Your Source for News on LGBT Politics and Issues in Missouri. http://promoonline.org Mon, 04 May 2015 03:56:25 -0500 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Celebrating Two More Years of LGBT Health Work! http://promoonline.org/news/celebrating-two-more-years-of-lgbt-health-work.html http://promoonline.org/news/celebrating-two-more-years-of-lgbt-health-work.html Celebrating Two More Years of LGBT Health Work!
PROMO Fund and SAGE Metro St. Louis are thrilled to announce that we’ve been awarded a two years contract through the Missouri Foundation for Health to continue the work of the LGBT health access team. The LGBT health access team is a joint effort that seeks to decrease health disparities of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Missourians through improving access to health and social services. Through LGBT welcoming policy changes and education on LGBT disparities and issues, this collaboration has proven itself successful.

 

In 2014, the LGBT health access team:

  • Increased the number of Missouri Hospitals that reported and qualified as ‘Leaders in LGBT Health’ under the Human Right’s Campaigns 2014 Healthcare Equality Index, to 19. Up 950% from the 2013 HEI.

 

  • Worked with 48 Missouri Hospitals, who incorporated roughly 110 LGBT welcoming policies.

 

  • Provided 63 cultural competency trainings, which include both LGBT Health Access Training and, in partnership with Community Catalysts, LGBT cultural competency navigator trainings, reaching roughly 1,900 people.

 

To learn more about LGBT health, please visit the PROMO website by clicking here.

 

The future for the collaborative looks bright and we owe it to the hundreds of hard-working LGBT health advocates across the state of Missouri, who believe that ALL Missourians deserve access to care they need. 

 

Looking to the next 2 years, the LGBT health access team has already begun making plans to further tackle the disparities found in LGBT health for Missourians. In continuing to educate and create LGBT welcoming spaces in Missouri’s health and social service facilities, the collaborative will be working to:

 

 

  • Work alongside Missouri Departments to aid in the incorporation of pro-LGBT policies.

 

  • Continue to educate and empower health and social service professionals across the state of Missouri to be the voice of change within their organization.

 

⇒The LGBT health access team will continue to work everyday to ensure that LGBT families and our families of choice are able to live strong and healthy lives now and in the future. 

 

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no-reply@promoonline.org (Andrew Shaughnessy) Your Source for News on LGBT Politics and Issues in Missouri. Fri, 01 May 2015 15:00:05 -0500
Springfield MO: A Pyrrhic Victory for Discrimination http://promoonline.org/news/springfield-mo-a-pyrrhic-victory-for-discrimination.html http://promoonline.org/news/springfield-mo-a-pyrrhic-victory-for-discrimination.html Springfield MO: A Pyrrhic Victory for Discrimination
In the third century BCE, a Greek general named Pyrrhus fought to conquer and maintain rule over various territories around the Adriatic Sea. Over time, though, his battles became increasingly expensive and devastating. In response to congratulations for winning one such costly victory, he is reported to have said: "If we are victorious in one more battle, we shall be utterly ruined."

This past week we lost at the ballot in Springfield. After expanding protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity in municipality after municipality here in Missouri, we seem to have hit a wall in Springfield. This happened despite the fervent efforts of the One Springfield campaign, a broad and robust group made of local, state and national organizations, which mounted an amazing effort. 

Springfield has become the latest victory by the religious right to hold back progress for the LGBT community. Their win at the ballot follows a string of such wins for discrimination at the local level across the country, most recently this past December in Fayetteville, AR, where LGBT nondiscrimination protections were revoked by a vote of the people. 

Springfield, though, is proving to be different. Just as marriage equality suffered setback after setback over the years, the movement for equality is likewise suffering loss after loss. Each time we hone our skills, learn better ways to persuade the movable middle and ultimately begin to stem the tide of losses. 

Yet as I watched the results come Tuesday in Springfield and watched social media on Wednesday, I noticed a trend. The folks in Springfield did not feel disheartened. This is, after all, a community that has been through loss before. In 1989, people actually saw homes burn over a production of The Normal Heart at Missouri State University. This time, though, the community has rallied. The good people of Springfield will not take no for an answer

And the opponents of equality know that they’re in trouble. While we learned new ways to persuade the movable middle on LGBT issues – by sharing our stories, by engaging our neighbors, by being truly ourselves – our opponents have stuck to those extremely tired lies that seek to demonize LGBT people by turning us into men threatening women in public restrooms or couples seeking to shut down bakeries because they won’t sell us a cake. I find these arguments in particular to be sad and desperate because they are based on lies that put providing a service at odds with one’s religious faith.  

And there’s this: Equality lost by 3% in Springfield last week. 3%. Just over a decade ago the anti-marriage constitutional amendment passed statewide by 71% to 29% – a 42% margin. To go from a 42%  loss to a 3% loss in just over ten years shows that more and more Missourians are looking past the lies to see us LGBT folk for who we are: your friends, your neighbors, your fellow church-goers, your family members. We are the people you know and love.

So I have news: If these lies are the basis of your arguments against equality, then you’ve already lost. Eventually lies give way to the truth. Standing behind your religion to say you shouldn’t have to extend a service is an affront to many religious teachings and persons of faith. And your victories – if you have any more – are going to be narrower, more desperate, and much more costly.

If you have never heard of General Pyrrhus, you have likely heard his name used as an adjective:

A Pyrrhic victory is a victory that inflicts such a devastating toll on the victor that it is tantamount to defeat. Someone who wins a Pyrrhic victory has been victorious in some way; however, the heavy toll negates any sense of achievement. 

Futile as the efforts of our opponents will be to defeat equality over time, we know that the fight will go on and that they will spare no expense. As I have said before and as Springfield so clearly shows, marriage equality is not the end; it’s just the beginning. For now, PROMO and the community will continue to review what we learned in Springfield, and we will reflect that in the fight to extend LGBT equality statewide through the Missouri Non-discrimination Act (MONA). Check out the links below to find out how you can do your part. 

And to the opponents of equality and justice, congratulations on your Pyrrhic victory. May it be your last. 

Please join us at Equality Day on April 22. 

We need your help to keep this effort moving forward. Please consider making a gift to PROMO or become a sustaining member of PROMO

Today we recognize the loss of this week. Tomorrow we continue gathering the community to fight back.

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no-reply@promoonline.org (A.J. Bockelman) Your Source for News on LGBT Politics and Issues in Missouri. Fri, 10 Apr 2015 11:13:42 -0500
Springfield Missouri Votes to Repeal Protections for LGBT People http://promoonline.org/news/springfield-missouri-votes-to-repeal-protections-for-lgbt-people.html http://promoonline.org/news/springfield-missouri-votes-to-repeal-protections-for-lgbt-people.html Springfield Missouri Votes to Repeal Protections for LGBT People
On April 7, 2015, Springfield residents voted to repeal the nondiscrimination ordinance which was made law by the Springfield City Council in October of 2014. This comprehensive nondiscrimination ordinance added sexual orientation and gender identity to the existing nondiscrimination ordinance and protected against discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations. 

Springfield residents feel the impact of this vote. The NO Repeal campaign touched many lives and has moved Springfield forward immensely in regards to LGBT issues. With 100s of volunteers, 1,000s of volunteer hours and direct conversations with voters, and over 200,000 people reached on Facebook, One Springfield is proud of what they have accomplished and proud of how Springfield has grown throughout this process. 

PROMO and the entire community of Springfield will continue to focus on the Missouri Nondiscrimination Act (MONA) which would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the Missouri Human Rights Statute, which currently prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations for other protected categories, including race, sex, and national origin. According to the Williams Institute, more than 160,000 LGBT adults in Missouri would benefit from an expanded state nondiscrimination law that includes sexual orientation and gender identity. 

A.J. Bockelman, Executive Director of PROMO, concluded, “While we are disappointed in tonight’s vote, we know Springfield is a better community because of this campaign, and were proud to be a part it. We are grateful to all of the individuals, families, businesses, and faith leaders who spoke up throughout this campaign. We are still here for each other, and we will still work together to continue to make Springfield a welcoming place for ALL people. Tomorrow, just as today, we continue working to achieve equality.”

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no-reply@promoonline.org (PROMO) Your Source for News on LGBT Politics and Issues in Missouri. Wed, 08 Apr 2015 08:32:45 -0500
What Indiana Means for Missouri http://promoonline.org/news/what-indiana-means-for-missouri.html http://promoonline.org/news/what-indiana-means-for-missouri.html What Indiana Means for Missouri
Over the last few days since the internet erupted around all things RFRA and Indiana, we have had a lot of calls to the PROMO office asking about Missouri. So I want to clarify a few things...

Missouri passed a RFRA in 2003 and our version is consistent with both the Federal version and the other states. There was an attempt last year to issue an update to the RFRA similar to Indiana's version, however we stopped that from advancing last year. It was not reintroduced this year.

What we are starting to see is what I believe will be the next phase of what happens as the broad overreach of these RFRA's wear off. This year a bill has already passed the House headed to the Senate which would allow campus student groups to discriminate based on their sincerely held religious beliefs. We are in hopes of stopping that in the Senate this year.

Don't be lulled by what is happening in Indiana. Our opponents want to stop advances for the LGBT community. Just as we saw after Roe v Wade, the pro-life community had grand overreaches as well, but they retooled and continued to chip away at choice. While there is much outrage over Indiana right now, our opponents are continuing to learn and will continue to find new ways to practice discrimination.

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no-reply@promoonline.org (A.J. Bockelman) Your Source for News on LGBT Politics and Issues in Missouri. Tue, 31 Mar 2015 11:08:27 -0500
Cape Girardeau Businesses Support MONA! http://promoonline.org/news/cape-girardeau-businesses-support-mona.html http://promoonline.org/news/cape-girardeau-businesses-support-mona.html Cape Girardeau Businesses Support MONA!
These 12 Cape Girardeau Businesses oppose LGBT discrimination, click to see who they are.

This past week PROMO organizers and volunteers went door to door to businesses in Cape Girardeau to see which businesses support the Missouri Nondiscrimination Act. These twelve businesses are in support, we thank them for signing on!

Bella Italia

Bel Air Grill

Cup 'n Cork

Spanish Street Mercantile

Gung Ho Militaria

Jayson Jewelers

Pastimes Antiques

Annie-Em's

DazSpell Creations

Lattitudes LLC

Rude Dog Pub

Main Street Station

You can find out more about businesses that support the Missouri Nondiscrimination Act here

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no-reply@promoonline.org (PROMO) Your Source for News on LGBT Politics and Issues in Missouri. Fri, 27 Mar 2015 14:56:25 -0500
Transgender Individuals Need Access to Basic Healthcare http://promoonline.org/news/transgender-individuals-need-basic-healthcare.html http://promoonline.org/news/transgender-individuals-need-basic-healthcare.html Transgender Individuals Need Access to Basic Healthcare
By Sayer Johnson, Executive Director of St. Louis Metro Trans Umbrella GroupBasic transgender health is vastly different from our friends in the lesbian, gay, and bisexual community. As a co-founding member of the St. Louis Metro Trans Umbrella Group, board member of the LGBT Center of St. Louis, and as a trans man myself, I have firsthand experienced this difference in our community. 

For me before transition I generally had the option to disclose whether or not I was lesbian or straight.  In most solitary (partner free) healthcare encounters, I was treated with dignity and allowed space to be the patient. 

Since coming out as Transgender and choosing medical interventions as part  of my transition I have faced not only ignorance and intolerance, but I have had to be the educator and expert instead of the patient.  Being in a vulnerable space of needing health care and being forced into an educator role is problematic and inappropriate but a way of life for many transgender individuals. 

Transgender individuals need basic health care just like our cisgendered* counterparts but some of our medical needs are very specific to medical transition. Not only do we need general practitioners but some of us will need gynecological care, specialized medicine, and routine health screening that may not match our appearance or presentation. The basic need is to know we will be treated with dignity and respect. I know of countless transgender individuals who will put off routine or emergency care if they are unable to go to physicians they have relationships with. I personally have experienced discrimination in an emergency and during routine health testing.

The St. Louis Metro Trans Umbrella Group (MTUG) provides a list of Metro Area healthcare providers who are transgender friendly. We have a vast network of Transgender missourians, who report their findings through personal narrative. These individuals engage MTUG and help us to identify friendly providers, while informing us of unfriendly providers. 

There are ways to engage your health provider on Transgender health care. Ask your own medical provider if they consider themselves a welcoming space for trans people seeking health care. If you have had positive or negative trans related health care encounters let MTUG know.  Attend one of our monthly Trans town halls where you can gather more information on how to be an  advocate and get involved.  Use our resource guide and be informed. Connect with MTUG we want your input. 

***Cisgender is a word that applies to the vast majority of people, describing a person who is not transgender.

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no-reply@promoonline.org (PROMO) Your Source for News on LGBT Politics and Issues in Missouri. Thu, 26 Mar 2015 10:13:46 -0500
What Is PROMO Doing for Transgender Health? http://promoonline.org/news/what-is-promo-doing-for-transgender-health.html http://promoonline.org/news/what-is-promo-doing-for-transgender-health.html What Is PROMO Doing for Transgender Health?
As an advocate, I am often times asked questions about the work that I do. At the 2014 Transgender Spectrum Conference on the campus of the University of Missouri – St. Louis I was asked, “What are we doing for transgender health in Missouri?” With a smile, I was happy to report some great news.

With over 350 participants and seven distinguished speakers, the Transgender Spectrum Conference was the first conference of its kind in the region. We are excited at PROMO to team up other organizations to produce the 2nd Transgender Spectrum Conference being held at UMSL on Friday and Saturday Nov. 6 – 7th 2015, for more information and to register please visit www.TransgenderSpectrum.com.

LGBT and Ally health advocates across the state have made significant strides in making transgender health matter in Missouri. Ensuring that transgender patients, employees, and families are protected from discrimination remains a top priority for health advocates. Today, through our work 44 Missouri Hospitals now protect their transgender employees from discrimination, and over 53 protect their transgender patients.

In a move to gain better access to healthcare, PROMO took action to end exclusions under Obamacare for transgender folks. Filing a complaint with the Federal Department of Health and Senior Services on behalf of over 150 Missourians is another instance of the work we continue to do for transgender health. In a victory announced by our partners at the National Center for Transgender Equality, for the first time, a federal court has confirmed that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) prohibits discrimination against transgender people by any healthcare provider accepting federal funds. To read more on this historic victory, please click here.

⇒This LGBT Health week we are making transgender health matter because we believe everyone should be able to gain access to health care equally.

 

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no-reply@promoonline.org (Andrew Shaughnessy) Your Source for News on LGBT Politics and Issues in Missouri. Mon, 23 Mar 2015 11:49:53 -0500
Eight Anti-LGBT Bills Filed in Missouri http://promoonline.org/news/eight-anti-lgbt-bills-filed-in-missouri.html http://promoonline.org/news/eight-anti-lgbt-bills-filed-in-missouri.html Eight Anti-LGBT Bills Filed in Missouri
There has been a trend sweeping across the nation -- a wave of anti-LGBT bills being filed across 26 states. In Texas, a record breaker of any state, there have been 20 anti-LGBT bills introduced by lawmakers. As is the case in Missouri, eight anti-LGBT bills have been filed by Missouri legislators. 

Take a closer look at the bills that have been filed that are harmful to LGBT Missourians. 

HB 104 (Rep. Haahr), SB 248 (Sen. Schaefer), SB 311 (Sen. Emery)

Would allow student organizations with "sincerely held religious beliefs" to discriminate in membership of the group without penalty from the associated university. 

HB 104 forces Universities to fund discriminatory organizations on campus and exempts religious organizations from nondiscrimination policies.

This bill is the furthest along of any. The third reading of this bill in the House was today, March 19, and is now onto the Senate for consideration.  

 

SB 555 (Sen. Emery), HB 1107 (Rep. Moon)

Would make it illegal for public employees to issue or partake in issuing a marriage license to a same-sex couple. 

PROMO has sent Senator Ed Emery 228 reasons (via Missourians all across the state) why SB 555 is harmful to LGBT couples and their children. 

 

HB 1337 (Rep. Pogue)

Allows a person authorized to solemnize marriages to refuse to solemnize a marriage which is contrary to the religious beliefs or sincerely held moral convictions of such person. 

 

HB 1338 (Rep. Pogue)

Requires all public restrooms, other than single occupancy restrooms, to be gender-divided restrooms.

 

HB 1339 (Rep. Pogue)

Prohibits the appropriation or expenditure of state revenues for the purpose of creating a gender-neutral environment, unless required by a federal or state court order. 
                                  

A.J. Bockelman, PROMO Executive Director, concluded, “These types of bills are happening all over the country. With all the advancement on marriage, bills trying to continue marginalization of the LGBT community are expected. Opponents are lashing out, desperate for any attempt to stop progress. It's like the last dying breath of a wounded animal. But make no mistake, justice and equality will prevail. ”

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no-reply@promoonline.org (PROMO) Your Source for News on LGBT Politics and Issues in Missouri. Fri, 20 Mar 2015 11:25:21 -0500
Jeff Pogue Files Two Discriminatory “Bathroom” Bills http://promoonline.org/news/jeff-pogue-files-two-discriminatory-bathroom-bills.html http://promoonline.org/news/jeff-pogue-files-two-discriminatory-bathroom-bills.html Jeff Pogue Files Two Discriminatory “Bathroom” Bills
On March 12, Representative Jeff Pogue filed two bills that are harmful to the transgender and gender non-conforming community. These bills are demeaning and are being used to create false fear. They serve no purpose but to further hurt Missourians. 

A description of the very short bills are as follows:

HB 1338

Requires all public restrooms, other than single occupancy restrooms, to be gender-divided restrooms.

HB 1339 

Prohibits the appropriation or expenditure of state revenues for the purpose of creating a gender-neutral environment, unless required by a federal or state court order

Both HB 1338 and HB 1339 are similar to bills that have been filed in Florida, Kentucky and Texas.

Transgender and gender-nonconforming people often face stress, anxiety and discrimination when accessing gender-specific bathrooms. Everyone has the right to use the bathroom without fear of harassment. Transgender people are part of our workplaces and our neighborhoods, and they need to be able to use the restroom safely just like everyone else.                                                  

A.J. Bockelman, PROMO Executive Director, added, “These bills are intended to stoke the fear of transgender people portrayed as predators. Fourteen cities and counties in Missouri and over 200 cities and counties across the country have passed laws protecting LGBT people from discrimination in public accommodations with no increase in public safety incidents. You would think the legislature had more pressing issues to address rather than pursue straw-man arguments.”

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no-reply@promoonline.org (PROMO) Your Source for News on LGBT Politics and Issues in Missouri. Mon, 16 Mar 2015 15:23:01 -0500
Sparking Interest from Rural Missouri Hospitals on LGBT Health http://promoonline.org/news/sparking-interest-from-rural-missouri-hospitals-on-lgbt-health.html http://promoonline.org/news/sparking-interest-from-rural-missouri-hospitals-on-lgbt-health.html Sparking Interest from Rural Missouri Hospitals on LGBT Health
Upon concluding the review process for our Mid-Missouri and Southeast Missouri Hospitals, health advocates were faced with the challenge of sparking interest among rural hospital officials on a review of their LGBT welcoming policies. Knowing the formula for sparking interest among urban hospitals, we knew that rural outreach would be considerably different. Putting on our strategy caps, advocates came up with a road map to engage these hospitals.

One issue that we felt needed to be overcome was the assumption that LGBT health is not an issue in rural Missouri – quite the contrary. We know that LGBT folks exist and live in every county in Missouri and across the Nation and we know that they utilize health and social service facilities – just like any citizen. But, disproportionately sexual minorities experience poorer health outcomes than our heterosexual peers according to the Missouri Foundation for Health.  Often times this is because of the invisibility LGBT rural folks feel within health and social service policies – it was our task to break our invisibility.  

One issue that we felt needed to be overcome was the assumption that LGBT health is not an issue in rural Missouri – quite the contrary. We know that LGBT folks exist and live in every county in Missouri and across the Nation and we know that they utilize health and social service facilities – just like any citizen. But, disproportionately sexual minorities experience poorer health outcomes than our heterosexual peers according to the Missouri Foundation for Health.  Often times this is because of the invisibility LGBT rural folks feel within health and social service policies – it was our task to break our invisibility.  

With this, advocates set out by utilizing the community, and the tools we learned from our outreach with urban hospitals. Through a series of strategic mailers that included a report of the hospitals LGBT welcoming policies as well as copies of local news articles that focused on LGBT health, advocates began to engage these officials.

In our outreach to rural hospital officials, advocates developed four points:

1. Create a sense of urgency – by highlighting local news articles that focus on LGBT health we were able to break our invisibility and create a sense of urgency. In developing these pieces, we also helped to start a community dialogue on LGBT health and the issues associated, including the lack of regional LGBT welcoming policies.

2. Highlight successes to create credibility– knowing this was the first time that these hospital officials would have likely been engaged by LGBT advocates, we wanted to create credibility from the begin by highlighting our past successes with urban hospitals.

3. Report along with methodology – to let officials know how we came to our conclusion on their LGBT welcoming policies, further establishing credibility.

4. Clear ask from the officials.

To review the packet of information sent to rural hospitals, please click here.

In the next case study, we will outline the work of the LGBT health advocates in outreaching to these officials along with lessons learned in moving forward with rural outreach on LGBT health.

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no-reply@promoonline.org (Andrew Shaughnessy) Your Source for News on LGBT Politics and Issues in Missouri. Mon, 09 Mar 2015 10:26:42 -0500