Friday, September 27, 2013

PFLAG NATIONAL TAKES THE PLEDGE, RE-CONFIRMS COMMITMENT TO FIGHT HIV/AIDS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 27, 2013               
                                                                                                  
PFLAG: Liz Owen | lowen@pflag.org | (202) 467-8180 ext. 214
SAGE: Michael Adams | (212) 741-2247
NCLR: Kate Kendell | (415) 392-6257

PFLAG NATIONAL TAKES THE PLEDGE, RE-CONFIRMS COMMITMENT TO FIGHT HIV/AIDS

WASHINGTON, D.C.—PFLAG National—the nation's largest organization for families, friends, and straight allies united with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people—today joined with SAGE (Services and Advocacy for LGBT Elders), National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), NYC LGBT Community Center, and hundreds of other organizations and individuals, signing on to a letter pledging to re-engage with the broader LGBT community in the fight against HIV/AIDS.  This re-commitment and pledge coincides with National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), gay, bisexual, and men who have sex with men (MSM) accounted for 63% of the new HIV infections in 2010. 

“Our organization was founded in 1973 in New York City, the cradle of the LGBT movement for equality...and where some of the earliest cases in the HIV/AIDS epidemic were reported,” said Jody Huckaby, Executive Director of PFLAG National. “Our founder, Jeanne Manford and her husband, Dr. Jules Manford, were themselves the parents of a gay son, Morty Manford, who died of AIDS. The history of PFLAG is inextricably tied to the history of HIV/AIDS, as many of our earliest members were parents who were fighting the battle of acceptance and equality for their children, while simultaneously fighting for their children’s lives. Now, 40 years later, we at PFLAG are reaffirming our commitment to working to bring an end to this epidemic."

"The LGBT boomer generation was devastated by the AIDS epidemic.  SAGE’s constituents lost more friends and loved ones than we can count" said Michael Adams from SAGE. "Our hope for the next generation is to live in a world without AIDS.  We can make this a reality, but it’s going to take all of us.  It’s time for the LGBT community to come back to the fight against HIV/AIDS, and SAGE is ready for that fight."

"Our Center has been fighting HIV since the beginning," says Glennda Testone, Executive Director of the New York City LGBT Community Center.  "It’s time for us to remain focused and use what we have learned in the intervening years to continue this fight with renewed energy and vigor. This time we can end an epidemic."

The joint pledge, released today, states:

“Over the last 30 years, the LGBT community has seen great strides in the movement for full equality.  Much of this success is the result of a concerted movement, which was galvanized in response to the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s. In the decades since, our movement has seen incredible victories…Unfortunately, our community hasn't maintained the same momentum in our fight against HIV… Each day, more than 80 gay and bisexual men become infected with HIV in the United States… Despite these alarming statistics, which have galvanized our community in the past, the HIV epidemic has seemed to fall by the way side.  Many in our community have simply stopped talking about the issue.  This must change.” 

To read the letter in its entirety—as well as a list of the hundreds of organizations united in the fight against HIV/AIDS—visit www.wethelgbt.org.

###


Founded in 1972 with the simple act of a mother publicly supporting her gay son, PFLAG is the original family and ally organization. Made up of parents, families, friends, and straight allies united with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, PFLAG is committed to advancing equality through its mission of support, education, and advocacy. Now in its 41st year, PFLAG has more than 350 chapters and 200,000 supporters crossing multiple generations of American families in major urban centers, small cities and rural areas in all 50 states. To learn more, visit www.pflag.org.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Policy Matters: September 19, 2013

Beginning on Oct. 3, 2013, you will be able to receive Policy Matters directly in your inbox. It will still be posted to the blog, but you will now have the added convenience of delivery, direct to you!
Also, we’ve added a new time-sensitive advocacy section to Policy Matters. At the very top of each edition will be policy items that need your action, whether it’s calls, emails, letters, or rallying in person. Be sure to check the TAKE ACTION section, every other Thursday in Policy Matters.

TAKE ACTION
Take Action: Marriage Equality with your Mayor
PFLAGers are urged to participate in a new initiative from Freedom to Marry titled “Light up the Map” as an effort to get more than 500 Mayors in all 50 states to support the freedom to marry, demonstrated first by joining Mayors for the Freedom to Marry. Today, there are 356 Mayors on board.  Ask yours to be one, too.
Your PFLAG message: As your constituent, I’m asking you to be a Mayor for The Freedom to Marry to support that love is love and marriage is marriage, including for same-sex couples.
Please email dsanchez@pflag.org to tell us you completed this call, and tell us if they said Yes, too, please.

Take Action: Save the Date, Oct. 3, 2013, to take action on ENDA
PFLAGers will see an important action alert in the October 3rd issue of Policy Matters. You are encouraged to contact your U.S. Senators on that day as part of the ENDA Task Force’s National Call-In Day, to ask your Senators to vote YES on ENDA when it comes up for a vote and to thank them if they are already co-sponsors of this important bill for workplace equality.
Your PFLAG message: As your constituent, I’m asking you to vote YES when ENDA comes to the Senate floor for a vote because discrimination in the workplace is not a family value.
Important: Please email dsanchez@pflag.org to tell us you completed this call, and tell us if they said Yes, too, please.

IN THE NEWS:
Jennifer Natalya Pritzker Becomes First Openly Transgender Billionaire in Forbes 400
Among the 48 women noted in the The Forbes 400, the annual list of the richest Americans, is the first openly transgender woman billionaire, Col. Jennifer Natalya Pritzker, who voluntarily disclosed her transition on August 23rd and ranks at #327 with an estimated net worth of $1.7 billion.  There are 11 Pritzker family members on this year’s Forbes 400, which was announced on September 16th.  A retired Army lieutenant colonel with 11 years active duty and then 16 years in the U.S. National Guard, Pritzker gave $1.35 million to The Palm Center to create the Transgender Military Service Initiative to sponsor state-of-the-art scholarship about transgender military service and to enhance the quality of public dialogue.  Read Forbes' coverage here.
White House In-House Press Pool Adds Its First LGBT Newspaper, The Washington Blade
The White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) added three publications to its White House in-town print pool on September 16th,, historically including The Washington Blade, the nation’s capital’s leading LGBT newspaper.  Also added were BuzzFeed and The Guardian.  The additions join such global powerhouse publications as The New York Times and some smaller outlets such as The Daily Caller. WHCA members on the in-town pools provide fellow press corps members reports on the President’s Beltway-based activities on a rotating basis. Read Politico's coverage of this landmark announcement here.
CW Accepts ZE, First Primetime U.S. TV Series About a Trans Teen and His Family
The CW Broadcast Network gave the nod to an historic television series, this nation’s first with female-to-male transgender teenager as the main character. ZE, titled to represent a gender-neutral pronoun sometimes preferred by gender nonconforming people, is being written by Brooklyn-based writer-playwright Kyle Jarrow and executive produced by Michael London, Executive Producer of the Oscar-winning film Milk. The story will cover the time during and after the teenager discloses his transgender identity to his family and starts presenting and living as male. No cast members or air date have been released. Read more about "Ze" here.
Dallas Pride Issues Family-Friendly Dress Code and Behavior Guidelines
Some considered the announcement an adherence to existing laws and city ordinances governing nudity and lewdness in public.  Others called it an outrage when Dallas Pride organizers reminded participants about the need for the event to be family-friendly, and said that nudity and lewd behavior will no longer be tolerated.  Parade organizer the Dallas Tavern Guild said the reminder came from law enforcement, not the organization, and called the pushback “much ado about nothing.” The warning was first issued in August at a meeting with representatives from all parade entries. Organizers said establishments with floats featuring dancers have been asked for them to wear swimsuits instead of underwear this year. A detective sergeant responsible for overseeing officers from the Dallas Police Department and Dallas Independent School District said any floats in violation of indecency standards will be warned in the lineup prior to the parade. If they fail to comply before reaching the parade route, they will be removed from the parade and individuals may be charged with class-B misdemeanor indecent exposure. Read more about Dallas Pride happenings here.

ON POLICY, LEGISLATION, AND LITIGATION:
Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations (DPBO) Act of 2013 Introduced in Senate and House by Dems and Republicans to Extend Federal Employee Benefits to Same-Sex Domestic Partners
According to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), nearly 60 percent of Fortune 500 companies including some top federal contractors extend employment benefits to domestic partners.  On September 19th, U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Susan Collins (R-ME) and U.S. Reps. Mark Pocan (D-WI),  Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Richard Hanna (R-NY) introduced legislation to extend employee benefit programs to cover the same-sex domestic partners of federal employees to the same extent as those benefits that cover legally married spouses of federal employees.  The Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act of 2013 (DPBO) was introduced as a bipartisan and bicameral bill that garnered 48 other legislative cosponsors as it was being introduced by both chambers of Congress. PFLAG National has added this bill to its Lobby Day list of supported legislation.  
AFL-CIO Constitution Now Protects Gender Identity and Expression
The AFL-CIO, the nation’s largest labor federation, adopted on September 9th an amendment to its constitution to add specific language to ban discrimination based on gender identity or gender expression. The language of the AFL-CIO’s constitution now reads: “To encourage all workers without regard to race, creed, color, sex, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression to share equally in the full benefits of union organization.”  The move by the federation was preceded by several of its member unions having already adopted similar provisions in their own policies.  The federation is comprised of 57 national and international unions representing more than 12 million workers.  Read more about this development here.
South Dakota Transgender Worker Wins Landmark Legal Settlement of $50K; EEOC Backs Victory
Cori McCreery, 29, a store clerk for a private employer in Rapid Valley, SD, is a transgender woman who accused her employer of workplace discrimination.  On September 16th she won a settlement of $50,000, the maximum statutory amount in damages possible from a business with fewer than 100 employees.  Lambda Legal filed a claim on her behalf in March 2012 because after being promoted in 2010, she was terminated after she announced she would transition from male to female.  The settlement also includes public notice on the EEOC website, public notice on the workplace bulletin board, a mandatory policy in the workplace on workplace protections, a yearly three-hour all-staff mandatory training on workplace protections, as well as a letter of apology and letter of recommendation for McCreery.  The foundation for the suit is the prohibition of gender discrimination determined under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, upheld in a ruling in April 2012 by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) which ruled that transgender and gender nonconforming discrimination is prohibited under current law. That ruling was in another case, Macy v. Holder, filed by the Transgender Law Center, which laid the groundwork for the settlement in McCreery's case. Read about McCreery's current work, the case and a quote from EEOC Chair Chi Feldblum here.  It’s important to mention that the EEOC ruling in Macy v. Holder is not equivalent to having an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) becoming law because the EEOC ruling requires a judge to be persuaded by and uphold it.  It nonetheless is a powerful tool to enable trans* and gender nonconforming workers to seek legal protection against employment discrimination through this EEOC ruling that can be implemented in all 50 states, the District of Columbia (D.C.), and in four U.S. territories.  PFLAG National believes that before we can say that transgender are consistently fully included, we still need an inclusive ENDA, an inclusive Executive Order from the President, federal laws that include housing and education, and state and municipal anti-discrimination laws and ordinances that include gender identity.
Expect Action in Late Fall for Pro-LGBT Legislation Led by ENDA Senate Movement
U.S. Senators and Representatives have returned to Congress for the fall session with hopes remaining high for The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) to move to the Senate floor for a vote in late fall. However, ENDA is not the lone federal LGBT-focused bill that is being advanced this fall.  The Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA) and The Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA), both of which have language included in the Elementary and Secondary School Reauthorization Act (ESEA) in the House and Senate, are still alive and being considered to be tagged to that or another bill such as The Strengthening America’s Schools Act, which receives the opportunity to reach House and Senate floor votes.  The Every Child Deserves a Family Act (ECDF) continues to gain cosponsors and has been introduced in the House and Senate and with leadership by both Republicans and Democrats, and immigration reform,  which will possibly include LGBT friendly provisions, is also expected to stir more discussion and action in the fall, possibly in October.  Read more about the fall legislative landscape here. and be sure to keep reading Policy Matters for further ways to take action in the upcoming months. And click here to register now for the 2013 National Convention and join us for PFLAG Federal Lobby Day!
View an At-A-Glance Summary of State-by-State Marriage Equality Efforts in Push For Fifty
June 26th and the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) rulings striking down Section 3 of DOMA and outlawing Proposition 8 in California seem forever ago, .  While federal gains for same-sex couples have compounded, the effort moves forward to secure marriage equality in all states.  Take a look at your state and others to see the run-down of legal challenges, legislative efforts and referendum progress in all states that do not yet have marriage equality or civil marriage here.

DEAR POLICY MATTERS
Dear Policy Matters:
It’s the middle of September, and I’m excited but feel uncertain about how to be ready to enroll in The Affordable Care Act on October 1st, and being an LGBT person, I heard there’s something special for us called Out2Enroll to get more LGBT people to register for Obamacare.  How long do I have to sign up, and when would insurance coverage take effect?  I feel like I should know this, but I don’t. Can you help?  Can you help me know more about Out2Enroll?  
Health-Seeking American

Dear HSA:
Yes, we can help.  From October 1st through March 31st, people can register for Obamacare at www.healthcare.gov, but you won’t find the path to register until October 1st, so if you look today, you’ll find other information but not how to enroll.  Don’t be nervous.  It’ll be there on October 1st and before then, we’ll do updates in Policy Matters to guide you.
First, as an LGBT person, you’ll be pleased to know that there is a dedicated effort to get us to sign up for healthcare coverage called Out2Enroll.  PFLAG National will be active in this initiative as it rolls out on Oct. 1.  In preparation for this effort, there was extensive focus group research done to identify what barriers exist for LGBT people to gain access to affordable care, from being asked questions by providers that are not relevant, to having past negative health access experiences to not feeling included in the the messaging outreach for invitations to secure care to the presence of pre-existing conditions, which health insurance companies can no longer use to deny access to healthcare for anyone, including LGBT people.  
Out2Enroll’s national mobilizing effort kicks off on Oct. 1 and includes a nationwide, 24/7 Consumer Call Center at 1-800-318-2596 and is available in 150 languages during any call.  There will also be a special text service launched on Oct. 1 so that transgender and gender non-conforming people who feel misidentified on the phone if their voice does not appear to match their gender identity or expression.  For now, to learn as these elements are being prepared, sign up at www.Out2Enroll.org at the email sign-on in the middle of the screen.  After Oct. 1, there will be more information populated there.  In advance of that, we are promised to receive emails and an option to receive text messages if we prefer.  For now, sign up and receive informative emails.  Valerie Jarrett, Special Advisor to the President, and  Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, led an LGBT-focused White House meeting about Out2Enroll last week.  You can watch the video of that meeting here.
Here are five steps that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius recommends to prepare for October 1st to be ready to enroll in Obamacare, applicable for LGBT people and everyone else, too:
  1. Be sure to sign up at www.healthcare.org now to get advance news items.  You can receive emails and text messages to guide you with advice before October 1st.  Do it today.
  2. Know your annual household and individual income.  
  3. Set up a budget.  To know what you can spend on insurance, it would help to create a family or individual budget, noting what you have and what you currently can spend for different household and personal items.
  4. Learn on www.healthcare.gov now how coverage works.  Learn the terms so that you know the difference between a co-pay, deductible and monthly premium.  Learning that now can make it gentler on you when you sign up on Oct. 1.
  5. Find local help.  Every community health center in the U.S. is set up to assist you with learning about your healthcare needs.  There will be navigators, individual counselors set up at libraries and other city facilities across the country in advance of, on and after October 1st.  If you have trouble finding a local resource, let us know, and we will help you find one near you.

Good luck!   You can view some footage of remarks by Sec. Sebelius here available online here.

Monday, September 9, 2013

PFLAG NATIONAL STATEMENT ON DEPARTURE OF NAACP’S BEN JEALOUS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 9, 2013
Liz Owen |
lowen@pflag.org> | (202) 467-8180 ext. 214
PFLAG NATIONAL STATEMENT ON DEPARTURE OF NAACP’S BEN JEALOUS
WASHINGTON, D.C.– PFLAG National—the nation's largest organization for families, friends and allies of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people—today issued the following statement from its Executive Director, Jody M. Huckaby, on the upcoming departure of President/CEO Ben Jealous from the NAACP.
“Ben Jealous has been an excellent leader in the movement for civil rights, strongly supportive of the cause of equality for all citizens, including LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) people. At a time when the movement for social, racial, and economic justice sometimes devolves into less-than-productive partnership, Ben has instead worked to strengthen the intersection between our causes. The expansion of the NAACP’s support for all people who are marginalized is the cornerstone of a new dialogue happening at the community level and will be a lasting legacy to the civil rights movement. I, along with PFLAGers everywhere, wish him nothing but continued success.”

###
Founded in 1972 with the simple act of a mother publicly supporting her gay son, PFLAG is the original family and ally organization. Made up of parents, families, friends, and straight allies united with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, PFLAG is committed to advancing equality through its mission of support, education, and advocacy. Now in its 41st year, PFLAG has more than 350 chapters and 200,000 supporters crossing multiple generations of American families in major urban centers, small cities and rural areas in all 50 states. To learn more, visit
www.pflag.org.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Policy Matters: September 5, 2013

In the News
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Is First Supreme to Officiate Same-Sex Marriage Ceremony
On Aug. 31, when Kennedy Center President Michael M. Kaiser exchanged vows with his betrothed, the couple made history by being the first same-sex couple to have their wedding officiated by a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who simultaneously made history by being the first Supreme Court Justice to officiate a same-sex marriage ceremony. Click here to read The Washington Post's coverage.
American University Announces Student Health Insurance Coverage Will Include Transition Surgery
American University made history by becoming the first university in the District of Columbia area to announced that its student health insurance coverage will include surgical procedures for transsexual students. Announced on August 29th, the efforts to realize this gain are largely credited to the work of then-Student Government President Sarah McBride, who disclosed as transgender, revealing years of struggle with her gender identity.  McBride’s efforts on campus began in March 2013 after she identified as transgender to the university community in a feature titled "The Real Me, which appeared in AU’s student newspaper, The Eagle, on May 1, 2012.  She described the acceptance from the AU community as “overwhelming in a good way.”  Click here to read about AU's new health insurance policy and Sarah..
PFLAG National, The Trevor Project, 19 Other Organizations Launch “Talk to Me” to Prevent Youth suicide
As part of National Suicide Prevention Month, PFLAG National has joined 19 other national organizations to participate in "Talk to Me," a national campaign from The Trevor Project. Rooted in research which indicates that improving both help-seeking behaviors and access to care can have a dramatic effect on suicide prevention, “Talk to Me” has united organizational leaders in mental health, education, suicide prevention, youth, and LGBT communities to encourage constituents to be people that anyone can talk to when they need support, and to take action by asking that members of Congress fund inclusive suicide prevention training and programs by re-authorizing the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act (H.R. 2734). Other parts of the program include free trainings to become a Trevor Lifeguard by registering for a free Trevor workshop to learn best practices for suicide prevention for grades 6–12; and sharing "Talk to Me" badges, banners, and updates on social media to show support for suicide prevention.
University of Arizona Announces Historic Four Tenure-Track Faculty Openings over Two Years in Transgender Studies, Seeks Two Candidates for Fall 2014 and Two for Fall 2015
The University of Arizona announced a first-time cluster hire of four tenure-track faculty positions in transgender studies over the next two years. Two positions are being offered this year in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS), with a start date of fall 2014. Two positions to be based elsewhere in the university will be advertised next year, with a start date of fall 2015. This cluster hire is one element of the University of Arizona’s unprecedented investment in the field of transgender studies. Other elements include support for a new peer-reviewed journal, TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, which will be published by Duke University Press starting in 2014, with the editorial office housed at the University of Arizona’s Institute for LGBT Studies; a new interdisciplinary Center for Critical Studies of the Body; and an anticipated graduate degree program in transgender studies. Click here to read more about this search for interdisciplinary scholars and how to apply. .


On Policy and Legislation [Note: Congress is in recess so federal bills can have no action.]
San Antonio,TX City Council Approves LGBT Non-discrimination Ordinance
As reported in the San Antonio Express News, the City Council voted 8-3 on September 5th to approve adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of classes protected from discrimination. "This ordinance,” said San Antonio Mayor Juli├ín Castro, “fundamentally is about ensuring whether you're white or black...Christian or Jew, straight or gay, this city belongs to you."  Castro added, "This ordinance is about saying there are no second-class citizens in San Antonio."
HHS Announces First Guidance to Implement SCOTUS’s DOMA Ruling: All Beneficiaries in Private Medicare Plans Have Access to Equal Coverage For Nursing Home Care Where Spouse Lives
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced on Aug. 29 that all beneficiaries, including same ­sex married couples, who have private Medicare coverage plans have access to the same coverage as all couples regarding care in skilled nursing facilities (SNF) or nursing homes where their spouse lives. This marked HHS’s first guidance issued to implement the Supreme Court of the United States’ (SCOTUS) ruling that struck down Section 3 of The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Click here to read more about this announcement.
Same-Sex Married Servicemembers’ Spouse Now Receiving Benefits and Military Spouse ID Card
As previously reported in Policy Matters, the U.S. Department of Defense announced in August that it would provide spousal and family benefits for all legally married military spouses, naming the policy’s effective date as Tuesday, September 13, 2013. On that day, same-sex married military couples across the country will begin receiving military identification (ID) cards, family healthcare coverage, housing allowances and survivor benefits.  Same-sex married couples can claim the family entitlements retroactively, dating to June 26, 2013, when the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) struck down Section 3 of The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as unconstitutional.  Servicemembers and their families who are based in a state that fails to recognize or bans same-sex marriage are able to apply for and receive these benefits, including the military spouse ID card, at designated federal facilities in those states. Click here to read about a family directly affected by this news. There have been published reports about some same-sex married National Guard couples in Texas being denied benefits including spouse ID cards, however the couples who were denied visited their nearest military facility rather than the 20 federal installations in Texas that were named in the related Texas Military Forces (TXMF) guidance about implementing the Department of Defense policy.
Obama Administration Decides Not to Enforce Title 38, Code of Law that Blocked Same-Sex Married Veterans’ Families from Receiving Spousal and Dependent Benefits
The Obama administration, upon recommendation from Attorney General Eric Holder, announced that it will no longer enforce Sections 101(3) and 101(31) of Title 38, a portion of U.S. code governing veterans benefits in a way that denies same-sex married veterans benefits for their same-sex spouses and dependents. A letter from AG Holder to U.S. House Speaker John Boehner said that the reasons for the suggestion and decision included SCOTUS striking down Section 3 of DOMA which prohibited federal recognition of same-sex marriage and a recent federal district court decision against Title 38 as part of the rationale to cease enforcement of portions of Title 38. Click here to read AG Holder's letter.
NJ Gov. Chris Christie Signs SOCE Ban Bill, Nation’s Second after California’s
On August 19th New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed into law a bill that bans sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) for youth in the state.  The law is the nation’s second, following California Gov. Jerry Brown signing a similar bill earlier this summer, and currently faces a court challenge.
New Mexico Supreme Court Rules Photographer at Fault for Denying Same-Sex Couple Service
On Aug 21, The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the state’s Human RIghts Law was violated by a commercial wedding photography business who refused a same-sex couple wedding photo services.  The case was Elane Photography v. Vanessa Willock, filed after Elaine Huguenin, co-owner of Elane Photography in Albuquerque, turned away Vanessa Willock and her partner in 2006 on the grounds that photographing the ceremony would violate her religious beliefs. An investigation by the state Human Rights Commission that found the company was guilty of discrimination based on sexual orientation was upheld by the New Mexico Court of Appeals in June of 2012. Read the full NM Supreme Court ruling here.

Dear Policy Matters:
I know it’s only September, but I plan to attend PFLAG National’s Convention in Washington in October and, after that, holiday travel is just around the corner.  While I know that air travel and security measures can be distressing to everyone, can you tell me whether there are any protections for transgender people who travel by air, and if there are any security guidelines that relate to trans or gender non-conforming people in particular?
Sincerely,
Hoping to Fly Fearlessly

Dear HFF:
Most recently updated in November 2012, there are more culturally competent TSA travel guidelines that take into account special consideration for transgender travelers.  They differ tremendously from those enacted in 2001 and 2003, which included a Department of Homeland Security Advisory to Security Personnel that read: "Male bombers may dress as females in order to discourage scrutiny."

Today there is more informed and appropriate set of guidelines specifically inclusive of transgender travelers. Click here to read this helpful TSA reference before you plan a trip by plane. You’ll see that there is also guidance on how to ask any questions before you travel and how to report any infraction or mistreatment.

You’ll also find tips on preparing to travel, making reservations, packing carry-on bags including help regarding medical equipment or prosthetics, screening process options such as imaging or pat-downs, travel document checks, and the behavioral detection program.