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Free Mind, Body & Soul Conference for Lesbian, Bi Women

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The only event of its kind in Southern California, the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center’s free annual Mind, Body & Soul conference offers an array of workshops that promote health and well-being for lesbians and bisexual women.

The event will be held on Saturday, September 25 from 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., with a reception to be held from 5:30-6:30 p.m.

Longtime activist Jewel Thais-Williams, founder and director of the non-profit Village Health Foundation, will be a featured speaker at this year’s conference, and Bianca D. M. Wilson will deliver the keynote address. Sex educator and columnist Carol Queen will be a presenter.

The conference, held at the Center’s Village at Ed Gould Plaza, includes informative workshops on topics such as building healthy relationships; coming out to doctors; substance abuse; and sexual health. The daylong conference, which includes a free continental breakfast and a free lunch, ends with a reception in the outdoor courtyard. Free child care is available with an RSVP by Friday, Sept. 17.

Thais-Williams, who was honored with the Center’s Board of Directors Award at “An Evening with Women: Celebrating Art, Music & Equality” earlier this year, will speak about becoming a healthy lesbian. Wilson, an assistant professor of psychology at California State University-Long Beach, holds a doctorate in psychology and has done extensive research in the areas of sexual health and HIV prevention.

Queen pens columns for Good Vibrations Magazine and Spectator Magazine; she will lead the Girl on Girl 101: Queering Your Sex workshop.

As in past years, health care providers can earn CEUs at the conference. This year, however, providers will not attend separate sessions but instead earn their units at the same engaging, professionally led sessions as others attendees.

For more information, or to RSVP, go to www.lagaycenter.org/mindbodysoul

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LGBTQ

Transgender Americans Are More Likely Unemployed and Poor

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by Christopher Carpenter and Gilbert Gonzales for The Conversation

The United States Supreme Court will issue a ruling this year in a landmark case that will determine whether transgender people – individuals whose sex assigned at birth does not match their current innate sense of being male, female, both or neither – are protected by federal law from employment discrimination.

At stake is whether transgender individuals can reasonably earn a living without fear of losing their jobs simply because they are transgender.

Our new study, published on Feb. 11, suggests that such protections are sorely needed. On nearly all measures of economic and social well-being, transgender people do much worse.

Little is known about transgender people

We are scholars of economics, health and LGBT populations who wanted to find out about how transgender people fare economically.

A growing body of research on sexual minorities has steadily advanced over the past 25 years. However, when we first started working on this research project three years ago, we found little published work on the economic lives of transgender people.

Most research that did exist came only from studies of one or two progressive-leaning states, such as California or Massachusetts, or used “convenience” or “snowball” samples of transgender people where participants are recruited through social networks.

These types of data are useful, but they might not accurately reflect the general transgender population in the United States.

What we found

This is where our study came in. We used data from an annual telephone survey of over 400,000 individuals in the United States that asks people about their employment, income, health insurance coverage and overall health. It’s called the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey.

Starting in 2014, this survey gave states the option to ask respondents their sexual orientation and gender identity. When asked “Are you transgender?” over 2,100 adults responded “yes.”

Although this is only a fraction of 1% of the total survey sample, this is a much larger sample of transgender people than has been used in other survey-based studies. And, importantly, it allowed us to examine transgender individuals from states as diverse as Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Idaho and Florida.

The most consistent pattern we found is that individuals who described themselves as transgender did much worse in aspects of their lives that affect their economic well-being – like educational attainment, employment and poverty status – than otherwise comparable individuals who did not identify as transgender.

This was especially true for employment. Transgender people were 11 percentage points less likely to be working compared to nontransgender, or cisgender, people.

We found that this effect was driven by two forces: Transgender people were more likely to be unemployed – that is, they would like to work but are not currently working – and much more likely to report that they are unable to work.

We speculate that transgender people may be unable to work due to a disability, poor health, lack of transportation or other structural barriers.

It’s also possible that transgender people have been turned away so many times by potential employers – possibly due to discrimination – that they are what economists aptly refer to as “discouraged,” and thus they report that they are “unable to (find) work.”

Our results also showed that transgender people had much lower rates of college education than nontransgender people. While 28% of nontransgender people in the survey said they had a college education, the same was true for only 14% of transgender respondents.

Even after accounting for lower college education rates, we found that transgender people had higher rates of poverty and worse health than otherwise comparable individuals who did not identify as transgender.

Rapidly changing policy

The landmark ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges in June 2015 extended same-sex marriage throughout the United States. Since then, a phrase has emerged to describe the incomplete protection against employment discrimination afforded LBGT people: sexual minorities in most states can be “married on Sunday and fired on Monday.”

This is because there is currently no explicit federal employment protection barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Instead, sexual minorities must rely on a patchwork of state laws. Currently, 26 states have no explicit nondiscrimination protections for sexual minorities.

Of the 24 states with explicit nondiscrimination protections for sexual minorities, nearly all also protect transgender people. One state – Wisconsin – explicitly prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation but not on the basis of gender identity.

The state patchwork of legal protections for sexual and gender minorities has led to the case currently pending in the Supreme Court, RG & GR Funeral Homes v. EEOC. In this case, Aimee Stephens, a transgender woman, was fired from her job at a funeral home after her transition.

If the Supreme Court rules in favor of RG & GR Funeral Homes, transgender Americans could be fired based on their transgender status in any state that currently lacks employment protections for transgender people.

Our research demonstrates that stark economic inequalities already exist for this unprotected group of Americans.

Christopher Carpenter is E. Bronson Ingram Professor of Economics and Director of the Vanderbilt LGBT Policy Lab, Vanderbilt University. Gilbert Gonzales is an Assistant Professor of Medicine, Health and Society, at Vanderbilt University.

The Conversation publishes knowledge-based journalism that is responsible, ethical and supported by evidence from academics and researchers in order to inform public debate with facts, clarity and insight into society’s biggest problems.

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California

Equality California, Silver State Equality Endorse Mayor Pete Buttigieg

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Photo from peteforamerica.com

LOS ANGELES — Equality California, the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization, and its Nevada-based affiliate Silver State Equality has announced their endorsement of Mayor Pete Buttigieg for President of the United States.

“The decision was reached unanimously by the groups’ joint presidential endorsement committee following a lengthy process that included a detailed questionnaire, thorough evaluation of the candidates’ viability and policy positions, staff engagement and interviews with the candidates” they said.

For the first time, California’s primary will be held on Super Tuesday in March, and California voters will begin casting mail-in ballots on Monday, February 3, the same day as the Iowa Caucus.

The 2020 Nevada Caucus will be held on Saturday, February 22.

Equality California and Silver State Equality released the following statement from Executive Director Rick Zbur:

“In our twenty-one-year history, we have endorsed hundreds of openly LGBTQ candidates, but never for president of the United States. That changes today.

“From his comprehensive plan to end the HIV epidemic by 2030 to his commitment to make our schools safe and supportive for LGBTQ students to his specific funding and policy priorities to protect and empower the transgender community — especially transgender women of color, who face an epidemic of violence and persecution — Mayor Pete Buttigieg has the boldest, most comprehensive agenda to achieve full, lived equality for all LGBTQ people of any presidential candidate in the nation’s history.

“This will be the most important election in our lifetimes — and the stakes couldn’t be higher. Donald Trump and Mike Pence have spent every day of the last three years attacking LGBTQ people and the diverse communities to which we belong: immigrant communities, communities of color, the transgender community, women and religious minorities. Mayor Pete is the best candidate to take on Donald Trump, win back the White House and help lead the fight to create a world that is healthy, just and fully equal for all LGBTQ people.

“While we did not endorse Mayor Pete simply because he’s gay, the historic nature of his candidacy has already had a transformational impact on the LGBTQ community. Electing the first openly LGBTQ president will send a message to millions of LGBTQ youth across the country that no dreams are too big and no leadership position is too high.

“The challenges we face are great. But with the power of hope and a bold, progressive vision for the future, there is nothing we cannot achieve. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work.”

In particular, Equality California and Silver State Equality were impressed by Mayor Buttigieg’s comprehensive plan to end the HIV epidemic by 2030, his understanding that making schools safe and supportive requires bold investments in teacher training and mentorship programs for LGBTQ students, his specific policy and funding priorities to protect and empower the transgender community, his plan to transform the criminal legal system into one that truly promotes justice and instead of one that furthers racial injustice and his proposals for fixing our broken immigration system by protecting refugees and asylum seekers and providing millions of LGBTQ undocumented people, their friends and family with a pathway to citizenship.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg released the following statement in reaction to Equality California and Silver State Equality’s endorsement:

“I’m honored to receive the endorsements of Equality California and Silver State Equality, two organizations that have been unrelenting in their fight for LGBTQ+ people and our push for full equality. My campaign is based around a shared future of belonging for all Americans, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity. President Trump’s attacks on the LGBTQ+ community, especially our trans members, have shown us that the fight for equal rights did not end with marriage equality. I will be the President to continue that fight for equality for all Americans.”

Every top tier 2020 presidential candidate sought Equality California and Silver State Equality’s endorsement — a testament to the LGBTQ community’s role as a key voting bloc in California and Nevada, both important early states, and across the country. The Trump-Pence Administration is an existential threat to the LGBTQ community and the diverse communities to which LGBTQ people belong, and Equality California and Silver State Equality’s top priority in 2020 will be defeating Donald Trump and Mike Pence and putting a pro-equality president back in the White House. Both organizations have committed to supporting the Democratic nominee in the 2020 general election.

Although Equality California and Silver State Equality determined that Mayor Pete presented the boldest, most comprehensive plan for full, lived LGBTQ equality and is the best candidate to take on Donald Trump and win, the organizations were also impressed by Senator Elizabeth Warren and Tom Steyer, who both have extremely strong, compelling pro-equality policy agendas and participated in robust interviews with the joint presidential endorsement committee. Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Bernie Sanders, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Andrew Yang also submitted questionnaires outlining their strong support for LGBTQ civil rights and social justice.

Prior to dropping out of the race, Senator Kamala Harris participated in Equality California and Silver State Equality’s endorsement process, submitted an extremely strong, compelling questionnaire and participated in events with Equality California. After two decades of working with her, Equality California has immense respect and admiration for Senator Harris, and LGBTQ Californians are lucky to have her fighting for civil rights and social justice in the U.S. Senate.

2020 will be one of the most consequential election years for LGBTQ people in modern American history, and Equality California and Silver State Equality plan to run substantial get out the vote efforts in elections up and down the ballot. In 2018, Equality California ran a robust statewide get-out-the-vote campaign to educate and mobilize pro-equality voters in California’s primary and general elections, helping to win crucial swing districts and flip control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

For a full list of Equality California’s 2020 endorsements to date, visit eqca.org/elections.

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Celebrity News

Lil Nas X Applauds Dwyane Wade, Gabrielle Union For Supporting Zaya

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LOS ANGELES (TMZ) — Lil Nas X is applauding Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union for supporting their 12-year-old kid who is now identifying as female … and he’s also got some advice for Zaya.

The “Old Town Road” singer, who came out last year, weighed in on Zaya’s big announcement Wednesday at LAX … explaining why it’s important for kids to have parents in their corner when they reveal their truth. As you know … the NBA legend appeared on “The Ellen Show” and told the world his kid identifies as a female after being born male.

Dwyane and Gabrielle are being super supportive of Zaya coming out as transgender, and their oldest son, Zaire , also says he’ll always have his sibling’s back … and Lil Nas X says the family backing is super important for anyone in Zaya’s shoes.

Zaya’s also spoken out against folks who may disagree with her announcement … saying, “What’s the point of being on this earth if you’re gonna try to be someone you’re not? It’s like you’re not even living as yourself, which is like the dumbest concept to me.”

Lil Nas X acknowledges this is just the beginning of Zaya’s new life … and he’s got some sage advice for the challenges ahead.

Tune in to TMZ on TV weekdays Monday through Friday (check syndicated/local listings)

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