City of Boise Proclaims May 17th International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

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For the very first time in its 8-year history members of the State of Idaho’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community and its allies are getting ready to join in the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (I.D.A.H.O.).  As part of the planned festivities, Idaho’s capital city has officially proclaimed May 17th as the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

In a press release, I.D.A.H.O. organizer Christopher Cooke said the historic proclamation gives the entire state hope that a new era is on its way when it comes to human rights. “With the the unanimous passage of a LGBT focused anti-discrimination ordinance, the appointment of a LGBT Police liaison, and now the proclamation calling for an end of intolerance and phobia when it comes to sexual orientation and gender identity, it’s pretty clear that the city has become a role model for other cities in Idaho to follow. We have no doubt that Boise’s light of truth, fairness and compassion shines like a beacon and that equality will soon become the norm in every corner of our state thanks to its leadership.”

I.D.A.H.O. events are scheduled to take place in Idaho on May 16th and 17th. On Thursday, May 16th, Idahoans will gather at the Anne Frank Memorial for an interfaith vigil to honor those impacted by the harms of homophobia and transphobia here at home and around the globe. The vigil will begin at six pm.

 On Friday, May 17th there will be an educational forum on the progression of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Equality. The forum will include a free screening of the award winning film, “Stonewall Uprising” followed by a panel discussion on the “state” of LGBT equality in America and here in Idaho. The event will be held from 5:30-7:30 pm inside the Boise State University Student Union Building Bishop Barnwell Room.

Pocatello’s LGBT community and its allies will also be observing I.D.A.H.O. on Friday with a celebration that will include speakers and personal stories. The event will start at 7:30 pm at the Co Ho (‘The smart bar’), located at 904 S 4th Ave, Pocatello, ID 83201. All events are free and open to the public.

Click HERE to visit the Act Up Idaho website. You can also find the group on Facebook by clicking HERE.

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POTUS: “We need to do more to show them that their lives matter”

President Barack Obama is planning on adding another 50 million dollars to help in the treatment of HIV and AIDS.  During a World AIDS day event at the White House this morning, the President pledged U.S. support to help 6 million people in countries hardest hit by the virus get access to antiretroviral drugs by the end of 2013, increasing the original U.S. goal by 2 million.

He also re-upped the game here in the U.S. by pledging more federal dollars to the fight against HIV and AIDS.  During his annual World AIDS Day Speech, the President pointed out that, while HIV infection numbers are falling in other countries around the world, here in the U.S. the numbers continue to rise, “When new infections among young, black, gay men increase by nearly 50 percent in three years, we need to do more to show them that their lives matter.”

The announcement couldn’t come at a better time, many states, including Idaho, are trimming back their HIV and AIDS spending.

In his World AIDS Day proclamation, the President also said a new plan to fight the crisis in the U.S. will include targeting the virus on several fronts..

“To combat the HIV epidemic in the United States, we are implementing the first comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy in our country’s history, which calls for strong, coordinated policy initiatives, enhanced HIV/AIDS education, collaboration across the Federal Government, and robust engagement with individuals, communities, and businesses across America. As part of these efforts, we are embracing the best science available to prevent new HIV infections, and we are testing new approaches to integrating housing, prevention, care, and substance abuse and mental health services related to HIV/AIDS. We are implementing the Affordable Care Act, which mandates new consumer protections and new options for purchasing health insurance for all Americans by 2014, including those with HIV. We are also striving to secure employment opportunities for people living with HIV by working to end discrimination based on HIV status,” read the proclamation.

The theme for this year’s World AIDS Day is “Getting to Zero.”  A plan by the United Nations lays out 10 goals to reach by 2015…

10 goals for 2015

  • Sexual transmission of HIV reduced by half, including among young people, men who have sex with men and transmission in the context of sex work;
  • Vertical transmission of HIV eliminated and AIDS-related maternal deaths reduced by half;
  • All new HIV infections prevented among people who use drugs;
  • Universal access to antiretroviral therapy for people living with HIV who are eligible for treatment;
  • TB deaths among people living with HIV reduced by half;
  • All people living with HIV and households affected by HIV are addressed in all national social protection strategies and have access to essential care and support;
  • Countries with punitive laws and practices around HIV transmission, sex work, drug use or homosexuality that block effective responses reduced by half;
  • HIV-related restrictions on entry, stay and residence eliminated in half of the countries that have such restrictions;
  • HIV-specific needs of women and girls are addressed in at least half of all national HIV responses;
  • Zero tolerance for gender-based violence.

President Obama Calls For Full Adoption Equality…Even If He did leave out the “T”

In another first for any sitting U.S. president, President Obama included the LGBT community during a proclamation declaring the month of November National Adoption Month.

“With so many children waiting for loving homes, it is important to ensure that all qualified caregivers are given the opportunity to serve as adoptive parents, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, or marital status,” the President wrote on Tuesday.

The president’s inclusion comes as New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand introduces legislation that would end discrimination in adoption and foster care.

The Metro Weekly reports that the Human Rights Campaign did take issue with the wording of the proclamation however, “Noting the organization’s support for the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, HRC spokesman Michael Cole-Schwartz said, “We applaud the President’s long support of adoption by LGBT people. It’s our belief that statements of nondiscrimination principles should be LGBT-inclusive and we are disappointed that gender identity was not included in this proclamation.”

In this case, the HRC may have overshot. White House spokesman Shin Inouye tells the Metro Weekly, “As has long been his position, the President supports the adoption rights of LGBT families.”

“Jeff Krehely, the director of the LGBT Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress, examined the steps involved in reaching the presidential proclamation, writing to Metro Weekly, “I think the first thing to note is that the 2009 and 2010 proclamations didn’t address discrimination based on sexual orientation, so this is a step in the right direction, and I’m glad they included sexual orientation. In terms of not including gender identity, most state adoption policies and related court cases (both good and bad) focus on the sexual orientation of the potential parents, and don’t address gender identity. Similarly, most stories and research on discrimination in adoption also focus on same-sex couples or even just single gay people.”

Read the Full Article Here.

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