Friday, July 14, 2017

This And That In The News

"This And That In The News" is about articles in the news that have caught my eye and I want to share or comment about. These are the articles that caught my attention this week.

There are a number of bills in Congress that will affect us directly…

First the good news,
Republicans fail in last-ditch push to ban medical treatments for transgender troops
The Charlotte Observer
By Alex Daugherty and  Vera Bergengruen
July 13, 2017

As the House of Representatives debated a proposal that would ban medical treatments for transgender individuals serving in the military, Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter of California had a brief message:

“Choose what gender you are before you join.”

A smattering of Democrats gathered to oppose the amendment offered by Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo., quietly gasped.

Just under an hour later, the House of Representatives narrowly voted down Hartzler’s proposal 214-209, to audible cheers from the House floor.

Two dozen House Republicans voted with 190 Democrats to sink the amendment that would prohibit military funds for soldiers seeking medical treatment related to gender transition.

“It’s a hurtful amendment, it’s not needed,” said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami, a noted advocate for LGBT rights who has a transgender son. “I view it as a personal issue, because as a mom I’m impacted, but it’s an issue of fairness for everyone. You don’t have to know someone that’s transgender or have someone in your immediate family to feel this impact. It’s just needlessly hurtful and serves no useful purpose.”
Maybe there is some hope for us after all, the Republican moderates are starting to rebel against the far right-wing conservatives.

Trumpcare or the uncaring healthcare bill…
Transgender Health Care Targeted In Crusade To Undo ACA
Kaiser Health News
By Shefali Luthra
July 13, 2017

The ACA’s non-discrimination portion, known as Section 1557, says federally funded programs that provide health care, coverage or related services cannot discriminate based on sex. The provision has been in effect since the law’s enactment and helped fuel a federal push to protect transgender people from discrimination in receiving health care services. In 2016, the Obama administration’s Department of Health and Human Services issued the final rule crystallizing that policy.

Before the ACA, Medicaid operated under its own anti-discrimination requirements. However, many state programs were vague in describing gender-transition benefits. This made it difficult for people like Singleton to understand what Medicaid covered. It also made it easier for plans to question the “medical necessity” of treatments and to issue denials.

By making it clear that state Medicaid programs could not refuse to pay for a health care service simply because the beneficiary is transgender, and suggesting greater federal attention to the matter, the Section 1557 rule pushed states to be more upfront about coverage specifics.
Uncaring Republicans are trying to do away with the coverage…
That regulation is back in play as the Department of Health and Human Services appears to be walking back from its directive and coverage protections.

In a Texas case in which faith-affiliated health care providers argued Section 1557 required they act against their religious beliefs — which “will not allow them to perform medical transition procedures that can be deeply harmful to their patients” — a federal judge issued an injunction at the end of 2016 to block the transgender protections. HHS responded by asking the court to remand the case and stay further proceedings while it rewrites the rule. Earlier this week, the judge obliged. In the meantime, that portion of Section 1557 will not be enforced.

The rewrite is part of the administration’s overarching executive effort. HHS Secretary Tom Price and President Donald Trump have vowed to use administrative power to mitigate the health law’s policy changes, specifically those that created “regulatory or economic burdens” or that don’t match up with the current White House agenda.
Meaning we are going to get screwed!

Attorney General Sessions secret speech before the anti-LGBT organizations that has be labeled as a “hate organization” by the Southern Poverty Law Center has been printed by the conservative website Federalist and it is just as bad as we feared.
Jeff Sessions Tells ‘Hate Group’ DOJ Will Issue Religious Freedom Guidance
NBC Out News
By Mary Emily O'Hara
July 13, 2017

Right-wing news website The Federalist published on Thursday an exclusive transcript of Attorney General Jeff Sessions' speech to the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) — a conservative Christian law firm that was designated a "hate group" in 2016 by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The Justice Department confirmed in an email to NBC News that the transcript was legitimate. ADF did not respond to multiple requests for comment delivered on Wednesday and Thursday.

Right-wing news website The Federalist published on Thursday an exclusive transcript of Attorney General Jeff Sessions' speech to the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) — a conservative Christian law firm that was designated a "hate group" in 2016 by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The Justice Department confirmed in an email to NBC News that the transcript was legitimate. ADF did not respond to multiple requests for comment delivered on Wednesday and Thursday.
But after reading the transcript and learning of the Justice Department's plans to create a new federal policy on protecting religious liberties and doubling down on enforcing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, advocates suggested Sessions was more interested in protecting the right to discriminate than the freedom of religion.
The law should be called Religious Freedom To Discriminate Act will only spell bad news for us.

Those who follow my blog know that I am a strong supporter of more trans people actors in media, well this is an article about an actress acquaintance, Rachel Crowl of “My Husband Betty” fame.
(In)Visible: Rachel Crowl represents how transgender actors have been sidelined from their own stories
LA Times
By Emily Mae Czachor
July 13, 2017

From an outsider’s perspective, Rachel Crowl had achieved success as a working actor. She’d ascended the ranks of a prestigious New York City-based theater company, playing lead roles in several off-Broadway productions including “Henry V” and “The Importance of Being Earnest,” and helped start another company while landing a steady theatrical contract, which proffered a reliable arena to pursue the craft that she fondly refers to as her “first love.” She was performing in eight shows per week and starting to settle into a marriage to a thoughtful, incisive nonfiction writer.

But while she’d long before come to terms with her identity as a woman (a journey that her wife, Helen Boyd, chronicled in several memoirs about their relationship), to the rest of the world, she appeared to be — at least, physically — a man.
Before transitioning she thought that her career would be over if she transitioned,
“I figured I could either play a dead hooker that the cops made a ‘meat and potatoes’ joke about, or I could play a live hooker that the cops made a ‘meat and potatoes’ joke about,” Crowl said. “And there really was nothing else.”
But now she is staring in an independent film,
“Well, evidently, the universe has re-negotiated its contract,” Crowl said, beaming while perched atop a stilted director’s chair during a Q&A with the cast and crew of “And Then There Was Eve,” a gritty psychological dramedy by first-time feature director Savannah Bloch, which had its world premiere at this year’s L.A. Film Festival.
Ms. Crowl also supports having trans actors playing trans parts and straight parts.
By distorting the public’s perception of what a transgender person — specifically, a transgender woman — “looks like,” Crowl argued the overwhelming presence of cisgender actors portraying transgender characters has given rise to a dangerous, manufactured construction of “transgender visibility” that is faulty by definition.

“You’re subconsciously reinforcing this idea that trans people are just essentially the gender they started off as,” Crowl said, prompting a chorus of affirmative nods and “mhmm’s” from her fellow panelists. “You go see Jared Leto in ‘Dallas Buyers Club,’ and then, he’s out there doing press as Jared Leto. So, you’ve got Jared Leto doing press, or you’ve got Matt Bomer doing press, but he’s supposed to be playing a woman. It reinforces this subliminal, unconscious idea that ‘Oh, he’s a dude. Trans women are really just dudes.’”

Bona fide trans visibility, the panelists agreed, will materialize only when real, authentic transgender voices are incorporated into the conversation — when trans actors are cast in trans roles and are otherwise included behind the scenes, as directors, producers, writers, etc. Crowl believes that Hollywood is on its way to embracing this shift in storytelling method, but needs a little extra push.
I hear all the time comments saying that using named actors over trans actors because they can bring in the audiences but my comeback to that is that trans actors never get a chance to become “named actors” if they don’t even get a part.

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