In a documentary that premiered Wednesday in Rome, Pope Francis called for the passage of civil union laws for same-sex couples, departing from the position of the Vatican’s doctrinal office and the pope’s predecessors on the issue.
“Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family. They’re children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out, or be made miserable because of it,” Pope Francis said in the film, of his approach to pastoral care.
After those remarks, and in comments likely to spark controversy among Catholics, Pope Francis weighed in directly on the issue of civil unions for same-sex couples. “What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered,” the pope said. “I stood up for that.”
The 34-year-old was studying and enjoying a quiet night in with her two goddaughters, aged 12 and 16, when she heard a fight breaking out outside her house in South Philadelphia.
When the group refused to disperse, she called emergency services, but one of the women turned on her and punched her in the face. The attacked and her friends then forced their way into Stephens’s house to continue the assault.
Recalling the attack in an interview with Human Rights Campaign, Stephens said: “I ended up in my dining room getting attacked by four women at all sides of me, and then suddenly one of the women picked up a wooden decorative planter and began hitting me about my head and face with it, causing me to become concussed and black out momentarily.
“Throughout the attack the woman referred to me as a ‘man’ and ‘tranny’.
“The assault did not end there. Several men stormed into the home as well and pulled the women away, but did not pull them away before getting a few hits in as well and calling me the N word and a ‘f**king tranny’.”
Police refused to arrest trans woman’s attacker.
Stephens was left with her nose broken in two places, bruised ribs, swelling on her face, a head contusion, “a busted lip” and damaged gum vessels that caused two of her teeth to become necrotic.
When the police arrived, however, they had little sympathy for the trans woman who had been brutally beaten.
“The responding police officers were very unhelpful,” said Stephens.
“They were belligerent and unsympathetic and refused to arrest one of my attackers, who I had ID’d to them (she was a few doors down continuing to hurl transphobic slurs while they were there).
“Furthermore, they said that by looking at my injuries, they regarded the incident as a simple assault, and as such, I had to make a private criminal complaint.”
While this was happening, her husband arrived home, and they both begged with police to take action. They left without confirming the attackers’ identities or making any arrests.
Ivon Garcia, 26, grew up two exits from the U.S.-Mexico border in San Diego. Garcia was so steeped in Mexican-American culture and Spanish that Garcia “didn’t really conceptualize someone not knowing Spanish.”
At a young age, Garcia identified as nonbinary. But this got consistently swept under the rug by Garcia’s extended family, who was often hostile to anyone different.
“To me, Spanish and Mexican, Chicano, Xicano, Mexican-American culture has consisted of being a matter of ‘one or the other, otherwise not acknowledged,’” Garcia said. “There is so much unsaid, but still judged, because it simply doesn’t fit.”
It didn’t take long into Garcia’s teen years to realize that the pronoun “ella”—which means “her” or “she” in Spanish, did not describe Garcia.
“‘Ella’ communicated something to others that seemed so profoundly wrong,” Garcia said. “‘Ella’ was for my tías (aunts) and mother who I could resonate with but still felt a departure from. ‘Ella’ encompassed so much that I wasn’t, that I rejected it.”
So Garcia began to search for an alternative in Spanish, the way that “they/them” is used in English instead of “he/him” or “she/hers.” Garcia settled on “elle,” a still-emerging pronoun not used by many Spanish speakers.
As an alternative to “él” (he) and “ella” (she), Garcia says “elle,” which is pronounced EH’-jeh, gives them more agency in conversations with other Spanish speakers.
“‘Elle’ is a tool to me, a way to communicate something that I want, a way to test the waters and see if I can be me,” Garcia said.
Not mainstream—at least not yet
In recent years, activists and academics in the U.S. and Latin America have opened a dialogue about inclusivity in Spanish, a gender-defined language in which most nouns are assigned either a masculine -o ending or a feminine -a ending. The -e ending has become common as other gender-inclusive terms like “Latinx” and “Latine” grow in prominence.
As pronoun options for trans and nonbinary individuals become more recognized in the United States, linguists say a similar push can be seen in Spanish-speaking countries.
Mexican-American lexicographer and Amherst University professor Ilan Stavans told NBC Latino that he’s heard the “elle” pronoun used in progressive and academic spaces, but not so much in the mainstream yet.
“They resemble the efforts done in the United States to give that type of linguistic neutrality,” Stavans said. “They seem to me to be scattered.”
Stavans referred to a recent study by the Pew Research Center that concluded only 23 percent of Spanish-speakers in the U.S. have heard of “Latinx” and only 3 percent use the term to describe themselves. Stavans says he supports the move toward gender-inclusive language, but hasn’t seen evidence that it’s catching on on a large scale.
“The Spanish language is so gender specific,” he said. “There are 450 million speakers of Spanish throughout the Americas. It’s a very diverse and heterogeneous population.”
In her 16-student Spanish class, NYU associate professor Laura Torres-Rodriguez makes sure to give everyone the chance to share their pronouns. On the first day of school this semester, she asked everyone to put their pronouns in their screen-names — “él”, “ella”, or “elle”. Students in her advanced-level class told her it’s the first time a Spanish teacher has ever offered that to them.
“Teaching the use of the nonbinary pronoun in Spanish is I think crucial if you want all your students to feel safe and included,” she said. “I’m learning all the time and changing my teaching and speaking practices to better achieve this.”
Torres-Rodriguez says the problem of the “elle” pronoun catching on is more of a political one than a linguistic one, as with the -e ending, “you can easily have concordance between the noun and the adjective.”
“The use of the “elle” pronoun is to me an essential step in recognizing and including the experience of trans and nonbinary persons and to start exiting the gender binarism that generates so much social and political violence,” Torres-Rodriguez said.
Even for Garcia, the “elle” pronoun takes some getting used to for someone who has spoken and heard Spanish their whole life.
“Even to me, elle/elles is new, is a bit off-tune when spoken, and a splash of curiosity when heard,” Garcia said. “It’s a work in progress where I’m learning how Spanish, how my culture, how my identity, how my family will receive me, all of me, all the different aspects that encompass me.”
Today, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates announced the winners of the 2020 Outie Awards. The awards (also known as the “Outies”) recognize individuals and organizations who are leaders in advancing equality for LGBTQ people in workplaces globally.
Outies are awarded at the annual Out & Equal Workplace Summit. This year’s Summit concludes today.
“The slate of winners at this year’s Outies represents showcases some of the best work being done at large companies to create workplaces of belonging where LGBTQ employees can thrive,” said Erin Uritus, CEO of Out & Equal. “This has been a tough year for everybody. These are the companies, and these are the individuals, who are finding a way to step up and make a difference.”
Workplace Excellence, the most prestigious Outie, was awarded to Dow in recognition of their historic and ongoing commitment to pursuing and implementing workplace equality for LGBTQ employees.
“From a pandemic to natural disasters to taking action to more effectively address racism and injustice, we’re all dealing with a lot right now,” said Amy Wilson, Dow’s General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, and Executive Sponsor for the company’s LGBTQ+ and ally employee resource group, GLAD. “But that means inclusion is needed more than ever and we should all take time to celebrate our efforts to advance LGBTQ+ inclusion and equality. This work has changed lives for the better, bringing us closer to a more equal workplace and world where we can best work together to take on these challenges.”
Ally Changemaker was awarded to Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson in recognition of his contributions to advancing LGBTQ workplace equality over the course of his career, including his efforts to uplift the voices of marginalized groups.
“Marriott, like Out & Equal, is committed to creating a culture of belonging for all,” said Arne Sorenson, CEO of Marriott International. “I am honored to accept this recognition on behalf of thousands of people around the world who wear a Marriott name badge – we are focused on welcoming all and putting people first to help create a world of inclusion for all.”
Belonging During COVID was awarded to John Deere in recognition of the steps they took to care for their employees and maintain a culture of belonging in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“John Deere and our Rainbow Employee Resource Group are humbled to receive Out & Equal’s Belonging During COVID award,” said Roberto Leone, Audit Manager, Information Systems, Internal Audit at John Deere. “While the challenges posed by COVID-19 are daunting, we know that by finding innovative ways to be together, no matter where we are and despite what separates us, we can overcome anything.”
Employee Resource Group of the Year was awarded to HP’s Global Pride Business Impact Network in recognition of their track record of elevating best practices, implementing intersectional and collaborative programming with other ERGs, and advocating for LGBTQ equality in their workplace.
“Diversity and inclusion initiatives are part of the foundation on which HP was built and essential for us to innovate as a brand,” said Beth MillerGlobal Diversity & Inclusion Program Manager. This work is embedded into our culture and includes a long-standing commitment to workplace equality for the LGBTQ+ community. We are proud of this recognition and acknowledgment of our Global Pride Business Impact Network’s efforts to enhance inclusion around the world.”
LGBTQ Corporate Advocate of the Year was awarded to Nikki Gibson in recognition of her work to push for the adoption of policies and practices that benefited LGBTQ employees and advanced her organization’s standing as a true leader in this work.
“I am so honored to be receiving the LGBTQ Corporate Advocate of the Year award from Out & Equal Workplace Advocates,” said Nikki Gibson, North American Lead for Dell Pride ERG at Dell Technologies. This year I celebrate my 21st anniversary at Dell Technologies and from the beginning, I have always been encouraged to bring my full self to work. Being part of the Dell Technologies family has given me a platform to use my voice and advocate on behalf of my community. I appreciate that I get to work for a company that has a workplace culture that embraces individuality and champions team members to get involved. Thank you Out & Equal for this award and for empowering individuals like me to be their very best, to stay educated and remain focused on what is needed to advocate for equality and to continue to create workplaces of belonging.”
LGBTQ Marketing of the Year was awarded to Procter & Gamble in recognition of their Can’t Cancel Pride campaign. This was an innovative and effective effort by this company to show the resilience and diversity of the LGBTQ community in their external marketing efforts.
“It’s important now, as ever, to continue to use our voice and creativity to be a force for good, a force for growth and a force for change,” said Brent Miller, P&G Global LGBTQ+ Equality Program Leader and Co-Founder of Can’t Cancel Pride. “P&G is humbled and honored to be recognized as Out and Equal’s LGBTQ+ Marketer of the Year. This strengthens our commitment to accurate and authentically represent the LGBTQ+ community and be a champion for visibility that creates positive conversation and moves communities forward.”
Global Workplace Excellence was awarded to Northern Trust in recognition of their demonstrated commitment to pursuing workplace equality for LGBTQ employees in India.
New ERG Chapter of the Year was awarded to JP Morgan Chase Poland in recognition of their impressive work to create a thriving ERG chapter in a country with a challenging political context.
Out & Equal is the premier organization working exclusively on LGBTQ workplace equality. Through our worldwide programs, Fortune 500 partnerships and our annual Workplace Summit conference, we help LGBTQ people thrive and support organizations creating a culture of belonging for all.
More than half (56%) of LGBTQ adults and 70% of those who are transgender or gender non-conforming report experiencing some form of discrimination, including the use of harsh or abusive language, from a health care professional. The first American Heart Association Scientific Statement to address LGBTQ heart health, “Assessing and Addressing Cardiovascular Health in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (or Questioning) Adults,” published today in the Association’s flagship journal Circulation, suggests improving the cardiovascular health of the LGBTQ population will require a multi-faceted approach that includes researchers, clinicians and public health experts.
In terms of health, LGBTQ orientation is considered a “sexual minority,” and transgender or gender non-conforming is considered a “gender minority.”
The statement examines existing research about LGBTQ-specific links to cardiovascular health disparities, identifies gaps in the body of knowledge and provides suggestions for improving cardiovascular research and care of LGBTQ people.
“This is particularly important now, at a time when there is increased awareness of health inequities related to unequal treatment and discrimination in the U.S.,” says Billy A. Caceres, Ph.D., R.N., FAHA, chair of the writing group for the statement and an assistant professor at the Columbia University School of Nursing in New York City. “LGBTQ individuals are delaying primary care and preventative visits because there is a great fear of being treated differently. Being treated differently often means receiving inadequate or inferior care because of sexual orientation or gender identity.”
LGBTQ populations face unique stressors, such as family rejection and anxiety over concealment of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Multi-level minority stressors and general stressors often interact in complicated ways to impair LGBTQ health. In addition, LBGTQ adults in historically underrepresented racial or ethnic groups experience higher poverty levels, insecure housing and fewer health care options compared to their white LGBTQ peers.
The writing group noted trust toward health care professionals is still lacking among many members of the LGBTQ community, and health care professionals need more education on how to provide appropriate care for LGBTQ patients. Caceres says, “It is paramount to include content about LGBTQ health in clinical training and licensure requirements in order to address these cardiovascular health disparities.”
Accrediting bodies and organizations responsible for health care professional curricula have not specifically required LGBTQ-related content, thus very little exists in health professional education training. A 2018 online survey of students at 10 medical schools found approximately 80% of students did not feel competent to provide care for transgender patients. Another study of more than 800 physician residents across 120 internal medicine residencies in the U.S. found no difference in knowledge between the baseline and post-graduate years when it came to LGBTQ-specific health topics. The statement notes that the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant began requiring LGBTQ curricular content in September 2020.
The writing committee suggests assessment and documentation of sexual orientation and gender identity information in electronic health records could provide an opportunity to address specific health concerns for LGBTQ patients, and to strengthen our ability to examine cardiovascular health of LGBTQ adults more broadly. They also note basic understanding of the terminology of LGBTQ identities is important. The statement includes a glossary to detail and clarify the various key words and terms used to describe members of the LGBTQ community such as bisexual, transgender, gay, gender nonbinary, etc.
“Health care systems need to play a significant role – to enact policies to encourage and support researchers and health care professionals to ask these questions in a respectful manner and to implement structures that emphasize the clinical importance of understanding the many layers related to caring for people with a minority sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Caceres.
The statement also notes that while there’s limited information on the cardiovascular health of LGBTQ people, a few risk factors stand out from existing data. They identify areas that require specific cardiovascular health efforts focused on the LGBTQ population:
LGBTQ adults are more likely to report tobacco use than their cisgender heterosexual peers.
Transgender adults had lower physical activity levels than their cisgender counterparts, according to a systematic review.
The statement suggests gender-affirming care might play a role in promoting physical activity among transgender people.
Transgender women may be at increased risk for cardiovascular disease due to behavioral and clinical factors (such as the use of gender-affirming hormones like estrogen).
Transgender women and non-binary persons are more likely to binge drink.
Lesbian and bisexual women have a higher prevalence of obesity than heterosexual women.
Future research is needed across the entire spectrum of the LGBTQ community to better understand the complex and multiple levels of psychological and social stressors that can impact the cardiovascular health of LGBTQ people and to develop and implement appropriate interventions that support improved cardiovascular health and overall well-being.
In addition, data is also lacking about differences in risk for cardiovascular disease by race and ethnicity and by socioeconomic level for persons who are members of the LGBTQ community. This is because most previous studies have relied heavily on samples from white, educated LGBTQ adults.
“There is much work to be done to understand and improve the cardiovascular health of LGBTQ adults,” Caceres said. “We need more robust research that allows us to draw stronger conclusions, as well as initiatives to increase clinicians’ knowledge, thereby improving care and health outcomes for LGBTQ adults.”
The Scientific Statement was developed by the writing group on behalf of the American Heart Association’s Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing; the Council on Hypertension; the Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health; the Council on Peripheral Vascular Disease; and the Stroke Council.
Co-authors are Carl G. Streed, Jr., M.D., M.P.H., FACP, Vice Chair; Heather L. Corliss, M.P.H., Ph.D.; Donald M. Lloyd-Jones, M.D., Sc.M., FAHA; Phoenix A. Matthews, Ph.D.; Monica Mukherjee, M.D., M.P.H.; Tonia Poteat, Ph.D., PA-C, M.P.H.; Nicole Rosendale, M.D.; and Leanna M. Ross, Ph.D. Author disclosures are in the manuscript.
The Association receives funding primarily from individuals. Foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific Association programs and events. The Association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and biotech companies, device manufacturers and health insurance providers are available here, and the Association’s overall financial information is available here.
About the American Heart Association The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.
Feminuity released a groundbreaking new resource: A Guide to LGBTQ2+ Inclusion for HR, People, & DEI LeadersThe publication serves to center the needs and experiences of LGBTQ2+ employees, keeping companies at the cutting-edge of inclusion and better-equipping organizations to promote a sense of fairness and belonging in their future workforce.
Keith Plummer, a partner of Feminuity, certified Human Resources professional, and author of the guide, summarized its significance with the following remarks:
“In this resource, we set out to create a guide for HR, People, and DEI leaders to adapt to the sexual and gender fluidity that increasingly characterizes our contemporary world. From policies to benefits to workplace culture, this publication provides a first-of-its-kind exploration of leading practices that will revolutionize workplaces across the globe by putting LGBTQ2+ considerations front and center.”
Workplace conversations around sexual and gender diversity are complicated as some still believe that these dimensions of the human experience should be kept private and divorced from professional life. However, Keith challenges this thinking:
“We communicate our sexuality and gender in subtle ways everyday no matter the context. Too often sexual and gender diversity is relegated to the shadows of office initiatives due to unjust politicization and sensationalism. Our sexual and gender identities are fundamental parts of who we are—company policies and procedures should be designed not only to accommodate but to celebrate them.”
Dr. Sarah Saska, CEO and Co-Founder of Feminuity, expressed her enthusiasm and support for her consultancy’s latest open-source output:
“Feminuity is proud to support what we consider a paradigm-shifting examination on how to affirm the ever-growing LGBTQ2+ workforce. This collection was informed by extensive research and an unwavering passion to integrate queer perspectives into the ways companies do business.”
Since 2014, Feminuity (pronounce) has supported leaders in embedding diversity, equity, and inclusion into the core of their business. Feminuity partners with innovative companies, from start-ups through to Fortune 500s, to build diverse teams, equitable systems, and inclusive products and workplace cultures.
A 33-year-old Georgia woman has become at least the 31st transgender or gender-nonconforming person to die by violence in the U.S. this year, according to LGBTQ advocacy group Human Rights Campaign.
Felycya Harris was shot and killed Saturday in Meadowbrook Park in Augusta, Georgia. On Monday, the Richmond County coroner classified her death as a homicide.
Human Rights Campaign, which has been tracking transgender deaths since2013, said it has never seen such a high number of deaths at this point in the year, with more additional deaths likely unreported or misreported.
“More accurate reporting may be a factor in the high number of deaths that we have tracked,” Tori Cooper, director of community engagement for HRC’s Transgender Justice Initiative, told NBC News. “But we are also at an extremely vitriolic period, where hate is fueled even from our nation’s highest office.”
The figure is all the more disturbing given the global lockdowns during the pandemic. Trans and gender-nonconforming people experience higher levels of violence from people they know, Cooper added, and may not be able to find refuge.https://dataviz.nbcnews.com/projects/20200714-trans-homicide-annual-barchart/index.html?initialWidth=560&childId=embed-20200714-trans-homicide-annual-barchart&parentTitle=Killings%20of%20transgender%20Americans%20reach%20all-time%20high%2C%20rights%20group%20says&parentUrl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nbcnews.com%2Ffeature%2Fnbc-out%2Fkillings-transgender-americans-reach-all-time-high-rights-group-says-n1242417
“These are especially dangerous times and resources for help are limited at best,” she said. “We need to ensure that transgender and gender non-conforming people have equal and safe access to any resources they may need to thrive — at all times, but especially during this pandemic.”‘Everybody’s going to remember Felycya’
Harris, an interior decorator, worked in a furniture store and taught dance.
“To know Felycya is to love her smile, her giving spirit,” said friend Sandra Taylor, who launched an online fundraiser to help cover funeral expenses.
“Everybody’s going to remember Felycya,” another friend, Ricola Collier, told local NBC affiliate WRDW-TV. “That laugh. The smile — the smiles. The talks. The arguments. The attitudes. Everybody is going to remember who Felycya Harris is. Nobody would ever forget who that is.”
On Tuesday, HRC President Alphonso David said Harris’ passing marked a “grim milestone” in a year already full of tragedy. It put 2020 on par with 2017’s count for the highest number of transgender killings, with nearly three months still left to go.
Six transgender women were killed in July alone, as was nonbinary activist Summer Taylor, making it the deadliest month to date.
“This epidemic of violence, which is particularly impacting transgender women of color, must and can be stopped,” David said in a statement. “We must work to address the factors that underpin this culture of violence and openly discuss how the intersection of racism, sexism, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia work to deprive transgender and gender-nonconforming people of equal access to opportunity and necessities like employment, housing and health care.”
Collier said she just wants justice for Harris’ death. Georgia passed a hate-crime law in June, but it does not expressly include gender identity.
“The only thing we got left now is just the memories and the pictures, and the videos,” she told WRDW-TV, which reported that police are still searching for a suspect. “Since the day I found out what happened, I go back and watch the videos every day,”
Harris is the fourth trans person to die by violence in the U.S. in just the past three weeks, according to HRC. Her murder comes just four days after the shooting death of Michelle Michellyn Ramos Vargas, a transgender woman in Puerto Rico.
Ramos, a nursing school student, was found the morning of Sept. 30 along an isolated road near a farm in San German, a town of about 35,000 on the southwestern part of the island.
Ramos’ death was the latest in a string of brutal killings of transgender people in Puerto Rico. So far, six have been reported this year, though there may be more.
“Transgender women in Puerto Rico are very scared,” said Arianna Lint, CEO of Arianna’s Center, which works to uplift trans women of color on the island. “We’ve never seen so many deaths happen so fast.”
On April 11, Penélope Díaz Ramírez, a 31-year-old transgender woman, was beaten and hanged at a men’s prison in Bayamon.
A little more than a week later, on April 22, the charred bodies of two other trans women — Layla Peláez, 21, and Serena Angelique Velázquez, 32 — were found in Humacao inside the remains of a car that had been set on fire.
After seeing images of them with the victims on social media, the U.S. Justice Department arrested two men, Juan Carlos Pagán Bonilla, 21, and Sean Díaz de León, 19. Bonilla confessed to the killings, El Nuevo Dia reported, and the two men have become the first people in Puerto Rico to face federal hate crime charges.
In March, Yampi Méndez Arocho, a 19-year-old transgender man, was shot and killed in Moca, just hours after being assaulted by an unknown woman. Arocho’s mother reportedly called the police about the assault, but it’s not clear if there was an investigation.
Transgender people in Puerto Rico have become more visible in the past year or two, making them more of a target, according to Lint. Trans women tend to avoid the police, she added, going to each other for help instead. She said the government isn’t particularly supportive and neither are gay groups.
“They created an LGBT committee to advise the government, but there’s no one transgender on it. The life of a lesbian in Puerto Rico is very different of a transgender woman of color,” Lint explained.
Pedro Julio Serrano, an LGBTQ activist in Puerto Rico, said not enough is being done to stop anti-transgender violence on the island.
“A state of emergency for gender violence has not been decreed — there is nothing,” he said in a statement on his website.
Puerto Ricans are voting for a new governor on Nov. 3, but Serrano said most of the candidates just use LGBTQ people “as a political ball to get votes from people who hate us.” Only one candidate, Alexandra Lúgaro, has said she would support LGBTQ individuals if elected, according to Serrano.
“She’s also been the only one to speak about sex workers, which is very important,” Lint says. “Because, in Puerto Rico, one of the primary financial outlets for transgender women is sex work.”
Half of trans and non-binary people want to abolish legal gender categories altogether, new research has found.
A University of Exeter study into potential reforms to the Gender Recognition Act, which comes after the long-delayed results of a 2018 public consultation on gender recognition were finally published on 22 September, found that half of trans and non-binary respondents wanted to abolish legal gender categories by ending the practice of recording sex at birth.×
Introducing an additional third option was particularly popular with non-binary people, with zero non-binary people opposed to this proposal.
The 2018 Gender Recognition Act (GRA) consultation attracted more than 108,000 responses, with 80 per cent of respondents in favour of de-medicalising the process of obtaining a GRC, and three-quarters in favour of dropping a requirement for trans people to provide “evidence” of living in their chosen gender.ADVERTISING
In a ministerial statement published alongside the consultation, equalities minister Liz Truss said that she would digitise the GRA process and reduce the fee to a “nominal” amount but signalled that broader reforms to the GRA will not go ahead.
Mollie Gascoigne, a PhD Candidate at Exeter Law School who is leading the research, said: “The government’s proposals to reduce the application fee is welcome as the current cost has posed a significant barrier to many people hoping to access legal gender recognition.
“However, to substantively increase the number of people applying for legal gender recognition and to make the system more accessible particularly for non-binary people, these findings suggest that further reform is still needed to address the current lack of non-binary gender recognition and the requirement of gender dysphoria.”
A total of 276 transgender and non-binary people completed a survey about the Gender Recognition Act 2004 and 21 non-binary people were also interviewed for the research, which is part of the Gender Recognition and Reform (GRR) Project at the University of Exeter Law School.
The research found that trans and non-binary people would be more likely to use the GRA if the need for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria was removed.
Half of trans people who took part in a survey opposed the gender dysphoria requirement, as did 80.7 per cent of non-binary people. Non-binary participants were more than two times more likely to report that removing the gender dysphoria requirement would make them more likely to apply for a GRC.
Respondents to the survey also said they had had poor experiences with medical professionals, found the need for a mental diagnosis stigmatising and didn’t agree that legal gender should be defined according to a medical model.
When Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the most visible members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, learned about the impact the virus could have on patients with underlying medical conditions, among his concerns was the health of a man he had grown to love and admire while battling a prior public health crisis.
“As soon as Covid-19 came, I immediately thought about my dear friend Larry,” Fauci, 79, said of the longtime AIDS activist and gay rights titan Larry Kramer.
When the coronavirus swept through New York City earlier this year, Kramer, who resided in Manhattan, was 84, HIV-positive and the recipient of a liver transplant. If he were to contract the novel virus, his odds of suffering a severe case of Covid-19 would have been high. But while the outbreak gave the two old friends reason to reflect on the early days of the AIDS epidemic — where they were both on the front lines — and discuss the current global health crisis, it was not Covid-19 that claimed the life of the outspoken activist in May, but pneumonia.
In the months following Kramer’s death, Fauci recalled some of their final conversations and the legacy of a man with whom he had a “complicated relationship,” though “at its foundation there was a great deal of affection.”
Kramer — who in 1982 co-founded the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, once the largest supplier of resources to AIDS patients across the country, and then in 1987 founded the grassroots activist group AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) — never turned down a fight against federal officials tasked with overseeing public health policy. One of these officials was Fauci, who in 1984, as the AIDS crisis rose to prominence, became the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a position he still holds today.
Kramer would regularly lambaste Fauci during the early years of the AIDS crisis in public statements, saying he was too inexperienced to lead the national institute. He also accused Fauci of ignoring the outbreak, similar to how former President Ronald Reagan had done so throughout much of his first term in office, when he refused to even acknowledge the existence of the then-novel virus.
In a 1988 open letter that called Fauci a “murderer,” Kramer wrote: “Your refusal to hear the screams of AIDS activists early in the crisis resulted in the deaths of thousands of queers.”
But many AIDS activists would later hail Fauci as a powerful mediator between them and the international scientific community. He has been credited by both advocates and scientists alike with increasing the amount of patients with access to experimental treatments for HIV and AIDS by amending the way the government conducts clinical drug trials.
“One important legacy from the HIV epidemic is how the FDA, clinical research and science were transformed by the urgency and activism of groups like ACT UP,” said Dr. Adrienne Shapiro, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Washington who is part of a national study exploring the impact Covid-19 has on those living with HIV.
Shapiro said much of the research she is now conducting would not have been possible without AIDS activists like Kramer and the initiatives led by Fauci throughout his career.
“Here we are leveraging this incredibly well-characterized, well-resourced cohort study that has been set up for 15 years, with people who have been followed for years and years, to ask questions about Covid. Data collection processes were already in place,” she said. “We didn’t have to reinvent the wheel.”
In both public health crises, Fauci has worked under presidents who were slower than he was to sound the alarm about the viral outbreaks. Whereas Reagan was accused of outright ignoring the AIDS crisis, President Donald Trump has been accused of “downplaying” the coronavirus pandemic so as not to cause widespread concern.
While Kramer was one of Fauci’s loudest critics during the early days of the AIDS crisis, Fauci said the late activist was one of his strongest defenders during the early days of the Covid-19 outbreak.
“He became kind of protective,” Fauci said, recalling that Kramer was livid when he heard the immunologist faced death threats and incendiary attacks over his calls for Americans to wear masks and follow social distancing measures during the initial months of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Larry wrote me this email, and he was really indignant,” Fauci said. “He would say, ‘These a——- are not treating you very well.’”
Fauci said there was a notable irony in their final conversations.
“Here was a guy who would not hesitate for a moment to criticize me,” he said, “but he didn’t want anybody else unjustifiably criticizing me.”
He recalled how Kramer would send him notes complaining about how his response to the pandemic was being criticized by some in the media.
“You’re killing yourself during this outbreak,” Kramer wrote, according to Fauci. “What a bunch of jerks.”
When the two discussed the pandemic on the phone, Fauci said it felt as if Kramer “really was like my old friend being protective of me.”
But the leading immunologist’s reputation was the last thing on his mind when he spoke to his once-toughest critic after learning what the pandemic was capable of inflicting on those with pre-existing health conditions.
“I have always been very concerned about Larry,” Fauci said, adding that he called Kramer as Covid-19 cases began to soar in the U.S., to ensure his safety: “I got on the phone with him, and I said, ‘Larry, you’re not going to like this, but here’s what you’ve got that’s a problem: You’re 80-something-years old, you have HIV and you have a liver transplant.”
Like millions of other Americans, Fauci was trapped in a battle of words, trying to convince his friend to focus on what he felt was the biggest issue at hand.
“I told him, ‘I know you like to be up and about, but you’ve really got to hunker down until this thing blows over,’” he remembered telling him. “I joked about it. You know, I’m not so young myself. I said, ‘We old guys, Larry, us old has-beens, we’ve got to take care of ourselves.’”
Now, four months after Kramer’s passing, Fauci said the activist’s legacy and indefatigable tenacity live on. Whether it’s the coronavirus or another novel virus that sweeps the nation, the country’s top doctor said he will always be guided by the spirit — and the unending criticism — of his “dear friend.”