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Alaskans Together Foundation, a non-profit working to educate the Alaska public about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues and civil equality, is competing with charities nationwide for grants ranging from $10,000 to $250,000 from the Chase Community Giving program. Residents can help ensure their success by simply voting for Alaskans Together Foundation on Facebook.
Through the power of social media, the Chase Community Giving program has directed more than $20 million dollars toward charities nationwide, putting the ability to bring positive change across the nation into the hands of those who need it most. Alaskans Together Foundation is working to bring positive change in Alaska by telling the story of the lives and challenges of the LGBT community – as simple as hospital visitations, equal protections in the workplace, and equal benefits for domestic partners.
“Alaskans Together Foundation is constantly striving to strengthen our community by continuing the dialogue about issues that are impacting the LGBT community across the state. Receiving even $10,000 would be an unbelievable opportunity to ensure the great work of this organization continues in Alaska,” said Elias Rojas, board president of Alaskans Together Foundation.
Alaskans Together Foundation would use any funds awarded to help increase their capacity and eventually hire staff to continue the hard work of achieving equality for all.
With the support of our community, volunteers, and fans Alaskans Together Foundation has the opportunity to get much needed resources to implement big changes!
“With the defeat of Proposition 5 – the Anchorage Equal Rights initiative during our last municipal election, the need for an organization like Alaskans Together Foundation to continue educating the community is vital,” said Elvi Gray-Jackson, Anchorage Assembly member.
How You Can Help
You can help Alaskans Together Foundation receive up to $250,000 by simply visiting www.Facebook.com/ChaseCommunityGiving and casting your vote for Alaskans Together Foundation! After doing so please click the “like” button and help spread the word on facebook and encourage your friends to vote for Alaskans Together!
Remind people often about this opportunity and ask them to help put us over the top. They don’t even have to live in Alaska!
The Supreme Court is expected to decision this week on the 26-state lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama. In 2010, Governor Parnell added Alaska to the list of states in the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the law.
According to the Center for American Progress the following are key provisions in the Affordable Care Act that benefit the members of the LGBT community and could be impacted by the impending Supreme Court ruling.
Data collection to better understand gay and transgender health disparities
According to the law, the secretary of Health and Human Services may collect any demographic data he or she believes to be important for understanding and addressing health disparities. In June 2011 Secretary Sebelius announced a plan for including sexual orientation and gender identity in national data collection efforts starting in 2013, in addition to the law’s required categories of race, ethnicity, primary language, sex, and disability status. The state-based health insurance exchanges, which will sell affordable private health insurance coverage starting in 2014, also offer an opportunity to gather data on the insurance needs and experiences of gay and transgender enrollees.
Patient’s Bill of Rights to end health insurance industry abuses
The new Patient’s Bill of Rights outlaws many of the insurance industry’s worst abuses. It ended lifetime limits on coverage in 2010 and will phase out annual limits on coverage by 2014, both of which are particularly important for people with high medical bills from conditions such as HIV or cancer. As of 2014 it also prohibits insurance carriers from denying coverage on the basis of a pre-existing condition such as HIV or a transgender medical history and from arbitrarily canceling a sick person’s coverage.
Expansion of public insurance coverage through Medicaid
The law sets a new national threshold for Medicaid eligibility. Starting in 2014 adults under age 65 who make less than $15,000 per year will be eligible for Medicaid coverage in every state. These 16 million newly eligible Medicaid beneficiaries will include many gay and transgender Americans and their families, since widespread discrimination in the workplace and in relationship recognition means gay and transgender people are disproportionately likely to have lower incomes and to be uninsured.
In particular, the expansion will benefit those living in the 10 states with the most restrictive current Medicaid eligibility standards, including Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Virginia, and Louisiana. These 10 states are home to an estimated 1.5 million gay and transgender Americans, many of whom are lower-income African American and Latina lesbian couples raising children.
Expansion of private insurance coverage through the exchanges
The law also requires every state to operate a health insurance exchange starting in 2014. The exchanges will offer subsidies that allow small employers and individuals who make between $15,000 and $43,000 per year to purchase affordable private coverage. Exchanges may not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in any of their activities, and all exchange plans must offer comprehensive benefits across 10 essential health benefit categories, including prescription drugs, hospital stays, and mental and behavioral health services.
Coverage of preventive care
Under the Affordable Care Act, all Medicare beneficiaries receive free annual checkups, and insurance companies may not charge co-pays or other fees for preventive services that are recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. These services include HIV and other sexually transmitted infection testing, depression screening, vaccinations, tobacco-use screening, cholesterol and high-blood-pressure screening, and other services of particular importance for gay and transgender people. The Women’s Health Amendment also requires insurers to cover comprehensive preventive services for women, including contraception, intimate-partner violence screening, and annual well-woman visits.
Easy-to-find information about health reform for consumers
The website www.healthcare.gov—one of the consumer-friendly reforms the law requires—is the one-stop shop the Department of Health and Human Services maintains for all things related to health reform. The site offers a wide range of information about the law, including a Health Plan Finder tool that allows consumers shopping for coverage to compare plan details such as cost-sharing and benefit design in order to choose the option that best meets their needs.
Same-sex couples, many of whom do not have access to health insurance through their own or their partner’s employer, can use a built-in filter to find plans offering coverage for domestic partners. The exchanges may also offer relevant information to gay and transgender consumers through outreach and enrollment mechanisms such as websites, phone services, and navigator programs.
A diverse and culturally competent health care workforce
The law prioritizes building a culturally competent and diverse health care workforce, with a particular focus on primary care providers. The law triples the size of the National Health Service Corps, which places newly trained health care providers in underserved areas around the country, and the corps is offering gay and transgender cultural competence training to its members.
In addition, an $11 billion fund supports new community health centers and expansion of existing centers, and several centers that historically focus on serving the gay and transgender population have already received grants. The law also requires the exchanges to ensure access to community health centers and essential community providers, including Ryan White Providers for HIV/AIDS care.
Services for people living with HIV or AIDS
A major aspect of health reform is making prescription drugs more affordable, which will help seniors and people living with HIV or AIDS afford the medications they need. The law phases out the Medicare Part D “donut hole” (the gap in insurance coverage for prescription drugs) by 2020, and requires pharmaceutical companies to provide a 50 percent discount on brand-name drugs in the donut hole. To connect people living with HIV to health coverage and services, the law:
- Prohibits insurers from using pre-existing condition exclusions and charging higher premiums based on health status starting in 2014
- Removes the requirement that people with HIV have an AIDS diagnosis before they can qualify for Medicaid coverage
- Promotes patient-centered medical homes in which providers work together to coordinate high-quality and timely care for people with chronic conditions
The Affordable Care Act extends federal nondiscrimination protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act, which protect individuals living with HIV or AIDS, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which offer protections on the basis of sex. A national trend in case law interprets Title IX to include gender identity and sex stereotyping, though not sexual orientation. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission also recently ruled under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act that discrimination on the basis of gender identity constitutes sex discrimination.
Community-based prevention programs
According to the National Prevention Strategy, “all Americans should have the opportunity to live long, healthy, independent, and productive lives, regardless of their … sexual orientation or gender identity.” To support this goal the law created a $15 billion Prevention and Public Health Fund to fund new public health initiatives such as the Community Transformation Grants program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2011, 61 communities and states received $103 million to fight leading causes of illness and death for 120 million people, and several of these grantees included the gay and transgender population as a priority. Another round of Community Transformation Grants will be awarded this fall.
Now that you know a little more about the potential impact of the Supreme Court ruling coming down soon, we ask you to share this with your friends on Facebook, email and other social media so they also can learn about this groundbreaking legislation.
For more information about Center for American Progress, please visit their website.
To learn more about the Affordable Care Act, read the articles below:
“And as long as I have the privilege of being your President, I promise you, you won’t just have a friend in the White House, you will have a fellow advocate for an America where no matter what you look like or where you come from or who you love, you can dream big dreams and dream as openly as you want.” -President Obama
A touching real life story about love and why marriage equality matters to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
Thank you Shane for talking and sharing your story.
Today, President Obama declared his support for marriage equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans. The President joins a majority of Americans who believe that all committed and loving couples should have the opportunity to enjoy the protections that marriage offers to them and their families.
Statement from Alaskans Together For Equality:
“Today is a historic day for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community across the country. It is the first time that a sitting president has come out for marriage equality for all families. The majority of Americans believe in fairness toward their fellow citizens and so does President Obama. We hope that one day, a majority of Alaskans will realize the need to undue the 1998 constitutional amendment that prohibits marriage equality for all Alaskan families. Alaska is strongest when we support all our people fairly and equally. We are confident that day will come soon.”
Alaskans Together for Equality, Inc. is an educational and advocacy nonprofit organization incorporated in the State of Alaska. Its mission is to advance civil equality for all Alaskans through grassroots organizing and advocacy, with a primary focus on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Alaskans.
Watch President Obama’s Marriage Equality Endorsement:
During National Suicide Prevention Week (September 4 – September 10, 2011), The Trevor Project, the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth rolled out a great suicide prevention campaign.
To learn more about the Trevor Project visit: www.thetrevorproject.org
The One Anchorage Campaign yesterday had a community meeting at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church.
KTUU reported on the meeting.
There is a chance Anchorage voters may have the final say on an equal rights law come April. Equality Works has launched its One Anchorage Campaign, a push to garner enough support and signatures to get an equal rights initiative on the next ballot.
The initiative would make it against the law for an employer or owner of public housing to discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity. It is the same issue that caused an uproar in 2009 when the Anchorage assembly passed an equal rights ordinance after hearing hundreds of people testify. The ordinance was later vetoed by Mayor Dan Sullivan.
Rep. Tammy Baldwin, an out Democrat from Wisconsin, announced today that she would indeed run for the U.S. Senate and make a bid to become the first openly gay senator in American history.
Joe Solmonese, outgoing president of the Human Rights Campaign, said Baldwin would be a great leader for equality.
“Tammy Baldwin’s candidacy for the U.S. Senate is monumental for both the state of Wisconsin and the country’s LGBT community,” Solmonese said. “Tammy has proven herself as an effective legislator over the course of her 13 years in Congress and this campaign will be a top priority for the Human Rights Campaign.”
Baldwin is a strong supporter of LGBT equality – scoring a 100% in HRC’s Congressional Scorecard every year she has served in Congress. In addition to her strong record on civil rights, Baldwin’s work has also focused on jobs and the middle class. HRC will be mobilizing members to volunteer for and contribute to the campaign beginning with an email alert launching today, Solmonese said.
“Tammy’s election to the U.S. Senate will make history. Added to her long list of firsts, Tammy will be the first woman to represent Wisconsin in the U.S. Senate. Her commitment to equality for all Americans is matched only by her commitment to the people of Wisconsin,” he said.
Read more and watch her video announcement about Tammy’s historic campaign.
The One Anchorage campaign filed an application this morning with the Anchorage Municipal Clerk’s Office to place an initiative on the April 2012 ballot asking voters to include lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Alaskans in the same legal protections already provided to women and minorities in employment, housing, and public businesses.
Arliss Sturgulewski, a former state senator and Republican gubernatorial candidate is the Initiative Sponsor and Co-Chair of the One Anchorage Campaign. Former Alaska Gov. Tony Knowles is the Alternate Sponsor and campaign Co-Chair. Other Sponsors include Alaska Constitutional Convention delegate Vic Fischer, former First Alaskans Institute President & CEO Janie Leask, the Rev. Michael Burke of Anchorage’s St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, and leaders of Alaska’s LGBT community.
“In Alaska, we have a live and let live attitude,” said Sturgulewski “However, under current laws, a woman could be fired from her job solely because she is a lesbian. No one should live in fear that they can be fired for reasons having nothing to do with their job performance.”
Co-sponsor Rev. Burke added: “In Anchorage, we believe that all residents should be treated fairly and equally by our laws. This initiative ensures that gay and transgender Alaskans who work hard and play by the rules will have the exact same legal protections as other Anchorage residents.”
In 2009, the Anchorage Assembly passed a very similar ordinance by a 7-4 majority, but the Mayor vetoed it.
Alaska’s LGBT community has been working since then to address the absence of federal, Alaska, or local laws protecting them against discrimination. Leaders of the campaign include Alaskans Together, the statewide LGBT advocacy organization; and representatives of groups such as Identity, Inc., Anchorage’s LGBT organization/Community Center; the ACLU of Alaska; and PFLAG (Parent and Friends of Lesbians and Gays).
The Municipal Clerk’s Office has 10 days to review and approve the Application and issue Petition Booklets. Campaign supporters will have 90 days to collect necessary signatures of registered voters needed to place the initiative on the ballot.