Med students push for more LGBTI health training

A third-year med student at New York Medical College is vocal about the need to focus more on LGBTI health Sarah Spiegel, a third-year med student at New York Medical College, is pushing for more comprehensive LGBTI health training. Tell me more!

After being disappointed in the brief information about LGBTI health given to her in her first year of med school, Spiegel decided to make a change.

By her second year, she became president of the school’s LGBT Advocacy in Medicine Club. Spiegel and a group of peers approached the administration about the lack of LGBTI content in the curriculum.

According to Spiegel, the administration was ‘amazingly receptive’ to the idea. Thus, the school went from an hour and half of LGBTI-focused content to seven hours. Spiegel does not think this change would have happened had the school’s LGBTI group not pushed for it.

Spiegel went on to join The American Medical Student Association’s Gender and Sexuality Committee as the LGBTQ Advocacy Coordinator. Her job in this role was to bring curricular change to other medical schools in the New York area. Med schools and LGBTI health

Numerous studies have shown that medical schools do a poor job of training future doctors to understand the LGBTI population’s unique health needs. This is especially true when it comes to transgender and intersex people. A 2017 survey of students at Boston University School of Medicine found their knowledge of transgender and intersex health to be less than LGB health.

However, LGBTI people, especially transgender individuals, face a disproportionately high rate of mental illness, HIV, and other intersecting issues. A poll conducted by NPR found that 1 in 5 LGBTI adults have avoided medical care out of fear of discrimination.

‘The health of disparity populations is something that really should be the focus of health profession students,’ Dr. Madeline Deutsch, an associate professor at the University of California, San Francisco, tells NPR.

‘Sexual and gender minorities have historically been not viewed as a key population. That’s unfortunate because of the size of the population, and because of the extent of the disparities that the population faces.’

While the amount of time medical students spend on LGBTI-related issues varies, a 2011 study found the median amount of time spent on the topic was a mere five hours. Topics most frequently addressed were safe sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity. However, topics like gender transitioning weren’t often spoken of.

‘There’s not really a consistent curriculum that exists around this content,’ says Deutsch. Activists doing the work

But with activists like Sarah Spiegel, LGBTI health is being spoken about more and more.

‘We’re getting there, but it’s slow,’ Spiegel tells NPR. See Also:

Medical Students Push For More LGBT Health Training To Address Disparities

Sarah Spiegel, a third-year student at New York Medical College, pushed for more education on LGBT health issues for students. When Sarah Spiegel was in her first year at New York Medical College in 2016, she sat in a lecture hall watching a BuzzFeed video about what it’s like to be an intersex or a transgender person.

"It was a good video, but it felt inadequate for the education of a class of medical students, soon to be doctors," says Spiegel , now in her third year of medical school.

The video, paired with a 30-minute lecture on sexual orientation, was the only LGBT-focused information Spiegel and her fellow classmates received in their foundational course.

"It’s not adequate," Spiegel remembers thinking. By her second year, after she became president of the school’s LGBT Advocacy in Medicine Club, she rallied a group of her peers to approach the administration about the lack of LGBT content in the curriculum. Spiegel and her friends created an LGBTQI health board of information which hangs in a hallway on campus at New York Medical College. Spiegel says administrators were "amazingly receptive" to her presentation, and she quickly gained student and faculty allies. As a result, the school went from one and a half hours of LGBT-focused content in the curriculum to seven hours within a matter of two years, according to Spiegel. Spiegel says she doesn’t think the change would have happened had the students not pushed for it.

According to a number of studies , medical schools do a poor job of preparing future doctors to understand the LGBT population’s unique needs and health risks. And, a 2017 survey of students at Boston University School of Medicine found their knowledge of transgender and intersex health to be lesser than that of LGB health.

Meanwhile, LGBT people — and transgender people in particular – face disproportionately high rates of mental illness, HIV, unemployment, poverty, and harassment, according to Healthy People 2020 , an initiative of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. And a poll conducted by NPR , the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found 1 in 5 LGBT adults has avoided medical care due to fear of discrimination.

"The health of disparity populations is something that really should be the focus of health profession students," says Dr. Madeline Deutsch , an associate professor of family and community medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. Deutsch directs UCSF’s Transgender Care program, and she says medical schools already do a fairly good job of addressing some disparities, like those based on race, ethnicity, and socio-economic status.

But, she says, "Sexual and gender minorities have historically been not viewed as a key population, and that’s unfortunate because of the size of the population, and because of the extent of the disparities that the population faces." (About 0.6 percent of the U.S. population – or 1.4 million adults – identifies as transgender.)

The extent of LGBT education medical students receive varies greatly, but a 2011 study found that the median time spent on LGBT health was five hours . The topics most frequently addressed include sexual orientation, safe sex, and gender identity, whereas transgender-specific issues, including gender transitioning, were most often ignored. And some medical students receive no LGBT education at all.

"There’s not really a consistent curriculum that exists around this content," says Deutsch.

As a result, physicians often feel inadequately trained to care for LGBT patients. In a 2018 survey sent out to 658 students at New England medical schools, around 80 percent of respondents said they felt "not competent" or "somewhat not competent" with the medical treatment of gender and sexual minority patients.

Even at UCSF, which has long been at the forefront of LGBT health care, Deutsch says there’s still a need to insert more transgender health care into the mandatory curriculum. Right now, when medical schools teach about LGBT health issues, it’s usually through special elective courses or lectures taught at night or during lunch, and often by the students themselves.

"How do we take it out of the lunchtime unit?" asks Jessica Halem , the LGBT program director at Harvard Medical School. That question drives Harvard Medical School’s new Sexual and Gender Minorities Health Equity Initiative , a three-year plan to assess the core medical school curriculum and to identify opportunities to better instruct on the health of sexual and gender minorities.

"Students are getting the information. But some of them are having to do a lot of extra work to get that during their medical school experience," says Halem.

The Harvard initiative, announced in December 2018, has been ongoing for about six months, says Halem, thanks to a $1.5 million gift from Perry Cohen, a transgender man. According to Halem, Cohen hopes that Harvard’s learnings will be shared with medical schools across the country, especially with ones with less robust LGBT health education programs.

Studies have shown that when medical students learn about transgender health issues, they feel better equipped to treat transgender patients. For example, when Boston University School of Medicine added transgender health content to a second-year endocrinology course, students reported a nearly 70 percent decrease in discomfort with providing transgender care.

And now, Halem says, each incoming class at Harvard Medical School is increasingly adamant that they learn about LGBT health.

"The main first driver truly was medical students organizing and saying ‘Hey, I need the curriculum to reflect the kind of medicine that I came here to study,’ " Halem says. Those were the thoughts running through Spiegel’s head in her own preclinical years at New York Medical College. Shortly after becoming the president of her school’s LGBT health club, she joined The American Medical Student Association’s Gender and Sexuality Committee as the LGBTQ Advocacy Coordinator to bring curricular change to other medical schools in the New York area.

Conversations with her transgender partner also inspired Spiegel to introduce more trans-specific topics into her school’s curriculum.

"His experience definitely varied by how much providers knew," Spiegel says. It was often as simple as getting his pronouns correct, she says, and even then, the same doctors’ office would mess that up again and again.

Spiegel says in the past couple of years, certain disciplines have added trans-focused topics into their specialties. In the school’s behavioral health unit, for example, professors have started to address how doctors can diagnose gender dysphoria – when a person feels their assigned gender does not align with their gender identity – in their lectures.

By contrast, some disciplines have been more hesitant to change, or add content to, their existing curriculum. Spiegel’s student task-force had more difficulty influencing the pharmacology department, for example. That’s the content area where hormone therapy might be taught, Spiegel says.

One course includes a lecture about the endocrine system, Spiegel says, when the professor talks about a drug to treat precocious, or early puberty. That drug can also be used for kids undergoing transgender hormone therapy. Therefore, Spiegel says, including transgender health in the lecture might be a matter of just saying an extra sentence.

"There’s an opportunity there – they would just have to mention that it could also be used for transgender kids," says Spiegel.

But the professor says this secondary use of the drug was "off the book," and thus, he wouldn’t include it in his lecture. So Spiegel researched the drug herself, and sent the professor the Endocrine Society’s guidebook that talked about how the drug can be used for transgender patients. He began including the information in his lectures.

Spiegel says her interactions with this professor exemplify the challenges that medical students all over the country face when trying to introduce changes to their schools’ curricula.

"We’re getting there, but it’s slow," says Spiegel.

NBA player Reggie Bullock speaks about the murder of his trans sister

Reggie Bullock #25 of the Detroit Pistons reacts during the game against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on February 11, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty) NBA player Reggie Bullock has spoken about the murder of his transgender sister.

Bullock, who plays for the Detroit Pistons, has become one of the most vocal voices for LGBT+ equality in the NBA in the wake of his sister Mia Henderson’s 2014 murder .

Speaking to Vice , he said: “I lost a sister that was a part of the LGBT+ community.

“I didn’t know how many lives get taken within that community until my sister’s life was taken. Looking at the numbers for what goes on with the transgender community, and particularly African-Americans, it’s a super high [murder] rate.

“When she passed, it was a slow process for me, trying to recognise her death and understand what exactly went on.” Reggie Bullock is educating himself about LGBT+ issues

Bullock continued: “When I was a kid, I really didn’t know too much about it. The beginning of my high school is when she started dressing in female clothes.

“I didn’t know, I just knew she was trying to be something else. That’s all I thought in my head, she was just trying to be something else. “I would still call my sister the name she was born with, because I wasn’t knowledgeable of it. Once I became knowledgeable, I started addressing her in a different way – as Mia Henderson, the name she wanted to go by.” Reggie Bullock #25 of the Detroit Pistons poses for a portrait during Media Day at Little Caesars Arena on September 24, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Gregory Shamus/Getty) The player now regularly appears at events promoting LGBT+ equality within sport.

He added: “I’m still not all the way there yet, but I’m trying to get educated on it and use my platform to do whatever I can do to save lives and bring equality.”

Gay former NBA player Jason Collins praised Bullock’s engagement on the issue, adding: “It’s credit to him that he’s using that pain and the platform he has to speak up on these issues. We need more athletes to speak up to change the culture of sport.” Mia Henderson’s killer still remains unknown

No-one has ever been convicted for Mia Henderson’s violent murder in Baltimore in 2014.

A man was charged with the crime in 2015, but was acquitted on all counts. Mia Henderson was killed in 2014 The Detroit Pistons player previously said he wants to play in a rainbow-coloured jersey.

“Just woke up out a dream and thought about playing in a [rainbow] colored jersey to incorporate #LGBTQ into sports,” he tweeted.

Bullock then tagged the National Basketball Association directly, urging the league to “make it happen in [his] lifetime.”

School official withdraws after protests over LGBT stance

People in support of the LBTQ+ community laugh and cheer on people speaking against Leslie Ellison, vice president of the Orleans Parish School Board before the vote for the Orleans Parish School Board president at the Orleans Parish School Board in New Orleans, Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. Ellison, a New Orleans school board member, withdrew from consideration for the board presidency Thursday night amid a flurry of criticism over her record of resistance to protections for LGBT students, but that didn’t stop a torrent of vehement criticism that nearly led to her losing her current post as the board’s vice president. (Sophia Germer/The Advocate via AP) less People in support of the LBTQ+ community laugh and cheer on people speaking against Leslie Ellison, vice president of the Orleans Parish School Board before the vote for the Orleans Parish School Board … more Photo: Sophia Germer, AP

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A New Orleans school board member withdrew from consideration for the board presidency Thursday night amid a flurry of criticism over her record of resistance to protections for LGBT students, but that didn’t stop a torrent of vehement criticism that nearly led to her losing her current post as the board’s vice president.

When the debate was over, Leslie Ellison remained the board’s vice president — elected in an unexpectedly narrow 4-3 vote after close to two dozen speakers, including gay and transgender students and adults, voiced their displeasure. Recommended Video
















Immediately prior to the debate, the seven-member board made an apparent attempt to defuse the expected rancor by unanimously voting to suspend its rules and allow the current president, John Brown, and vice president, Ellison, to remain in their current posts for another year.

But Ellison’s critics didn’t relent, saying she should be ousted as vice-president as well.

"There are countless numbers of LGBTQ students who yearn for the day that will allow them to walk fearlessly into their truth and be their best selves," said Gary Briggs, a former teacher and a gay man. "Because how can we expect our students to perform at their highest levels when they cannot live authentically?"

A handful of speakers supported Ellison, none mentioning gay or sexual identity issues as they praised her dedication and competence.

After sometimes blistering criticism from a majority of speakers, the board stuck with its decision to keep Brown as president for another year with a unanimous vote. But members re-opened nominations for vice president. Member Sarah Usdin nominated colleague Nolan Marshal Jr. to replace Ellison. But Ellison won another year as vice president by a 4-3 vote. She did not immediately address the criticism before the board moved on to other issues.

Ellison’s record on LGBT issues goes back several years but only recently had been drawing greater scrutiny.

Opponents cite a 2012 legislative committee hearing in which she opposed language in state charter school contracts explicitly forbidding discrimination based on sexual orientation. News reports from 2013 indicate she also opposed language including protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity in a board anti-bullying policy that year.

Ellison didn’t respond to an emailed request for comment.

The 2012 bill, which did not become law, said the non-discrimination language in state contracts must include non-discrimination language protecting people on the bases of race, religion, national ancestry, age, sex or disability, but prohibited any other factor — thereby excluding protections based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

At the time, according to news accounts and an archived video of the committee hearing, Ellison said she could not sign a renewal application for a state-chartered public school she was leading because it contained "sexual orientation" protections. Ellison, an administrator at Gideon Christian Fellowship International in New Orleans, said at the time that she is "strongly opposed to discrimination at every level." But, she said, the state Department of Education’s insistence on sexual orientation language constituted "unjust demands on individuals and education leaders who for religious purposes and religious freedom will not sign off on such a policy."

LGBT rights groups said in statements this week that Ellison has not backed away from her earlier position.

"Just this week, after the Forum and many other leaders from our community engaged with Ms. Ellison, she pointedly declined to retract or even reflect upon here past statements," the New Orleans-based Forum for Equality said on its website.

Virginia Senate Approves Two LGBT Protections Bills

The Virginia Senate on Friday approved two LGBT protections bills. Senate Bill 1109 would prohibit discrimination in housing on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, while Senate Bill 998 would prohibit such discrimination in employment.

According to the Washington Blade , both bills passed with large majorities and bipartisan support.

State Senator Adam Ebbin, an openly gay Democrat from Alexandria, introduced Senate Bill 998, while Senator Jennifer McClellan, a Democrat from Richmond, introduced Senate Bill 1109.

Both bills have cleared the Senate three previous times, only to die in the House of Delegates.

LGBT groups called on the Republican-controlled House to approve the legislation.

“It’s time for the House of Delegates to finally take up and pass these bills,” Equality Virginia Executive Director James Parrish said in a statement. “It’s not controversial, it’s common sense.”

“These are basic non-discrimination protections that LGBTQ Virginians need and deserve, and that will make the commonwealth a more welcoming and inclusive place for all Virginians,” said Marty Rouse, HRC National Field Director. “Voters in Virginia – who continue to elect more and more pro-equality lawmakers – simply have no appetite for discrimination and want to be sure that their friends and neighbors are protected the same way they are. It’s essential for the future of Virginia that pro-equality legislators in the House act on these non-discrimination bills and ensure that these long-overdue protections are passed.”

An LGBT Nonprofit Sent Karen Pence’s Homophobic New School An Important But Savage Gift 👏

Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images | YouTube (Last Week Tonight) Karen Pence, the second lady of the United States, has recently taken a job as an art teacher at a virulently anti-LGBTQ school in Virginia. She had previously held this position but took a sabbatical after her husband was elected Vice President. As a congratulations gift, an LGBTQ nonprofit sent her 100 copies of John Oliver’s children’s book about a gay bunny .

However, this book isn’t about any old gay bunny. It’s about Marlon Bundo, the Pence family’s pet rabbit. The bunny was immortalized in a children’s book written by the second daughter and illustrated by Karen Pence herself. At the same time, John Oliver released a parody of the book titled A Day In The Life of Marlon Bundo . In Oliver’s version, the rabbit marries another boy rabbit.

This past Thursday, the Trevor Project announced that it had sent Pence 100 copies of Oliver’s book to the Immanuel Christian School, where Karen Pence teaches, with a letter stating that they hope it will be worked into the anti-LGBTQ school’s curriculum.

The letter read…

“Policies and rhetoric that exclude or reject LGBTQ youth can lead to increased risk for suicide and depression, and it’s our organization’s mission to end suicide among LGBTQ young people. With your help, we hope you will change your school’s student and employee policies to accept LGBTQ students and employees.”

According to Vice …

“Per Immanuel’s ‘ parent agreement ,’ the school refuses to admit and would possibly expel students if they or their families are found to be ‘participating in, supporting, or condoning sexual immorality, homosexual activity, or bi-sexual activity,’ citing a passage from the Bible that calls homosexuality an ‘abomination.’ Immanuel’s application for faculty contains similar language, prohibiting any prospective employee from ‘homosexual or lesbian sexual activity, polygamy,’ or having a ‘transgender identity.’”

Of course, the right-wing engaged in their usual cognitive dissonance.

The Pence family’s long history of LGBTQ discrimination was elucidated.

People were done with the Pence family’s hypocrisy.

Maybe the Pence family will read the book and learn something about acceptance. Then again, probably not.

Montana School Blocks Pro-LGBT Websites

As of January 14th, 2019, high school students in Billings, Montana are no longer able to access certain websites, such as pro-LGBTQ ones, but anti-gay websites are still available, according to CounterPunch .

Brandon Newpher, the Chief Information and Executive Director of Technology for Billings Public Schools, explained that by filtering certain content, network security will be improved and students and staff will be better protected. However, websites for the Human Rights Watch and GLAAD, both pro-LGBT websites, have been blocked under the category of Alternative Sexual Lifestyles(GLBT). Those websites are apparently not in compliance with the filtering requirements in the Children’s Internet Protection Act. While there are categories such as child abuse materials and terrorism, that make sense to be filtered, websites attempting to spread equal rights have no logical reason to be banned.

The ACLU criticized Newpher’s decision to block pro-LGBT websites as they claim that denying access to such websites violates students’ right to free speech and also violates the Equal Access Act, which allows students to have equal access to all extracurricular activities, like a GSA or other LGBT support groups.

Jay Kaplan, the ACLU of Michigan LGBT Project staff attorney, says that blocking such websites is wrong and illegal because they "provide much-needed support and resources for LGBT youth during a critical time of their lives" and that blocking them send the message to LGBT students that their voices do not deserve to be heard.

Pro-LGBTQ websites do not harm anyone and in fact, can help both LGBTQ and heterosexual people become more open-minded about sexuality in general. There really isn’t any logical reason why Billings public schools would block these. I suspect foul play…

Public Advocates Hopefuls Address LGBT Center Crowd

Anti-trans violence, homeless youth among evening’s leading topics

BY NATHAN RILEY As the campaign for New York City public advocate races toward a February 26 special election to replace Letitia James, who took office as state attorney general on New Year’s Day, roughly 200 people turned out to hear from eight of the candidates at the LGBT Community Center on Wednesday evening.

The vacancy has brought Melissa Mark-Viverito, the City Council speaker during Mayor Bill de Blasio’s first term, back into city politics after a stint with the Latino Victory Fund. She was the first candidate of the evening, and she filled the room in the resonant tones of a person skilled at introducing herself.

“I was raised by strong women who wanted equality and justice,” the former speaker said. “They wanted respect and I will fight for that respect for all groups.”

Then moving quickly into the heart her vision of progressive politics, Mark-Viverito said, “It is through community dialogue that we make government nimble.” She promised to work to protect transgender women from an epidemic of violence as well as a wave of arrests by the NYPD on charges of loitering for prostitution. And she warned that enormous challenges face the poorest New Yorkers with “this administration” in Washington threatening to take over the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), a prospect she termed “scary.”

Out gay Upper West Side Assemblymember Daniel O’Donnell, who was the lead sponsor of the 2011 Marriage Equality Act, prefaced his remarks by saying, “New York saved my life,” recalling his opportunity to attend CUNY Law School and become a public defender. He proudly announced that when de Blasio circulated a letter inviting Amazon to come to the city that contained no details about what the state and city were offering the company, he refused to sign despite personal entreaties from the mayor. He called for a millionaire’s tax to fund the MTA and talked about his efforts to obtain funding for LGBTQ youth at the Ali Forney Center.

O’Donnell also said that he spurred an investigation into fellow Democratic Assemblymember Vito Lopez’s sexual harassment of women. That investigation of the former Brooklyn Democratic leader led to “the first time a sitting member” of the Assembly was forced to give up their seat over such conduct, he noted.

Jumaane Williams, the Brooklyn city councilmember who ran for lieutenant governor with Cynthia Nixon in last year’s Democratic primary and startled the political world by winning in Manhattan and Brooklyn, summed up his career saying, “I’ve helped people lift up their voice to be heard.” He acknowledged that he had changed his mind about issues like marriage equality and women’s right to choose but asserted that for years he has been supportive on both counts. He promised to work to close Rikers Island and to save the MTA and NYCHA.

Councilmember Rafael Espinal, Jr., from Bushwick, stressed the need to improve outer borough neighborhoods, saying he was dismayed as a teenager when the Daily News called his high school the worst in New York City. He is considered the “nightlife candidate” for his role in creating the position of deputy mayor for nightlife, and when asked if he would support clubs with back rooms for sex, he said if it were regulated and safe he would be open to it.

Assemblymember Michael Blake from the Bronx spoke out against the violence facing transgender youth, but was quizzed about his relationship with the anti-LGBTQ legislators like Councilmember Reuben Diaz, Sr. He said that he asked Diaz to return contributions he had made to him.

Attorney Ifeoma Ike is a first-generation immigrant, activist, screenwriter, a board member of the Women’s Prison Association, and an adjunct professor at Lehman College in the Bronx. Her campaign manager, Michael Carter, was a deputy campaign manager in Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s successful primary challenge last year to longtime Queens Congressmember Joe Crowley.

Ike, who formerly led the Young Men’s Initiative in the Office of the Mayor, stressed the importance of good demographic data in making sound government decisions, saying, “LGBT programs are underfunded.” Where other candidates stressed that the public advocate should push government in the right direction, she insisted the job was about marshalling the facts and making the best arguments. She talked about the need to rescue trans women from the male units at Rikers Island and to create “safe havens” for trans youth.

Dawn L. Smalls, an attorney with the prestigious law firm of Boies, Schiller and Flexner, came to New York City after working as the chief regulatory officer for the US Department of Health and Human Services, the third largest rulemaking agency in the federal government. She called for revising the City Charter to give the public advocate subpoena power, an idea repeated throughout the evening. She voiced pride in her role in a $65.5 million settlement giving thousands of au pairs who were paid $4.35 an hour back pay to meet the federal minimum wage of $7.25. She pledged to help the homeless, but when asked about LGBTQ youth needing shelter, she paused and said “the majority” of the homeless are children under six and these families had the biggest need. Benjamin Yee, active in the Young Democrats, said he supports community empowerment but did not go into detail, saying the audience could read about it on his website, . Asked by out gay Bronx Councilmember Richie Torres — one of the evening’s two moderators, who noted that he had graduated from Bronx Science High School — whether he supported changing the high school admission test to give black and brown students more opportunities to attend the city’s academically strongest schools, Yee said the system has worked well for over 100 years and that the solution is to create other special high schools. The question of opening up more opportunities for black and Latinx students has created a divide with some Asian-American leaders, whose community has historically done well in testing for top high schools.

Torres was joined in moderating the forum by former Manhattan Councilmember Ronnie Eldridge, who now hosts a weekly public affairs program on CUNY TV.

The event was convened by by Rod Townsend, president of the Stonewall Democratic Club, Allen Roskoff, president of the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, Jared Arader, vice president of the Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn, and Michael Mallon, president of the Lesbian & Gay Democratic Club of Queens.

Amazon removes LGBTI documentary, claims it didn’t meet Prime’s ‘quality standard’

Promotional image for LGBTI documentary Words

Amazon Prime has removed the LGBTI documentary Words, by trans filmmaker AJ Mattioli . Words

The documentary explores the question if identity, especially as it relates to LGBTI people living in New York City. It includes interviews from various LGBTI figures, including Carmen Carrera, Bob The Drag Queen, Miss Fame, and more. Words initially went up on Amazon Prime over a year ago. However, the company decided to remove it on 17 January. The emails

GSN spoke directly to AJ Mattioli about the issue. Mattioli explains his production company received a message stating that Words would be pulled from their streaming service.

‘We are always listening to customer feedback and iterating on their behalf,’ one email from Amazon reads. ‘During a quality assurance review, we found that these titles contain content that does not meet our customer content quality expectations. As a result, all offers for your title have been removed and may not be made available as “Included with Prime” or to Buy/Rent on Amazon.’

‘Unfortunately, this decision may not be appealed. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. We will not be accepting resubmission of the impacted titles. This change will not impact any royalties accrued through the date. Note that republishing any film that has been removed is prohibited; doing so may result in your account being suspended.’

Mattioli replied with the following:

‘This title been on Amazon Prime for very long time. What was so bad about this title that was taking down? Could it be a system glitch? Please help us keep our titles live. Looking at the many positive comments on this important intellectual contribution to the LGBTQ+ community, I do not understand at all how it does not fulfill the quality expectations. This has been clearly been a misunderstanding and we expect the matter to be resolved with promptness.’ Contradictory information

Friends and fans of Mattioli’s also emailed Amazon, complaining about the removal of Words.

One fan, Kathleen, reached out to Amazon, asking why Words was removed.

An Amazon representative responded saying, ‘We don’t have any details about why this particular title may have been removed.’

Many people who contacted Amazon were given contradictory information about the status of the film. Some were told Mattioli removed it (he didn’t). Others, like Kathleen, were told Amazon didn’t have any details about the film’s removal.

Mattioli’s production company reached out a second time with the following note:

‘We’d like to inform that [we were] shocked and disappointment in Amazon’s contradictory behavior in regards to the matter of the film “Words.” You’ve informed me that AMAZON decided to remove the title because it didn’t meet the quality standards of Prime. But once the content creator reached out, they were told [they took it down], which we did not. And we want it back up on Amazon Prime, please.’

‘Have the filmmakers been misinformed? We would like a resolution in regards to this matter, please, as soon as possible. We haven’t done anything wrong. And when the filmmakers and fans of that movie reached out to Amazon, they were informed that we asked Amazon to take it down which wasn’t true, at all.’

Amazon has yet to respond to that email. In Mattioli’s words

For Mattioli, this is a case of censorship.

‘In 2019, while hate crimes on on the rise, my film “Words” was a song of hope and happiness for the future,’ Mattioli tells GSN. ‘Having it be censored in a time when people are being killed for simply being themselves is heartbreaking and feels transphobic/homophobic.’ See Also:

Christians in a secular workplace: How to navigate anti-faith harassment, LGBT co-workers, #MeToo

File photo of three people in a workplace meeting. A Christian counselor with years of experience in the private business sector has released a book centered on helping Christians not compromise their beliefs in a secular workplace.

David Goetsch, who is also a business professor and retired U.S. Marine, released the book Christians on the Job: Winning at Work without Compromising Your Faith earlier this month.

In the book’s introduction, Goetsch explained that he was inspired to write the book by the many Christians he had counseled regarding workplace issues, with the hope that it will provide important guidance on how to act in a secular work environment.

“As Christians in secular careers, we must be both ‘wise’ and ‘innocent,’ or we risk being devoured by predatory coworkers. Helping Christians accomplish this difficult but critical challenge is the purpose of this book,” wrote Goetsch.

The Christian Post interviewed Goetsch last Friday on issues including his book, the issue of anti-Christian harassment in the modern American workplace, and his view of the controversial “Billy Graham Rule.” Below are excerpts from that interview.

CP: How pervasive do you believe anti-Christian harassment is in the secular workplace? David Goetsch, Christian counselor and author of the 2019 book "Christians on the Job: Winning at Work without Compromising Your Faith." Goetsch: I think it is increasing. I grew up in a time when even the secular world bought into Christian principles, they might not call it that, but that’s what it was. Anymore, we’re finding more and more cases. Basically, these are people who come to me for counseling and that’s how I get my information. And more and more they are coming in claiming that ‘oh, I’ve been told to take the 23rd Psalm off of my wall in my office,’ ‘I’ve been told …’ One of them even had to scrape a bumper sticker, pro-life bumper sticker off the back of his car, he wouldn’t be allowed to park in the parking lot. I think it is becoming more ubiquitous than it’s been in the past.

CP: In chapter one you discuss the First-Response Model, a multi-step process to handle workplace issues. The 5 steps, in order, are "Avoid responding out of anger, fear, or frustration," "Pray for guidance," "Seek guidance in Scripture," "Seek the counsel of Godly men and women," and "Translate Scriptural guidance and wise counsel into workplace-appropriate practical action." How did you develop this Model? The 2019 book "Christians on the Job: Winning at Work without Compromising Your Faith" by Christian counselor and business expert David Goetsch. Goetsch: It happened over time.

When you’re counseling people who have these kinds of issues, you want to make sure … that they don’t go it alone.

If their faith is being challenged because of their belief in God, they need God’s help to deal with it.

I didn’t want them to become like the people who were rejecting them, oppressing them, or even in some cases persecuting them.

CP: In describing the First-Response Model, you urge the reader to not skip to step 5. Why do you believe they must go through all 5 steps?

Goetsch: Because if they don’t go through all the steps before they get to step 5, they’re not going to have the help they need. They won’t be able to find ways to come up with a response that is biblically correct and workplace-appropriate. It’s those first four steps that lay down the groundwork for that kind of response.

CP: You wrote that "Christian Love Is better than Political Correctness." Why do you believe that is so?

Goetsch: Here’s what I have been finding happening in the workplace. We’re beginning to see a little bit of a backlash against political correctness because people are learning to spout the right politically correct platitudes, when its obvious that they don’t mean them, and that they’re just going through the motions of saying the words and the people on the receiving end of that don’t appreciate it, but what they do appreciate is somebody who will treat them with respect, with human dignity, treat them with honesty, integrity, in a Christ-like manner. And people who treat you that way, I don’t think you care whether they can spout the latest fad in political correctness or not. Or the latest terminology of political correctness because you know they are treating you in a way that is sincere and that is real and that is true.

CP: In chapter 9, you included a whole section specifically on how Christians should work alongside LGBTQ coworkers. Why did you feel it was important to give so much attention to that particular scenario?

Goetsch: We’re beginning to see more and more instances of, like, transgender restrooms and that type of thing.

You’re seeing more and more of this, and in the Christian community we’re also seeing a lot of pushback against that. And the point I wanted to make was the workplace is not the place to fight the battle of the LGBTQ agenda, for them or for us. When we go to work, we’re paid to do a certain job and our employer needs us to do it and do it well. And so, what we should do on the job is we can work side-by-side with people who do not share our beliefs or our values because we have the common value of the work, work in common, but we can treat them in ways with dignity and respect that do not validate their beliefs.

CP: What is your opinion of the "Billy Graham Rule" aka "Mike Pence Rule" ?

Goetsch: I follow the same rule and I agree with it completely. The best way to defeat the “#MeToo fad” that’s going on is to not allow yourself to be in a position of #MeToo.

That doesn’t go over very well. There are people who will complain about that who criticize Mike Pence, who criticized Billy Graham, but you don’t see anybody claiming #MeToo about either of those gentlemen.

CP: While your book focuses on the secular workplace, do you believe there might be some value to your book’s lessons for Christian workplace environments?

Goetsch: I do and I actually make that point in one of the chapters. It’s only a couple of paragraphs, but I say just because you work in an ostensibly Christian environment, remember that no matter who you work with, you’re working with sinners, including you. So we all have the potential to behave in ways that are at odds with scripture, so don’t presume that because you work in a Christian setting all the behavior you see there is going to be Christian behavior. It may not and so what I say in this book applies in that setting and in a secular setting.