Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender news bites for the week.

LESBIAN

Ellen Page Squares Off Against Ted Cruz on LGBT Issues

(EDGE) Out actress Ellen Page took on 2016 GOP presidential hopeful Ted Cruz while he was campaigning at the Iowa State Fair Friday.

Page, who came out publicly last year at a Human Rights Campaign event, called out Cruz while he was grilling pork chops. The exchange was caught on camera by ABC News and the Hollywood Reporter confirms the exchange will also be used in Page's new gig, hosting a show for Vice Media called "Gaycation With Ellen Page."

Cruz and Page exchanged words, debating about religious liberties and LGBT discrimination. When the actress asked the Texas senator about people being fired because they're gay or transgender, he said: "Well, what we're seeing right now, we're seeing Bible-believing Christians being persecuted for living according to their faith."

"You're discriminating against LGBT people," Page told Cruz, according ABC News.

Page then asked him if he would use that same argument in regards to segregation.

"Now I'm happy to answer your question, but not to have a back-and-forth debate," Cruz said. "No one has the right to force someone else to abandon their faith and their conscience."

He went on to say: "Imagine, hypothetically, you had a gay florist and imagine two evangelicals wanted to get married and they decide, 'You know what, I disagree with your faith and I don't want to provide flowers.'"

GAY

Dustin Lance Black Directs New Gay-Inclusive Coke Ad

(EDGE) Out Academy Award-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black recently wrote and directed a short film for Coca-Cola, which puts the spotlight on bullying and two gay teens.

Coca-Cola hired Black, 41, to direct three shorts for the soda company. The aids will air in Latin America and aim to stop bullying. In an interview with AdWeek, Black said one of the shorts, "El SMS" ("The Text"), is "aimed at the LGBT community." He said he wanted to show "a crossroads moment where you've got to make a decision: Are you going to go the way of kindness, or are you going to go for the easy joke when someone's having a tough time?"

Black, who won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for the 2009 film "Milk," also told AdWeek how some LGBT people have responded to the short.

"The response in the LGBT community to 'The Text' was remarkable. I heard from one of the heads at the ABC network about how much it moved her," Black said. "I heard from Cleve Jones, one of the leaders of the LGBT movement, about how much it moved him. And these aren't people I sent it to. They found it, which I find remarkable, since it's in Portuguese on the Internet.”

Watch the short at: http://bit.ly/1PqE48W

BISEXUAL

1 in 3 Young Americans Identifies as Bi

(SFGN) According to a study by YouGov, researchers used a version of the Kinsey scale to gauge participants’ sexuality ranging from “exclusively heterosexual” to “exclusively homosexual.”

“Overall 78 percent of Americans say that they are completely heterosexual while 4 percent say that they are completely homosexual. 16 percent of American adults say that they fall somewhere in between. In this group, the bulk of the respondents (10 percent) said that they are more heterosexual than homosexual, while 3 percent put themselves in the middle, and another 3 percent say that they are predominantly homosexual,” the study finds.

However, a number of those who identified as heterosexual, roughly 15 percent of straight women and 8 percent of straight men, admit to having had same-sex experiences. Age was found to be a factor in the study, as “24 percent of people aged 30 to 44 say that they're somewhere on the scale of bisexuality, compared to 8 percent or less of over-45s.”

Full survey results are available at http://bit.ly/1U2tjjZ

The study comes shortly after YouGov’s sexuality survey of the UK, which found that “23 percent of British people surveyed do not consider themselves exclusively heterosexual. As many as 49 percent of adults aged 18-24 described themselves as ‘not 100 percent heterosexual,’ indicating bisexuality is more common among younger adults, who enjoy more sexual fluidity,” according to a report in the Advocate.

TRANSGENDER

Report Says Health Care Costs for Transgender Military Is Minimal

(EDGE) A new study published on August 12 in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine finds that the cost of providing transition-related health care for transgender service members will be minimal after the Pentagon lifts its ban.

In "Caring for Our Transgender Troops -- The Negligible Cost of Transition-Related Care," Dr. Aaron Belkin, Palm Center director and visiting professor at University of California, Hastings, concludes that the analysis should allay concerns about financial implications of inclusive policy.

"Under any plausible estimation method," Belkin said, "the costs are minimal."

In response to Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter's announcement last month that a working group would study ways to end the military's ban over the next six months, some opponents of the policy change have cited cost as a reason to continue to prohibit service by transgender personnel. Belkin's key finding, however, is that the total price tag for the military's healthcare system would be an estimated $5.6 million each year, or 22 cents per member per month. That amounts to one one-hundredth of one percent of the military's $47.8 billion annual health care budget.

In June, the American Medical Association passed a resolution urging that "transgender service members be provided care as determined by patient and physician according to the same medical standards that apply to non-transgender personnel." Four retired former U.S. Surgeons General issued a statement endorsing the AMA resolution. Former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said last year that the military's health care system must be "top performing" and that "we cannot accept average when it comes to caring for our men and women in uniform."

For more information, see www.palmcenter.org


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