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Appeals Court Denies Gender Reassignment For Trans Prisoner: VIDEO

  Michelle Kosilek

The full First Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a ruling that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts must provide an incarcerated transgender woman with medically-necessary gender reassignment surgery, reports Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD).

The Court of Appeals issued an initial ruling in January upholding an earlier finding that the Massachusetts Department of Corrections (DOC) engaged in a pattern of “pretense, pretext and prevarication” to deny Michelle Kosilek (above) treatment against the recommendations of multiple doctors, including those hired by the DOC itself. Born Robert Kosilek, Michelle Kosilek is serving a life sentence for the murder of her wife Cheryl (below, right) in 1990.

Cheryl KosilekThe latest decision was divided with a 3-2 majority and two sharply worded dissents.

Predicting that the case will not stand the test of time, Judge Thompson wrote:

“I am confident that I would not need to pen this dissent, over twenty years after Kosilek’s quest for constitutionally adequate medical care began, were she not seeking a treatment that many see as strange or immoral. Prejudice and fear of the unfamiliar have undoubtedly played a role in this matter’s protraction.”

Jennifer Levi, director of the Transgender Rights Project at GLAD, said:

“I am appalled by this decision, which means that Michelle Kosilek will continue to be denied the life-saving medical care she needs and has been seeking for years.  

"It is difficult or impossible to imagine a decision like this one – that second-guesses every factual determination made by the trial court – in the context of any other prisoner health care case.  

"This decision is a testament to how much work remains to be done to get transgender people’s health care needs on par with others in the general public.

“There is no scientific or medical basis for denying transgender people their health care needs. The consensus position of the medical community is that surgery may sometimes be essential treatment.”

Watch a report on a television interview with Kosilek, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Appeals Court Denies Gender Reassignment For Trans Prisoner: VIDEO" »


Gay Veterans To March In Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade - VIDEO

St Patricks Day parade Boston 2015

Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade will next year include representatives of gay veterans group OutVets, reports ABC News.

The parade’s organizers the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council, which in 1995 won a Supreme Court decision upholding their right to ban gay groups from the parade, yesterday voted 5-4 to allow OutVets to march in the parade scheduled for March 15th. The group has also been given permission to carry a blue banner with five white stars representing the branches of the military, and six vertical rainbow stripes.

6a00d8341c730253ef01a3fcce3e89970b-800wiBryan Bishop, OutVets founder and U.S. Air Force veteran, said:

"I think it's very significant. Ensuring that there is 100 percent inclusivity is important."

Council commander Brian Mahoney added that OutVets is being allowed to march because of their military service, not sexual orientation:

"This conforms to the tenets of the parade. The parade is devoted to honoring the service of veterans. It's is our aim to honor that service and the history of the Irish Catholics in Boston. Anything that detracts from that is verboten."

This year, LGBT group MassEquality was invited to take part in the parade but the invitation was later rescinded. Boston mayor Marty Walsh refused to take part last March because of the exclusion of LGBT people. Sam Adams beer also pulled out as sponsor of the parade.

In a similar move, Guinness dropped sponsorship of New York’s controversial St Patrick’s Day parade this year.

Watch Mahoney discuss his reasons for pulling out of the parade, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Gay Veterans To March In Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade - VIDEO" »


Little Girl Shouts Down Bible-Thumping Salem Street Preacher: WATCH

Screen Shot 2014-11-09 at 9.50.31 AM

Street preachers are confrontational by nature, but this Salem evangelist got a lot more than he bargained for when a little girl showed up and decided to give him a piece of her mind...in spectacular pre-teen fashion of course. 

"Blah blah blah blah blah. Stop talking, no one listens!"

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Little Girl Shouts Down Bible-Thumping Salem Street Preacher: WATCH" »


Democrat Maura Healey to Become Nation's First Openly Gay Attorney General, in Massachusetts

HealeyDemocrat Maura Healey won her race for Massachusetts Attorney General and will become the nation's first openly LGBT attorney general, beating Republican John Miller.

With 80% of the vote in, Healey is leading 63% to 37%.

Said HRC President Chad Griffin in a statement:

"Maura Healey is one of the staunchest advocates for equality we have in this country, and we join her in celebrating her historic victory tonight. As the nation's first openly gay attorney general, she is an inspirational trailblazer and will fight to guarantee civil rights and legal equality for all people of Massachusetts."

 


Gay Republican Congressional Candidate Richard Tisei Loses In Massachusetts

6a00d8341c730253ef01a5118b1dd7970c-120wiThe Boston Globe reports that out gay Republican candidate for congress Richard Tisei has lost the race for Massachussetts' hotly contested sixth congressional district to Iraqi war veteran and Democratic newcomer Seth Moulton:

“Seth has served his country very admirably and very honorably in the military and I’m sure he’s going to do the same as the next Congressman from this district,” Tisei said in a concession speech.

He said the country faces a lot of problems and “it’s important for both Democrats and Republicans to get together in Washington to try to solve those problems.”

Moulton, 36, who lives in Salem, made his mark in September by beating nine-term incumbent US Representative John F. Tierney in the Democratic primary. Tisei, 52, a real estate agent from Lynnfield who served in the state Legislature for 26 years, had nearly succeeded in toppling Tierney two years earlier, losing by less than 1 percentage point.

Tisei previously boycotted the GOP's state convention over its anti-gay platform. That did nothing however to endear him to former Massachussetts representative Barney Frank from urging voters not to support Tisei. 


Anti-gay Christian College in Massachusetts to Review Policy Banning 'Homosexual Practice'

Gordon

A Christian university in Massachusetts has been given a year to review it's policy on forbidding "homosexual practice" on campus after the school's accreditation board, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, raised questions about the school's policy violating the commission's standards for accreditation. 

Boston Business Journal reports:

The commission asked Gordon College to submit a report next September. The report should describe the process by which the college has approached its review of the policy “to ensure that the College’s policies and procedures are non-discriminatory,” the statement said. [...]

In its joint statement, NEASC and Gordon College called the review process a “period of discernment” that will take place over the next 12 to 18 months. What “carried the day” for commission members was Gordon College’s decision to conduct its own review, Brittingham said. She said the long time frame that Gordon College has been allowed for the review is appropriate considering that Gordon College's policy is "deeply embedded in the culture of the college" and such things "don't change overnight."

LindsayThe NEASC began looking into the matter after news broke in June about Gordon College President Michael Lindsay signing a letter along with about 140 other religious leaders asking President Obama to secure exemptions for faith based groups in his executive order barring LGBT discrimination in federal contract work. Lindsay's letter also led the City of Salem to end its contract with Gordon College. 

In related news, Gordon College alumni gathered at the First Church in Wenahm on Friday to show support for the school's LGBT community and to call for a change in the school's anti-gay policy. 

(pictures via website)


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