Queer Bites for the Week of July 19, 2017

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The pentagon.

Here's the latest in lesbian, bisexual and transgender news!


AG Sessions Under Fire for Closed-door Speech to Alliance Defending Freedom

(CNN) Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke to a self-described Christian religious freedom advocacy group known for anti-gay stances Tuesday evening, and the Justice Department is keeping his remarks under wraps.

Sessions' attendance at the closed-press "Summit on Religious Liberty" hosted by the Alliance Defending Freedom, was first disclosed Tuesday morning -- but the department has declined requests to release his full remarks. LGBTQ rights organizations blasted Sessions for attending the event.

"ADF is the most extreme anti-gay legal organization -- so extreme that it does not concede even that gay or transgender people should be permitted to exist as such," said Shannon Minter of the National Center for Lesbian Rights. "They are a truly destructive force in our country, and it is appalling that the attorney general of the United States would lend them the imprimatur of his office."

Alliance Defending Freedom -- which on its website says it is dedicated to promoting religious freedom but is also known for having taken aggressive anti-gay marriage stands -- is currently embroiled in a high-profile case that will be heard by the Supreme Court next term. The group is representing a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, claiming that to do so would violate his right to religious liberty under the Constitution.


U.K. Study Rates Anxiety More Likely in Bisexuals by 80 Percent

(SFGN) In honor of Pride month, the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) released a study on LGBT residents which, in part, showed that bisexuals are 80 percent more likely to report feeling anxious compared to their straight fellow Brits. 

The research marks the first time that the ONS has measured personal wellbeing by sexual identity, Pink News reported.

The study found that while LGB people reported feeling less satisfied with their lives than their straight counterparts, bisexuals were also 40 percent more likely to describe themselves as unhappy. 

Gays and lesbians who responded were 50 percent more likely to report feeling anxiety, and 25 percent more likely to describe themselves as unhappy compared to straight respondents.

No significant highs or lows were found in the data from heterosexual residents. While nearly all LGB men and women reported having a below average quality of life and one-third of bisexuals reported high levels of anxiety. 

About 300,000 people over the age of 16 between January 2013 and December 2015 were surveyed for this study.


House Defeats Bid to Block Pentagon Funding Transgender Surgeries

(CNN) The House on Thursday defeated a proposal that would have prevented the Pentagon from funding gender reassignment surgeries for service members.

The amendment failed in a 209-214 vote, with 24 Republicans voting against it.

The provision from Rep. Vicky Hartzler was an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act to block the military from paying for gender reassignment surgery or hormone therapy for both service members and their families.

In 2016, then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter ended the ban on transgender people being able to serve openly in the military.

Carter put in place a process to occur in stages, and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was facing a July 1 deadline on whether to allow new recruits who were transgender.

At the urging of the military service leaders, Mattis announced that he was delaying that decision for six months to study the issue further.

But Mattis called Hartzler on Thursday to urge her to withdraw the amendment from the defense bill, according to two senior congressional sources. A Pentagon official declined to confirm that the call occurred

The amendment was one of the most politically charged of the 200 that were being considered in the House as it debated the massive $696 billion defense authorization bill, which sets Pentagon policy and authorizes spending levels.

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