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View Article  GLCC Wisdom Wellness Series

GLCC Wisdom Wellness Series

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


210 Grant Street, Pittsburgh PA 15219
The GLCC has created a Wisdom Wellness Series! This month's topic will be SMOKING CESSATION, an issue that strongly affects the older adult LGBT community. Do you want to quit smoking? Do you know someone who does? Come learn why and how tobacco use is such a large issue, especially in the LGBT community, and tips and advice on how to stop! The wellness program will be led by a certified Physician Assistant (PA) with over 10 years of experience in the field. The first half will be comprised of a presentation, and the second half will be open to any questions and answers you may have about smoking cessation or health issues in general! A $2 donation is requested and all of the proceeds will benefit the GLCC. Light refreshments will be provided. Please contact Sam at samantha.l.goldberg@gmail.com with any questions. We hope to see you there!

View Article  Could hospitals soon be required to implement anti-discrimination policies

According to the HRC, yes.

According to the Human Rights Commission, the Joint Commission, the largest organization that accredits hospitals nationwide, announced recently that, in the future, all hospitals in America will need to have a non-discrimination policy for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Once the new rules are in place, "the horror stories" of loved ones being met with hostility at the worst of times and of people being denied care, will be a thing of the past, HRC President Joe Solmonese said.
This news coincides with a report the HRC released today, showing that among 200 of the nation's largest hospitals, 93 percent do not have fully-inclusive non-discrimination policies that protect all LGBT people

Interesting news, but compliance could take years and count on faith based hospitals opting out. 

You can help by contacting the Pennsylvania Hospital Association to encourage implementation. 

View Article  PG Shout out to LGBTQ runners

The PG ran a nice little article about local running groups. Among those listed:

It is good to see an article with a reference to a LGBTQ component of the community that ist woven into the story, just like community groups and chapters of national running groups. 

I knew someone in this group who loved it.  He told me there were walkers.  Hmmm .... I need a LGBT wii fit plus group. :-)


View Article  Wingnut Donutter pulls one over on LGBTQ community

I have to give Ron Razete of Peace, Love and Little Donuts credit. His anti-gay bigotry was on display in the Post-Gazette, the Pgh City Paper, national blogs and the Urban Spoon and he didn't miss beat nor repent a single vile word he spewed. 

What did he say?  Here are some excerpts from his now defunct blog. Razete drew quite a response from the lesbian blogs (ahem) to the radical queers to LGBT business owners.

But getting a two page spread in Pittsburgh's LGBT magazine, Cue Pittsburgh, is stunning. How on earth did he get free publicity from a gay publication? 

It does prove my point that he's using the "peace, love, hippie" theme as a marketing ploy, but I'm intrigued how this played out.  Did the wingnutters go looking for a palatable gay media source?  Was this calculated or just chance? Did the wingnutter know what kind of magazine was interviewing his daughter? 

The undeniable fact is that Cue Pittsburgh missed the boat in a big way. I wonder if the editorial staff is paying attention to local LGBT news if they simply "forgot" about the donut scandal?  I am puzzled. It would be one thing if they were reviewing heterosexual owned businesses and overlooking gay owned companies, but this guy really hates us.  How does Cue plan to respond?  Will they step up and take responsibility for putting gay money in the pocket of a rabid homophobe?  I truly hope so. 


View Article  University of Pennsylvania to provide insurance coverage of gender confirmation surgery to students

h/t Bilerico Project

From the Daily Pennsylvanian ...

In the next academic year, the Penn Student Insurance Plan will begin offering a new benefit for transgender students ? it will cover the cost of the gender confirmation process, also known as gender reassignment or transition.

The benefit covers triadic treatment, the term used for the three-step process of gender confirmation. Triadic treatment consists of psychotherapy, estrogen or testosterone hormone treatment and sex reassignment surgery, which involves the changing of genitals.

The benefit covers the costs of surgery for up to $50,000. According to a research report by the organization Transgender At Work, the cost of male-to-female surgery can average around $20,000.

This was a student led change that will increase premiums by pennies and allow the University to live up to the standard of non-discrimination on the basis of gender identity.  Next up, the students plan to push for similar extension of benefits for staff and faculty. 

Kudos to Penn!

View Article  Breaking: Obama on Same Sex Hospital Visitation

h/t Pam's House Blend

The President, in an extremely positive development for LGBT families, has directed the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to ensure that hospitals participating in Medicaid or Medicare will allow patients to designate who may visit them as well as name their primary caretaker and decision maker. Countless tragedies have occurred because of denial of access or ability to decide on the health of a loved one because the hospital would only recognize the rights of a blood relative.

Now some of you may be shocked to learn that if Ledcat were transported by ambulance to a nearby hospital, I could be denied access to her bedside -- denied input on her treatment -- because we are not legally married.  Even with the paperwork, who needs the stress of stopping to find paperwork when you are in the midst of a medical crisis?  What if you can't find it quickly enough? What if you have to stop to explain it or review it or defend it while your loved one is calling for you from another room?  What if your partner's family isn't particularly fond of you and plays the blood relation trump card?

What if? What if? What if?  This is a big fear for me.  Ledcat and I have pretty good relationships with our mutual in-laws, but there's always the what if. 

Less than half of the US States have tackled this issue.  Pennsylvania is not among them, in spite of legislative efforts of State Rep Dan Frankel.

Pennsylvania law does not specifically provide for a partner to make decisions on behalf of an incapacitated same-sex partner, but, "an adult who has knowledge of the principal's preferences and values?" is among those listed. Contact must be attempted with at least five individuals before a partner would have authority. ? 5461.

An adult may appoint his or her partner to make health care decisions on his or her behalf. A valid health care power of attorney must identify the principal, appoint the health care agent and declare that the principal authorizes the health care agent to make health care decisions on behalf of the principal. ? 5453.

Citation: Health Care; Health Care Agents and Representatives: 20 Pa. Cons. Stat. ?? 5451 to 5465

Solutions?  Pittsburgh Pride has one of them and a very concrete solution.  It is an ACLU Seminar that shows you how to address this very issue.  We attended last year and I think it was one of the best events I've ever attended.  The problem is that setting up a domestic partnership legal agreement is expensive.  Heck, getting a Pittsburgh recongized domestic partnership listing in the registry can be out of reach for working class folks.  So the seminar is a great "how to" step, but we must press on for full equality. 

This is a step forward, but we must also remember that a Presidential memorandum may expire upon the end of his term.  Its legal status is not 100% clear.

Another concrete step is to contact your state rep and explain why this needs to be addressed. Share your real story.

Our families, especially yours, deserve your action.  We must continue to be vigilant.  And we must keep up the pressure on both the state and federal levels. 

Stay tuned for more details on what is happening in PA and be sure to show up at the ACLU Seminar.


View Article  Women's Spa Night at GLCC

Ledcat and I attended this last year and it was very nice. My massage was a little vigorous, but the hand wax was really cool.  I also felt super hip with my henna tattoo.  :-)

Come and let yourself be pampered!

FREE mini spa night featuring:

chair massages, hot wax treatments,

henna art, guided meditation, facials,

hand massages, blood pressure monitoring,

breast cancer screenings,

BMI, STD testing,

breast exams and

vouchers for mammograms

Refreshments provided

Sponsored by Adagio Health, Inc

and the GLCC

Gay and Lesbian Community Center

of Pittsburgh

210 Grant Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15219

When: Tuesday April 6, 2010

4:00-7:00 PM.

Who: Women

Why: Because healthy living is relaxing

RSVP required

call Kat 412-304-8181


View Article  Health Care Resources for Uninsured and Underinsured in Allegheny County

This is an updated version of a very useful resource.  It is a .pdf file which you can download or you can go to the Allegheny County Health Department website.


Guide to Remain Valuable Tool Until Health Care Reform Fully Goes Into Effect   

The Allegheny County Health Department has updated its directory of local health centers and clinics that serve people with minimal or no health insurance.

?Until the new health care reform law fully goes into effect and expands access to health care, our guide will remain a valuable resource for the uninsured and underinsured,? said County Health Director Dr. Bruce W. Dixon.   

The directory has been expanded to include additional resources such as help for compulsive gamblers, Neighborhood Legal Services, the Latino Family Center, the Library for the Blind and Handicapped, and Health Care for the Homeless.  

First published in 2007, the directory is intended primarily for social service agencies and other community organizations dealing with the uninsured, but individuals also may find it useful as a handy guide to health care providers. 

            Most of the providers listed in the directory use a sliding fee schedule based on household income and family size for patients with no insurance.  The fees may be as little as $25 or less and possibly even waived in cases of extreme financial hardship.

            The 34-page guide lists more than 40 local clinics and health centers as well as resources available to help with other needs, including prescription drugs, vision care, dental care and transportation.  It also features a listing of health insurance options for the unemployed and low-income families. 


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View Article  ACDC Call to Action on Health Care Reform

I received this via an email list.

Call to Action: We Need Your Help

With the House of Representatives expected to vote on health insurance

reform as early as next week, the Allegheny County Democratic Party and

Organizing for America (OFA) are stepping up our efforts as we head into the

"Final March for Reform."

OFA is hosting "Final March for Reform" events across Allegheny County,

ranging from phone banks to letter writing parities and Congressional office

visits. Click here http://my.barackobama.com/PACalltoAction to sign up to

attend an event.

Our opponents are already planning to spend millions more on their campaign

to kill reform. We must fight back and show our members of Congress that

Pennsylvanians support health insurance reform-and that we will be there to

back them up when they support reform. Can you donate an hour to two this

weekend to fight back?

Sign up here: http://my.barackobama.com/PACalltoAction

President Obama's plan for health insurance reform will put an end to the

outrageous rate hikes crippling Pennsylvanians and prohibit their worst

abuses like denying care based on a pre-existing condition. At the same

time, the President's plan makes health insurance more affordable by

providing middle-class families with the largest health care tax cut in


This is a critical moment for reform and everything we have worked for over

the past year is on the line. Join me on the "Final March for Reform" by

signing up today to attend an event.


Very Truly Yours,

Jim Burn, Chair,

Allegheny CountyDemocratic Committee


View Article  The GLCC Newsletter is Out

We received our current issue of the GLCC News this past week after what seems like a long hiatus.  Is it just me or has it been awhile?  Maybe its just me.  I really look forward to this connection with the Community Center.  The professional quality just keeps getting better and I really like that.

Anyway, the organization is making strides in updating their use of technology with a brand new email list and they have posted some of the articles from the newsletter online here.  Still, I feel compelled to share.

Here's what I find most interesting ...

Ben Cook, GLCC Youth Program Coordinator has a nicely done piece about the GLCC's work with youth.  This program is, in my humble opinion, the hallmark of the organization.  Well, maybe second only to the Phone Line.  I think Ben is a great guy and does really good work.  Plus, he actively mentions kids who identify as queer or questioning.  This article also features the "Most Ironic Line" in the whole newsletter.  Tucked on page 3 after a feature on Celebrate the Night with absolutely no mention of any of the controversy surrounding probably THE most controversial gay happening of the entire year, Ben writes:

Unlike most GLCC programs that have careful planning periods leading up to large, publicized events (e.g., OUTrageous Bingo, PrideFest), the Youth Program is a mostly behind-the-scenes weekly commitment by the GLCC to the young people of our community.

Is it just me?  Do you see it?

There's a mention of PUMP's "40 Under 40" which includes Ben!  Go, Ben! 

The GLCC is hiring for two paid positions:  Community Resource & Information Specialist and a Grant Writer. 

Someone named Scott Itano (???) writes a nice piece about finding a LGBT-Friendly Physician.  He gives a shout out to two local practices.  I'm not a fan of one of them, so I'm going to instead give a shout out to my PCP for being so groovy.  I went to her simply because she replaced my former doctor who had left for greener pastures in Sewickley.  She was great -- she asked me a ton of LGBT sensitive questions.  Plus, she already knew the main side effects of the meds prescribed to me by other doctors.  Wow.  So if you need a great PCP, drop me a line and I'll give you her name.  Awesome.  Still, Scott's article is quite useful and one of the most neatest things in the newsletter.

I can't tell you how refreshing it is to have a PCP who is gay friendly and medically reliable.  Awesome.

An old friend, Gary McKillop, focuses on the importance of donations and volunteers to the work of the Community Center.  It is interesting to me, but I'm a professional human servicey type.  I think these "asks" could be more powerful if they included anecdotes or somehow the "voice" of the people served.  I know I was always impressed by *something* if I spent more than 30 minutes in that building ... a phone call, a drop in visitor, a listing on the bulletin board, a volunteer's story.  You should do that -- go spend some time there and just soak up how important this resource is to the community.

There's write up of the GLCC's strategic planning direction.  I was disappointed that there is no mention of diversity, at least thus far.  I think that's a significant issue in terms of those who hold power and decision-making authority and those who are served (or not served) by those folks.  Still, I know that any mention of diversity raises hackles on certain necks ... so keep reading.  Or go read something else. 

There's a new GLBT Corporate Network which is working with local corporations.  Awesome news.  If you have a GLBT group at your workplace, you can hook up with them.  There's only a telephone number contact so email me and I'll send it to you.

If you read this blog, you should be a GLCC News subscriber.  Hopefully, they will be able to move toward an online published edition (with ads!  the ads are great!).  Maybe YOU could volunteer to help them do that.  Or volunteer on the Phone Line.  Or the Youth Group.  Make a donation.  Go for it! 

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