Connect with us

National

2.9 million LGBTQ adults have federal student loan debt

LGBTQ adults carry more than $93 billion in debt- 46% current LGBTQ students and 31% LGBTQ adults who are not current students

Published

on

U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona (Blade file screenshot via C-SPAN YouTube)

LOS ANGELES – A new study from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law conducted in collaboration with the Point Foundation, the nation’s largest LGBTQ scholarship fund, finds more than a third (35%) of LGBTQ adults ages 18 to 40—about 2.9 million adults—are carrying more than $93.2 billion in federal student loans. The majority (84%) of them owe less than $50,000.

Using data from the Access to Higher Education Survey, a nationally representative sample of adults ages 18 to 40 conducted in January and February 2021, researchers examined student loan debt among  LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ individuals.

Results show that LGBTQ adults are more likely to have federal student loans than non-LGBTQ adults (35% vs. 23%). Over half (51%) of transgender adults have federal student loans.

“Concern about the burden of student debt has been heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said lead author Kerith J. Conron, the Blachford-Cooper Distinguished Scholar and Research Director at the Williams Institute. “Research shows that the pandemic has disproportionately impacted the economic stability of LGBTQ people, including current LGBTQ students.”

“It is important that the current policy discussions about loan forgiveness consider the impact on LGBTQ adults, who bear a higher burden of federal student loan debt,” said Jorge Valencia, Point Foundation’s Executive Director and CEO. “The pandemic and the economic fallout could significantly impact LGBTQ people’s ability to pursue higher education.”

KEY FINDINGS

  • Nearly four in ten (39%) LGBTQ adults have student debt in the form of federal student loans, private student loans, credit cards, or other loans.
  • An estimated 35% of LGBTQ adults, or 2.9 million people, are carrying approximately $93.2 billion in federal student loans.
    • About a third (32%) owe less than $10,000, about half (52%) owe between $10,000 and $49,000, and the rest (16%) owe $50,000 or more.
  • Over half (51%) of transgender adults, 36% of LBQ cisgender females, and 28% of cisgender GBQ males have federal student loans.
  • Many (46%) current LGBTQ students and almost a third (31%) of LGBTQ adults who are not current students have federal loans.
  • Four out of 10 (43%) LGBTQ adults who have federal student loans also have private student loan debt. They owe an average of $34,000 in federal loans and $47,500 in total student debt.

Read the brief

Advertisement
FUND LGBTQ JOURNALISM
SIGN UP FOR E-BLAST

Pennsylvania

Openly gay journalist shot dead at home in Philadelphia

Jim Kenney, the Mayor of Philadelphia, said in a statement that he is “shocked and saddened” by Kruger’s death

Published

on

Josh Kruger, shown here with his cat named Mason, was shot seven times & collapsed in the street after seeking help. He was transported to Penn Presbyterian Hospital where he was pronounced dead. (Photo Credit: Josh Kruger/Facebook)

PHILADELPHIA, Penn. – An openly gay journalist was shot to death in his Point Breeze neighborhood home in the 2300 block of Watkins Street in South Philadelphia early Monday morning.

According to Officer Shawn Ritchie, a spokesperson for the Philadelphia Police Department, 39-year-old Josh Kruger was shot at about 1:30 a.m. and collapsed in the street after seeking help. Kruger was transported to Penn Presbyterian Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 2:13 a.m.

Police said that Kruger was shot seven times throughout the chest and abdomen and that no weapons were recovered nor have any arrests been made. Homicide investigators noted that there was no sign of forced entry and the motive remains unclear.

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner said in a statement:

“Josh Kruger lifted up the most vulnerable and stigmatized people in our communities — particularly unhoused people living with addiction. As an openly queer writer who wrote about his own journey surviving substance use disorder and homelessness, it was encouraging to see Josh join the Kenney administration as a spokesperson for the Office of Homeless Services.

Josh deserved to write the ending of his personal story. As with all homicides, we will be in close contact with the Philadelphia Police as they work to identify the person or persons responsible so that they can be held to account in a court of law. I extend my deepest condolences to Josh’s loved ones and to all those mourning this loss.”

The local PBS/NPR affiliate, WHYY reported Kruger had written extensively with bylines in multiple publications, including The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Magazine, The Philadelphia Citizen, WHYY, and Billy Penn.

CBS News reported that Kruger overcame homelessness and addiction to work for five years in city government, handling Mayor Jim Kenney’s social media and serving as the communications director for the city’s Office of Homeless Services.

He left city government in 2021 to return to journalism, according to his website.

“He was more than just a journalist,” Kendall Stephens, who was a friend and neighbor of Kruger’s told CBS News. “He was more than just a community member. He was somebody that fought that great fight so many of us are not able to fight that fight because we’re too busy sheltered in our own homes wondering if someone is going to knock down our doors and kill us the same way they killed him. The same way they tried to kill me. And we’re tired of it.”   

Jim Kenney, the Mayor of Philadelphia, said in a statement that he is “shocked and saddened” by Kruger’s death.

“He cared deeply about our city and its residents, which was evident in his public service and writing. Our administration was fortunate to call him a colleague, and our prayers are with everyone who knew him.”

The District Attorney’s LGBTQ+ Advisory Committee issued the following statement:

“Many of us knew Josh Kruger as a comrade who never stopped advocating for queer Philadelphians living on the margins of society. His struggles mirrored so many of ours — from community rejection, to homelessness, to addiction, to living with HIV, to poverty — and his recovery, survival, and successes showed what’s possible when politicians and elected leaders reject bigotry and work affirmatively to uplift all people. Even while Josh worked for the Mayor, he never stopped speaking out against police violence, politicized attacks on trans and queer people, or the societal discarding of homeless and addicted Philadelphians.

“We are devastated that Josh’s life was ended so violently. We urge anyone who has information that could lead to an arrest and prosecution for Josh’s murder to contact the Philadelphia Police or the DA’s Office directly. LGBTQ+ Philadelphians experience violence of all kinds every day; few people used their platforms to remind powerful people in government of that reality as effectively as Josh Kruger did. Josh and the communities he advocated for every day of his life deserve nothing less than justice and accountability for this outrageous crime.”

Continue Reading

National

National test of Integrated Public Alert & Warning System Oct. 4th

On Wednesday at 2:20 p.m. ET, there will be a nationwide emergency alert test on cell phones, wireless devices, radios, and TVs

Published

on

Image courtesy of The Federal Emergency Management Agency

WASHINGTON – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will conduct a national test of the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) on Oct. 4, 2023.

On Wednesday at 2:20 p.m. ET, there will be a nationwide emergency alert test on cell phones, wireless devices, radios, and TVs. This is a standard test that occurs at least once every three years. No action is needed.

Continue Reading

Nebraska

Nebraska to force “non-affirming therapy” on trans kids

In guidelines released by the state, trans youth will have many requirements to start care, including one likened to conversion therapy

Published

on

EIM/Los Angeles Blade graphic

Editor’s note: Important update- The regulations have been removed from the website but can be found in an archive here.

By Erin Reed | LINCOLN, Neb. – A new set of regulations released on Monday morning by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services spells out several new restriction on transgender youth in the state.

The restrictions, allowed under a new law passed by the Nebraska legislature this year, would curtail gender affirming care for those under the age of 19, the age of majority in the state. While several restrictions are poised to create hurdles for those seeking care, one in particular stands out as especially troubling: a mandate that all trans youth seeking treatment undergo five months of therapy that is “not in a gender affirming context,” a nod to a novel form of conversion therapy championed by those opposed to gender-affirming care.

The new regulations delineate a series of hurdles that transgender youth must navigate to access care. One rule, for instance, mandates that trans youth must have been fully out and living as their gender identity for six months prior to treatment, a throwback to an archaic and decades-old standard of care. This standard was discarded following criticisms that requiring transgender individuals to present as their gender identity, before hormones could facilitate such presentation, was psychologically painful and not linked to improved outcomes. Another stipulation demands that only a trans youth’s parents may collect their prescription, which must be labeled for gender dysphoria. Additionally, these youth must be handed obligatory medical misinformation forms, proclaiming the medication to be risky and promoting “alternatives” to care.

Most troublesome, however, is a particular regulation on the mental healthcare of transgender youth. The document states that transgender youth must obtain 40 hours of therapy, with a maximum of two such hours per week, that is “not in a gender affirming context.” Read literally, this could involve forcing transgender youth to be misgendered and their old names used for months before obtaining care. Such a regulation may put therapists and providers in legal jeopardy merely for practicing the basic respect and dignity of their patients. The guidelines also state that the therapy has to probe for other “mental and physical health conditions” that the guidelines claim may be “driving the patients distress.”

You can see the guidelines around therapy here:

Collectively, these guidelines champion a new form of conversion therapy dubbed “Gender Exploratory Therapy.” Despite its innocuous name, this therapy seeks to explore all possible causes for a transgender person to experience gender dysphoria other than genuine transness.

It’s important to highlight that the patient being transgender is never deemed an acceptable conclusion. Treatments are perpetually dangled just beyond reach until the trans youth believes they are not actually transgender, that too much time has elapsed and puberty has induced too many changes for a successful transition, or they turn 18 and age out of care.

Mirroring crisis pregnancy centers, these tactics are deployed under the pretense of “alternative care” and “neutral treatment,” despite the deception inherent in the care provided. The duplicity surrounding gender exploratory therapy is evident in its founders, its practitioners, and on the Gender Exploratory Therapy Association’s (GETA) own website.

One of GETA’s co-founders, Lisa Marchiano, was implicated in leaked emails of a working group seeking to ban gender-affirming care nationwide. In these correspondences, she employs the far-right doxxing website Kiwifarms to relay information about a transgender activist to Fox News.

Although the GETA website presents the practice as “care without pushing a political agenda,” it conspicuously displays a brief aimed at blocking Title IX anti-discrimination protections for transgender youth. Evidently, “value neutral, non-ideological care” is a misnomer for this form of therapy.

Many accounts of patients going through gender exploratory therapy can be found in a widely-viewed thread soliciting patients experiences, and the practice of delaying transition through the associated practice of “watchful waiting” is is explicitly condemned by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Because of widespread harm caused by this kind of therapy, the practice has been recognized as unethical in medical ethics journals.

Collectively, these new guidelines were put in place after the passage of LB547, the “Let Them grow Act.” Fittingly with the comparisons to the way these kinds of practices are levied at those seeking abortions, the bill was a combination bill banning abortion up to 12 weeks as well while also containing the provisions allowing for these kinds of restrictions on trans youth. It passed the Nebraska legislature by a narrow supermajority after Democrats filibustered the law for three months.

These new policies were developed under the guidance of the state chief medical officer, Dr. Timothy Tesmer, an appointee by Governor Jim Pillen, who called gender affirming care “Lucifer at its finest.” These policies were released on an emergency basis pending the adoption of permanent regulations and will go into effect immediately. A hearing is planned on November 28th on the permanent rules for gender affirming care under the new law.

****************************************************************************

Erin Reed is a transgender woman (she/her pronouns) and researcher who tracks anti-LGBTQ+ legislation around the world and helps people become better advocates for their queer family, friends, colleagues, and community. Reed also is a social media consultant and public speaker.

Follow her on Twitter (Link)

Website here: https://www.erininthemorning.com/

******************************************************************************************

The preceding article was first published at Erin In The Morning and is republished with permission.

Continue Reading

U.S. Federal Courts

Lesbian mother from El Salvador released from ICE custody in La.

Jessica Barahona-Martinez arrested on June 26, 2017

Published

on

An ICE Detentions facility (Photo Credit: Charles Reed/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement photo division)

LAFAYETTE, La. — A federal judge last week ordered the release of a lesbian mother from El Salvador who had been in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody since June 2017.

Jessica Patricia Barahona-Martinez and her three children entered the U.S. on May 31, 2016. A court filing notes she fled “persecution she faced in El Salvador as a lesbian, and because the government had falsely identified her as a gang member.”

Barahona-Martinez lived with her sister and other relatives in Woodbridge, Va., until ICE arrested and detained her on June 26, 2017. She was housed at two ICE detention centers in Virginia until her transfer to the South Louisiana ICE Processing Center, a privately-run facility the GEO Group, a Florida-based company, operates in Basile, La., in October 2020. 

An immigration judge in November 2019 granted Barahona-Martinez asylum for the second time. The government appealed the decision and the Board of Immigration Appeals, which the Justice Department oversees, ruled in their favor.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Louisiana last month filed a writ for habeas corpus petition in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana’s Lafayette Division that asked for Barahona-Martinez’s release. U.S. District Judge Terry A. Doughty on Sept. 27 ruled in her favor.  

“Petitioner (Barahona-Martinez) ultimately argues that her prolonged detention violates due process; she moves that this court issues a temporary restraining order, requests release, a bond hearing, an expedited hearing and costs and attorney fees,” wrote Doughty.

“This court finds that petitioner has plausibly alleged her prolonged detention violates due process,” added Doughty.

An ACLU spokesperson on Monday told the Blade that ICE has released Barahona-Martinez and she is once again in Virginia with her children and sister. 

Continue Reading

Missouri

‘Trans is beautiful’ Missouri high school senior says, defies haters

Young told the Kansas City Star newspaper that the hatred would not deter her from living her life authentically

Published

on

17-year-old Tristan Young described the joy she felt when two weeks ago her peers at suburban Oak Park High School had chosen her for their 2023 homecoming queen. (Screenshot/Kansas City Star video)

NORTH KANSAS CITY, Mo. – In a recent interview with the Kansas City Star newspaper, 17-year-old Tristan Young described the joy she felt when two weeks ago her peers at suburban Oak Park High School had chosen her for their 2023 homecoming queen.

Tristan Young, center, crowned homecoming queen standing alongside other candidates.
(Photo Credit: Oak Park High School North Kansas City School District/Facebook)

As the Young approached midfield at half-time in the game, along with the four other nominees, she told the Star she heard the roar of her classmates cheering and applauding at the sound of her name. She was chosen queen and for the transgender senior it was ‘the’ moment.

“I was so overwhelmed,” Young told the Star. “I thought I was never going to be in this position. And, in that moment, I had tears welling in my eyes because I just felt so supported. And I just felt like, this school wants me to be who I am, and not who other people want me to be.”

However, the next day Young was caught up in an explosion of transphobic hate speech and threats from across the United States.

The transphobic hate and threats was spread on Facebook, Instagram, and on X, formerly known as Twitter, where the notorious Libs of TikTok, a handle for the far-right anti-LGBTQ+ hate speech social-media accounts operated by Chaya Raichik- a former Brooklyn, New York real estate agent, spread the anti-trans messaging directed at Young.

Libs of TikTok has millions of followers and the account’s vitriol and hate speech has in the past fomented and instigated threats against the LGBTQ+ community and allies.

The Star also reported that with the deluge of hatred directed at the teenager, family members including a sister attending university in Boston became alarmed and called home.

“She was worried about Tristan being safe,” said Chari Young, the senior’s mother told the Star.

Responding to the threats Young told the paper,

“The comment that has stuck with me,” Young said, “was that I should have been dragged off the field by my hair and beaten up.”

While no one is certain how the news spread nationally, although once Raichik posted about young, the inevitable tsunami of hate followed. Ironically the Star reported that Young was in fact the second transwoman crowned homecoming queen at Oak Park High.

Nearly 8 years to the day on September 15, 2015, Landon Patterson, 18, was named homecoming queen.

Landon Patterson in September of 2015 after being named homecoming queen at Oak Park High School. (Screenshot/KMBC ABC 9)

Young told the paper that the hatred would not deter her from living her life authentically.

“I’m just not one of those people,” Young said. “I like to stay strong. I don’t really buckle unless something is really wrong. Right now, what’s happening is people are trying to turn a joyous thing into something that I should regret. But it’s going to stay a joyous thing.” She added that ‘Trans is beautiful.”

Local advocacy groups and others including former trans homecoming queen Patterson have rallied to the teen’s side.

Justice Horn, the chair of the Kansas City LGBTQ Commission, posted on X: “I uplift this against the transphobic comments against this young person.”

“I told her stay strong. You’re gorgeous. You’re beautiful. And no matter what these people say, they can’t take away this crown. They can’t take away this moment from you,” Patterson told The Star, adding, “Everything is amplified as a kid. Choosing yourself over everyone else’s opinion takes a lot of courage and bravery. … All these things that they said about her, that they said about me, what they say about trans people, it’s truly just ignorance. They probably don’t even know a trans person. They’re just saying things to be hateful. “Being trans is a reality. This is our life. It’s not going away.”

Additional reporting by the Kansas City Star and wire service reports.

Watch:

Continue Reading

Congress

House averts shutdown, clears bipartisan spending bill

Conservative members of GOP caucus warned they would replace the Speaker if he cooperated with Democrats on a deal to avoid a shutdown

Published

on

U.S. House Minority Leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) speaks in favor of the stop gap funding measure Saturday. (Screen capture/PBS News)

WASHINGTON – The U.S. House on Saturday approved a 45-day continuing resolution that, should the Senate approve the stopgap measure, as expected, will avert a government shutdown.

In a stunning turn of events, a coalition of Republicans and Democrats backed the proposal, H.R. 5860 advanced by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), which was passed with a vote of 335-91.

Ninety Republicans and one Democrat voted against the continuing resolution which, in addition to funding U.S. government agencies through mid-November, will provide billions in disaster relief .

(Screenshot C-SPAN)

Democrats agreed to the bill even though it did not contain U.S. aid to Ukraine. Still, the most conservative members of McCarthy’s caucus have warned they would replace their speaker if he cooperated with Democrats on a deal to avoid a shutdown.

In recent weeks, these members advanced far-right anti-LGBTQ amendments to spending packages that stood no chance of becoming law.

The Senate voted 88-9 to pass a “clean” continuing resolution (CR) that funds the government at current levels through Nov. 17 and gives the Biden administration $16 billion it requested to assist victims of natural disasters.

“Bipartisanship, which has been the trademark of the Senate, has prevailed. And the American people can breathe a sigh of relief,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told reporters.

After the Senate voted late Saturday evening to pass the House stop-gap continuing resolution, the White House released the following statement from President Biden:

“Tonight, bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate voted to keep the government open, preventing an unnecessary crisis that would have inflicted needless pain on millions of hardworking Americans. This bill ensures that active-duty troops will continue to get paid, travelers will be spared airport delays, millions of women and children will continue to have access to vital nutrition assistance, and so much more. This is good news for the American people.

But I want to be clear: we should never have been in this position in the first place. Just a few months ago, Speaker McCarthy and I reached a budget agreement to avoid precisely this type of manufactured crisis. For weeks, extreme House Republicans tried to walk away from that deal by demanding drastic cuts that would have been devastating for millions of Americans. They failed.

While the Speaker and the overwhelming majority of Congress have been steadfast in their support for Ukraine, there is no new funding in this agreement to continue that support. We cannot under any circumstances allow American support for Ukraine to be interrupted. I fully expect the Speaker will keep his commitment to the people of Ukraine and secure passage of the support needed to help Ukraine at this critical moment.”

Biden is expected to sign the measure once it is delivered to the White House before the midnight deadline.

UPDATED:

On Saturday, September 30, 2023, the President signed into law:
 
H.R. 5860, which provides fiscal year appropriations to Federal agencies through November 17, 2023, for continuing projects of the Federal Government and extends several expiring authorities.

Speaker McCarthy’s Press Conference After House Passage of 45-Day Stop-Gap:

Continue Reading

Virginia

Virginia students walk-out protesting trans Outing policy

Students have been organizing walkouts across Virginia since Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced new guidelines for trans & nonbinary students

Published

on

Dozens of Virginia Beach high school students, all dressed in black, addressed the school board on Tuesday in opposition of the 2023 model policies for trans students. (Photo Credit: Screenshot/WAVY-TV Norfolk)

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Students at five Virginia Beach high schools on Friday staged walkouts in support of transgender rights.

The walkout is in response to the Virginia Beach School Board potentially approving policy 5-31, which the Pride Liberation Project says will require schools to out trans students to their parents.

Students have been organizing walkouts across the state since Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin earlier this year announced new guidelines for trans and nonbinary students.

“Students like me aren’t going to be able to talk to our teachers if we’re constantly worried about our school officials calling home to forcibly out us,” AJ, a trans Kellam High School Student, told the Pride Liberation Project.

According to NBC affiliate WAVY 3, the Virginia Beach School Board has delayed a vote on proposed updates on its current non-discrimination policy that in some ways is consistent with Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s model policy, and in other ways, is taken verbatim.

A vote is now expected at the board’s Oct. 10 meeting, WAVY reported.

Dozens of LGBTQ+ students came out to the school board’s meeting and spoke out during public comment. The group was dressed in black to symbolize the deaths of their identities if VBCPS aligns the current non-discrimination policies with Youngkin’s model policy.

*************************************************************************************

Cal Benn, is a journalism major at Emerson College who is in D.C. with the Washington Center, and is a Fall intern at the Washington Blade.

Benn’s work focuses on human rights, climate change and how the two issues intersect. They are also passionate about sustainability, advocacy and writing and enjoy skateboarding and playing with their cats when they are not writing.

Continue Reading

Crime & Justice

Massachusetts woman pleads guilty in anti-trans bomb threat

She admitted calling in the threat to Boston Children’s Hospital, but stated that she had no plan or intention to actually bomb the hospital

Published

on

Gender Multispeciality Service (GeMS) Program, Boston Children’s Hospital. (Photo Credit: Boston Children’s Hospital)

BOSTON – A Westfield woman pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court in Boston to calling in a hoax bomb threat against Boston Children’s Hospital. 

Catherine Leavy, 37, pleaded guilty to one count of making a false bomb threat and one count of intentionally conveying false or misleading information that a bomb was on the way to Boston Children’s Hospital. U.S. District Court Judge Leo T. Sorokin scheduled sentencing for March 19, 2024. Leavy was initially arrested and charged by criminal complaint in September 2022 and subsequently indicted by a federal grand jury in October 2022. 

In August 2022, law enforcement began monitoring threats made against Boston Children’s Hospital and its employees. Among the wide range of healthcare services it provides, Boston Children’s Hospital is home to the Gender Multispecialty Service (GeMS) program – a healthcare program focused on gender-diverse and transgender adolescents. 

On Aug. 30, 2022, Boston Children’s Hospital received a telephonic bomb threat in which the caller said, “There is a bomb on the way to the hospital, you better evacuate everybody you sickos.” As a result of the call, the hospital and surrounding area was placed on lockdown status and a bomb squad was dispatched. An investigation determined no explosive devices were located at the hospital. Subscriber and call detail records and location information for the phone number that called in the threat determined that the phone number was subscribed in Leavy’s name. In addition, cell tower data indicated the phone was nearby Leavy’s residence at the time the bomb threat was made. 

During a search of Leavy’s residence on Sept. 15, 2022, the phone used to make the threat was recovered. In an on-scene interview with law enforcement, Leavy expressed disapproval of Boston Children’s Hospital on multiple occasions. Leavy also admitted that she called in the threat to Boston Children’s Hospital on Aug. 30, 2022, but stated that she had no plan or intention to actually bomb the hospital.

The charge of making a false bomb threat provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. The charge of intentionally conveying false or misleading information provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.

Continue Reading

State Department

State Department hosts five intersex activists from around the world

Group met with policy makers, health officials, NGOs

Published

on

The State Department last week hosted a group of intersex activists from around the world. (Courtesy photo)

WASHINGTON — The State Department last week hosted five intersex activists from around the world.

Kimberly Zieselman, a prominent intersex activist who advises Jessica Stern, the special U.S. envoy for the promotion of LGBTQ+ and intersex rights abroad, brought the activists to D.C.

• Morgan Carpenter, co-founder and executive director of Intersex Human Rights Australia

• Natasha Jiménez, an intersex activist from Costa Rica who is the general coordinator of Mulabi, the Latin American Space for Sexualities and Rights

• Julius Kaggwa, founder of the Support Initiative for People with Atypical Sex Development Uganda

• Magda Rakita, co-founder and executive director of Fujdacja Interakcja in Poland and co-founder of Interconnected UK

• Esan Regmi, co-founder and executive director of the Campaign for Change in Nepal.

Special U.S. Envoy for Global Youth Issues Abby Finkenauer and Assistant Health Secretary Rachel Levine are among the officials with whom the activists met.

Zieselman told the Washington Blade on Sept. 21 the activists offered State Department officials an “intersex 101” overview during a virtual briefing.

More than 60 Save the Children staffers from around the world participated in another virtual briefing. Zieselman noted the activists also met with Stern, U.N. and Organization of American States officials, funders and NGO representatives while in D.C.

“The people we met were genuinely interested,” Rakita told the Blade.

Stern in an exclusive statement to the Blade said “the visiting intersex activists clearly had an impact here at State, sharing their expertise and lived experience highlighting the urgency to end human rights abuses, including those involving harmful medical practices against intersex persons globally.” Andrew Gleason, senior director for gender equality and social justice at Save the Children US, in a LinkedIn post he wrote after attending his organization’s meeting with the activists echoed Stern.

“There are many learnings to recount from today’s discussion, but one thing is clear, this is unequivocally a child rights issue, and one that demands attention and action at the intersection of LGBTQI+ rights, reproductive rights and justice, disability justice and more,” wrote Gleason. “Gratitude to the panelists for sharing such poignant testimonies and providing insights into what organizations like ours can do to contribute to the broader intersex movement; and thank you to Kimberly for your leadership and bringing this group together.”

The activists’ trip to D.C. coincided with efforts to end so-called sex “normalization” surgeries on intersex children.

Greek lawmakers in July passed a law that bans such procedures on children under 15 unless they offer their consent or a court allows them to happen. Doctors who violate the statute face fines and prison.

Germany Iceland, Malta, Portugal and Spain have also enacted laws that seek to protect intersex youth. 

A law that grants equal rights and legal recognition to intersex people in Kenya took effect in July 2022. Lawmakers in the Australian Capital Territory earlier this year passed the Variation in Sex Characteristics (Restricted Medical Treatment) Bill 2023.

Intersex Human Rights Australia notes the law implements “mechanisms to regulate non-urgent medical care to encourage child participation in medical decisions, establish groundbreaking oversight mechanisms and provide transparency on medical practices and decision making.” It further points out the statute “will criminalize some deferrable procedures that permanently alter the sex characteristics of children” and provides “funding for necessary psychosocial supports for families and children.”

“It’s amazing,” Carpenter told the Blade when discussing the law and resistance to it. “It’s not perfect. There was some big gaps, but physicians are resisting every step of the way.”

The State Department in April 2022 began to issue passports with an “X” gender marker.

Dana Zzyym, an intersex U.S. Navy veteran who identifies as non-binary, in 2015 filed a federal lawsuit against the State Department after it denied their application for a passport with an “X” gender marker. Zzyym in October 2021 received the first gender-neutral American passport.

Continue Reading

Congress

McCarthy dealt another blow by far-right GOP seeking to oust him

In January, McCarthy narrowly secured his bid for the speakership after an unprecedented 15 votes from his caucus

Published

on

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy of California (Washington Blade photo by Michaël Key)

WASHINGTON – After joining with the Democrats on Friday to sabotage House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s (Calif.) plan to forestall a government shutdown with a last-ditch spending package, a group of far-right members are now focused on replacing him.

The stop-gap funding bill was defeated 232-198 with more than 20 Republicans voting against the measure.

House GOP sources tell the Washington Blade that removing McCarthy from the speaker’s chair is now a top priority, along with resisting pressure from Senate Republicans seeking to broker a deal to avoid allowing funding to lapse.

These sources confirmed reporting in the Washington Post about discussions of tapping U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer (Minn.) to become the chamber’s top Republican, though the congressman told CBS Minnesota/WCCO News, “I fully support Speaker McCarthy. He knows that and I know that. I have zero interest in palace intrigue. End of discussion.”

While Emmer was among the 39 House Republicans who voted with the Democrats in support of the Respect for Marriage Act, which protects the rights of couples in same-sex marriages, in April he was among the more vocal members pushing for a federal ban to prohibit transgender women and girls from competing on sports teams consistent with their gender identity.

In January, McCarthy narrowly secured his bid for the speakership after an unprecedented 15 votes from his caucus. Many of the same members now calling for his replacement demanded concessions, including conditioning their votes on McCarthy’s agreement to allow any member to call for a motion to vacate the chair at any time.

During the votes, which were held over a period of five days, other members like U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) were nominated for the position.

Continue Reading

Popular