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Where Are My Civil Rights?

Apr 16th, 2013 06:11 PM By Sheila

Recently my physician suggested I get a mammogram and gave me the phone number of a local program that offers mammograms. I called and spoke with the woman in charge and she said that I would be accepted for a mammogram through their organization and asked to schedule an appointment.

Being the honest person that I am I informed her that I was a transgender woman. After I told her that I was transgender, she informed me that the program does not work with transgender women and that she could not help me. I was in shock. This is a program that gives mammograms… but not to transgender breasts? I have normal 34C breasts with no implants, and they can be affected by cancer just as any genetic woman’s breasts.

I was so upset that I contacted a couple attorneys to inquire if I would have a civil rights case, and they just blew me off and refused to help me. I even called my local American Civil Liberties Union chapter where the man actually tried talking me out of pursuing the matter any further saying he didn’t think it would go anywhere. So, what I’ve been told is that my life does not matter because I am transgender. Who cares if I get cancer and die? This entire matter has really upset me more than I can say. I am an American citizen and deserve equal basic civil rights just as any other American. I wish I knew how to proceed with this matter, because I am will to fight for change.

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HRC: HEALTHCARE EQUALITY INDEX 2011

Jun 30th, 2011 04:59 PM By

The following is an excerpt from HRC’s Back Story Blog:

HEI-2011-CoverThe Healthcare Equality Index 2011 was released today by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Family Project. The report details the results of [their] most recent HEI survey, rating how equitably healthcare facilities treat their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender patients and employees. The survey focuses on four main policy areas: patient non-discrimination, visitation, cultural competency training and employment non-discrimination.

…So, why the HEI? We know that the fear of discrimination causes many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to avoid seeking care and, when they do get treatment, studies have shown that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are often not treated with the respect that all patients deserve. For five years now, to help end this discrimination, the HEI has served as an organizational assessment tool, assisting healthcare administrators in making their policies more explicitly welcoming of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender patients and their families. The HEI also provides useful resources to hospitals working to comply with accreditation standards and new HHS regulations.

As the HEI continues to grow year after year, the message from our healthcare industry contacts is clear – lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender inclusion is key to providing high quality healthcare to all.

…And if anyone asks you what is meant by “healthcare equality” you can tell them that, first and foremost, it’s about quality care for all.

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CDC STUDY: GAY, LESBIAN AND BISEXUAL TEENS MORE LIKELY TO ENGAGE IN RISKY, UNHEALTHY BEHAVIORS

Jun 07th, 2011 11:04 AM By

According to TIME:

cdc_logo(3)“In the largest study of its kind, government health officials report that gay, lesbian and bisexual teenagers are significantly more likely to engage in risky, unhealthy behaviors — such as smoking, drinking, using drugs, having unprotected sex and contemplating suicide — than their straight peers.

“The new analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is based on data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveys, which were conducted from 2001 to 2009 and involved high-school students in seven states and six large urban school districts (including New York City, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Milwaukee and San Diego). The surveys asked teens about all manner of risky behaviors, including whether they had ever used heroin or tried throwing up to lose weight, their habits regarding unprotected sex, whether they drove after drinking alcohol, whether they wore seatbelts and bike helmets, carried a gun or drank soda every day. The surveys also asked about teens’ sexual orientation.

“What researchers found was that students who identified as being gay, lesbian or bisexual were more likely to report engaging in 70% of all the risk behaviors measured, compared with heterosexual students, particularly behaviors related to violence (like not going to school for fear of personal safety) or to attempted suicide (such as making a suicide plan), tobacco use, alcohol use, other drug use, sexual behaviors and weight management.

“The disparities were dramatic: for example, while 8% to 19% of straight teens reported smoking cigarettes, about 20% to 48% of gay teens reported the same. Bisexual teens reported the highest rates of many risky behaviors, even higher than gay and lesbian students; 33% to 63% of bisexual students reported binge drinking, for instance, compared with up to 16% to 44% of straight students and 17% to 44% of gay students.

“Why? Reported The Advocate:

“Much of what’s ailing these students can be attributed to a lack of ’safe and supportive environments,’ according to the CDC report, which mentioned a survey that found gay and lesbian students feel unsafe while at school.

“The CDC calls for state and local governments to do more — in the form of policies or programs such as gay-straight alliances — to combat what’s happening to gay youth. It also calls for better information. The center’s analysis was based on a common tool for judging the risk of students — called the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System — but in 2009, only 10 states and seven large school districts even asked whether the students were gay or bisexual.”

Read the full Time article >>

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Love Uninsured

Dec 01st, 2010 07:20 PM By Courtney

For the past two and a half years of my life, I have lived with my aunt and her partner, which I also consider my aunt. They have always been like parents to me and in the summer of 2004, held a commitment ceremony to celebrate their 20 year anniversary. :)

Well, this ceremony wasn’t recognized as a legal union in the state of Florida, and therefore, my aunts don’t have the same rights as married people have. This is frustrating in such that if my aunt Tori becomes ill, she can’t go to the doctor because she doesn’t have insurance because she can’t be covered by her partner. NOT FAIR!!!

The simple fact that people cannot even be covered by their partner’s insurance only because of their orientation is POINTLESS!!! The government might as well say gay people can’t vote either, because homosexuality does cloud one’s judgment to pick an appropriate leader of our country!! UGGH!!!

Our country was founded on the principle of freedom, and this denial of rights is simply unconstitutional.

I love my aunts dearly and I believe their love will last forever, and one day I would love to see them be able to have a wedding where they are officially married and share the same rights as heterosexual partners.

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Happily Ever After

Dec 01st, 2010 06:40 PM By Julie

First, I identify as ‘queer’ – I noticed that is not a ‘choice’ when I registered. I have been sexually and romantically involved w/ gay, straight, bisexual, transgendered, and transsexual individuals. I do no think “bisexual’ covers it any longer. Anyway…

I met the woman of my dreams who happens to have a life-threatening chronic illness. We lived in Virginia a short while while I was working on a nursing degree. We heard too many stories of people who had not been allowed access to their partners in the hospital, even when their partner was critically ill.

We moved to Massachusetts when it was the only state in the nation that recognized same-sex marriage as a legal institution. I believe marriage is as much a community ritual as a personal one – it tells the community that this couple has made a public commitment to one another. But, I no longer have to worry if my wife becomes critically ill. Access to her will not be blocked during her most trying times, when she and I would need each other most.

I shouldn’t have to say ‘thank you,’ but thanks anyway, people of Massachusetts.

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My Faith

Nov 30th, 2010 11:42 PM By Jamie

Hello, my name is Jamie. I am a 33 year old transgender woman. My story is about faith in god and yourself when others just cannot or will not help. I don’t expect everyone to understand me, and I don’t wish for everyone to suffer like me. What I do wish is that people like me will be able to live openly, get the medical help we are denied by ignorant professionals, and have others take a leap of faith.

I have been passed over by one professional after another and was even told by a therapist that “We cannot help you here”. Honestly? I have had to self medicate which is more expensive than I can honestly afford. And to live behind these walls will not cut it any more. I have found faith in myself and in god. All I want is for people to have faith in me and those like me. I want to be a good woman, not a sick boy. If given the chance, I can show you a loving and trustworthy person who gives a damn. I GIVE SUCH A DAMN THAT IT IS UNREAL!!

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Why I Give a Damn about Marriage Equality

Nov 30th, 2010 11:10 PM By Michelle

I’ve been living with my partner Chris for almost 11 years. We had a handfasting ritual in 1999 which we count as our marriage ceremony. But we can’t get the same rights as married couples because as lesbians, we’re ruining the sanctity of marriage. Given the 50 percent ratio of heterosexual couples divorcing, I don’t know how we could make it any worse. Here are some of the things that are taken for granted by married heterosexual couples that gay partners do not have:

If Chris were to be seriously ill in the hospital, I may be banned from visiting her because I’m not “related” to her.

We have to pay lawyers fees for documents stating our intent for last wishes, living wills, etc. and get them registered in the court house because even having said documents still may not guarantee those wishes carried out because we’re not “married.”

We can’t adopt in our home state because we’re not a “man and a woman.”

Every time I fill out any official form, I have to put down “single,” even though I’m not.

Unless we work for a huge corporation who has domestic partner benefits, we can’t cover each other with health insurance.

I could go on and on. My straight friends try to understand but a lot of them don’t realize the hoops we must jump through to take care of each other legally. If two people love each other and want to commit to each other in a binding agreement, why does it matter if we’re gay?

The only choice I ever made about being a lesbian was to not live a lie anymore.

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Reawkening

Nov 30th, 2010 10:27 PM By Jamie

At 58 I guess I can qualify as an older adult. I lost my partner to AIDS back in 1992. I gave up the list I kept of those in my life who succumbed to the virus. It just hurt too much to look at the list of names. Emotionally I pretty much shut down.

Joe Jervis who writes the blog “joemygod  summed up this condition with the term, “dead inside”. This term describes those who have stopped trying to love because of the pain they’ve experienced.

This morning I somehow linked over to the “wegiveadamn” site. This groundswell of support to combat teen suicides and bullying these past few months has awakened feelings that have been under wraps for too many years.
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Death and Dying Rights…

Nov 26th, 2010 06:29 PM By Melissa Johnson

My fiance and I had to go through some things in the last 2 years that have made me think. I have diabetes, asthma & high blood pressure; and she has high blood pressure. No matter how in love we are and how much we care about each other the state we live in just doesn’t want to hear it. I have no parents, or grandparents therefore, technically no next of kin. We are middle aged and both have some health issues, last year I had to be admitted to the hospital and there were life/death decisions to be made and no one to make them.

I laid in the hospital until she could attain counsel to grant her an emergency medical power of attorney. If we had been allowed to marry that would have never happened. Why should we have to doll out money just to have the right for our significant other to make medical decisions, simply because were a lesbian couple? We must demand equal rights.

In our lifetime, we may never see the day where all American humans have the same rights. However the younger generation will so long as we as a community continue to fight the long fight. So if you think of giving up the fight please don’t, make us proud of you and show us your stamina. Life must go on even after our expiration dates. How proud we’d be to look down and watch all the fairytale weddings and husbands/wives making medical decisions etc! WegiveaDamn about you!

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For My Friend

Oct 13th, 2010 02:02 AM By TRISHA

Mike was a great guy. When I was growing up, we had the greatest time. He was the older brother I never had. I never knew that he was gay until one night he was at my house, babysitting, and he told me that he wanted me to know a secret. I sat down beside him and he whispered three words, “I am gay.” He leaned back, wondering what I would do. I threw my arms around him and said, “I don’t care, I love you anyway.”

Fast forward ten years, Mike had a job working as an X-Ray tech, til he got sick. We never knew the AIDS had spread that quickly. When his job found out, they kicked him out, and treated him like he was an enemy. Mike died about 7 years ago. I still miss him, still love him, and still will never forget how he was treated. RIP Mike

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