U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Visits Richmond for LGBT Public Listening Session

President Obama Directs U.S. Department of Health & Human Services To Host Public Meeting At Virginia Commonwealth University To Explore Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Health Issues

What: LGBT Public Health Listening Session

When:  Friday, October 26, 2012, Registration 9:30 a.m., Discussion 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Where:                 Virginia Commonwealth University, University Student Commons, Richmond Salons I and II, 907 Floyd Ave., Richmond, VA 23220

Who:    Hosted by Joanne Grossi, Regional Director, HHS Region III & co-sponsored by Equality Virginia.  Free and open to the public, all stakeholders, including States, patients, providers, employers, legislators, insurers, and any interested Americans are welcome.   Other senior HHS officials will be in attendance to listen to public feedback.

Additional Information: The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) visits Virginia Commonwealth University on Friday, October 26 to for a listening tour exploring health issues relevant to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and lesbian community.  The event, co-sponsored by Equality Virginia, is free and open to the public.

In 2010, President Obama issued a memorandum directing HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to make recommendations with respect to health and human services issues that affect LGBT individuals and their families.

On April 1, 2011, HHS issued a comprehensive summary of recommendations to the President including advance directives, hospital visitation, HIV/AIDS strategy, adoption and foster regulations and affordable health care among others.

The complete list can be found online here.

In June of this year, the Department issued its first-ever LGBT Annual Report with details on exploring and solving issues relevant to the community.

While the HHS endeavors have made progress in these areas, they continue to request input on what issues needs to be addressed to improve LGBT health.

Registration is free and open to the public.  Send an email with name, organization, title, email address and phone number to Tiara Davis ([email protected]) by Wednesday, October 24th or call 804.643.4816.

Equality Virginia is a statewide, non-partisan education, outreach, and advocacy organization seeking equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Virginians.  Since 1989, EV has worked to end discrimination, protect families and build safe communities.  More information is online at EqualityVirginia.org.  Connect on Facebook.com/EqualityVA or Twitter @EqualityVA.

Organizations Respond To Anti-LGBT Billboards

Equality Virginia & Gay Community Center of Richmond Place Election Billboard On I-95 South

Richmond, VA — “Include all families in America’s future” is the message you’ll see when driving through Richmond’s I-95/I-64 interchange through Oct. 20.  Equality Virginia and the Gay Community Center of Richmond placed a billboard reminding passersby that America is made up of many families.

“This election, we are very fortunate to have candidates speaking loudly in support of inclusive rights for all Americans,” Bill Harrison, interim president of the Gay Community Center of Richmond said.  “For our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and allied communities, this is a welcome change.”

The ad features three different families – a couple, couple with child and single parent.   In Virginia, the 2006 Marshall-Newman Amendment banned any recognition of gay couples by the state.  The Commonwealth’s adoption and family laws also place challenges on gays and lesbians for single and two parent adoption and second parent recognition.

EV and the GCCR partnered with this ad as a direct response to other billboard seen across Virginia that are using marriage equality and the LGBT community as a pawns in this election.

“It’s shameful to see political advertising using the LGBT community to polarize Americans,” EV’s Executive Director James Parrish said. “Equality Virginia is a non-partisan organization and relies on support across party lines. As Americans move towards support of marriage equality, this divisive message is out of touch with the country and only serves to split communities instead of bringing us together.”

ATTACHED: Billboard Images

Team Up With EV & GLSEN For Safe Schools

We’ve teamed up with the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) to ask Senators Warner and Webb to cosponsor the Safe Schools Improvement Act. Please join us!

The Safe Schools Improvement Act would ensure that states and school districts develop comprehensive, enumerated anti-bullying and anti-harassment policies that cover all students, including those who are bullied because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Unfortunately, Senators Warner and Webb are not yet signed on as cosponsors.

Click here to write to Senators Warner and Webb today to ask them to support safe schools.