The Bay Area Municipal Elections Committee (BAYMEC) has begun its endorsement process for the 2018 election cycle. BAYMEC is a political action organization representing the interest of the LGBTQ communities in Monterey, Santa Cruz, Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. Candidates for any elected office in our four-county region are eligible for a BAYMEC endorsement.
At a nursing home in California, a male resident was denied use of nail polish or help in applying it. A lesbian in the same facility refers to her partner who visits as her sister. Recent studies confirm that LGBTQ experience mistreatment in long term care facilities that often rises to the level of abuse or neglect. For many LGBTQ Seniors, the only option is to go back in the closet. With the passage of SB 219, it is unlawful for a long term care facility to take specified actions wholly or partially on the basis of a person’s actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression or HIV status.
The Bill was authored by State Senator Scott Wiener and sponsored by Equality California. It was approved by Governor Brown on October 4, 2017.
The LGBT Senior Bill of Rights requires facilities to refer to residents by their preferred pronoun and prohibits facilities from denying admission, involuntarily discharging, evicting or transferring a resident based on LGBT status. Under the new law, LGBT Seniors in a long term care facility have the right to wear or be dressed in clothing, accessories or cosmetics that are permitted by others.
“These LGBT seniors are the pioneers who fought for and won the rights and freedoms so many of us enjoy today.” said Senator Wiener. He went on to say, “Supporting these heroes is a moral imperative, especially as they face discrimination, invisibility, unique health challenges and frequent lack of family support.”
Facilities must post a notice of the LGBT Bill of Rights where the facilities’ nondiscrimination policy is posted. Finding a facility that is welcoming to someone who is LGBT is a challenge. Peers can mistreat, ostracize and marginalize their LGBT neighbors. Many LGBT don’t have children and are aging alone. This new law is a significant step in addressing discrimination against LGBT seniors in long term care facilities.
The Hill reported on Saturday that the Trump administration “appears poised to roll back ObamaCare’s anti-discrimination protections for transgender patients.” The Obama-era rule prohibits healthcare providers and insurers receiving federal money from “denying treatment or coverage to anyone based on sex, gender identity, or termination of pregnancy.” The rule further stipulates that doctors and hospitals are required to provide “medically necessary” to transgender individuals, “as long as those services were the same ones provided to others.”
According to a 2015 report by the National Center for Transgender Equality, fully one third of transgender individuals who had seen a healthcare provider in the last year reported at least one negative experience related to their gender identity. The rates were higher among transgender individuals of color and with disabilities. Examples of these negative experiences included refusal of care, verbal harassment, and physical or sexual assault.
Such treatment of the transgender community is unacceptable and utterly contrary to the values of a democratic society. BAYMEC stands with the transgender community and condemns the administration’s desire to roll back these vital protections and access to healthcare.
While not yet released, the Trump administration’s proposed rule is expected in the coming weeks or months. But we will not wait until the proposed rule is published and public comment opens. BAYMEC will engage our local members of Congress now to oppose these actions by the Trump administration. We will not be idle.
BAYMEC’s response to the Trump Administration’s recent denigration of transgender military personnel and challenge to LGBTQ civil rights
Over the past two days, the nation has witnessed a renewed assault on the LGBTQ community. President Trump announced in a series of tweets yesterday morning that the nation will “not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military,” citing healthcare costs and “disruption” as the rationale. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders further clarified that the President had concluded that transgender individuals serving openly “erodes military readiness and unit cohesion.”
It is estimated that up to 15,000 transgender individuals are currently serving honorably in all manner of positions across the United States Armed Forces. These are individuals who work and fight every day to defend American values and freedoms. To bar them outright would be extremely disruptive and damaging, causing legal disarray for the government and personal strife to the individuals affected.
Then, the New York Times reports today that the Justice Department, under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has filed an amicus brief “arguing that a major federal civil rights law does not protect employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation.” The Justice Department argues that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act does not explicitly protect sexual orientation, and that Congress has repeatedly declined to add sexual orientation to the law. The Department of Justice states further that, as the largest employer in the nation, it has a “substantial and unique interest” in weighing in and clarifying the law.
We are heartened that the Pentagon announced today that transgender individuals will be able to continue serving in our nation’s armed forces…unless and until the White House “sends the Defense Department new rules and the secretary of defense issues new guidelines.” While temporarily relieving, this is not a guarantee and we must not let up.
LGBTQ civil rights are the achievement of decades of resolute effort and determination, informed by generations of silence and suffering. We must ensure that the struggles and achievements of so many are not forgotten and are not undone. BAYMEC will continue to be part of this long tradition of advancing LGBTQ civil rights. We will not be silent.
President Trump announced in a series of three tweets this morning that the nation will “not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military,” citing healthcare costs and “disruption” as the rationale. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders further clarified that the President had concluded that transgender individuals serving openly “erodes military readiness and unit cohesion.”
It is estimated that up to 15,000 transgender individuals are currently serving honorably in the United States Armed Forces–as elite SEALs, commanders, drill sergeants, marines. These are individuals who work and fight every day to defend American values and freedoms.
BAYMEC stands firmly with our transgender community, both inside and outside of the military, and condemns this baseless announcement. The President’s tweets do not make us safer, do not make us stronger–they do nothing but hurt and denigrate the lives and sacrifices of veterans and actively serving soldiers, their families and friends.