Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans gender headlines from around the world.
Lesbian Mom gets Legal Help with Alabama Adoption Case
(SFGN) A lesbian mother, identified only as V.L. in court documents, is receiving legal support in her request to have her adoption case reviewed by the US Supreme Court, Metro Weekly Reports. V.L. was previously denied visitation rights to see her three children, even though she had legally adopted them in Georgia.
She is challenging a decision by the Alabama Supreme Court which refused to recognize the out-of-state second-parent adoption of the three children she was raising with her former partner, identified as E.L. As of last week, the US Supreme Court issued a stay on the Alabama court’s decision, allowing V. to have visitation rights until there is a permanent resolution.
While her case awaits review, V is also receiving support from various adoption advocates and legal scholars. They have filed seven amicus briefs on her behalf, arguing that the separation is harmful to the children involved, and violates the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the constitution, Metro reports, under which states are expected to respect those court judgements issued in other states.
"This unprecedented decision by the Alabama Supreme Court harms not only our client and her children, but thousands of other adoptive families," said Cathy Sakimura, director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, which is representing V.L. "These amicus briefs show a broad consensus among adoption experts, advocates and scholars, as well as constitutional law scholars, that adoption law and the Full Faith and Credit Clause strongly protect the finality of adoptions from attack years later and require all states to recognize adoptions from other states, even if they may disagree with the law applied in those adoptions."
HIV-Positive Man Leads SF AIDS Foundation
(SFGN) Tim L. Jones was names the San Francisco AIDS Foundation’s (SFAF) interim CEO in December, according to the Bay Area Reporter. SFAF is one of the largest AIDS nonprofits in the country.
Jones is gay and HIV positive. About his HIV status, Jones says, it is “"significant in the sense that we're hoping to move into an era of supporting people living with HIV more so than what we are today."
In addition to trying to end the transmission of HIV, SFAF is also establishing Strut, a gay and bi men’s health center set to open in January.
"We are looking to help people living with the disease, so that's me, and it really does hit home that I'm involved at this level of the organization," said Jones. "I'm somebody who has benefited from the AIDS foundation. ... It's important for us to stay focused on helping those living with HIV going forward."
Jones takes over from Neil Giuliano who served as CEO for the last five years. Giuliano announced in August that he was leaving SFAF to become CEO of Greater Phoenix Leadership, a business organization that focuses on civic improvement.
Jones has said that one of his priorities is to ensure "we're focused on serving our clients to the best of our abilities," especially through Strut. The center's opening comes at "an unprecedented time for the foundation,” he said. “We have really developed a stronger commitment to the community by ensuring our board members are very engaged.”
Giuliano and predecessors Mark Cloutier and Pat Christen were all HIV negative. However SFAF co-founder Cleve Jones, is also HIV positive.
SFAF spokesman Andrew Hattori told the Reporter that SFAF co-founder Cleve Jones "We have a long history of HIV-positive members of our board of directors, including past board chairs."
New studies show bi people are excluded by straight and gay peers
(SFGN) Confirming what many bi people have felt for some time, the Journal of Bisexuality December issue published two studies outlining the discrimination bisexuals deal with inside and outside of the LGBT community, the Daily Beast reports.
One study was conducted by Counseling Psychology Ph.D. student Tangela Roberts and two professors at the University of Massachusetts. They surveyed 745 bisexuals about their experiences with discrimination.
The survey asked participants to complete an Anti-Bisexual Experiences Scale (ABES), which on a scale of one to six, ranked how frequently they experiences certain forms of discrimination. Examples included being told they were confused about their orientation, being excluded from certain social networks, and having it assumed that they are more likely to cheat.
“Although the level of discrimination that bisexuals experienced from heterosexuals, when compared to discrimination from the lesbian and gay community, was statistically significantly higher, the effect size reveals that the degree of difference was small,” their study concluded.
“Essentially it’s like saying that two people are yelling at you, but one voice is a decibel higher,” Roberts explained to The Daily Beast. “Yes, statistically one voice is more significant, but the difference between the two voices is small.”
The average ABES score reported for experiences with straight people was 2.38. The average for experiences among gay men and lesbians was only slightly lower at 2.29, the Beast reports.
Similar results were found in a smaller study conducted at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto by postdoctoral research fellow Corey Flanders. Of 35 bisexual women interviewed about mental health, many described feeling excluded even in LGBT safe spaces.
Mother of Murdered Trans Teen Seeks Financial Help
(SFGN) The murder of transgender teen Gwen Araujo in 2002 played a large role in the advance of transgender rights. Now Araujo’s mother, Sylvia Guerrero, is struggling financially and has launched a crowdfunding campaign on GoFundMe.
"I have been borrowing money to keep afloat, but I'm drowning," Guerrero wrote on the site. She is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and various medical issues, says the Bay Area Reporter. "I made a promise to Gwen that I wouldn't give up, and that I'd keep moving forward," Guerrero said in an interview. "She keeps reassuring me that things are going to be OK."
Araujo was murdered in October 2002 while attending a house party in Newark California. Her body was taken and buried in a grave in the Sierra foothills.
Araujo’s murder, along with Guerrero’s advocacy, spurred a new level of attention to transgender issues, including the barring of the “panic” defense, where those charged with murder cited their victim’s sexual orientation or identity as the trigger.
Now, 13 years after her daughter’s murder, Guerrero is coping with PTSD, celiac disease, and rheumatoid arthritis, and has lost her social security benefits. She has been unable to see her doctors or receives her medications. She has been splitting her time living with two of her children as she’s been unable to afford a home of her own.
"When this was the top story, everybody was there," Guerrero said in the interview. "People were coming out of the woodwork." But now, she said, "nobody wants to help. It's not today's news. It's old."
As of Monday, January 4, people have contributed $2,259 toward Guerrero's goal of $4,000. She hopes to buy a used car with the money.