asexual and many other terms) inclusion in the workplace, one of the issues that often provokes the most debate is the subject of employee benefits. To this effect, KPMG in India, has made fair amount of adjustments in the insurance cover and has extended references to ‘spouse’ to include ‘partner’ and clearly states that this may include partners of the same or opposite sex or live in partner.”

Patel said this has ensured that LGBTQIA+ employees’ partners are treated equally as family members and beneficiaries in medical, insurance, relocation and relevant leave policies (e.g. parental, primary caregiver or compassionate leave).

On the recent move by the government to pass the transgender person protection bill, Patel said it would be exemplary for India Inc to engage with medical insurance providers so as to make India medical insurance gender inclusive under which gender reassignment surgery, hormone therapy, etc. for transitioning transgender persons at the workplace is also covered within its ambit and also put in an effective complaints redressal mechanism in place.

TCS first Tata co to include LGBT staff for health cover

TCS first Tata co to include LGBT staff for health cover

KOLKATA/ MUMBAI: IT giant Tata Consultancy Services ( TCS ), the largest private sector employer with a strength of over 4 lakh people on its payroll, has tweaked its health insurance policy to cover employees involved in a same-sex relationship. It would perhaps be the first Tata Group company to do so.
In an email update to its employees, TCS announced the new changes which will benefit LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) employees. The new policy redefines ‘spouse’ as ‘partner’, thus broadening the scope to cover same-sex partners.

Some progressive companies have already extended medical cover/family health insurance cover to same sex partners and these include RBS India, Citibank , Capgemini India, among others. Some of these policies are extended to live-in partners as well. TCS global diversity head Preeti D’mello told TOI the new policy was formalized last week. The definition of spouse will now include same-sex partners irrespective of their marital status.

Under the new policy, up to 50% of the cost of sex/gender reassignment surgery (up to a maximum of Rs 2 lakh) will be covered by insurance.

“Respect for the individual is one of our core TCS values, and built on this value, we continue our journey towards LGBTQ+ inclusion. We believe in building an organization where everyone feels included, involved and respected. We want to make the ecosystem fare and conducive for all,” said D’mello, while adding that the firm has already received one application for gender reassignment surgery,” D’mello said.

KPMG India director and leader for inclusion and diversity Zainab Patel said: “When it comes to promoting LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex , queer/questioning, asexual and many other terms) inclusion in the workplace, one of the issues that often provokes the most debate is the subject of employee benefits.

To this effect, KPMG in India, has made fair amount of adjustments in the insurance cover and has extended references to ‘spouse’ to include ‘partner’ and clearly states that this may include partners of the same or opposite sex or live in partner.”

Patel said this has ensured that LGBTQIA+ employees’ partners are treated equally as family members and beneficiaries in medical, insurance, relocation and relevant leave policies (e.g. parental, primary caregiver or compassionate leave).

On the recent move by the government to pass the transgender person protection bill, Patel said it would be exemplary for India Inc to engage with medical insurance providers so as to make India medical insurance gender inclusive under which gender reassignment surgery, hormone therapy, etc. for transitioning transgender persons at the workplace is also covered within its ambit and also put in an effective complaints redressal mechanism in place.

Everyone hates this Republican lawmaker’s terrible, no good ‘compromise’ plan on LGBT rights

Everyone hates this Republican lawmaker’s terrible, no good ‘compromise’ plan on LGBT rights

Rep. Chris Stewart’s bill received a frosty reception (Samuel Corum – Pool/Getty Images) LGBT+ groups and lawmakers have rejected a Republican congressman’s attempt to forge a “compromise” on civil rights that hands small businesses and religious people an effective license to keep discriminating against LGBT+ people.

Utah GOP Rep. Chris Stewart unveiled the so-called “Fairness for All Act” on Friday, in a supposed attempt to reach a cross-party compromise on LGBT+ issues in Congress.

However, the proposals have been rejected outright by civil rights campaigners and lawmakers, who have pointed out that the legislation would end up doing more harm than good by creating an effective license to discriminate. Republican lawmaker ‘compromise’ bill will still allow a lot discrimination.

Stewart’s plan would outlaw some discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, but at the same time would create broad opt-outs for “the owners of small businesses whose religious and moral principles prevent them from participating in activities that are contrary to their conscience and beliefs.”

Under the plan, businesses with 15 employees or fewer would still be permitted to discriminate against LGBT+ customers – despite having no such exemption from race and sex discrimination laws. Republican Rep. Chris Stewart’s bill has been rejected by LGBT+ campaigners (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images) The bill also permits religious organisations, schools and businesses to continue to discriminate against LGBT+ people in employment, while also explicitly protecting foster care agencies that refuse to serve LGBT+ people.

Stewart claimed : “All of God’s children, regardless of sexual orientation or religion, deserve dignity, respect, and the right to pursue happiness. This legislation allows us to settle the legal questions and get back to the business of loving our neighbours.” Bill gets frosty reception from LGBT+ groups and civil rights campaigners.

Campaigners pointed out that the proposals fall well short of the Equality Act , a bill being blocked by Senate Republicans that would extend existing civil rights laws to LGBT+ people across all 50 states.

National rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, Lambda Legal, NAACP, PFLAG National and the Transgender Law Center, issued a rare joint statement roundly rejecting the legislation.

The groups made clear that the “broad exemptions” amount to “essentially licensing discrimination against LGBTQ people and women.”

The statement said: “The Fairness for All Act is anything but fair, and it certainly does not serve all of us.

“It is an affront to existing civil rights protections that protect people on the basis of race, sex, and religion and creates new, substandard protections for LGBTQ people with massive loopholes and carve-outs.”

In a separate statement, LGBT Equality Caucus co-chair Rep. David N. Cicilline made clear: “This bill does not protect LGBTQ people. Instead it codifies discrimination.

“The House already overwhelmingly passed the bipartisan Equality Act, which will ensure equal protection under the law for LGBTQ Americans. The Senate should bring the Equality Act up without further delay.”

Meanwhile, Human Rights Campaign president Alphonso warned: “The so-called Fairness for All Act is an unacceptable, partisan vehicle that erodes existing civil rights protections based on race, sex and religion, while sanctioning discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people.

“For LGBTQ people living at the intersection of multiple marginalised identities, this bill is a double whammy of dangerous rollbacks and discriminatory carve-outs. This bill is both wrong and harmful, and we strongly oppose it.”

However, the bill has had some support – from the Trump administration.

White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere, one of the few out Trump administration officials , said: “President Trump has protected human dignity, fought for inclusion, promoted LGBTQ Americans and strongly protected religious freedom for everyone while in office.

“The White House looks forward to reviewing the legislation.”

Rainbow Laces: Leicester’s Ben Chilwell and James Maddison on LGBT inclusion in football

Rainbow Laces: Leicester's Ben Chilwell and James Maddison on LGBT inclusion in football

Ben Chilwell and James Maddison interview Graeme Smith, Paul Malley and Michelle Keatman from Foxes Pride – Leicester’s LGBT supporters’ group – to learn more about what it’s like being an LGBT football fan Ben Chilwell and James Maddison say Leicester’s dressing-room would be a welcoming space for any footballer who wanted to come out as gay, amid the annual activation of Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign.

The campaign – designed to create LGBT-inclusive sports environments in which each individual truly feels part of the team – was first launched in football back in 2012.

While it’s now a firm fixture in the calendar, tackling LGBT discrimination within the sport remains a work in progress. The Premier League are members alongside Sky Sports of Team Pride, which supports Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign Last month, a man was arrested following alleged homophobic abuse of the referee during a League One game between Tranmere and Wycombe .

This week, Radcliffe Borough medic Mary Priestner says she was spat at and subjected to "disgusting" homophobic and sexist abuse during a Lancashire Cup game.

That came after West Ham fans were accused of homophobic chanting during their win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last Saturday – and there are still no out gay or bisexual male professional footballers in England’s top four divisions.

Sky Sports caught up with three members of Leicester’s LGBT supporters’ group Foxes Pride – Graeme Smith, Paul Malley, and Michelle Keatman – to discuss inclusion in the game.

The trio were joined by Leicester players Chilwell and Maddison ahead of the Renault Super Sunday clash against Aston Villa​​​​​​ – and the pair were keen to send out a strong message: everybody’s welcome.

"If you look back 30 years ago, dressing rooms were a lot more ruthless," Chilwell told Sky Sports . "But ours now is completely open to anything. We’ve got different countries together, different religions and different races.

"Everyone is so together at Leicester, and I know that’s the same with other clubs.

"If there was someone who wanted to come out as gay, that’s completely fine."

Maddison added: "We’ve got a very accepting changing room, and I think if one of our team-mates was to come out and say they were gay, nothing changes.

"That’s how it is with us, and hopefully going forward that can be the same for everyone."

The annual activation of Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign – which is supported by Sky Sports – is under way now and runs until Monday.

Contact us if you’d like to share a story to help raise awareness around LGBT+ inclusion in sport.

Fairness for All Act seeks middle ground on LGBT rights

Fairness for All Act seeks middle ground on LGBT rights

Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) has introduced the Fairness for All Act. (Photo public domain) Newly introduced legislation in the U.S. House backed by the Mormon Church seeks to strike a middle ground on LGBT rights and religious freedom in federal civil rights law, although major proponents of each refuse to support the legislation.

Introduced by Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) on Friday, the Fairness for All Act would strike balance between LGBT rights and religious freedom in way proponents say would protect the First Amendment rights. That way, however, permits anti-LGBT discrimination from religious institutions and small-business wedding vendors.

“All of God’s children, regardless of sexual orientation or religion, deserve dignity, respect and the right to pursue happiness,” Stewart said. “This legislation allows us to settle the legal questions and get back to the business of loving our neighbors.”

The Fairness for All Act is seen as an alternative to the Equality Act, legislation approved by the House in May under the Democratic majority — with five Republican votes. The Equality Act would make anti-LGBT discrimination a form of sex discrimination under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and clarify the Religious Freedom Restoration Act can’t be a justification for discrimination.

Much like the Equality Act, the Fairness for All Act would make anti-LGBT discrimination against federal law, but it would also institute a accommodation for institutions like religious organization and small-business wedding vendors.

The Fairness for All Act would prohibit anti-LGBT discrimination in employment, housing, jury selection, credit, federal programs and public accommodations, but do so without defining anti-LGBT discrimination as sex discrimination. The bill would also expand the definition of public accommodations beyond the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

But in contrast to the Equality Act, the Fairness for All Act would preserve Religious Freedom Restoration Act and protect the tax-exempt status of religious colleges and universities that oppose same-sex marriage, such as Brigham Young University, Bethel University and Catholic University.

The Fairness for All Act would also extend protections to small business whose owners refuse to provide services to same-sex weddings based on religious objections. Among them is Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, who gained notoriety when his reached the Supreme Court and justices ruled narrowly in his favor based on the facts of the case.

Similarly,

The measure would prohibit anti-LGBT discrimination at “any store, shopping center or online retailer or provider of online services that has 15 or more employees for each working day in each of 20 or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year,” but states the threshold doesn’t apply to claims of discrimination based on race, color or national origin or the small business wedding vendors excluded under the measure.

Similarly, the measure says “a property owned or operated primarily for noncommercial purposes by a non-profit religious corporation that holds itself out to the public as substantially religious, has as its stated purpose in its organic documents that it is religious, and is substantially religious in its current operations” is not a public accommodations under the legislation.

Lastly, the Fairness for All Act purports to protect religiously affiliated adoption agencies “so they can continue to serve vulnerable children and willing couples, while at the same time ensuring the ability of LGBT persons to adopt and foster children too.”

Among the proponents of the Fairness for All Act is the Church of Latter-day Saint and Seventh-Day Adventist Church, which expressed support for the legislation in a statement Friday.

But the nation’s leading advocacy group for LGBTQ rights says the Fairness for All Act doesn’t go far enough, and an anti-LGBT legal firm that purports to protect religious freedom also doesn’t support the legislation.

Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said he “strongly oppose[s]” the Fairness for All Act because it sells LGBTQ people short and erodes existing protections under federal civil rights law.

“The so-called Fairness for All Act is an unacceptable, partisan vehicle that erodes existing civil rights protections based on race, sex and religion, while sanctioning discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people,” David said. “For LGBTQ people living at the intersection of multiple marginalized identities, this bill is a double whammy of dangerous rollbacks and discriminatory carve-outs. This bill is both wrong and harmful, and we strongly oppose it.”

David said the right path for advancing LGBTQ rights is the Equality Act, which he said is necessary because “LGBTQ people deserve full federal equality, period.”

“The Equality Act, on the other hand, has already passed through the House of Representatives with a bipartisan majority, the support of more than 260 leading companies and more than 500 civil rights, religious, medical and social welfare organizations, and is our movement — and, most importantly, our community’s — top legislative priority,” David said.

A spokesperson for Alliance Defending Freedom, the anti-LGBT legal firm that has represented Masterpiece Cakeshop and schools seeking to deny transgender kids access to bathroom consistent with their gender identity, referred to the Washington Blade to a 2018 statement from the organization against the Fairness for All Act Act.

“Every person should be treated with dignity and respect,” said ADF Senior Vice President of U.S. Legal Division Kristen Waggoner. “Unfortunately, sexual orientation and gender identity laws like the so-called ‘Fairness for All’ proposal undermine both fairness and freedom. This proposal is a SOGI law under different branding, with special — and likely temporary— exemptions that protect only a favored few.

A chief proponent of the Fairness for All Act, however, is the American Unity Fund, a pro-LGBTQ Republican organization backed by philanthropist and GOP donor Paul Singer. Another supporter of the legislation is Republican LGBT ally Margaret Hoove r, who voiced support for the measure in an interview last month with the Los Angeles Blade.

The Fairness for All Act is introduced as the U.S. Supreme Court is considering litigation that would clarify whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bans discrimination on the basis of sex in employment, also applies to cases of anti-LGBT discrimination.

If the court rules in favor of LGBT workers, it could have far reaching implications and make federal legislation against anti-LGBT discrimination moot in employment, housing and education (although a legislative change would still be necessary to ban anti-LGBT bias in public accommodations and federal programs). If the court rules against LGBT workers, they would have no protections under federal law, and a legislative fix would be all the more needed.

The Washington Blade has placed a request in with the White House seeking comment on whether President Trump supports the Fairness for All Act.

Federal Protections Still Needed for Members of the LGBT Community

Federal Protections Still Needed for Members of the LGBT Community

Commentary The Supreme Court now has the opportunity to affirm that all LGBT people should be able to work hard and support themselves and our loved ones without fear of humiliation, harassment or discrimination at work.

Elizabeth F. Schwartz.Partner.Elizabeth F. Schwartz P.A..Miami In just a few short months, the U.S. Supreme Court will issue rulings on three cases involving LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) people who were fired from their jobs. We’re a community on pins and needles, tapped out from the marriage equality struggle and now having to gear up to fight hard, new battles for our basic dignity. Want to continue reading?
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Study to investigate surrogate decision challenges for LGBT patients with Alzheimer’s

Study to investigate surrogate decision challenges for LGBT patients with Alzheimer's

Facing Alzheimer’s disease in a loved one is challenging under any circumstances but may be even more challenging when the patient is lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT). Regenstrief Institute Research Scientist and Indiana University School of Medicine faculty member Alexia Torke, M.D., M.S. is working to gain insight into needs and experiences of LGBT older adults with Alzheimer’s disease. Credit: Regenstrief Institute Facing Alzheimer’s disease in a loved one is challenging under any circumstances but may be even more challenging when the patient is lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT).

Regenstrief Institute research scientist and Indiana University School of Medicine faculty member Alexia Torke, M.D., M.S., has received a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to gain insight into the needs and experiences of this doubly vulnerable population—LGBT older adults with Alzheimer’s disease—and their surrogate decision makers .

"With this study we are taking a step on the path towards decreasing health disparities among the LGBT community in the context of end-of-life care," said Dr. Torke. "We need to know more about their needs and experiences so we can develop tools and resources supporting high-quality decision making and enabling care that aligns with their own goals and preferences."

"This is the first generation of LGBT individuals who are out and through this study we hope to learn more about their knowledge and engagement with surrogate decision making and more about the barriers encountered by their surrogates," Dr. Torke said.

After encountering significant prejudice throughout their lives, LGBT individuals are known to confront even more prejudice as they grow older, according to Dr. Torke. Compared to heterosexual individuals, LGBT individuals are twice as likely to be single as they age, twice as likely to live alone, three to four times less likely to have children to support them, and Dr. Torke notes that because of these factors, LGBT individuals have increased challenges in advance care planning.

One third of LGBT older adults live in poverty. Currently there are 1.1 million LGBT individuals in the United States who are 65 years of age and older. By 2030, it is estimated that this population will grow to 7 million. Because of social stigma , older LGBT individuals are known to refrain from disclosing their sexual orientation or going back in the closet as they age according to Dr. Torke. She notes that healthcare providers often operate without clear guidance on how to interact with LGBT individuals about care decisions and practices based on heteronormative assumptions.

The inclusion of same- sex partners in decision making and treatment planning has been shown repeatedly to be a priority for LGBT patients facing life-limiting illness.

In this newly funded study, Dr. Torke and colleagues from Regenstrief Institute, IU School of Medicine and Carey Candrian, Ph.D. from the University of Colorado Denver will explore the emotional, spiritual and religious experiences of both LGBT Alzheimer’s disease patients and their caregivers. Caregivers, who may be partners or spouses, children, other relatives or friends, will be interviewed and surveyed.

The researchers will explore the impact of communication quality on decision making quality and surrogate well-being, including post-traumatic stress. They will also examine religious and spiritual dimensions of surrogates and the extent to which they impact medical decision making as well as the actual care received by the LGBT individual with Alzheimer’s disease. The findings will inform the development of innovative aids to improve both the quality of medical care for incapacitated patients and the well-being of the decision makers.

Provided by Regenstrief Institute

This self-described ‘snarky bisexual’ lawyer stole the show at Trump’s impeachment hearing with her scathing put-downs

This self-described ‘snarky bisexual’ lawyer stole the show at Trump’s impeachment hearing with her scathing put-downs

Stanford Law School professor Pamela Karlan testifies during the House Judiciary Committee hearing on the impeachment inquiry of President Trump in Longworth Building on Wednesday Dec. 4, 2019. (Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty) Pamela Karlan, a Stanford Law School professor and self-described “snarky bisexual”, stole the show at Donald Trump’s impeachment hearing with her scathing and quick-witted put-downs.

Karlan specialises in constitutional law, once served as US deputy assistant attorney general for voting rights, and lives with her partner, writer Viola Canales.

At Wednesday’s (December 4) hearing, she was part of a panel of legal experts debating whether the president should be impeached, and in her opening statement referred to Trump putting pressure on Ukraine for political favours.

She told the House Judiciary Committee: “Based on the evidentiary record before you, what has happened in the case today is something that I do not think we have ever seen before: a president who has doubled down on violating his oath to ‘faithfully execute’ the laws and to ‘protect and defend the Constitution’.

“The evidence reveals a president who used the powers of his office to demand that a foreign government participate in undermining a competing candidate for the presidency.”

But when Doug Collins, a Republican on the Judiciary Committee, implied that Karlan was not qualified to comment at the president’s impeachment hearing, she clapped back: “Mr. Collins, I would like to say to you, sir, that I read transcripts of every one of the witnesses who appeared in the live hearing because I would not speak about these things without reviewing the facts, so I’m insulted by the suggestion that as a law professor I don’t care about those facts.”

Vanity Fair described her response as a “verbal bitch-slap”. She added that she had spent so much time over Thanksgiving reading the transcripts that she had to eat “a turkey that came to us in the mail that was already cooked”.

Later, she was questioned by representative Matt Gaetz over her political contributions. He listed that she had given $1,000 to Elizabeth Warren, $1,200 to Barack Obama and $2,000 to Hillary Clinton.

By the time Gaetz asked her why she had given more to Clinton than the other two, Karlan had had enough.

She said: “I’ve been giving a lot of money to charity because of all the poor people in the United States.”

Professor Pamela Karlan speaks during a House Judiciary Committee Impeachment hearing at the Longworth House Office Building on Wednesday December 04, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty) Melania Trump criticised Pamela Karlan on Twitter for mentioning son Barron Trump at the impeachment hearing.

Her snappy comebacks have even alerted Melania Trump. When making a point about the differences between a president and a king, she said: “So while the president can name his son Barron, he can’t make him a baron.”

This prompted an irritated response from the first lady on Twitter, which read: “A minor child deserves privacy and should be kept out of politics. Pamela Karlan, you should be ashamed of your very angry and obviously biased public pandering, and using a child to do it.”

While Karlan did apologise for mentioning the 13-year-old Barron during the impeachment hearing, she still managed to slide in a dig at Trump.

She said: “If I can just say one thing. I want to apologise for what I said earlier about the president’s son, it was wrong of me to do that.

“I wish the president would apologise obviously for the things that he’s done that’s wrong, but I do regret having said that.”

Karlan has argued nine cases in the Supreme Court to date. Most recently, on October 8, she defended the legal right of LGBT+ people to protections under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.